SCUTTLEBUTT 1222 - December 18, 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.
One of the most intriguing developments of this Louis Vuitton Cup to date
is the so-called, "Kiwi Clip-On".
This week, Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts revealed that his team, along
with Team New Zealand, and possibly Oracle BMW Racing are developing some
form of underwater appendage. But it's not the sort of appendage that we
would normally expect to see. The three teams are researching ways to
attach a sort of second skin or false hull under the aft sections. But what
does it look like? And what does it do in real terms?
The straightforward answer is simple. No one bar a few designers, team
members and the measurers really know for sure. But what is becoming clear
is that there may be an effective way to extend the dynamic sailing length
of an ACC boat. By drawing a physically longer boat with a shallower run
aft and by attaching a device to the hull that alters the distribution of
The issue starts with the basic principle that for non-planing boats, a
longer boat is a faster boat, for a given displacement. Although not
specifically fixed, the length of an America's Cup boat is one of the three
trade-offs in the class rule, along with sail area and displacement. The
trick is to squeeze extra length into the boat's shape, without letting the
rule see that you've done so. - Matthew Sheahan and Marcus Hutchinson,
Louis Vuitton Cup website. There is much more, including the first drawings
we've seen of the 'Clip-On':
THE OTHER SYNDICATES
The Oracle team of software billionaire Larry Ellison, meanwhile, issued a
statement Tuesday saying reports it had the same ('clip-on') technology
were "speculative and inaccurate." Oracle's rivals claim the San
Francisco-based team has tried New Zealand's "clip-on" appendage with less
success than the Kiwis and Alinghi.
Seattle's OneWorld Challenge said Wednesday it had researched the false
hull, hailed in some circles as the largest Cup design breakthrough since
Australia II's winged keel, but were "not convinced of its effectiveness."
Team New Zealand did not suggest challengers had copied its design, which
it had attempted to shield from rivals, but said it hoped teams had
developed the technology legitimately. Team New Zealand has reportedly
threatened Alinghi with formal action for breaches of America's Cup
surveillance regulations. While rival teams regularly follow each other's
yachts, they are not allowed to approach within 200 meters during sailing.
- Steve McMorran, AP, as posted on the Fox Sports website, full story:
The America's Cup Deed of Gift was written by George L. Schuyler, the sole
surviving owner of the cup won by the schooner America in England in 1851.
In 1887 he donated it to the New York Yacht Club, in his words, "upon the
conditions that it shall be preserved as a perpetual Challenge Cup for
friendly competition between foreign countries." "Friendly" didn't last
long, and "foreign" got all mixed up.
Oracle BMW is owned by software giant Larry Ellison and represents San
Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club. But Oracle BMW had only six Americans
among its 16 crew members when it sailed its most recent race Sunday,
closing out a 4-0 blitz by Switzerland's Alinghi. They were Peter Holmberg,
a U.S. Virgin Islander who is now only the part-time helmsman; bowman
Geordie Shaver; pitman Matt Smith; and grinders Phil Trinter, Brian McInnes
and Eric Doyle. Smith, Trinter and Doyle are Southern California residents.
The skipper is Chris Dickson of New Zealand.
OneWorld, owned by two other billionaires, Craig McCaw (cell phones) and
Paul Allen (Microsoft), represents the Seattle YC. OneWorld has had only
two U.S. citizens aboard in its bid to eliminate Italy's Prada: tactician
Charlie McKee of Seattle and navigator Kevin Hall of Ventura. The skipper
is Cup veteran Peter Gilmour, the helmsman 23-year-old James Spithill, both
As for Alinghi, the only Swiss on the boat was its 37-year-old billionaire
owner, Ernesto Bertarelli (pharmaceuticals), who serves a legitimate role
as navigator. But Alinghi often sails with two Americans: pitman Josh
Belsky and grinder John Barnitt, who is a throwback to Conner's triumphant
team that won the prize from Australia in 1987.
* Throw all the Yanks together and they're still still five short of a
regulation red, white and blue crew. But between the two "American" boats,
there are 14 Kiwis, seven Australians, two Japanese and one Italian.
After Conner won in '87, President Reagan invited the team to the White
House. If OneWorld or Oracle BMW wins, the United Nations might be more
appropriate. - Rich Roberts, LA Times, full story:
Despite his positive comments about New Zealand's hosting of the America's
Cup, Dennis Conner does have some questions about the timing of the
competition. "To my mind, for the benefit of New Zealand, not necessarily
Team New Zealand, the event should have taken place in April. Here, there's
only going to be two teams left by Christmas [in the challenger series].
How does that make sense?"
The semifinal repechage to determine the second of the two challenger
series finalists could run through to December 29. But there are enough
days racing before December 25 for one team to have the opportunity to win
by then. "How does that make sense? To have everybody gone by Christmas
when the holidays come, and you've got all the good weather."
Conner pointed out that in the six weeks from the last day scheduled for
the semifinal repechage, through to the America's Cup itself, the only
event was the challenger series final. That could be over in as few as five
races, with a maximum of nine.
