SCUTTLEBUTT 1225 - December 23, 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.
Facing elimination today, the Seattle Yacht Club's OneWorld Challenge
couldn't hold on to a 200-metre lead halfway through the race, and fell to
Oracle BMW Racing who won the race to sweep the series, 4-0. (Following the
America's Cup Arbitration Panel decision of 9th December 2002, OneWorld
Challenge would have had its first point deducted.)
After losing eight consecutive races to USA-76, it had looked as though
this would be OneWorld's day. Helmsman James Spithill didn't hesitate at
all on the start, hitting the line right at the gun just one day after
being called back for starting prematurely.
Trailing by nearly one minute at the start of the second run, Oracle BMW
Racing split off to the right side of the course, and found increased
pressure that never reached OneWorld. Dickson's squad made the pass on that
leg, and covered OneWorld the rest of the way for the win.
With the loss, OneWorld is eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup. Oracle
BMW Racing, representing San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club now advance
to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals, where they will meet the Alinghi
Challenge, from the Switzerland's Société Nautique de Genève. On January
6th the teams will declare what boat they use for the Finals. January 7th
is unveiling day and Race One of the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals is scheduled
for January 11th. - Louis Vuitton Cup website
WEEKEND RACE RESULTS:
Oracle BMW Racing defeated OneWorld Challenge by 3 seconds
Oracle BMW Racing defeated OneWorld Challenge by 55 seconds
Oracle BMW Racing defeated OneWorld Challenge by 1 minute, 4 seconds
Full stories: http://www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/
THE BEAT GOES ON
December 21 - The off-water mudslinging has continued at the America's Cup
after documents damaging to billionaire Larry Ellison's syndicate Oracle
BMW Racing were circulated anonymously to the media. The documents,
delivered to the Herald yesterday but which have not been verified, are
intended to suggest Oracle have broken the America's Cup rules by
purchasing design information for two cup boats bought after the 2000
campaign. That is strictly banned by the cup protocol, and the San
Francisco syndicate was told that in an America's Cup Arbitration Panel
ruling delivered in October last year.
It is not known who distributed the documents, which do not appear to be
An Oracle lawyer last night dismissed the validity of the documents, and
spokeswoman Joanna Ingley said the material was clearly part of a smear
campaign, and was dirty tactics. "That's really sad. It's obvious there's
no validity to them or it would have certainly gone to the Arbitration
Panel." - NZ Herald, full story:
* Seattle's OneWorld Challenge said Sunday it would not ask the America's
Cup Arbitration Panel to investigate alleged rule infractions by San
Francisco's Oracle racing team. OneWorld had asked its lawyers to examine
documents which appeared to show Oracle obtained prohibited design data
when it bought assets belonging to 2000 Cup challengers AmericaOne. After
speaking with Oracle attorney Douglas D. Smith on Sunday, OneWorld chief
executive Gary Wright decided the case would not be pursued. - AP, as
posted on the Fox Sports website, full story:
From our worldwide family of Ullman Sails Sailmakers to all Scuttlebutt
readers, we wish to send our fondest wishes to you and your families for a
joyous Holiday Season and a very Happy and Safe New Year. We sincerely
appreciated your interest in the Ullman Sails group during this past year,
and look forward to including more of you in our performance oriented
programs for 2003. Sail Loft locations can be found at:
* Volvo Event Management UK was given an unusually large Christmas Gift -
the female mould used to build the Abloy boats. The gift is intended to
facilitate the development of the platform for the next Volvo Ocean Race.
The female mould is made of 8 mm solid carbon fiber by Green Marine Ltd in
Lymington, UK. It took 5000 man hours to build it and the building cost was
300,000 USD. "The mould is a solid construction and can be used to build
lots of more boats in a cost efficient way," comments Geoff Stock, Managing
Director at Green Marine Ltd.
* The giant trimaran Geronimo has been fully provisioned and is now ready
to leave for skipper Olivier de Kersauson's seventh attempt at the Round
the World Record. The crewmembers are now waiting impatiently for the fair
weather window they need to set off in pursuit of the Jules Verne Trophy.
Setting off at the beginning of winter gives Geronimo the option of
completing half the course and returning to Brest for another attempt if
weather conditions are unsuitable. www.grandsrecords.com
* 75-year-old Syd Fischer has been awarded the prestigious Australian
Ocean Racer of the Year award for his contribution to the sport. Fischer
also saw his "crew boss", Tony Ellis, named as the Ocean Racing Crewperson
of the Year. For the first time, the Ocean Racer of the Year awards have
given posthumous recognition to a yachtsman - Sydney yachtsman Ashley Reed
who died at sea during the Sydney - Mooloolaba Race earlier this year. -
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 Daron Townson: Reading through Scuttlebutt 1224 I can't help but
feel amused by some of the observations of what has been going on in the
past few days with the AC. The expressions of righteous indignation that
teams (Including my beloved TNZ) should be seeking loopholes in the rules
to gain an advantage on the track do seem a little misplaced in my opinion
at this level of competition.
