SCUTTLEBUTT No. 982 - January 9, 2002
Scuttlebutt is a digest of yacht racing news of major significance; commentary, opinions, features and dock talk . . . with a North American emphasis. Corrections, contributions, press releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
At a Press Conference held at the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London, the Commodore Peter Rutter announced a new format for the 2003 Admiral's Cup.
The RORC Steering Group considered that the Admiral's Cup should include a recognizable offshore race as well as inshore racing. The event should be primarily, but not exclusively professional, transportable and no longer than two weeks. Teams to consist of two boats. Challenges are to revert to the Cup's initial aim, which was an international competition between Clubs representing Nations. All these factors into account it had been agreed to base the 2003 Admiral's Cup in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin from Saturday 12 - Saturday 26 July 2003.
The event will be run by the RORC in co-operation with the Royal St George Yacht Club. There will be inshore racing followed by a Round Ireland race (approximately 710 miles).
Chairman of the ISAF Offshore Classes sub-committee, Don Genitempo commented: "The selection of the IMS 600 Class was a very wise choice by the RORC. It provides a large existing base of active yachts from which to form a team, and being a dual purpose, production yacht, entry into the class is easy and affordable. We have identified over 270 yachts eligible for inclusion. Fleets are organised in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Scandinavia - with the process underway in Germany, Holland and South America".
CHALLENGES AND TEAMS:
Challenges will be from Clubs (affiliated to a National Authority)
Club membership - owner/skipper and a percentage of the crew will be required
Two teams per country will be accepted initially
Nationality rules will be minimal
One big boat racing under IRC - over 50 ft. (exact size to be confirmed). No restriction on professionals for this class
One IMS 600 Class boat from the IMS 600 Class (Class Rules will be used which may restrict professionals)
Spring 2002 - RORC anticipates making an announcement regarding sponsorship
Summer 2002 - Confirmation of IRC Class size
British sailor Ben Ainslie won the Olympic Gold medal in the Laser Class in Sydney before joining the OneWorld Challenge for the 31st America's Cup. Ainslie has now made public his desire to return to his dream of Olympic competition.
"The last year-and-a-half being a part of OneWorld has been an amazing learning experience for me." said Ainslie. " I have made friendships that will last a lifetime and wish the team the greatest success. I have also learned a great deal about myself and what motivates me. I realize that the world of small boat sailing, where I have spent my sailing career is where I want to put my efforts at this point in my life."
Gary Wright, CEO of the OneWorld syndicate commented, "We have all enjoyed having Ben be a part of our team and don't want to ever stand between one of our teammates and his personal dreams. When we built this team we knew we were asking certain individuals to take roles they were unaccustomed to and there would be people who would realize it wasn't quite the right fit for them." - Bob Ratliffe
THE KEELS WERE DIFFERENT BUT THE CLOTH WAS THE SAME
In 1983 Australia II won the Americas Cup with a revolutionary keel that was very different to Liberties, but both boats used the same sailcloth technology from Bainbridge. 18 years later and we are still at the forefront of Sailcloth technology with products such as AIRX spinnaker fabric and DIAX-Carbon laminates, and for the Americas Cup jubilee regatta Australia II again chose Bainbridge. More Information at www.sailcloth.com
THE PROTEST EXPLAINED
The Volvo Ocean Race International Jury has resolved the protest brought towards Team Tyco. The Jury found Team Tyco to have made a minor administrative breach from which no boat's position in the Volvo Ocean Race was affected. A fine of 500 GBR pounds has been levied for the incident.
Skipper Kevin Shoebridge explained, "We felt the rule was quite clear in stipulating that no positions or scoring could be affected in Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race regardless to what happened in the Sydney Hobart Race. The problem is that there are various ways of reading the different rules, they are ambiguous in many ways. An ambiguity in the wording of the rules and lack of clarification prior to the start created a loophole, and a window for protest under a technicality. This loophole meant that the International Jury were bound by VOR Leg 3 sailing instructions to consider the existing Sydney Hobart breach also a breach of the Volvo sailing instructions. There are some areas within the rules that need clarification. We have a lot of respect for Ross Field and for Team News Corp. The way they interpreted the rule was slightly different than we did. We're happy that it has now been resolved and we can focus on the rest of the race."