The whole event could be over by the third week of February, with the fifth
race in the best-of-nine clash for the America's Cup between the top
challenger and Team New Zealand scheduled for February 22. "How does that
make sense?" - Excerpted from a story by Michael Daly in the NZ Herald,
THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE, ARE YOU READY?
The Team One Newport website for their great selection of gifts for all
your sailors and outdoor enthusiasts. They have a cool selection of
America's Cup syndicate crew gear, Sharon Green's Ultimate Sailing
calendars, Harken's new Italian shoes and even Blokarts in their new
Holiday catalog and this only compliments their regular catalog which
features Henri-Lloyd, Gill, Musto, Patagonia, Camet, Railriders, DuBarry,
Suunto and more! Go to www.team1newport.com, or better yet, call
800-VIP-GEAR and talk to one of the great team members and they can
personally help you with your Holiday needs. And check out their crew
* A tip of this American hat to Canadian Steve Tupper.Steve was recently
named Rolex Sailor of the year by The Canadian Yachting Association.The
award is the most prestigious presented annually by The CYA. I knew, raced
against and played with Steve when we were both a lot younger. Since then
I've followed his exploits both on the water and ashore in yachting
politics, for more than 30 years. He has distinguished himself in both
arenas. - Skip Doyle
* After that second race (of the Semi Finals), OneWorld made a mode change.
They won't comment specifically on what was done, but to increase downwind
speed teams can fit a smaller rudder, smaller ballast-bulb wings or smaller
trim tab, which help reduces drag downwind. Or, they might've re-ballasted
to increase sail area. "We were happy with our mode change, we think it was
a good decision," said navigator Kevin Hall. "But I think we also learned
from some of the other pairs on ways to approach close racing downwind and
it felt like we picked up our game quite a bit there tactically and that
made a difference as well." - Sean McNeill, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(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 Roswold: Can someone justify to me how Alinghi and Oracle
can, in the words of several news reports, "copy" Team New Zealand's latest
design innovation and nobody seems to even be asking, "How did they get
it?" let alone thinking about some sort of penalty when OneWorld was
penalized for simply possessing obsolete design information which they
never used or supposedly even looked at? Its obvious to me that Prada and
Stars & Stripe's righteous indignation, and the One World penalty, were all
about trying to "get rid" of One World and had nothing to do with copying
design secrets, and equally obvious that the rules need changing, and a
healthy dose of reality would be useful.
* From Jim Barber: Is it not curious, that three syndicates suddenly have
these waterline lengthening appendages that are described as one of the
most innovative circumventions in the history of the Americas cup? Where
did the idea originate and how did it migrate into the designs of the other
syndicates? OneWorld is paying a very dear penalty for having some old
computer files around, from the last cup. It seems to me that this
appendage innovation simultaneously appearing on three syndicates' boats
represents a more serious transgression, yet in the discussions I have not
heard this issue raised.
* From Winn Story: The latest Hollywood style bombshell has just been
dropped on the sailing public with the "discovery" of a "revolutionary"
secret weapon for the America's Cup. Is it genius or blatant rule
manipulation. Good grief!! Now the challengers have borrowed the concept.
What is happening to "the pinnacle" of yacht racing? It smells more of a
three-ring circus. How sad. An asylum run by inmate lawyers. If the
designers want a competition, let them vie for a maxi one design. I can't
believe that the majority of sailing enthusiasts, maxi or dinghy,
appreciate what is happening to the granddaddy of sailboat racing.
* From Paul Stanley: What a farce the Louis Vuitton challengers have made
of their selection series by their rigid insistence on upper wind limits.
For a start, basing their criteria on what they think the wind will be
doing in February puts huge faith in forecasters who can't even predict the
next day's weather successfully.
Having sat out umpteen days of superb sailing breezes, we ended up with the
semi-final series being left unfinished - and with the final race sailed in
light-wind lottery conditions. This is a huge disappointment to the
thousands of people who have paid substantial sums to be out on the water
to watch the racing. At the same time, it can hardly be claimed to produce
the most objective assessment of who should proceed to the next phase.
Perhaps Team New Zealand know better than the Challengers what Auckland's
weather might bring? On Friday 13 December, while all the challengers'
boats sat snugly in their sheds because it was 'too windy', TNZ were out
* From Jason Sims: I find it somewhat strange that the three boats
remaining in the LVC finals series are all "first timers". If these guys
have all only started two years ago (less for Alinghi!!) then the seven
years of developement that Prada did has all been a waste of money. Instead
of wasting all that money doing R&D they should have followed the others
lead & spent that money "buying" personnel from TNZ . Seems to have done
the trick for the other three.
* From Malcolm McKeag (re Rick Hatch's, the Curmudgeon's and others
comments on 'best-of-seven-series'): I think Rick and others will find that
there is in match racing now no such thing as a 'best-of-seven',
'best-of-nine' or indeed 'best-of-anything-else'. To prevent exactly the
scenario Rick described, match race scoring was generally changed to
'first-to-score-four (or whatever)-points' some time ago.
