SCUTTLEBUTT 1219 - December 13, 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.
GUEST EDITORIAL - Bruce Kirby
Perhaps the greatest tragedy resulting from the protest hearings in
Auckland is the damage the ruckus has done to some innocent people. Chief
among them is Laurie Davidson, design team leader for One World and co-
designer for New Zealand in 2000 and 1995.
During the hearings Seattle designer Bob Perry testified that the One World
boats did not bear a close resemblance to NZL 60, and Measurer Ken
McAlpine, in possession of key measurements from all AC boats said there
was not a significant resemblance between Davidson's work in 2000 and 2002.
Davidson was the man who drew the magnificent hull lines of NZL 32 that
swept the AC series in 1995 . It's fair to say that every AC design hopeful
in the world did his best to simulate the shape of NZL 32 as a lead-in to
their 2000 designs. And in 2000 the boats that Davidson came up with for
Team New Zealand looked less like NZL 32 than did some of the others on the
Hauraki Gulf. In other words Davidson vaulted further from his own work
than did other designers.
In 2000 he came up with the "Davidson bow" which has been copied this time
around by every other syndicate.
Laurie Davidson has had a greater influence on America's Cup design than
anyone since Olin Stephens ruled in the 12-Meter era. He doesn't have to
steal from anyone else. It is his mind that produces the ideas.
(Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee,
staged an impromptu press conference in Auckland where he discussed the
future of the America's Cup. Here's an excerpt from a story by Mike Wise in
the New York Times that captures Rogge's thoughts.)
"I think the America's Cup needs an independent, neutral body that rules
the organization," Rogge said. "Today we are in an ambivalent situation
where the defender tries to accumulate as many rights as possible, where
the challengers try to team up against the defender, and I think you need
an independent body that would decide on format, on the dates, decide on
The deed of gift, written in 1887 by George Schuyler of the New York Yacht
Club, is amended every few years before the next America's Cup. The
protocol wrangled over and eventually agreed to by the competitors -
including boat designs, wind readings for competition and the nationalities
of sailors competing for a foreign syndicate - is, in effect, the only law
governing the competition.
One of Rogge's main complaints was the defender rule, which essentially
guarantees that the next competition will be held in the country that wins
the Cup in February. Team New Zealand, the defending champion, is
guaranteed a berth in the finals without having to compete in any of the
"Not to know today when the America's Cup will be or where it will be held
is not something you would see in other sports organizations, because there
the calendar is set for a long time," he said. "For the sport itself, it's
maybe not that important. But for sponsorship, for TV audience, to spread
the popularity of yachting to the world, it is vital to know where to go
and when to go.
"The other thing that I think would be welcome would be to have a system
where races wouldn't be postponed or abandoned in winds that are considered
a medium breeze." - Full story:
WHO WILL WIN THE AMERICA'S CUP?
(There's more to the Jacque Rogge story, as this excerpt from Angus
Phillips' piece in the Washington Post reveals.)
Asked who he expected to win the Cup in February, (IOC President Jacque)
Rogge said thoughtfully, "I think the team that has in-house some hidden
development, something it will show at the end, will have an edge. "But,"
said Rogge, an ex-Olympic sailor, "I haven't looked under the skirts."
The comment comes at an interesting time as whispers of underwater secrets
in the stern of Team New Zealand's defense boats have begun to circulate.
Cup insiders say there's something funny -- and fast -- under the long,
black skirts in which TNZ drapes its boats. The secret is well guarded.
TNZ's skirts are worn not just at the dock but halfway out into Hauraki
Gulf when the boats are under tow to training grounds, in an effort to keep
prying eyes at bay.
Team New Zealand and top challenger Alinghi both are conducting training
sessions as far as 30 miles from town to keep a distance from rivals. When
Alinghi broke its mast in training last week, it was so far out in the Gulf
it took almost three hours to tow back to harbor.
What's going on? No one knows for sure, but there's plenty of educated
guessing. "The biggest story of this America's Cup has yet to be told,"
said one longtime Cup follower. "You've got to be here on Jan. 7," when
Team New Zealand and the surviving two challengers must drop their skirts
to reveal hull shapes and underwater appendages. - Angus Phillips,
Washington Post, full story:
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SEMI FINALS BLOWN OFF
The Louis Vuitton Cup Semi Final Round lost its second day of racing today
due to winds well in excess of prescribed limits. "We have 2.2 metre seas,
average winds of 28 knots at Bean Rock (in the Hauraki Gulf) and puffs well
into the 30s," said Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio. This marks the
16th postponed day of racing due to winds either too strong or too light in
46 scheduled race days.
