SCUTTLEBUTT 1214 - December 6, 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.
THE NEXT ROUND
Russell Coutts will skipper the tried and proven SUI 64 for Swiss syndicate
Alinghi in their semifinal clash with Chris Dickson's Oracle BMW Racing.
Alinghi have used that boat in every race so far, but there were hints they
would introduce their new boat, SUI75, for the semifinal encounter with
Oracle. The winner advances straight to the Louis Vuitton final, starting
on January 11.
"SUI 75 has been in the workshed for over a week," Coutts said. "We are
doing some modifications to that boat. Those modifications I am quite
excited about. They won't be ready for the semifinals, which means we will
be using SU I64. "We have been sailing the old boat SUI 59 with SUI 64."
Coutts, obviously, would not talk in detail about the changes made to SUI
75, but said he was impressed with the work of their designers.
The Alinghi design team are co-ordinated by Grant Simmer (who was involved
with 1983 America's Cup winner Australia II) and include naval architects
Rolf Vrolijk and Manuel Ruiz de Elvira, who were responsible for the
Spanish boat Bravo Espana in the 1999 regatta.
"Some of these changes were thought of in the last cup ... some of the
ideas have been progressed through from there," Coutts said. He said the
modifications would be "pretty evident," which indicates Alinghi may have
remodeled their bow profile, opting for one of Vrolijk's famous
"The game is changing at a very rapid pace this time," Coutts said. "I
would say the level of improvement in the boats is far beyond what we have
seen in previous cups." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:
The Semi-Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup Series begin on Monday in Auckland
- which is Sunday in the USA. OneWorld will race Prada, and Alinghi will
race Oracle BMW Racing.
The hearings before the AC Arbitration Panel begin on Saturday and are
expected to conclude on Sunday. The always-spectacular Louis Vuitton Ball
will take place on Saturday evening - sandwiched into the middle of the
Everyone hopes that the Arbitration Panel will make its ruling prior to the
start of racing on Monday. And if they rule against OneWorld - the schedule
could be thrown into total disarray.
SIR PETER BLAKE
Plans to erect a memorial statue of Sir Peter Blake have been delayed as
his family come to terms with his death. Lady Pippa Blake was concerned
that a statue would not look like him, and did not like the idea of birds
"shitting on his head", said Auckland City councillor Scott Milne, who
heads a subcommittee looking at ways to honour Sir Peter.
Mr Milne said he had received abusive mail from people who were angry that
nearly a year after Sir Peter's death, no statue had been erected and
Viaduct Harbour had not been renamed Blake Harbour. An outpouring of
letters to the Herald after his death showed these were the most popular
options. Mr Milne asked people to be patient. A statue was still possible,
but renaming the harbour was not sensible while New Zealand retained the
America's Cup. Credit card company American Express paid to call the
harbour the American Express Viaduct Harbour and Lady Pippa believed Sir
Peter would spin in his grave if he thought the harbour was being renamed
to the detriment of Team New Zealand. - Catherine Masters, NZ Herald, full
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When it comes to security at the Auckland Viaduct Basin, it's locals rather
than overseas guests that are concerned about what it means to have the
most extravagant, wealthiest sporting event in the world on their doorstep,
including the presence of two of the richest men in the world, Microsoft's
Paul Allen and Oracle's Larry Ellison.
Aucklanders are deciding not to entertain their corporate guests at holiday
parties in the Viaduct following the Bali nightclub bombing due to fear
that a similar incident could well occur in the Viaduct. An established
Auckland charter boat operator said while foreign tourist numbers were up,
numbers of locals visiting his operation was down due to the perceived
security issues at the Viaduct. A superyacht skipper said he thinks about
the issue on a daily basis after being instructed by security as to where a
makeshift morgue would be set up in the event of a disaster. - Cup Views
website, full story: http://cupviews.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 John Longley, Fremantle: As Chairman of the "Southampton Meetings"
as they now are called, I endorse Tom Schnackenberg's comments that the
interests of sponsors, supporters and sailors must also be considered
before tampering with the IACC Rule. At those meetings we not only gathered
25 of the world's leading yacht designers but also invited representatives
of the Challengers who would be charged with funding these boats.
At the first session the designers were told to sit and listen as we went
around the room and listened to the "money men" describe what they thought
they could market and fund. The Designers were then sent off to design a
boat that could meet those aspirations but were warned that if they came
back with something that either was too expensive or would not lead to
close racing we would most likely end up back in 12 metres that were seen
by most as a disaster for San Diego conditions.
The IACC class was created over the next five days in an incredible effort
of cooperation by a group of designers more used to competing against each
other than working cooperatively. A few months later, in a great leap of
faith, the Challengers narrowly selected this untested class over the
traditional 12 metres. Since then 80 odd boats have been built that have
generated more close racing and excitement than in the whole history of the
America's Cup prior to 1992.
