Scuttlebutt Today
  
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1226 - December 24, 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.

GRAVE THREAT
The America's Cup could be under threat, with future defenses impossible to
fund if an investigation now under way determines that the holders have to
spread any monies raised to all bona fide challengers. At the moment, any
surplus is held in trust by the holders.

Eliot Spitzer, the New York State attorney general, is leading an inquiry
into New Zealand's custody of the America's Cup as questions are asked
about the distribution of the income generated by one of the world's
longest-running sporting events.

Potential ramifications could see the collapse of the way the cup is run.
In the immediate term, Team New Zealand have been saddled with a
controversy that could adversely affect their modest fundraising efforts in
the final run-up to February's 31st match, where they will take on one of
three billionaire-backed challengers.

In the longer term, the well-regarded present leadership of the New Zealand
defense team may find themselves obliged to reveal details of income and
expenditure of their 2000 campaign. This ruling would also apply to
previous cup holders. - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph.

There is much more to this story:
http://sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml;$sessionid$XX3TB0BS3BZFRQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/sport/2002/12/23/soyot23.xml&sSheet=/sport/2002/12/23/ixothspt.html

ANOTHER RULE BROKEN
No penalty was imposed on Oracle of San Francisco on Tuesday, even though a
jury ruled the syndicate broke America's Cup rules by using a sophisticated
radar system during races. Instead of a penalty, the Cup jury invited other
challengers and defender Team New Zealand to approve the use of radar and
other devices in upcoming races.

The jury's decision was a response to nine formal questions from OneWorld
and other challengers about the use of radar by Oracle. While determining
that the use of any instruments capable of transmitting and receiving
signals during a race is expressly forbidden, jury chairman Bryan Willis
said the jury had not determined what Oracle's radar was used for or
capable of because it wasn't asked to.

OneWorld did not protest Oracle's use of the radar system, which was housed
in a teardrop shaped dome on the rear of its race yacht, USA-76. By
choosing to ask questions of the jury, OneWorld relinquished the chance to
seek a penalty against Oracle. - Steve McMorran, AP, as posted on the Fox
Sports website, full story:
http://foxsports.lycos.com/content/view?contentId=824340

IT'S OFFICIAL - KIWI WILL WIN THE AC
Chris Dickson's dramatic comeback yesterday to lead Oracle into the final
of the challenger series means that no matter who wins the America's Cup
next year, it will be a New Zealand skipper who holds aloft world
yachting's top trophy.

Dickson's crew will take on fellow New Zealander Russell Coutts' Alinghi
team in the Louis Vuitton Cup final. The winner will challenge Team New
Zealand's Dean Barker for the America's Cup in February. Barker was Coutts'
understudy at Team New Zealand three years ago. Coutts, a double cup
winner, later quit to join the Swiss challenge.

For Dickson, who led New Zealand's first challenge in 1987, it has been a
remarkable return to favour. He was sidelined by billionaire friend Larry
Ellison for nine months, only to be handed the skipper's job after Oracle
turned in lacklustre early results. - Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/acstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3048572&thesection=sport&thesubsection=americascup&thesecondsubsection=challengers

GET PROTECTED FOR CHRISTMAS
Still need a stocking stuffer? Protector Boats has 'em. We already know
Protector 28's will be under many trees this year, but we just introduced
our new pocket sized Protector 22'. It's just the right size to stuff a few
Christmas stockings, and we can still get them out in time. Why not hang
some real excitement from the mantle this year? And get the same fast, dry,
and stable ride you expect from a Protector...just in a new smaller
package. 2003 inventory is starting to roll in, so contact us today at
877-664-BOAT or http://www.protectorboats.com

NEWS BRIEFS
* The ISAF website has done a very good job of summarizing most of the
high sports of 2002 in their 'Year in Review' story. It's definitely worth
a visit to their website:
http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=3608

* Wichard has completed the purchase of Profurl. Profurl USA will
continue to operate its sales unit from the Ft. Lauderdale location through
the end of January 2003, while shipping and receiving will begin operating
from Wichard's Portsmouth, Rhode Island offices. After February 1st, all of
the Profurl USA operations will be run from Wichard's offices.

* Boats.com, Inc has named co-founder and President Paul Rabe as CEO of
the company. In making these announcements, Tom Hutton, Chairman of
boats.com said the company it had established stable and profitable
operations as a provider of marketing services to the marine industry, with
an expectation of continued growth.

* The arrival of four Russian sailors brings to ten the number of nations
represented in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which starts next
Thursday, 26 December. Headed by Olympic sailor Georgy Shaiduko, the
Russians have chartered the Sydney 38, Next, which will race to Hobart as
Polar Star. Other nations represented in the 2002 Sydney Hobart by crew, in
addition to Australia and Russia, are Sweden, Great Britain, the USA, New
Zealand, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and France. The fleet of 57 boats
includes yachts on the register of overseas yacht clubs in Sweden, New
Zealand, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the USA.