I can't think of many sports in which, at the premier level at least, such
loopholes are not exploited to within an inch of what might be legal.
Agreed this "Appendage" development (If real) offers us, the amateur sailor
and boat owner, little ongoing benefit for our own boats but let us please
remember that these guys are not doing this for humanitarian reasons or to
better the development of sailing as a whole; they are out there to win.
Can I suggest that we all sit back, take a pinch of salt and enjoy the rest
of the racing whilst happily musing on what on earth might happen next?
* From Matt White: The idea's expressed in Brendan Dobroth's description
of how the "clip-on" could be designed are interesting, but unfortunately,
illegal. One of the primary issues in the design of this appendage is that
it may not flex and touch the hull because of forces applied under sailing
conditions. Confidential Interpretation #5 goes to the heart of this issue.
From Ken McAlpine:
"...If an appendage was designed to deflect to touch the hull whilst racing
it would contravene Rule 16 and Rule 19.11 as a flexible contrivance.
Any contact between an appendage (including any fairing strips) and the
hull outside the "hollows permitted" area would contravene Rule 16.
If an appendage was designed to be close to the hull outside the "hollows
permitted" area, the measurer shall be satisfied that there can be no
contact of the appendage, including any fairing strip and hull at any time
Part of the problem may be solvable by sizing the clip-on so that the
trailing edges are above the water line. I'm not sure about the design of
the leading edge, though.
* From Tim Robinson: Just to keep all the AC complaints in perspective,
we cannot forget this event is the pro's of sailing, and it does captivate
all of us, sailor and non-sailor alike. Period. There may be turn-offs for
some of us, and yes, the AC does have some image problems among
non-sailors. But these are little different than when an East Coast sports
fan can't get excited about a Super Bowl among Midwest or West Coast teams,
or any sports fan gets tired of hearing about bargaining agreements and
salary caps and owners telling coaches how to run their teams. The
complaining (and constructive criticism!) we generate is no different than
listening to any sports talk radio station, in fact it's a lot more pleasant.
Maybe the right people in the AC world will recognize this event can't be
run by a competitor, needs to continue to aspire to more professional and
independent administration, and will attack the myriad of issues being
discussed here and in the AC world. Perhaps that will quell the many
pointed remarks by active and armchair sailors, and non-sailors, over the
last few months. But when this does happen, and it will, don't tell me we
won't find ourselves complaining about bargaining agreements and salary
caps and owners telling coaches how to run their teams. It is just a sport,
after all, but clearly one that many, many people all over the world think
is pretty cool.
* From Alex Pline: Two comments on the Brou Ha Ha surrounding the AC:
1. The behavior is a classic example of human nature which can be summed up
by the trite, but true perversion of the Golden Rule: "Those with the gold
make the rules" and the corollary "Those who don't have the gold, want the
gold". It's all about power, pure and simple (on all levels).
2. Nonetheless, it does make for good drama, the AC version of "Days of Our
Lives". I say take it for what it's worth and bring it on, the more the
better! It's certainly more compelling than watching the sailing...
* From Angus Macaulay (edited to our 250-word limit): While a
considerable about of time and energy is spent on design in the America's
Cup, the latest innovation from the Kiwi's is yet another reminder that the
design efforts are, for the most part, relevant only to the design
parameters of this particular class of boat and have no relevance or
"trickle down" for the rest of us. I know all the manufacturers get a great
testing environment for incremental improvements, but the rules do and will
continue to limit true break through innovations that impact a broader
aspect of the sport.
Want to find an event that is a true test bed for products as well as for
design evolutions, just scoll down further in today's issue of Scuttlebutt
and you have the Around Alone race in Open Class sailboats. In addition to
all of the manufacturers using this race as an ongoing test bed (think of
electronics, onboard communications, autopilots, sails, etc.) also think of
the other larger design ideas brought out in this class of boat and being
put to the test: simplified systems to handle the boat shorthanded, canting
keels, water ballast, and general design: plumb bow, broad stern. Finally,
take a look at the production boats being produced today, both racing and
cruising. They have more in common with the boats that have raced in the
single-handed races over the past decade than the boats that have competed
in the America's Cup.
* From Chris McCaffrey (re the LVC semifinals): All I can say is " Cover,
* From George St. George (re the LVC semifinals): Who was it that first
said, "We have met the enemy, and it is us?" Pity - Craig McCaw, Paul
Allen, Laurie Davidson, Bruce Nelson and Phil Kaiko deserved much better.
However, it was refreshing to see that at least one of the semifinalists
understood the importance of staying between 'the man and the hoop.'
* From Mark Mills (In response to assertions that big multihulls could
offer a cheaper option for the Volvo, or an open rule a cheaper Americas
Cup): The cost issue is not one of design or engineering, its one of human
nature. If the Volvo were run in bathtubs there would be a syndicate with
millions to spend to make it the fastest. In reality the VO60 (or the next
70) represents fairly tried and familiar design and engineering territory
which keeps things fairly reasonable - what happens when the level of
intensity of the last Volvo gets applied to larger, more complex and less
thoroughly researched structures like maxi multihulls? The sky is the limit
I can't guess the cost of an 80' cats sail program if done to an Illbruck
level of detail. One design fleets met the same problem: when the boat and
its sail inventory were limited as in the Mumm 36 fleet, some owners went
and bought two boats to have a larger pool of sails. It's human nature
which drives the costs of these things, and in line with common sense, the
larger and more complex the boat the more expensive it gets.
