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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1220 - December 16, 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.

Team New Zealand, the America's Cup defenders, have produced one of the most creative circumventions of the design rules ever seen in 151 years of the America's Cup. The development - which takes the form of a partial area of false hull, or outer skin - has immediately been replicated by two of the leading challengers, Alinghi, of Switzerland, and Oracle BMW, of the United States.

What the teams have achieved is to have a completely separate piece of the hull counted as an 'appendage' under the America's Cup class rule. This radical second skin effectively lengthens the hull, so the boat sails faster. Even if the extra piece of false hull adds drag, this is more than offset by the hull having more effective 'sailing length', which is one of the most powerful generators of speed in yacht design.

The America's Cup class have unusually fair shapes, like long cigars, because the ACC rules expressly prohibit any discontinuities of shape such as hollows, bumps and creases which are the normal ways of tricking a measurement rule in other classes of yacht. The key to the innovation lies in the class rules which allow two moveable appendages to the hull - normally, the rudder and the adjustable keel fins.

But in a breathtaking piece of lateral thinking, TNZ designers realised there was no limit on appendages that did not move. They reasoned 'why not suspend an entire false section of hull off the bottom of the proper hull?' In theory, this could be done under the entire length of the hull, between front and back measurement points, or at the bow and at the stern. It is thought that the three Americas's Cup teams are concentrating only on the stern area at present. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK, full story:

With winds in excess of 20 knots, the race committee was forced to postpone all racing again on both Saturday and Sunday. So far 18 days out of a total of 48 have been lost to the weather. The Semi Final round of the Louis Vuitton Cup is scheduled to end with a reserve day on Tuesday, 17th December.

Race Officer Peter Reggio scheduled two races per day on Monday and Tuesday. According to the Race Conditions, if racing is not completed by the end of the reserve race day, the team leading the series will be the winner of the series. If the series is tied, there will be a one-race sail-off to determine the winner on the first day conditions allow.

On Monday, Alinghi sailed another solid race, leading from start to finish, beating Oracle BMW Racing and advancing to the Louis Vuitton Cup finals, beginning January 11th. With the loss, the Oracle BMW Racing squad gets knocked into the Semi Final Repechage, where it will meet the winner of the Prada / OneWorld match. The Repechage is scheduled to begin on Friday, 20th December.

In the other pairing, the defending Louis Vuitton Cup champion Prada Challenge finds itself one race away from elimination after OneWorld swept two races on Monday to take a 3-1 series lead. Both races were sailed on the shorter, two-lap Course B. In their first match-up on Monday, Prada trailed OneWorld from the start, and although the Italians threatened on the first run, the OneWorld crew held its nerve and built a big lead on the second beat to win the race.

In the second race, OneWorld again earned the right on the start, and with a favourable early shift just after the start, the Americans were away, holding a lead they would build on throughout the race, eventually winning by a large margin. - Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

Alinghi defeated Oracle BMW Racing by 58 seconds
OneWorld Challenge defeated Prada by 48 seconds
OneWorld Challenge defeated Prada by two minutes and 32 seconds

Alinghi defeated Oracle BMW Racing 4-0 and advances to the LVC series finals
OneWorld leads Prada 3-1*
* Following the America's Cup Arbitration Panel decision of 9th December 2002, OneWorld Challenge has had one point deducted from its score.

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It may be two months until Team New Zealand defend the America's Cup on the water, but the on-shore manoeuvring has started already. Regatta organisers CORM received a letter from Team New Zealand rules adviser Russell Green on Monday stating that, in the opinion of the Cup defender, the challengers are not allowed under the rules to change boats between the semifinals and finals.

Team New Zealand believe substitution is not permitted because the protocol, which says, "the finals of the challenge selection series will be between the two top yachts in the semifinals," takes precedence over condition 10.1 which permits yacht substitution between the semifinal repechage and the public unveiling on January 7. This would mean Alinghi would have to sail in SUI64 and whoever goes through out of the remaining three, OneWorld, Oracle or Prada, would have to stick with USA67, USA76 and ITA74 respectively.

Team New Zealand have not made any further comment on the latest legal hiccup to disrupt the regatta, but Louis Vuitton Cup finalist Alinghi's head, Ernesto Bertarelli, said he does not think that is what they agreed. - Fiona McIlroy, nzoom website, full story:

(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 Robert M Grant: The AC is not an Olympic sport and it's rules and Protocol will always be quite different. I would suggest that if the AC was still held in the USA that any suggestion of shifting future regattas to other countries, irrespective of the winner would have been greeted with horror. Imagine the reaction of the NYYC and people like Dennis Conner. If it is to be shifted again let another country win the right to be the next hosts on the water.