Fiddle with it at your peril.
* From Dieter Loibner; To characterize the America's Cup, a quote by the
late Carl Schumacher hits the nail on the head: " It is what it is." As
long as there are people with money and reporters and cameras, why change
anything? Once publicity vanes, it will get fixed in a hurry.
Meanwhile, what if sailing made an effort to address the other 6 billion
people on this planet with an event that is modeled after the soccer World
Cup? Every country is invited to participate on cost-effective, identical
one designs that are crewed by every nation's best 12 sailors, plus some
alternates. Their selection is up to each national sailing federation. Only
one rule: Everyone on the team has to have that country's passport.
Each team big or small, rich or poor, gets a shot at the big dance, a
tournament of the top 16, 24 or 32 nations, if they survive the home-and
away-rounds of elimination in their respective groups. Lakes, rivers,
oceans, all venues permitted. Instead of 22 guys chasing one ball, we'd see
national teams match race for the World Cup of Sailing. Think of possible
pairings: England vs. Germany, France vs. Denmark, Russia vs. China,
Belgium vs. Netherlands, New Zealand vs. Australia, Israel vs. Egypt, or -
gasp - US vs. Iraq. And because it is so much fun let the women hold one
too. If all the bright minds who now worry about the future of the
America's Cup, would pitch in, who knows what could happen?
* From Seymour A. Friedel (edited to our 250-word limit): While I am no
fan of the legal profession, blaming the lawyers is too easy a cop out. We
make the rules so complicated that lawyers are required. Then we have some
cheating and poof, before you know it, we are in court and off the
racecourse. I have a much simpler approach:
The America's Cup represents a think tank and laboratory evaluation for new
technologies. No single company could afford to develop this stuff without
a "grant" from a syndicate. Yet because of this competition the level of
technology trickles down to the average sailor in an affordable manor. It
wouldn't happen at all or certainly at a slower pace if the AC competition
didn't exist. So if you buy this assessment then the AC rule should simply
be: Maximum yacht length of 20 meters, one hull.
We certainly would get more innovation. We'd see the kind of radical
developments that push a technology forward. Rule interpretation would be
possible by a five year old with a tape measure. Cheating would be more
difficult in that the designs, unconstrained by such a rule, would be
different enough that one man's innovation might be useless on another
design. The down side is you might wind up with a breakthrough boat one
year that walks away with the cup. But, hasn't that happened anyway? The
upside is radical concepts that eventually would become workable for the
masses. Sailboats would become faster and more enjoyable. Thus a boon to
* From Stephen C. Kratovil: Unless a majority do follow Shakespeare's
advice "The first thing we do let's kill all the lawyers", litigation will
be ever present in our lives. A large measure of the debate at the moment,
I believe, would be mute with strict citizenship requirements for all
participants. It seems somewhat hypocritical to pretend that the America's
Cup is a nationalistic competition; when, in fact, syndicates bid for the
best available talent in the world without regard to citizenship and then
get the lawyers to work out the details of residency. However, I guess that
if one has a billion dollars and wants to win, period, that the
nationalistic aspects of the competition will continue to be a sham.
* From Robert Constable (Re Terry Bishoff, Scuttlebutt #1213: "[Is] it
any wonder that those of us who work our tails off at Community Sailing
Centers ... have trouble convincing prospects that this is a worthwhile
lifetime sport?"): The only thing needed to convince those prospects is a
good mentor, a sunny day with a nice breeze, some game competition among
friends, and a rollicking post-race session at the bar (or snack bar, as
the case may be). Will your kids steer clear of golf because Hootie Johnson
and Martha Burk are squabbling over women memberships at Augusta? No
schoolyard hoops because Sprewell is a thug? No ice-skating because of the
French Judge? Every sport has its share of brats, and when you're playing
for the grand prize, the contenders will use every device within their
means - including lawyers, if that's part of the game.
Does it affect our Saturday afternoons banging around the bouys? If it
does, we're missing the point of that sunny day on the water, trying to get
to the shift before our buddies. You're right, none of today's
controversies will mean a hill of beans in 20 years, but the breeze will
still be out there beckoning.
* From Bert Brown: Completely disagree with Jay Cross's comments about
developing a Commissioner etc, just like the NBA or NFL and disagree with
your endorsement, Tom. He states that they are properly managed sports! How
about the recent monkey business in major league baseball with the attempt
to remove two teams from the league? Let's not get rolling on the status of
"professional" sports in America.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: For the record, the endorsement came from Paul
Henderson - not me.
* From Ian Duff (Regarding Jay Cross' comments about the professionalism of
sailing - and edited to our 250-word limit): I propose that drafts,
player's unions, free agency, strikes and lockouts are the last thing
sailing wants. I agree that the level of professionalism in major league
sports is a worthy goal, but sailing is a predominantly competitor-enforced
sport. Instant replays, hurry-up offense, etc, are strategies that work on
the ball field, but applying the need for them to sailing scares me.