Russell Coutts's Team Alinghi leads Oracle BMW Racing and skipper Chris
Dickson by 3-0 in the best-of-seven round. Coutts's crew needs one more
victory to advance to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals, scheduled to begin
Peter Gilmour's OneWorld Challenge is tied 1-1 with defending Louis Vuitton
Cup champs Prada Challenge and skipper Francesco de Angelis in the other
match. OneWorld has won two of three races, but is tied due to a one point
penalty imposed by the America's Cup Arbitration Panel.
Each team needs to win three more races to advance to the Semi Final
Repechage Round, while it'll meet the loser of Alinghi-Oracle BMW Racing. -
Louis Vuitton Cup media center, http://www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (email@example.com)
(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 Bruce Bonine: Regarding "intellectual property" & Olin Stephen's
comments, in almost every other "design" profession I can think of,
including my own -- Architecture, the design is the property of the
designer. It is not the property of the client. The client is simply paying
a fee for the "one-time use" of the design and has no rights to duplicate
or replicate that design for future use, other than for the purpose for
which it was purchased. Stephen's is right-on when he talks abot the
evolution of design ideas. Design is iterative by nature and each design
idea is continually being refined and evolving over time. It is ludicrous
for clients to believe that by paying a fee that the design ideas created
fir that fee will be fixed in time and will never be developed for any
other venue. If that were true, then we would never see improvements in any
aspect of our life.
* From Gary A. Mintz: While reading the excerpt of Olin Stephen's article
this morning in Scuttlebutt 1218 it struck me that there are parallels in
other sports to the problem of "intellectual property". When baseball
player is traded midseason to another team, he takes with him, knowlege of
coaching signals, when a football player is traded, he takes his knowlege
of the playbook with him, and when a basketball player is traded, he takes
knowlege of his teammates tendencies and favorite shots. Its all in the
game! I think that One World has been penalized unfairly.
* From: Mark Steinbeck: Wouldn't it be great if we could get audio from
the AC boat's on-board microphones via Virtual Spectator?
* From Barry Ault: The stunning clarity of Olin's remarks should surprise
none of us. The absurdity of the Protocol that allows a designer to take
his brain to another country, but requires that he leave his notes behind,
speaks for itself. Yacht design is not a closed book test. I am sure that
Mr. Disney would be sorely disappointed if John Reichel had started from
scratch on the latest Pyewacket.
The Protocol may be a can of worms, but New Zealand has properly forced all
disagreements to be resolved within the sailing community and it appears
that the best teams will prevail. Every sailor and interested spectator
should read the Racing Rules of Sailing (http://www.sailing.org/rrs2001/)
and in particular, the Basic Principle and Rules 2 & 3. I dread the thought
of the Cup returning to the US and falling, once again, under the
jurisdiction of our legal system.
* From Scott Truesdell: Two words: "Olin rocks!"
* From Cheeko Matsusaka In response to the complaints regarding OLN's
coverage, I can't help but state the obvious -- in lieu of OLN there would
have been nothing but two 1/2 hour spots on ESPN for the first two round
robins. I'll gladly take OLN. In addition, I've also heard enough
complaints about ESPN's coverage in the past so I guess it does boil down
to needing to complain about something. Instead of lamenting the loss of
the good old ESPN days, I'd suggest readers send their comments to OLN -
they actually do listen to viewer comments.
* From David Cowen: I agree with the rants regarding the coverage of the
Louis Vuitton Cup. I have been watching bicycle racing over the last couple
of years since OLN has picked up a majority coverage during the season. It
suffers from the same format that is plaguing the LVC. Not only do the
commercials come thick and fast during a two-hour show but they are
virtually the same every time they are on.
OLN needs to look into reducing the so-called commercial obligations,
especially since they only show one from each four or five sponsors. They
interrupt a potentially incredible display of sailing and frustrate the
viewers. During the Tour de France they have a commercial free last half
hour and it really is noticeable when you get to see thirty minutes of
uninterrupted coverage. It is a shame it is only thirty minutes. It is too
bad we have to speculate as to how Prada passes OneWorld on a downwind leg.
Since it isn't live coverage why don't the edit it better?
* From: Whit Davis: Last night OLN did it again! Prada started on the
right and next we saw they were on the left. Did they cross ahead or behind
and by how much? Suggest that Dawn and Peter Isler or Peter Lester have
complete control of pre-start maneuvers, particularly from aan match racer/
umpire's point of view. Less hype! Further that they select the cut points
for commercials. Also I would like to see OLN break up the commercials. For
instance on a drag race to the weather mark have a commercial and then
shots of one boat or the other then a commercial and then the other boat.
* From Hank Evans: I started in a junior sailing program at seven. The
very first summer we learned the basics of racing and one of the very first
things learned was to cover your opponent. Every time the America's Cup
comes around we hear of races lost by failure to cover. How on earth can
sailors reach the world class level and then fail to follow this most basic
rule of racing ? It never ceases to amaze me and darned if they don't keep
right on doing it.