Team Tyco understood that the radio report at Green Point was to ensure the boats were in a seaworthy condition before they crossed Bass Straight. Team Tyco made every possible attempt to report in and did so successfully once they had repaired the SSB radio. The jury found that Team Tyco had reported 7 minutes outside the confines of the rule's time limits. - Elsa Butler, www.teamtyco.com/teamtyco/index.jsp
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name and may be edited for clarity or space - 250 words max. This is not a chat room or a bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best shot and don't whine if others disagree.)
* From Gregory Scott: Based on the ridiculous penalty assessed to illbruck on leg one for their illegal modifications to the hull, the jury had no option available other than the 500 British Pound penalty they assessed to Tyco. Both are a mockery. I considered whether any weight should be applied to one rule violation over another.
In the end my view is this, we have category one rules that cover the flagrant violation of the sportsmanship and rules of racing aspect of the sport where a material advantage is gained by the yachts actions and category two rules, that deal with the technical aspect of the sport where, no apparent advantage is gained. Based on this standard, illbruck violated category one and possibly two and Tyco only category two. Most people would likely agree that throwing your mother in-law off a cliff would fit into category one even though doing it you own car may invoke the technical aspect of category two.
* From Bill Stump: Wow! Team Tyco must be reeling, but why penalize them in pounds? Leg 3 was started with Australia dollars, finished with New Zealand dollars, and Tyco's "homeport" uses Bermuda dollars. And what about Volvo's homeland kronor? Maybe it's because the Volvo race started in Southampton but, then, shouldn't the Jury have converted the fine to Euros? That will be 806.457 EUR, please.
* From Richard Clark (edited to our 250-word limit): The teams in the Volvo are a combination of talents from a variety of countries - high tech yachts of no particular personality flogging their way around the globe. The main reason I am no longer interested in the Volvo Race is that in the past the Whitbread was a race of Maxis. Not wimpy, stripped down, survival mentality one design Volvo 60's. 83 Foot maxi's, sloop rig, ketch rig, etc., was a great deal more awe inspiring than 60's extended dinghies. The Whitbread was a campaign by great sailors reading the conditions and possibilities as they thought appropriate not the dictates of a committee, yes I may be misrepresenting the concept a bit but I am sure your readers know what I mean.
Who really gives a damn about the Americas Cup anymore? They have lost me. I am all for it being between Larry Ellison and Prada and other billionaire backed teams. Teams made up of nationals, not hybrids of guns for hire. Sorry but when you chase the dollar magic goes out the window. Lord of the Rings is a great film because it is a New Zealand film of one man's vision. It is why films such as Casablanca don't get made and campaigns like Allan Bond's don't exist anymore. Money is needed and money is the problem. There are two levels of sailing, Club and Professional, like oil and water they will never, nor should they be expected to mix.
* From Zachie J de Beer (re Carbon Fiber): When a structure fails one cannot just pick the reason for it. The reason could be design, manufacture or a fault in the material or abuse by the user.
Carbon fiber is the reason so few racers are hurt or killed in F1 and Indy Car racing; carbon fiber is the reason that sport equipment can be made stronger and to last longer; carbon fiber is the reason aircraft can be made stronger and more fuel efficient; carbon fiber is the main structural material used to improve the safety of aircraft seats without adding mass and carbon fiber is the material chosen to make pressurized gas tanks for cars and buses.
By the way, had the crewman been hit on the head by an alloy boom he may have been dead because of the extra mass. The only reason you still hear about carbon spars breaking is because some people think it is news.
Watch out mate, carbon is being used to strengthen up old concrete buildings and bridges - even the rotor blades of helecopters.
* From David Greening: Carbon fibre laminates have allowed for significant increases in specific strength, allowing for reductions in displacement and rig strength. Once again Uffa Fox's comments about weight and steamrollers springs to mind. Anyone who has sailed with carbon boats or rigs will attest to the advantages.
