SCUTTLEBUTT No. 984 - January 14, 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.
YACHTIES OF THE YEAR
US Sailing has announced the final list of nominees who will be considered for the 2001 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards, which recognize outstanding on-the-water achievement in the calendar year just concluded. They are widely perceived as the highest individual honors in sailing in the United States. The award winners for 2000 were the skipper/crew combinations of Mark Reynolds/ Magnus Liljedahl and JJ Isler/ Pease Glaser. Other sailing luminaries who have won the award include Betsy Alison, Ed Baird, Paul Cayard, Dennis Conner, Ken Read, Dawn Riley, Randy Smyth and Ted Turner.
The nominees, determined by the membership of US Sailing, will be presented to a panel of noted sailing journalists, who together will discuss the merits of each nominee and vote by secret ballot to determine the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. The winners will be honored at a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in New York City, on February 15, 2002, where they will be presented with Rolex timepieces. The Rolex Yachtsman will receive a steel and gold Rolex Submariner, and the Rolex Yachtswoman will receive a Rolex Oyster Lady Datejust, also in steel and gold.
Nominees for the 2001 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year are: International 14 World Champion Zach Berkowitz (San Francisco, Calif.); Laser Master World Champion Henry De Wolf (Palm City, Fla.); J/22 and Flying Scot North American Champion Greg Fisher (Columbus, Ohio); world speed sailing record holder Steve Fossett (Chicago, Ill.); 49er World Champions Jonathan McKee and Charlie McKee (both Seattle, Wash.); and Star North American Champion George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.).
Nominees for the 2001 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year are: Tasar International and U.S. National Champion Carol Buchan (Medina, Wash.); Yngling CORK Champion Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.); Yngling North American Champion Courtenay Dey (Westerly, R.I./Rye, N.Y.); J/22 East Coast Champion Nancy Haberland (Annapolis, Md.); and Rolex International Women's Keelboat Champion Cory Sertl (Rochester, N.Y.).
Sailing resumes and photos of the nominees: www.ussailing.org/pressreleases/2002/YYnominees.htm
18-FOOT SKIFF INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Howard Hamlin, Mike Martin and Trevor Baylis on 'General Electric-US Challenge' sailed an excellent final heat on Sydney Harbour this Sunday afternoon to become the first American winners of the JJ Giltinan 18 foot Skiff International Championship, and only the second winners from the northern hemisphere since the trophy was awarded in 1938.
Coming into the final heat, 'General Electric-US Challenge' was, along with John Harris's 'Rag & Famish Hotel' and Daniel Phillips's 'Derwent Racing', one of three boats in serious contention for the championship. In fact, the American team had the hardest job of the three, as their points score was such that they would need to have two boats between themselves and their rivals if they were to succeed.
The race was sailed in a south easterly breeze of 12 to 15 knots, with a huge spectator fleet gathered in Taylor Bay for the start, including two of the traditional ferries packed with sailing enthusiasts. - Peter Danby, www.18footers.com.au
1. General Electric-US Challenge, Howard Hamlin, USA, 33.7 points
2. Rag & Famish Hotel, John Harris, AUS, 35.7 points
3. Derwent Racing, Daniel Phillips, AUS, 39.4 points
4. Newport Arms Hotel, Matt Felton, AUS, 48.4 point
5. Express Post, Hugh Stodart, AUS,59.1 points
6. Sunday Telegraph, Michael Coxon, AUS, 70 points;
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ADMIRAL CUP - Commentary
A radical revision of what was once regarded as the unofficial championship of offshore racing will also produce a number of incentives to rebuild interest in the 45-year-old event, which was cancelled last year due to a lack of interest. The Irish Government has also signaled its intention to support the move.
The regatta will be hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club from Saturday, July 12th to Saturday, July 26th, 2003. A combination of inshore courses, yet to be announced, will lead into a full circumnavigation of Ireland, which will follow the existing 705-mile course. At present, there are no plans to extend the number of entries into the current race, which will take place again this June. Increased interest in the new course from international sailors is likely to benefit next year's event.