* From Bruce Parsons: Thanks to Bruce Kirby for his comments on Laurie Davidson. I could never understand why others were getting so much credit on all the teams he has been on. Several other designers were heard to comment on how lucky he was to be associated with Doug Peterson, or Schnack or whoever. But it is clear that he has been the innovator in all these campaigns and other got more credit than he. Surely the evidence is piling up that he deserves so much more credit as a designer than he has received over the years.

* From Roger Harden: Hat's off to Olin Stephens' point of view regarding intellectual property. Today, OneWorld is being penalized for buying what they believe to be the best design and sailing talent available. It so happens that some of them happen to come from a former Cup program. While at the same time the Alinghi team has also made what they believe to be the best investment in talent, also from New Zealand.

I would argue that the people on the Alinghi team understand a very large percentage of what made them go fast during their last cup victory and are able to reproduce it for the current bid. They understand it not because they "designed" it but because they spent years applying bondo and looking at the knot meter. However, because it is not written down, they do not get penalized for it. This is an incredible injustice!

* From Alice Leahey: Once again, Olin Stephens has proved that he is not only the "dean" of sailing, but also the class act. I'm afraid that it may be too much to hope that all those involved in the controversy over intellectual property in the America's Cup will have attained half of Olin's wisdom and clarity by the time they are in their 90's!

* From Ned Hall: Who's going to be our last best word to balance our otherwise never-ending arguments in the America's Cup (and rating systems) when Olin Stephens leaves us?

* From John Rousmaniere: After reading Jacques Rogge's assault on the America's Cup, I wonder if I'm the only person reminded of the doomsayers who claim baseball is a failure solely because it's the only sport with a playing field that's triangular, not rectangular.

* From Bill Jenkins: First the ISAF reverses decisions made by the Yngling class, then Paul Henderson says that Olympic classes must abide by the dictates of the international body. Now Jacques Rogge speechifies on making the Americas Cup more viewer friendly.

The Americas Cup competition has evolved over the years and centuries into what it is now, and it will continue to evolve. But first and foremost it is a match racing competition among nations. It is not necessarily a spectator sport. To the extent that television companies can cajole the general public into watching the races, so much the better. But if, as Mr. Rogge suggests, the Americas Cup declines into the oblivion of public disinterest, it will still exist and will most likely still attract the interest of wealthy sailors who want to bring it home. Who knows, if it declines steeply enough I may make a challenge myself. How bad could that be?

* From Lorenzo Barricalla: Does anyone else find it interesting that in his LVC press conference, IOC president Jacques Rogge stated, "I think people still want to have some national association to the event. But of course that does not mean that all the crew members on board must have that nationality." ( How about we have Russell Coutts and Francesco de Angelis team up in a 470 at Athens 2004 for say... Canada.

* From Brad Melmon: I am an active cyclist and sailor and have been an avid AC spectator since the 70's. I've watched TV coverage since '92, visited San Diego and Auckland (recently). I've had copies of every Virtual Spectator since they started following sailboat racing.

The only two things that OLN can provide that I can't get from other sources are great video and audio coverage. The explanations from Dawn, Ed, and Peter are nice, but I join J. Walker in saying please let us hear what the teams are thinking. If you want to explain what they're saying later fine but please let us hear them! Also please consider that all the teams left out there are speaking English: What an opportunity - you won't need translators.

I believe strongly that even less experienced viewers will benefit from listening in and will begin to understand that the races are much closer and exciting than they currently believe. Please don't underestimate the audience. We we'll watch every commercial if you'll just let us watch and hear all of the racing.

* From: Dan Shine: In preparation for the LVC coverage, I watched the OLN coverage of the Tour de France, as sort of a "test" of the network and coverage to come. I have never ridden a road racing bike, never mind competing on one. I knew nothing of the sport, but found myself enthralled with the competition and coverage. I picked up the lingo, terms, riders, jersey colors, teams, controversies, etc. without the commentators explaining very much to a neophyte like myself. There were segments included in the coverage that were informative and helpful, but for the most part, they realized that most of their audience were knowledgeable viewers and treated them as such. Needless to say, I was excited to watch the coverage of a sport in which I have competed and have some knowledge.

Due to OLN's poor coverage, my excitement has faded dramatically. On top of the multitude of poorly placed commercials in obviously tape-delayed coverage, I feel like I am being patronized by Kindergarten teachers throughout the coverage! Why is it that EVERY time sailing terminology or lingo is used, EVERY commentator feels the need to explain what that term means in Sailspeak 101? Does OLN not realize the vast majority of viewers are sailboat racers, never mind knowledgeable sailors?

I will still watch the coverage, but that is only because there is no alternative. I hope ESPN does a better job with the America's Cup!