Failures are not necessarily common but highly visible, however they are not necessarily the fault of the material, to my mind these failures can be grouped as follows:
1. Builders using aerospace technology in a boat-building environment (Tyco?).
2. Notable failures have been where rule makers have pushed sailors/ designers/ builders to the limit of safety factors, i.e. take weight out of the structure, into the keel = stiffer, faster boat.
3. Insufficient understanding of applied loads. (Team Phillips, cathedral rigs?).
4. User error, i.e. loading winches the wrong way.
5. Design information not allowed to be transferred to end user (includes unapproved modifications to structure) (Oracle?).
My point is that Carbon can be a great material, however the people using it are pushing the limits, if it didn't exist people would be breaking heavy GRP and Aluminum boats instead!
* From Adrian Morgan: It's sad to think that Glen McCarthy believes that today's sailing heroines (and heroes) need to be manufactured by press "managers", implying that the likes of Ellen MacArthur would be nothing without the back room boys pumping out the hype. Truth is that heroes and heroines are born not made. No amount of hype will turn someone into a star unless they have star quality. Has it come to this, that we must follow the example of the entertainment industry? Dennis Conner, Bernard Moitessier, Russell Coutts, Joshua Slocum, Rod Stephens and so many sailing heroes made it on their merits.
On another note, Tim Jeffery's analysis of what went wrong with the Whitbread/ Volvo was pertinent. Like the rhythm of the sea, there is a cycle to all great events. This one is in a trough. Critical comments about the women's team and fatuous protests by NewsCorp vs Tyco will not serve Volvo's cause. Who'll remember their names when it's over? The race used to be about daring-do, not petty points scoring.
* From Tom O'Keefe: At the Ullman Sails seminar last night Gino Morrelli presented an awe-inspiring account of Steve Fossett's effort to demolish the Trans Atlantic Record. Gino made it very clear that Fossett is a truly astounding inspiration and driving force for the team to organize behind. The perseverance and dedication it took to accomplish this record are a great lesson to us all. There was footage toward the end of the seminar that showed PlayStation (in her new 125' bow up configuration) pinned along a shoal in thirty knots leaping off 3-4 meter waves. The bows would be up to 30' off the water and then the transoms the same. Gino said that they figured the torsional twist was approximately 4-1/2'. That is just under half the designed safety tolerance. PlayStation is truly an amazing craft. The team is of a character inspirational to our sport. And, Steve Fossett is definitely deserving of this penultimate ocean sailing record.
(Following are two excerpts from a Volvo Ocean Race story by Tim Jeffery in the UK's Telegraph.)
Ross Field, the project director and navigator on NewsCorp, has been openly critical of Volvo race management after an incident in which Kevin Shoebridge's Tyco failed to make a compulsory radio report during the Sydney-Hobart section of the Volvo Ocean Race's Leg 3. He criticised race director Michael Woods' depth of experience and demanded that the race's chief executive, Helge Alten, grant competitors the highly irregular measure of having a greater say in running the race. However, he declared himself satisfied that the jury had fined Tyco £500. "I just want these silly situations sorted out," Field said in Auckland.
* "I hope this incident will be a catalyst for change," said Field. "I have made representations to Helge and he listened attentively. I believe the syndicates have as much ownership of this race as Volvo does." And then, in direct criticism of Woods, the former Naval aviator who was the assistant race director in the last Whitbread race, Field added: "The competitors have more experience in these types of campaigns than Michael Woods will ever have." - Tim Jeffery, the Telegraph, UK
Full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
18-FOOT SKIFF INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
If changes of place for the lead of a race make exciting racing, Heat 4 of the 18 foot Skiff International Championship on Sydney Harbour this afternoon (Wednesday) must have been one of the most exciting races ever to be seen.
Leadership changed on so many occasions that it was quite impossible to keep count, but, at the only time when it really matters (at the finishing line), it was Howard Hamlin on 'General Electric-US Challenge' who held the all-important first place.
The breeze today was from the south east, and was sufficiently strong to convince a quarter of the 25 boat that the Number 2 rig was the one to use. The Skiff sailors know that this wind direction will always make for a difficult race - firstly because the wind will fluctuate in strength and direction, and secondly because the course for a sou' easter includes some very tight reaching.