FOR THE RECORD
Steve Fossett has yet another new record. Together with co-pilot Terry
Delore (NZ), Fossett (USA) set a new Gliding World Speed Record for 1000
kilometers Out and Return. Despite difficult wind and cloud conditions, the
duo flew the 1000 kilometer course at an average speed of 166.46 km/h
(103.44 mph), breaking the previous record of 152.74 km/h (94.91 mph) set
by Walter Binder (GER) in South Africa in 1999. On November 15th the team
of Fossett and Delore smashed the 500 kilometer triangle record in 2 hours
and 44 minutes - setting a new World Record speed of 185.63 km/h (115 mph).
2002 has been an extraordinarily year for Fossett. The American adventurer
has set new World Records for speed in 3 sports - gliding, sailing and
ballooning including the 'First Solo Round the World Balloon Flight' in
A NEW WAY TO NASSAU
How to get to the Farr 40 Worlds? Last week, we ran two 28' Protectors from
Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau. 4 to 6 foot seas couldn't slow our crew down as
we made the 160 mile trip in five hours. These boats joined the six boats
already in Nassau to support the Farr 40 worlds. Come watch and check out
the new 35' Protector with teak decks, or see us in Miami or Key West to
see our new 22 foot center-console coach boat. We now have a boat for
everyone. Go Anywhere. 877-664-BOAT - http://www.protectorboats.com
Leading America's Cup sailors are defending their tactics after several
instances in the past few days in which leading boats have been overtaken
after allowing opponents to split.
It was the Russell Coutts-skippered Swiss Alinghi team who first allowed
opponents Oracle to separate yesterday during one of the semifinals of the
cup challenger series on the Hauraki Gulf. A slight windshift, on a day of
mainly steady north-northwesterly 12 to 16 knot winds, saw Oracle slip into
a lead that the San Francisco boat held until the fifth leg.
Then it was the turn of Oracle, skippered by Chris Dickson, to allow
Alinghi to separate by up to 700m. Around that time the wind shifted left
and Alinghi were back in front, going on to win by 46 seconds, and take a
3-0 lead in the best-of-seven contest.
* On Wednesday it had been OneWorld who lost a lead after allowing Prada
to split, and yesterday OneWorld helmsman James Spithill said in many of
the tricky conditions on the race course leading boats could not keep
covering their opponents.
"You cover and you basically give them the other side that you wanted to go
to," he said. "It's the Hauraki Gulf and you've just got to make the
decision at the time and you hope it's going to pay off. But as we've seen
over the past two days, every now and then it doesn't." - NZPA, NZ Herald,
MATCH RACING 101
(A couple of days ago, OneWorld tactician Charlie McKee explained to the
nightly press conference attendees why it is not always a good idea for the
leading boat to cover the opposition in light to medium air.)
"If the boat behind is always choosing when to tack and gybe, and the boat
ahead is always responding, and the boat behind is filled with a bunch of
smart sailors, then the boat behind is going to tend to make gains because
they're making the choices. So as the boat ahead you are letting your lead
erode in order to protect your position. The shiftier it gets, the more
likely you are to try and make gains because a one or two boat length lead
at the top mark is potentially not going to be enough, whereas in a steady
wind it more than likely is going to be enough. So, there's the theory." -
Thailand - Good breeze filled in from the north after a short postponement.
Alessandra Sensini (ITA) won the only women's race of the day with Barbara
Kendall (NZL) second . Overall it looks like that the world championship
title is there for Barbara to claim, leading Faustine Merretas she does by
The two races in the men's fleet reconfirmed that the title fight is
between Nikos Kaklamanakis (GRE) and Gal Fridman (ISR). Both have dropped a
poor result but looking back down the list so have the rest of the top 10.
Two races per day are planned for the final 3 days.
The leaders - Men: 1. Gal Fridman (ISR) 4; 2. Nikos Kaklamanakis, GRE, 10;
3. Julien Savina, FRA) 12; 4. Zhou Yuanguo, (CHN) 12. Women: 1. Barbara
Kendall (NZL), 7; 2. Faustine Merretas (FRA) 19; 3. Alessandra Sensini
(ITA) 20. - http://www.windsurfingthailand.com/200212mistral/index.php
Fremantle, AUS - The Fremantle Doctor was nowhere to be found for the fifth
and sixth races of the Grolsch International 505 Worlds 2002. Light air,
postponements, restarts and long days on the water replaced the thrilling
planing legs experienced earlier in the week. After six races with one
throwout the leaders are (98 boats) : 1. Dan Thompson /Andrew Zinn, USA,
18; 2. Howard Hamlin/ Mike Martin, USA, 19; 3. Krister Bergstrom/ Thomas
Moss, SWE, 28; 4. Andrew Beeckman/ Ben Benjamin, USA; 5. Ian Barker/ Daniel
Cripps, GBR. - http://www.505.com.au/results.htm
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.