I assume, and certainly hope, the America's Cup had the good sense to
follow suit. Thus if OneWorld takes a match to 3-3, the penalty point will
presumably be deducted at that stage and the scores be shown as 3-2. If
OneWorld then won the seventh race, an eight race would indeed be needed.
Assuming that one side scored one point, that side would win. But if, for
example, both teams failed to score one complete point either through both
failing to finish or even finishing first (i.e. winning) but being deducted
a half-point, for example, because of some other infraction, there would
then need to be a ninth race - and so on, until one team or the other has
won four points.
* From Roland Schulz: the sport of sailing and the Corinthian spirit that
has ennobled it and caused it to thrive from the nineteenth century until
the 1980's is under far greater peril from the pressures of
commercialization and the professionalization than the peculiarities of the
Deed of Gift or the conditions that Defender and Challengers mutually agree
to conduct the match. There exists confusion between the appeal of sailing
to individuals and the marketing of "Sailing" to the mass market. The
extent that the later becomes the driving force of the sport will be
inversely proportional to the former. If we continue think inside the box,
i.e. remake sailing in the image of the TV we will surely kill it or at
very least what we love about it.
* From Christopher Miller Team New Zealand: The contractual relationships
between TNZ and its designers is generally one of an employer/ employee
rather than architect/ client. This is an important distinction. TNZ
members sign intellectual property contracts which clearly state designs
and related materials are the property of the team unless otherwise
specified. These are standard principles in every high-tech business I've
worked in. Departing with design materials without permission violates that
* From George Backhus What would the America's Cup be without legal
maneuvering, circumvention of rules, espionage, lying, cheating, theft of
"secrets," scandal and over-inflated egos, interspersed with a little bit
of sailing now and then? Just another bloody yacht race!
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: If you were looking for letters about the coverage of
the LVC on OLN, you'll have to look elsewhere. That thread has been put to
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"We realized early on this year that our boats were not as competitive as
those of the other current semifinalist teams. This is not the time nor
place to elaborate on this or on the reasons why we found ourselves in this
situation. Unfortunately we reached very soon the limit of the potential
development of our boats and improving them further in the limited time
available was not feasible. I think that in the future the rules should
allow for greater flexibility in the race calendar in order to allow better
use of the weather conditions during the whole span of the day. Often we
have seen whole days lost when a simple change to an earlier start would
have allowed the competitors to race. As to the future of Team Prada and a
possible participation to the next America's Cup, I think it is still too
soon to consider this option before the end of the current event." -
Patrizio Bertelli, Prada, http://www.pradalunarossa.com/uk/home.jsp
Why did Prada lose so early? Matching the achievements of 2000 was always
going to be harder when they were the best funded and most practised
challenger. The arrival of billionaires Larry Ellison, Craig McCaw and
Ernesto Bertarelli and their head-hunting of Team New Zealand's sailors,
designers and technicians made Prada's opposition formidable.
Internally, Prada's own recruitments did not work out. Harmony was lacking.
They won a bidding war for Brady as a hot-shot starting helmsman but
scarcely used him; and they lost a bidding war for designer Bruce Farr,
against Oracle BMW in both instances. Prada retained Doug Peterson and
David Egan from their 2000 effort, but added Briton Ian Howlett and
Argentine Juan Kouyoumdjian .
Prada president Patrizio Bertelli fired Peterson on the eve of the Cup
trials, triggering a spate of redesigns to ITA 74 and ITA 80, the team's
second boat which was flown to Auckland at a cost of £250,000 and never
raced. - Tim Jeffery, Daily Telegraph, UK, full story:
DON'T MISS THE BOAT!
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AS SEEN BY RUSSELL COUTTS
Russell Coutts criticized the New Zealanders for claiming that a rule
anomaly meant the challengers could not now introduce a new boat for the
rest of the challenger series or the America's Cup races. "The Team New
Zealand I was involved in generally tried to steer clear of these rules
challenges," Coutts said. "The new Team New Zealand seems to have adopted a
different approach, and we just have to see if that approach is ultimately
He said he remembered Sir Peter "giving some speeches to the team that
said, 'We're going to stay out of all these issues, we're not going to be a
litigious challenger and we're going to try and win this event on the water
through designing boats better and sailing better'." - Helen Tunnah, NZ
Herald, full story:
The issue of whether the challengers can substitute their boats between the
Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals and finals appears to be going away as
quickly as it appeared - as long as the parties involved talk to each
other. Neither Team New Zealand, nor the Challenger of Record Management
(CORM) want the matter to go to the Arbitration Panel and the defender
today called for talks with CORM to sort it out. Both parties seem somewhat
taken aback that it has blown up into a major issue and want to quell it as
quickly as possible.
Team New Zealand called a media conference today and syndicate head Tom
Schnackenberg said he did not believe it was necessary for the matter to go
to the Arbitration Panel. "I think it will be resolved pretty easily," he
said. "We look forward to talking to the Challengers in a positive frame of
Louis Vuitton Cup Regatta Director Dyer Jones said: "I don't see it as a
big issue either. Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill." - Ivor
Wilkins, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:
THE CURMUDGEON'S OXYMORONS