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: We offered OLN the opportunity to respond to the email we've been receiving about their coverage of the Louis Vuitton Cup Series, and they quickly responded with the following:

We at OLN greatly appreciate the feedback we have received, and carefully review each comment. The biggest complaint has been the amount of commercials, but unfortunately there is little we can do as it is our only source of revenue to cover the cost of broadcast. We do not receive a portion of your monthly cable bill like many other networks (ESPN), and do not have the resources available to many larger networks with higher penetration and viewership (ESPN).

What is frustrating is that we receive a steady stream of critical feedback which all tell us what we are doing wrong and what we need to do to keep viewers. After the first day of our broadcast we received several hundred of these, with many people demanding we do better or threatening to boycott our advertisers and making sure everyone they know never watches OLN. Sailing is not a huge spectator sport in this country, and we knew going into this that there was no way to gauge the audience we would attract. Advertisers don't necessarily want to buy time on a broadcast if there is no audience, and so we had to devote more time to commercials in order to benefit from their sponsorship. Still, we wanted to offer something that the American audience would otherwise not get a chance to see.

Basically what I want to convey is that we are well aware of our shortcomings before having them pointed out, and especially appreciate feedback that offers constructive criticism and helpful suggestions instead of harsh insults and unrealistic demands. We have received a tremendous amount of positive support...particularly from Scuttlebutt readers. So please keep the comments least if you are complaining we know you are watching! - George Smirnoff, Consumer Marketing Coordinator, Outdoor Life Network

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The Around Alone fleet had a calm first night with light. In Class 2, Canadian skipper John Dennis on Bayer Ascensia, currently positioned in the lead of Class 2 due to his more easterly position in relation to the others, has made a short stop already at the small port of Struisbaai this afternoon to fix his satellite communications. Dennis is not prepared to sail across one of the most hostile regions in the world and chance being out of contact. Canadian skipper Derek Hatfield is performing exceptionally well in his Open 40 Spirit of Canada. Not only did he win the start yesterday but he is still up amongst the giant Open 60's, ahead even of Bruce Schwab in Ocean Planet. Brad van Liew, skipper of Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, has been gaining miles on the 4 boats ahead of him in Class 2 after starting an hour and 45 minutes late yesterday due to mainsail problems.

Nearly a day after the rest of the Around Alone fleet set sail for New Zealand, Tim Kent left the docks in Cape Town and headed out to the start area. Kent had remained behind to finish some rigging work on the boat, and to do a final calibration on his autopilots. - Mary Ambler,

Standings 2200 UTC December 15, 2002 - CLASS 1:
1. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 2228 miles from finish
2. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm,
3. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 67 miles behind leader
4. Pindar, Emma Richards, 88 mbl
5. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 117 mbl
6. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 125 mbl

1. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 2326 miles from finish
2. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 9 mbl
3. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 65 mbl
4. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 67 mtf
5. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 71 mbl
6. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 106 miles behind leader

Fremantle, Western Australia - The top four teams fought a dramatic battle in the final race (race 9), for the International 505 World Championship. With the Fremantle Doctor still missing in action, the race was sailed in a 12-14 knot breeze with a large chop. After much scrambling, finishes keep the top three in the same positions they were in going into race 9, confirming Chris and Darren Nicholson (AUS) as the 2002 International 505 World Champions. Chris and Darren also won the International 505 World Championship in 1992 and 1993. - Alexander Meller

Final results (98 boats): 1. Chris Nicholson/ Darren Nicholson, AUS, 22; 2. Howard Hamlin/ Mike Martin, USA, 22; 3. Krister Bergstrom/ Thomas Moss, SWE, 26; 4. Dan Thompson/ Andrew Zinn, USA, 28; 5. Ian Barker/ Daniel Cripps, GBR, 31. Complete results:

Thailand - The boardsailing world is in shock with another world title for the remarkable Barbara Kendall. In her first regatta since the Sydney Olympics, 35-year-old Kendall comprehensively beat the world's best in Thailand to add another world title to her remarkable list of achievments.

Kendall won the Women's World Championships in 1998 and 1999 and is also a three times Olympic medallist with a gold in Barcelona in 1992, a silver in Atlanta in 1996 and a bronze in Sydney 2000. The New Zealander, whose daughter Samantha was born 15 months ago, needed to sail only one of the final two races having won the second to last race to establish an unbeatable lead over French rival Faustine Merret. - Nzoom website, full story:,1278,155920-2-124,00.html

Final results - men (109 boats): 1. Gal Fridman, ISR, 51; 2. Ricardo Santos, BRA, 56; 3. Julien Bontemps, FRA, 63; 34. Kevin Stittle, CAN 215; 43. David Mier y Teran, MEX, 273. Women (64 boats): 1. Barbara Kendal, NZL, 26; 2. Alessandra Sensini, ITA, 34; 3. Faustine Merret, FRA, 46.1.

Isn't it strange that the same people who laugh at fortunetellers take economists seriously?