In another revision of the traditional event, the single, three-boat team entered by a national authority has given way to two boats per club and a maximum of two teams per country. The event will be mainly for professionals, continuing the existing trend which emerged following the heyday of the championship in the late 1980s.
The two boats will be handicapped under two popular international systems. The bigger size will cater for IRC (Endorsed) handicap aimed at boats of 50 feet and over. This class will be professionally crewed. The smaller boats will cater for the IMS system but, in a fresh development, these boats will be grouped under a single body, to be known as the IMS 600 Class.
The latter system has been dominated by American and Mediterranean yachts and a raging transatlantic debate might have precluded this system in favour of the RORC promoted IRC/ IRM systems. However, the IMS 600 Class is aimed at the 40-foot range of boats and includes IMX40s, Beneteau 40.7-footers, Tripp 40s and other popular production yachts which are easily modified to optimum racing condition. Currently, more than 270 boats worldwide are eligible for this class. Such boats are popular in Ireland, raising the prospect of national qualifying events. Full-time sailors can comprise 50 per cent of a crew for this class, and many Irish professionals working overseas would be needed for a national effort. - David Branigan, The Irish Times
Full story: www.ireland.com/sports/other/2002/0110/other3.htm
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 Bob Little: Sailing is in limbo right now. The success of owner/ driver classes such as Farr 40, Mumm 30 and 1D 35 has opened all eyes. There is major dissension between "pro" sailor interests and interests of the main stream, driving force behind the sport - owners and amateurs.
The Admiral's Cup is riding the fence on this and until "pros" come to grips with the hand that feeds them (including sponsors) there will be limbo in the sport. Pro sailors definitely raise the bar of competition in a big way but at what expense? Eight boats in the Volvo round the World race ... no Admiral's Cup last year ... the America's Cup outcome decided months before the finals and no true country allegiance.
To re-quote Richard Clark favoring "Teams made up of nationals, not hybrids of guns for hire" may help revive the AC and other major events. The Melges class is successful b/c pro and owner/ amateur drivers compete head-to-head but they award overall and top amateur trophies alike. It's easy to say, "let's just go sailing" but there obviously needs to be checks and balances to enrich this great sport, pastime, recreation, whatever you want to call it.
* From Andy Colloton: I would like to express my disagreement with George Bailey on his comments that adults should be sophisticated enough to not have heroes. Heroes are people that we aspire to emulate. The well over 300 firemen, police, and emergency workers that gave their lives to save others' in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are most certainly heroes in my mind.
While hero worship is not something that I believe is healthy when taken to the extreme, there is a certain amount of good that can be learned from their behavior. The numerous solo racers that have risked their lives to save their competitors when there was no other help available are most certainly heroes to the people they rescued.
In today's selfish world, we can all learn a behavioral lesson or two from their actions. Let us just not forget that even heroes are human too. Placing people on a pedestal is not the best thing in the world for either party, as that means that they are above us all. The true heroes are the ones that live among us and do extraordinary things.
* From Reigh North: I agree with Caitlin.. But one of the biggest problems she left out is that the entire North American community has been brought up on stadium sports, football, basketball, hockey, motor sports etc. The yachting world missed the proverbial boat when stadium sports went to corporate sponsors 50 or 60 years ago the yachting world snubs there noses. Even as little as 10 years ago yachting was under strict advertising guidelines that have kept the media out of our sport. If it wasn't for the rest of the world we would never see a single yacht on the tube. So in the end we have only ourselves to blame.
* From Wade Stevens: (In response to Scott Ridgeway, "who should Steve Fosset give the Rolex to if he were to win it?" My vote would go to Gino Morrelli. Here is a guy who, with Pete Melvin designed the fastest boat in the world, and sailed aboard much of its 40,000 miles.
* From Peter Huston: The worst part about having to select a winner of the Rolex Award between candidates such as Steve Fossett and Philippe Kahn is that one of them won't win. Both are very deserving - both represent what was probably the true initial spirit of the award - amateur gentlemen yachtsman who have had significant accomplishments. The sport is greatly enhanced in many ways by their quests.