* From Joel Stiebel: I was sorry to read that Stanley Rosenfeld is
ailing. It is a particularly cruel trick of fate that someone with such
great aesthetic vision should be robbed by macular degeneration. As a
racing sailor I have always liked his work for conveying the pleasure of
the sport we love. I am impressed by his work's majesty, capture of
movement, display of invisible wind power, and just shear beauty. The best
photography makes it look far easier than it--almost impossibly--is.
Among my most prized possessions are two yachting photographs by his
father, Morris Rosenfeld. What I really wish for is one of Stanley's great
photographs of two twelve-meters crossing tacks in the America's Cup.
This past summer I visited the Mystic Seaport with a fellow sailor to see
the Rosenfeld Collection. We spent some glorious time marveling at the
images from their laser discs on the video monitor and the all-too-few
prints on display in the restaurant. (They really should have more and
especially some of the larger prints on display.) I am pleased to let him
know of the appreciation this fan--one out of countless others--has for him
and his matchless work.
FULL REPORT - ARBITRATION PANEL
Seattle's OneWorld Challenge was not disqualified from the America's Cup
this month because an Arbitration Panel couldn't clearly establish that it
used rivals' secret designs.
The Panel, which released its full report Sunday into OneWorld, accepted
OneWorld's own evidence that it possessed prohibited design information -
more than it had revealed at a previous hearing - but said while it
couldn't "exclude" use of that data it couldn't prove it. On Dec. 9, the
Panel penalized OneWorld a point in each of the remaining rounds of the Cup
when it found one its designers, Ian Mitchell, possessed and later
destroyed secret design data belonging to Team New Zealand.
The detailed ruling of the Panel emphasized that in imposing penalty it
acted on evidence of possession submitted by OneWorld itself. It treated
possession as a lesser offense than use which, it said, would have carried
the automatic penalty of disqualification. Steve McMorran, AP, as posted on
the Fox Sports website, full story:
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IT NEVER ENDS
A sophisticated radar system has created the latest spying stir in the
America's Cup. OneWorld wants to use a scrambling beam to "cloak" their
boat from a secret high-tech device on Oracle. The arch-rival syndicates of
billionaires Larry Ellison and Craig McCaw are racing each other on the
Hauraki Gulf, but McCaw's OneWorld team are worried Ellison's crew might be
seeing too much. They think Oracle's radar system may have been developed
using military know-how.
Skipper Chris Dickson said last night that the boat had a number of pieces
of equipment, "and we don't discuss what they do". "We are fully aware of
the rules and we are clear we are 100 per cent within them."
Two other teams have joined OneWorld in asking the international jury to
check whether Oracle's radar system is within the rules. The jury was
meeting last night. Alinghi could not be contacted last night, but Team New
Zealand said they had not made inquiries to the jury.
* Oracle BMW has taken the game a technological step further than the
white radar on the stern of their boat, by testing "heads-up display
units". The BMW units are a wireless connection to instruments. Crew get
readouts using their sunglasses and a pull-down screen. - Julie Ash, NZ
Herald, full story:
AND THEN THERE WERE ELEVEN
The Southern Ocean is dishing up its usual dose of difficult conditions and
they are taking their toll on the 12-boat Around Alone fleet after 8 days
of racing from Cape Town, South Africa on their way to Tauranga, NZL. John
Dennis, Canadian skipper of Open 50 Bayer Ascensia, announced this morning
that he was turning back for Cape Town. "I have diverted and I am now
heading to Cape Town as the bearings on the shaft for the alternator and
ballast pump have ceased," he wrote in a brief email to Race HQ. "I feel
that it is unsafe to proceed if I am not able to charge batteries or pump
water ballast. Once I get to port I will decide then what the best course
of action might be." Race rules require the yachts to be sailed between
each port for the competitor to remain an official entrant.
Standings 2200 UTC December 22, 2002 CLASS 1:: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux,
Bernard Stamm, 4761 miles from finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 148
miles behind leader; 3. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 366 mbl. CLASS 2: 1. Tommy
Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 5362 miles from finish; 2. Spirit of Canada, Derek
Hatfield; 309 ml: 3. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 349 mbl. -
Simon Rowell and the crew of Jersey Clipper won Race 3 of Clipper 2002.
After seven days of racing from Havana to Panama, the top six boats were
separated by just a bit over two hours: 1. Jersey Clipper 13:18 GMT; 2
London Clipper 13:26; 3. Glasgow Clipper 14:07; 4. Liverpool Clipper 14:16;
5. Bristol Clipper 15:22; 6. Hong Kong Clipper 15:23. -
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
You know the honeymoon is pretty much over when you start to go out with
the boys on Wednesday nights, and so does she.