Scuttlebutt Today
  
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1217 - December 11, 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.

ONEWORLD VS. PRADA
OneWorld will be kicking themselves after throwing away the lead in their
second semifinal clash with Prada on Wednesday. The American crew left
themselves no choice but to watch in dismay as the defending champions
crossed the line 20 seconds ahead. Unnecessary risk taking and failure to
cover by the Seattle syndicate saw the trailing Italian syndicate able to
cash in on a left hand shift, and pass OneWorld up the final upwind leg.

Taking risks is a strange move for somebody in the leading position and
even stranger for a syndicate who are already on a backfoot, thanks to the
one-point penalty imposed by the arbitration panel on Monday. But Peter
Gilmour's crew threw caution to the wind, after leading around the first
four legs and rounding mark four 38 seconds ahead, heading out to the right
hand side of the temperamental Hauraki Gulf and leaving Prada in fresh
breeze on the left. - Fiona McIlroy, nzoom website, full story:
http://americascup.nzoom.com/americascup_detail/0,2523,154912-296-297,00.html

ALINGHI VS. ORACLE BMW RACING
Alinghi proved clearly superior to San Francisco's Oracle for the second
day in succession in today's second semifinal of the America's Cup
challenger series on the Hauraki Gulf. In the contest between the two
top-ranked teams, both with New Zealand skippers, the Swiss boat, skippered
by Russell Coutts, led throughout to win by 29sec. They looked to be even
more in control over the Chris Dickson-skippered Oracle than they had been
yesterday when the winning margin was one minute 11sec.

Today, Alinghi extended their lead on each of the first four legs to be
1min 5sec up at the fourth mark. While the margin closed on the last two
legs, Alinghi never looked in danger.

Alinghi, who now lead 2-0, need just two more wins to go through to the
final of the Louis Vuitton Cup. If they achieved that, Oracle would go into
a semifinal repechage with the winners of the contest between the
lower-ranked Prada and OneWorld. - NZPA,
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/acstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3008951&thesection=sport&thesubsection=americascup

RACE RESULTS
Prada defeated OneWorld Challenge by 20 seconds
Alinghi defeated Oracle BMW Racing by 29 seconds

STANDINGS
Prada and OneWorld are sort of tied at 1-1*
Alinghi leads Oracle BMW Racing 2-0
* OneWorld will be penalized one point by the ACAP at the end of the
Semi-Finals

THE PENALTY
The (one point) penalty (against OneWorld handed down by the Arbitration
Panel) caused some concerns for regatta organisers, because of the
potential for extra races. The rules state teams advance if they get four
wins (in the challenger semifinals) or five wins (in the challenger finals
and America's Cup match), which may mean the various series have to be
extended if the teams end up tied on points after seven or nine races.

Organisers have now asked the panel to amend its penalty, and instead award
a point to OneWorld's opponents. The Seattle syndicate opposes the move.
Two members of the arbitration panel were not due to arrive back in Europe
until today, so arrangements for the five members to consider the
application, probably by conference call, have not yet been arranged. . -
Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/sportsstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3008877&thesection=sport&thesubsection=americascup&thesecondsubsection=challengers

THE PROTEST
OneWorld's rivals have given up the chance to lodge an immediate protest
against the Seattle syndicate under yachting's "fair play" rules after the
team was caught breaking America's Cup rules twice. OneWorld avoided being
disqualified for their second admission they had other teams' design
secrets, but were punished on Monday with a hefty fine and the docking of
competition points.

Last night the other America's Cup syndicates decided not to take their
protests against OneWorld any further, for now, with Team Dennis Conner
formally withdrawing a protest to the event's international jury. The other
syndicates could have made submissions on the case, but none did. - Helen
Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/sportsstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3008877&thesection=sport&thesubsection=americascup&thesecondsubsection=challengers

AC'S BEST CHOOSE HARKEN - FIND OUT WHY
Get the inside stories as seen through the eyes of Harken's AC team. Read
insightful interviews, download free Bob Greiser racing pictures, and find
other behind-the-scenes "scuttlebutt" on the Harken America's Cup page.
It's well worth your time. http://www.harken.com/acup/acdefault.php


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (leweck@earthlink.net)
(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 Fred Cross: So who's going to sit down with Peter Gilmour to
explain the concept of 'staying between the man and the hoop?'