From a succession of leaders, the most consistent were 'RMW Marine' and 'General Electric-US Challenge' and, when the American boat capsized at the final leeward mark, it seemed that the race had been handed to the Brits. Not in this race, though, because one final twist of fate allowed the US team to make up their lost ground and win by 8 seconds.
Standings after four races with no discard: 1. General Electric-US Challenge, Howard Hamlin, USA, 21 points; 2. Rag & Famish Hotel, John Harris, Australia, 33 points; 3. Newport Arms Hotel, Matt Felton, Australia, 36.7; points 4. Express Post, Hugh Stodart, Australia, 47, 4 points; 5. Derwent Racing, Daniel Phillips, Australia 51.7 points. - Peter Danby, www.18footers.com.au
ATTENTION KEY WEST RACE WEEK SAILORS
Call and order all your racing / rigging needs from West Marine. Contact our store in Key West (305-295-0999) by January 13th and your order will be waiting when you arrive. Additionally, you may present your event access card to receive a 10% discount anytime during the race. Rigging needs? Our expert riggers will be on site during the race to help. Visit us at 725 Caroline St. or call 305-295-0999. Or visit our website at: www.westmarine.com
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A runaway train carrying flammable chemicals de-railed, then ignited, destroying the first boat to finish the past three Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Sailboat races. Earth Voyager, a 60-foot racing trimaran, set a record in July when it reached Mackinac Island about 24 hours after it left Port Huron.
The damage occurred Dec. 23 when a CSX train derailed after its brakes failed and it hit a curve, Rochester Police Sgt. Carlos Garcia said. "Unfortunately, the point of impact was a house and several warehouses where boats were stored," he said. Earth Voyager was among several boats damaged. It's owned by Ray Howe, 59, who built it in his Rochester home in the early 1990s. - Amber Hunt, Times Herald.
Full story: www.thetimesherald.com/news/stories/20020109/topstories/1440386.html
When the twelve teams of competitors arrived at San Diego's Mission Bay Yacht Club on January 8, they were greeted with twelve shining Snipes, all made by Persson, all tuned to the same exact standard, and each equipped with brand new Quantum sails. These sailors, each representing a different one-design class, would be rotating boats with each race, but even so none would have to sail as much as a single race in a sub-par boat. to insure that the standards were met, two shipwrights, both experienced Snipe sailors, were employed to tune the boats and to be ready to quickly make any repairs needed during the event. - Ed Jones, www.ussailing.org/championships/CofC/2001/RegattaNews.asp
* The Prix de L'Architecture Navale Designer's Trophy was presented to Gino Morrelli & Pete Melvin for their design and engineering of record breaking Maxi-Catamaran "PlayStation", which smashed the West/East Trans- Atlantic record on October 10, 2001 with a time of 4days 17hrs 28min 06sec, average speed of 25.78 knots, shaving almost two days off the previous record set by Jet Services V in 1990. During the same run from October 6th - October 7th, 2001 PlayStation again captured the 24 hour distance run record, sailing 687.17nm with an average speed of 28.63 knots! The trophy was awarded in the surroundings of the Paris Maritime Museum. - www.morrellimelvin.com/trophy.html
* One of the oldest sail lofts in North America, Boston Sailmakers (Mt. Clemens, MI) has dissolved its 13-year relationship with Doyle Sails (Marblehead, MA), and joined Quantum Sail Design Group. Boston Sailmakers has produced championship one design sails as well as big boat racing and cruising sails. Quantum sails are available through 50 lofts located throughout the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, South Africa, South America, and Australia. - www.quantumsails.com
WOMEN'S MATCH RACING
The ISAF Grade 1 Women's Match Racing event run by Australia's Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club is to be rescheduled and renamed since Line 7 have withdrawn as the primary sponsor. The Yacht Club is currently negotiating with a new primary sponsor after the decision by Line 7 to discontinue their sponsorship of the January 2002 event. - Ryan Durman, Sail World web site.
Full story: www.sail-world.com/
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.