* From Joe Ozelis: In response to Glen Magyar's suggestion that race boat construction experts assist the FAA in the analysis of the failure of the composite tail of the AA jet that crashed: The NPR story apparently failed to mention that the FAA has already asked for (and received) the services of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. to perform a full analysis of this component failure.
NASA/Langley's Structures and Materials division is the leading worldwide authority on the use of composite materials in aerospace applications, and have literally written the book on the application of carbon fiber composites. So while there are undoubtedly some elements within the marine industry that have significant experience and understanding of the use of carbon fiber composites as they pertain to sailboat components, I don't believe they could match the expertise available at NASA.
* From Chris Welsh (Re: Masts uniquely using carbon fiber in compression): Formula 1 designers routinely use carbon fiber in compression, especially in suspension pushrods and components that take an extreme beating due to the virtually spring-less nature of the suspension.
* From Geoff Newbury: It also strikes me that the 500 pound penalty imposed on Team Tyco was more along the lines of an award of one pound in damages to a successful plaintiff: There was no doubt that *some* penalty was required to be assessed given the wording of VOR S.I.s about compliance with the S-H S.I.s, because the yacht was DSQ from the Sydney Hobart. But the *protest* was chicken****.
It was never contended that the failure to comply with the reporting requirement affected the actual outcome or safety of the racers. The protest was brought in the hope that the protestor could have the protestee lose some points in the VOR race (not in the S-H race). It's a pity that the words contained in Rule 42 "..shall compete by using only the wind and water" are not given a wider recognition in considering the meaning of "principles of sportsmanship and fair play" in Rule 2.
* From Charlie Carlson: For all those who thing the fine is not relevant, I would like to ask: How long is the proper time for the committee to wait prior to sending assistance to determine the condition of the vessel and crew? And secondarily, who pays for the "false alarm"? I would certainly like someone to start looking for me if the mast was over the side and there were injured crew on board.
* From Bill Elmer: I am surprised that there has been no inquiry (or evidence that someone is looking) into why a disproportionate number of people for the population size (men only I think) in the VOR have been having intestinal disorders at sea. As an infrequent participant in racing to Hawaii, it would be useful to understand what is going on. Is it the freeze dry food, lack of adequate hydration, unwillingness to get out of the gear to have a BM or pee, what? And why only the guys?
New Zealand's seven-time round the world veteran Grant Dalton hopes to be the new holder of the outright sailing speed record in less a than a year's time. Speaking in Auckland, where his Amer Sports One is lying second overall in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dalton said of his desire to switch from a nine month, 32,000 mile event to one measured in seconds over a 500m distance: "Speed sells; it's where the sport is going."
The Kiwi has been working on the project for at least four years and has had a feasibility study carried out by Richard Karn, the keels specialist for Team New Zealand in the last two America's Cups."It really is a Formula One project, not a sailing one. The design is an aerodynamic solution not a hydrodynamic one. And that means it is going to cost money to do it properly," Dalton said.
Properly in his view is not a modest improvement on the record of 46.52 knots set by the Australian Yellow Pages syndicate back in 1993. "You wouldn't even bother unless you wanted to go over 60 knots," Dalton asserted. "Anything less would be like kissing your sister; there's nothing in it."
Dalton has in mind a three month research and development period, three month build schedule and then an attempt in September. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK
Full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
* "It wasn't really working out for me. It wasn't really getting me where I wanted to be. I was thinking of what else I would do and that was probably going to be an Olympic campaign. If I left the decision any longer then I was going to be leaving it too late to do any good at the Olympics, so it came to a head that way." - Ben Ainslie talking about his departure from the OneWorld AC syndicate in a story by Any Rice on the madforsailing website, www.madforsailing.com
* There have been more cases of illness during this Volvo Ocean Race than there were in all seven of the Whitbread races that were its predecessor. The organizers had prepared for this with practical medical training for two of the crew on each boat, but cannot have foreseen the extent of the non-traumatic illnesses." - International yachting journalist Bob Fisher, The Guardian Unlimited, www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4334354,00.html
AVOID THE VAN GOGH BOATSPEED SENSOR
Boatspeed paddlewheel sensors get damaged, but repair kits are available with a new paddlewheel and pin. Simply pry back the "ears" at the bottom of the sensor with a wide flat tool and pop in the replacement paddlewheel and pin. Unfortunately it's really easy to break off one of the ears - especially if the plastic is cold. The whole sensor will have to be replaced if this happens - quite a bit more expensive than a repair kit. Try soaking the sensor in warm water for a minute or so before prying it open. Ockam Instruments - www.ockam.com.