* From Mark Schipper (edited to our 250-word limit): While I'd like to
express my gratitude for OLN's Louis Vuitton Cup coverage, I must briefly
rant in hope that it may improve the coverage. Imagine World Cup coverage
where the return from a commercial break shows a goal was scored during the
break..... but no mention of which player scored, how they did it or even a
replay. Viewers just have to accept that someone scored ... somehow.

Monday's LV Cup coverage of the semis #1 is a perfect example. On leg 1 One
World beat Prada to the weather mark. On leg 2 Prada passed One World ....
during a commercial break. No details on how. On leg 3 One World passed
Prada again. No details on how. Later on leg 4, Prada again passed One
World. No details either ... but the return from another commercial break
showed the tail end of a luffing match that broke Prada's spinnaker pole.
Sure would have been interesting to see the luff. But wait, there's more!
On the last leg One World once again enjoyed a comfortable lead (somehow)
but destroyed their spinnaker during the set. Thankfully they were able to
set another kite during the commercial break.

Whomever OLN has chosen to produce the LV Cup coverage is probably quite
experienced and believes they are covering what the widest audience will
respond to. Perhaps they are correct, but personally I am far more
interested in pre-start sequences, mark roundings, lead changes as they
occur and recoveries

* From Lance Staughton: Wow! What a great race one! I'm so glad I saw
OLN's coverage of "every tack and jibe" during their "300" hours of "live"
coverage. Here on the west coast the coverage is on from 6-8 p.m. then
replayed 9-11 p.m., then twice again the next morning. Please OLN - you've
got the N.Z. feed - show us the sailing!

We're down to two races, you can fit it in-sure it'll run 2, 3, or 4 hours.
Fill the down time with replays, strategies and travel in N.Z. (or show it
on laydays). But show the sailing when they're sailing. They basically show
mark roundings and announcers. I thought the boat ahead at the first mark
usually led all the way and it was hard to pass. Whatever drama there was
(it seemed jam packed)-was totally ruined! Examples- "18 -19 tacks on this
leg-we saw only 5 or 6, "Can One World cross?"/ oops missed it-showing a
replay.

The last straw was the final rounding where One World tore their chute and
had "trouble" getting up the new one with Prada barreling down/ insert
commercial here/ other race finish here/ and One World is 40 seconds from
the finish line. Yikes! What happened?

There's more holes in OLN's coverage than in America One's old yellow
spinnakers. I'm sure OLN has commercial obligations-can't those be
fullfilled during live coverage-instead of during 4 reruns?

* From John Glynn On Sunday, I watched Gary Jobson's Rolex International
Year in Sailing on ESPN. And while I enjoyed seeing clips from a variety of
events--particularly the College Nationals and Volvo Around the World Race,
I got the sense that this was not really a re-cap of the year in sailing at
all--rather things they just happened to have footage of. Unless I missed
something, where was the mention/footage of Roy Disney's Pyewacket breaking
a bunch of line honors records, en-route to one of the most successful
years in ocean racing history. And did I miss the star-laden Star Worlds
when I blinked.

There is a lot going on in the wonderful world of sailing, and I realize
it's hard to cover it all. But re-cap shows (or at least ones billed as
such) should hit as many of the highlights as possible. Over on another
network, an hour earlier, the was the Sports Illustrated "Sports Year in
Review." I was amazed at how much they managed to cover is a very short
time--but alas, no sailing.

* From Dick Enersen (edited to our 250-word limit): The arbitration panel
has outdone themselves. To review: For a variety of confessed and vetted
infractions of the (absurd) "intellectual property migration" protocol they
fined OneWorld a total of 1 point in the 16 race round robin. Big deal, if
they are good, they go to the A group anyway; if they are slow, who cares?

Yesterday, for a 486 computer (wow, does it run Windows 95, or 3.1?), a
single zip drive and a file of unknown contents, dating to the last event
in San Diego, they penalize OneWorld one race in each round in which they
sail hereafter. Note that these heinous infractions were uncovered and
reported by OneWorld.