Paul Henderson's abhorrence of kinetics is a worthy dislike. His tactics to
do away with it are a bit draconian. I believe what we're really talking
about here are a set of ambiguous rules, suitable for interpretation to
suit one's present situation. Think about it, to really understand the
rules, a competitor needs a copy of the rules, a copy of the appeals, and a
copy of some rules wizard's interpretation. Kind of crazy, isn't it?
How about getting back to the "rules violation = withdrawal" mind set?
Protest hearing will always be there, but as any competitive sailor knows,
even when 100% in the right, with witnesses, they remain a crap shoot, and
are to be avoided at all costs.
Let's stop harping at each other about what's needed to interpret the rules
so we sail on a level pond, and focus this same level of energy on revising
our rules to be more suitable for a return to the Corinthian spirit. Let's
put the fun back, for both competitors and spectators. It seems to me that
is what both Jay Cross and Paul Henderson are aiming for.
* From Rodney Myrvaagnes: The Star class has already proved that it
doesn't need the Olympics (anybody remember the Tempest?) If there is a
class that doesn't need the ISAF, it is the Star.
* From Bruce Campbell: I need to point out that Paul Henderson's comments
on the subject of classes, MNAs and common sailors being affected by our
involvement in the Olympics miss the point. In the US, all decisions about
sailing whether at the US Sailing level or local clubs are affected by the
Ted Stevens Act. This Act of Congress is intended to establish each NGOs
ability to represent its sport to the USOC and the IOC. If you don't
comply, you don't get to play. When the love of money determines how and
why we sail, we all lose.
Let the Olympic sailors have their dreams, but don't tell us that we have
nothing to worry about - there won't be any effect. It ain't so!
A United States naval architect who has compared OneWorld hull designs and
those of Team New Zealand's from the last America's Cup says the drawings
are not of the same boat. Robert Perry says the eight line drawings
produced for OneWorld by former Team New Zealand principal designer Laurie
Davidson do not match NZL60. "It was clear that no boat in the package was
identical to NZL60," Perry said in an affidavit. He said the one Davidson
drawing closest to NZL60 was still "a very different boat" in almost every
His sworn affidavit will be presented by OneWorld Challenge to the
America's Cup arbitration panel tomorrow when it hears claims that the
Seattle syndicate used other teams' secret design information. OneWorld has
denied the claims, and has assembled affidavits from crew members,
including Davidson and billionaire backer Craig McCaw. - Helen Tunnah, NZ
Herald, full story:
THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE, ARE YOU READY??
The Team One Newport website for their great selection of gifts for all
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features Henri-Lloyd, Gill, Musto, Patagonia, Camet, Railriders, DuBarry,
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CHANGE OF PLANS
Cape Town, South Africa - In agreement with the host ports of Tauranga,
Brazil and Newport, and all 12 competitors, the Race Organisation for
Around Alone 2002-03 has today confirmed the restart dates for Legs 4 and
5. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Race Chairman, commented on this decision,
taken whilst the majority of the Around Alone fleet is in Cape Town, South
Africa: "In view of the unavoidable delays in Leg 2, all the competitors
requested the Race Committee to extend their departure in the succeeding
The Leg 4 restart from Tauranga, New Zealand is fixed for Sunday 9th
February 2003, which is one week on from the planned date of 2nd February,
and the Leg 5 restart from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, is fixed for Sunday
13th April 2003, two weeks on from the planned date of 30th March. These
dates are now fixed and there will be no more changes to the racing
schedule. The ETA of the first boat into Newport, Rhode Island is now the
5th May 2003. - Mary Ambler, http://www.aroundalone.com
QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Russell Coutts
"Obviously having three weeks off racing has been a huge benefit to us and
actually the lack of wind has worked out perfectly. It's meant that we have
been able to take SUI75 out of commission and carry out some major
modifications to the boat in a logical and precise way. We've also been
working on improving some of the rigging elements, amongst other things.
These are changes we've been planning for a while and it has been great to
get the opportunity to implement them." - http://www.alinghi.com/en/index.php
SAILING ON TV
Sunday, December 8, 4:30 PM ET, ESPN2: The 30-minute "International Year in
Sailing" will feature the Star Worlds, College Nationals, Farr 40 Worlds,
Hamilton Island Regatta, One Ton Cup, The Volvo Ocean Race, Clipper Race,
Route to Rhum, Around Alone, Sail for America, Sausalito Cup, St. Francis
Big Boat Series, America's Cup 2003 plus an update Rolex Yachtsman /
Yachtswoman of the Year. http://www.jobsonsailing.com/
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
You spend the first two years of a child's life teaching them to walk and
talk. Then you spend the next 16 telling them to sit down and shut-up.