French nuclear energy company Areva has announced a 15 million sponsorship of the French America's Cup challenge. After over two months of rumors, Areva, announced the sponsorship of Le Defi in Paris on Friday.
Areva, involved in mining, power generation and reprocessing of nuclear fuels, was formed by the French government in September 2001. It operates 60 plants in 29 countries and has 45,000 employees worldwide.
The America's Cup will begin in October in New Zealand, a strongly anti-nuclear country which prohibits nuclear weapons and propulsion. The regatta will give Areva a worldwide opportunity to promote nuclear industry. While the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has banned tobacco sponsorship in the America's Cup in line with New Zealand government legislation against tobacco advertising in television and sports sponsorship, there is nothing to prevent nuclear sponsorship.
The French team were very popular during the last America's Cup regatta in New Zealand, playing the role of underdogs and surprising many people when they made the semi-finals of the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup. Their budget was tight but they had a great skipper in Bertrand Pace and a fast boat. Pace has now defected to Team New Zealand.
This time the budget has been trebled but, at an estimated $26 million, it remains modest compared with the $50 million-plus America's Cup war chests of the billionaire syndicates of Craig McCaw (USA OneWorld), Larry Ellison (USA Oracle) and Ernesto Bertarelli (Swiss Alinghi) and Patrizio Bertelli (Italy Prada).
Le Defi have recently opened a new team base in Lorient which provides the same range of sailing conditions as the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, and a new boat is under construction at Multiplast in France. - CNN Inside sailing, www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/sailing/01/11/areva.biz/index.html
Syndicate website: www.ledefi.com
(John Greenland and James Boyd examined the sponsorship of the French America's Cup team by the Areva Group on the madforsailing website . . . and drew the following conclusions.)
The sponsorship is certain to spark controversy in New Zealand, which has had a long standing run-in with France over its program of nuclear testing in the Pacific. Following more than a decade of run-ins between Greenpeace and the French military in the Pacific, friction came to a head in 1985 with the bombing in Auckland of the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior which was about to lead a peaceful flotilla of ships from New Zealand to the French Polynesian atoll of Moruroa, where the French government were carrying out nuclear tests. The bombing, carried out by French agents, resulted in the death of Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira. There is every possibility that come their move to Auckland, following the launch of their new boat in early May, the French team will come under siege by local protesters.
Full story: www.madforsailing.com
CHAMPIONSHIP OF CHAMPIONS
The conditions for the final races were light breezes (6-8) in the early races, but stronger in the later ones as Santa Ana breezes filled in and the temperature rose into the 70s, with the wind clocking from SW to NW. Just another beautiful San Diego day. Going into the last race, that the only way Szabo/ Janney, could win would be to get a first while the regatta leaders Funsch /Duffy finished worse than fourth. Szabo got the bullet and a 720 pushed Funsch back to fifth place. With one more first place finish than Funsch and Duffy, Szabo and Janney won on the tie-breaker, and the championship. - Ed Jones
1. (Star) George Szabo /Brian Janney, 32
2. (Vanguard 15) Kevin Funsch /Watt Duffy, 32
3. (Laser) Chris Raab /Jon Rogers, 41
4. (Sabot) Chuck Sinks/ Mark Gaudio, 52
5. (InterClub) Jim Bowers/ Susannah Bowers, 54
6. (J/24) Chris Snow /Aine McLean, 65.
AMERICA'S CUP INTRIGUE
Oracle Racing, Larry Ellison's syndicate, has taken over the old AmericaOne premises next to Prada and have modernized the ground floor by installing mirror windows just metres away from Prada's launching area. Are they being used to conceal surveillance cameras? That is the question Prada would like to have answered. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
THE CURMUDGEON'S COUNSEL
Don't assume malice for what stupidity can explain.