Sean Reeves and his volumes of "new and damning evidence" were not a
factor. Not only is the current penalty horribly inconsistent, it puts an
additional burden on Race Chair Peter Reggio and his committee, to wit:
OneWorld has to win five races to shoot through. If the boat is fast, it
will take one more day to complete every round in which it competes, a
tougher task in this year of wild weather and narrow parameters.

If there is to be another America's Cup event after this one, let's
simplify the conditions and create a more even handed system of "justice."
In closing, I noted with pleasure DC's comments as he sought to withdraw
his team's Rule 2 protest. I have not always agreed with Dennis in the past
38 years, but I applaud him for today's remarks.

* From Beau Vrolyk (edited to our 250-word limit): I completely support
Dennis Connors in his responses to the current nonsense surrounding the
America's Cup. Dennis is too polite to say it, but exactly how much
cheating does a team have to indulge in to get tossed out? Are there rules
that can be a little bit broken? Can other team's secret information be a
little bit stolen? Who are we kidding here? When someone steals stuff from
another team, they should get tossed out of the race. This is getting
really really really discouraging. How hard is that to understand? What has
happened to our sport?

How can someone cheat in such a blatant way, and keep sailing in the
regatta? How do I explain this to a group of Youth sailors at our Yacht
Club, who are looking to the leaders in our sport to set the moral tone.

I propose that we sailors have really lost control of our sport. If we have
the guts to take it back, then real sailors who care about wining real
sailboat races out on the water should make it clear to the folks running
this circus, that cheating like this doesn't result in a monetary fine and
a one or two point penalty. It should, quite appropriately, result in the
team that has committed the offense being asked to leave both the event and
possibly the sport.

Our Corinthian sport has never been more embarrassed.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Tim Jeffery has done a very thoughtful story on the
Yachting World website about the ruling of the Arbitration Panel. From this
point forward, it will be "required reading" for anyone who wants to send
Scuttlebutt a letter on this subject.
http://www.ybw.com/auto/newsdesk/20021110110527amcuptim.html

* From Larry Suter (edited to our 250-word limit): Paul Henderson states
that US Sailors have a "special deal" in getting US sailors to the
Olympics, that is just not true. The USOC has a policy of sending the US
Sailing Team that wins the US Olympic Trials to the Olympics if that class
has met the ISAF qualifying standard for that class. The US does not take
extra places. ISAF has designated how many countries per class go to the
Olympics to keep the 400 athlete total. The US Teams that go have to finish
ahead of other countries or they would not qualify.

Forty Lasers (one Laser per country), 15 Tornados, 15 Stars, and 15 49ers
are allowed in to the Olympics. You have three World Championships to
qualify, close to equal amounts of countries qualifying each year, with
previously qualified countries not counting, so it is possible in the 3rd
year to finish 15th country in the Star World Championship and qualify, but
many countries have country standards that are more stringent allowing
countries that finish lower than 15th country to qualify.

For example, in the 2000 49er World Championships, the CAN 49er Team of
Tina and Trevor Baylis qualified 12th country and thus was ISAF qualified
into the Sydney Olympics, but Canada has a country standard of 10th at the
Worlds for a CAN Team to qualify for the Olympics, so CAN declined their
spot, which was given to a country that finished below 15th country and did
not have a country standard.

FASTEST SAILS ON THE PLANET - PHASE 2
While the competition is attempting to duplicate our winning 2002 sail
designs, Ullman Sails has improved our J/105 sails to be stronger and
faster for 2003! The national J/105 class rules allow 89Mtr2 spinnakers to
be purchased till the end of the year with no sail purchase penalty. Ullman
Sails is offering an excellent opportunity to purchase 2003 sails at
unbelievably low prices. If you and your crew are ready for the "Fastest
Sails on the Planet - Phase 2" contact your nearest Ullman Sails loft or
visit us at http://www.ullmansails.com

VOLVO OCEAN RACE
The fragile future of the Volvo Ocean Race now rests in the hands of its
new Australian chief executive, Glenn Bourke. His mission is to repair the
damage done by the regime led by his predecessor, Helge Alten, during which
the former Whitbread Race shot up in cost for the competitors and plummeted
in public interest.