* The 'Site of the Month' on US Sailing's website focuses on Portsmouth
Yardstick including a description, venues using the rating system, tables,
Beaufort scale and reporting forms. www.ussailing.org/portsmouth


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 Ron Baerwitz (re: Cover 101): That's It! I can't take it anymore.
I would never be so bold as to compare my match racing abilities to those
fine AC yachtsmen making 6 and 7 figure incomes. However, I would like to
propose to those billionaire owners a new position in the afterguard
entitled, The Smacker. What "The Smacker" does is smack any afterguard
personnel that doesn't cover his 400 meter lead. I will be happy to do it
for a mere $10,000 per smack. From what I've seen, I would be the best paid
guy in NZ.

I'm sorry to be so critical of those great sailors on OneWorld, but you
know what guys?, you should think about giving your owner a refund!

* From Dean Hubbard: Having followed the America's Cup since I was twelve
(forty-three years ago), this will be the last one for me to watch. I've
had enough of ego inflated tycoons who manipulate the rules with the same
sleight of hand with which they manipulate corporate earnings,
multi-national crews under one national flag, too much design and racing in
courtrooms from one continent to the next, and appendages that include
Pinocchio noses on anyone whose lips are moving in boats that can't take a
blow. The constant cheating and bickering would make a NASCAR hillbilly
blush. This series is disgusting and has made the Mug a bottomless pit.
Cup, schmup. "There is no second." Hallelujah.

Fair sailing competition is seen in today's long distance single handed
races. They support and race each other fairly. They talk to the fans, are
more dedicated than rich, and there is a second and a third but the whole
fleet are champion-caliber examples of perserverance without an attorney as
a figurehead on the bow (a good appendage idea!)

I truly hope the Cup will simply implode from the weight of it's budgets,
lawsuits and egos. It is Frankensailing. The Auld Mug has become Auld Hat.
It is no longer relevant as a sporting venue and has become an embarassment
to the rest of sailing. Thank God it is not widely televised. Now, pardon
me while I copy this letter to each syndicate's cheery little website
(Mascalzone not included).

* From John Danskin: For me, the highlight of this America's Cup has been
the hull appendage. The rules are like any other technical challenge. You
can think in the box, and make the boat the rule-makers expect you to make,
or you can do something creative, and surprise your competition and the
rule-makers. This is for me the fundamental challenge of business: how do I
escape the box my competition expects me to be in? If we don't have this
kind of competition in the AC, it's just a bunch of jocks trying to see who
can do more pushups. Next time, the rules will be different, and the
designers will have a new box to escape. What could be more fun?

* From Rob Hahn: We all must realize that trying somewhat bizarre hull
design modifications to find speed within a rule is nothing new. Has
everyone forgotten IOR? However, the "Out of the Box" thinking that is
required to innovate at this level is interesting to say the least. As in
all rule-defined sports, these guys have to make sure the equipment runs
right up to the edge of whatever rule is written in order to assure they
will not lose simply because they didn't push the design envelope. It's the
designer's job to find out where the absolute limits are, which is why
we've seen hulls fold up, keels fall off, and masts come down.

As a good sailor friend once told me, "All we're looking for is a fair
advantage.". Maybe a more open class would eliminate some of the current
haggling in future Cups, but for now - I say let 'em rip. Between Virtual
Spectator, OLN, and ESPN, we have ringside seats to some unique sailing
entertainment.

* From Bob Harden: I have read many of the excellent thoughts about the
America's Cup and had these thoughts: The America's Cup has progressed to a
true "professional racing" sports event. So let's look at one of the other
parallels - auto racing. Turbochargers and ground effects made several
champions. It is and was not the fault of the innovator, in their minds and
the judges their innovations were allowed by the rules. If innovations are
to be critiqued for distracting from competitive fairness or reducing the
sailor's role, then we should have an easily administered set of rules that
are easily enforced that promote the role of the sailor.

First, while we are writing the rules for the next America's Cup, let's get
a boat design that allows and promotes turning rather than straight line
speed. Remember the endless pre-start circles and downspeed tacks routinely
conducted in the Twelve meter boats. But this isn't just limited to the
America's Cup, many/most of the new classes/boats have hulls and keels that
really like going fast in a straight line, but are by relative comparison
very inefficient for turning. I can't critique recent designers for making
fast straight-line boats, but if we want the sailors to be tested and
provide the difference in the competition, then lets provide them an
environment that rewards boat handling, promotes tactical options, and
reduces the importance of straight-line speed.

* From Roger Cook: As a Kiwi that grew up sailing with the greatest bunch
of adrenalin junkies one can imagine in the southern most yacht club in the
world (Bluff), I am sick and tired of all the whinging from apparent
members of the flat-earth society, including a few ex-pats, who cannot see
that "thinking outside the square" is what has made the our sport so great.
As teenagers, we all bumped the measure points on our dinghies, hung double
wires where single wires weren't specifically ruled, and used loop
purchases on our Lasers where rules set by gorillas said no block-purchase.
Leave the AC as it is, encourage lateral thinking, and don't let the
doomsayers win. Please, please Mr. Curmudgeon, end the AC bashing thread as
soon as possible and let's just watch my three contemporary Kiwi skippers
do battle with NZ yachting "passion in their hearts".

SEMI FINAL REPECHAGE SUMMARY
The rule of thumb in the America's Cup is that boat speed wins races, with
crew work and tactics so nearly equal on today's professional teams, they
only occasionally are a factor. But when Oracle/BMW put the finishing
touches on a 4-0 shutout of rival U.S. entry OneWorld today to advance to
the challenger final, even OneWorld had to admit people, not equipment,
made the difference. - Angus Phillips, Washington Post, full story:
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26576-2002Dec22.html

MAST DISPLAYS AND CREW CONTRIBUTION
Information displayed at the mast doesn't just make it easier for the
driver to process instrument data while watching where he's going - it
focuses the whole crew, and over time builds a stronger team of sailors.
Communication between the crew forward of the cockpit and the crew aft is
greatly enhanced. Downwind gains are particularly significant with
spinnaker trimmers keeping an eye on the numbers while describing sheet
pressure to the driver, resulting in better synchronized sailing. For a
great selection of mast display pods in anodized aluminum and carbon fiber
visit http://www.ockam.com

STANLEY ROSENFELD
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you and the readers of the
unexpected passing of Stanley Rosenfeld today. For those who took the time
to send their good wishes and recollections to Stanley in the last few
days, please accept the profouund thanks of his widow, Heather. She read
him every single letter and he was delighted beyond words, at times
speechless, to know how much his "work" in the real sense, brought
enjoyment to others. More than a genius behind the lens, Stanley was a
gentleman. More than a photographer of sailing events, Stanley loved the
sport, the people, and the physics of sailing. - Marilyn Mower

AROUND ALONE
Canadian skipper, 58 year old John Dennis, has retired from Around Alone
2002-03, which leave just eleven boats still competing. Late on Saturday he
turned the bow of his Open 50 Bayer Ascensia back to Cape Town. In an
initial email to the Race HQ he explained that the bearings on the
alternator shaft and ballast pump had ceased to work, and that he felt it
would be unsafe to continue to New Zealand if he was unable to charge
batteries or pump water ballast. The next email from John confirmed his
course of action explaining, " it's now too late for repairs to get to New
Zealand safely and in time for the next leg."

Standings 2200 UTC December 23, 2002 CLASS 1:: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux,
Bernard Stamm, 4457 miles from finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 163
miles behind leader; 3. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 392 mbl. CLASS 2: 1. Tommy
Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 5072 miles from finish; 2. Everest Horizontal, Tim
Kent; 399 ml: 3. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 405 mbl. -
www.aroundalone.com

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* January 16-28: Dragon Worlds, Royal Tasmanian YC, Hobart, Tasmania.
www.tasdragon.org.au

* January 31-February 7: ISAF Team Racing World Championship in the
Viaduct Basin in Auckland, NZ; New Zealand Team Racing Association,
Yachting New Zealand and the ISAF. http://2003worldteamracing.freeservers.com/

THE BIG NIGHT
'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck;
how to live in a world that's politically correct?
Four reindeer just vanished, without much propriety,
released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

His workers no longer would answer to "Elves. "
Vertically challenged they were now calling themselves.
Both the hours and conditions at the North Pole,
were alleged by their union to stifle the soul.

As for the gifts, why, he had never a notion,
that making a choice could cause such commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
this meant nothing for him, and nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls, or just for the boys.

Nothing that hinted of being gender specific.
And nothing that's warlike or non-pacifistic.
No candy or sweets...they're bad for the tooth.
And nothing that seems to embellish a truth.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed.
He simply couldn't figure out what to do next.
He tried to be merry, he tried to be gay,
but one has to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, flung on the ground.
Could anything acceptable ever be found?
Something special was needed to make the day bright,
a gift that won't anger the left or the right.

An offering that would satisfy, with no indecision,
each group of people, and every religion.
So here is his gift, it's price beyond worth,
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

HAPPY HOLIDAY
As I'm sure you suspected - there will not be an issue of Scuttlebutt
tomorrow on Christmas Day. However, 'Butt will return on Thursday, December
26. Enjoy the holiday.

THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Is Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live?