Bourke, a three-time Laser world champion, managed sailing at the Sydney
Olympics and the winning Illbruck entry in the Volvo event which finished
last June. He chaired meetings at race HQ near Fareham yesterday with
competitors from the last event.

Alten's departure has left a void to be filled. No course or class of boats
has been determined for 2005-06 other than an ill-considered proposal to
switch to a 70ft boat and cut crew to an absurdly low complement of six or
seven.

Volvo face credible opposition from France's Bruno Peyron, organiser of The
Race two years ago, a non-stop circumnavigation using giant multihulls.
Peyron not only has plans for The Race mark two, starting from Marseilles
in February 2004, but also The Race Tour the following year with stops in
the Mediterranean, south-east Asia, California and western Europe. These
plans have the backing of past Volvo winners, including Grant Dalton, Ross
Field, Paul Cayard and John Kostecki, and veterans such as Neal McDonald
and Roger Nilson.

Nilson was among those meeting Bourke yesterday, continuing his efforts of
the past 18 months to persuade Volvo to adopt multihulls and possibly
broker a merger between the two events. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK,
full story:
http://sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml;$sessionid$1DZVBK5M5C3HTQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/sport/2002/12/11/soyots11.xml&sSheet=/sport/2002/12/11/ixothspt.html

505 WORLDS
After a postponement, the Grolsch International 505 Worlds went with a gate
start in very light air. A number of teams were trying to gate early and
several of these were caught a little high as the pathfinder started its
run. Something like six teams were disqualified for hitting the gate launch
or the pathfinder. Incredibly the teams disqualified include 1st race
winners Dave Smithwhite/ Neal Fulcher; event leaders after three races, Ian
Barker/ Dan Cripps and 1999 World Champions Howard Hamlin/ Mike Martin. -

On the third beat, after the two reaching legs, the easterly died out,
leaving most of the fleet barely moving, and the Fremantle Doctor breeze
filled in from the opposite direction. At this point the Race Committee
abandoned the race, and moved into position for another start, setting the
course for the new wind direction. Since it was late in the afternoon for
The Doctor, it did not fill in all that strongly, perhaps to 14 knots,
though there were some higher puffs. - Alexander Meller
Alexander Meller

Standings after four races (with one throwout): 1. Ian Barker/ Daniel
Cripps, GBR, 10; 2. Andrew Beeckman /Ben Benjamin,USA, 12; 3. Krister
Bergstrom/ Thomas Moss, SWE, 12; 4. Dan Thompson/ Andrew Zinn, USA, 13; 5.
Howard Hamlin/ Mike Martin, USA, 16. - www.505.com.au

MISTRAL WORLDS
Barbara Kendall comes back with a bang! Two years off since Sydney
certainly has not dulled her competitive instincts. This all time legendary
performer from New Zealand popped in a 1st and a 3rd to top the leader
board after the first day's racing of the Mistral World Championship now
being staged in Pattaya, Thailand. Bryony Shaw (GBR) had an excellent first
day with a 3rd and a 7th to take second spot overall with Alessandra
Sensini (ITA) 3rd overall just two points behind.

The leaders after two races - Men: 1. Nicolas Kaklamanakis, GRE, 8 points;
2. Mariano Reutemann, ARG, 9; 3. Gao Chuanwei, CHN, 13; 4. Marcos Galvan,
ARG, 14; 5. Samuel Launay, FRA, 14; Women - 1. Barbara Kendall, NZL, 4
points; 2. Bryony Shaw, GBR, 10; 3. Alessandra Sensini, ITA, 12; 4.
Sandrine Nuvolone, FRA, 15; 5. Faustine Merret, 15.

More wind is forecast for tomorrow so the Race Committee have scheduled 3
races on what was to be the reserve day. -
www.windsurfingthailand.com/200212mistral/1210men.htm

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Many people quit looking for work when they find a job.