SCUTTLEBUTT 1228 - December 27, 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.
ROLEX SYDNEY HOBART RACE
Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo holds a five-mile lead as the Rolex Sydney
Hobart Race frontrunners enter Bass Strait. Sailing in 12 to 14 knot
northeasterly breezes with its big silver spinnaker flying, Alfa Romeo was
some 50 miles east of Gabo Island, and still in front of Canon, skippered
by owner Mike Slade. Astern and wide of Canon was Australian Skandia Wild
Thing (Grant Wharrington), and further back is Nicorette, who according to
skipper Ludde Ingvall have now overtaken Grundig (Sean Langman), and George
Overnight the 55-strong fleet separated in shifty breezes and sloppy seas,
with the race leaders heading well offshore to find breeze but at dawn
winds remained light at 8-10 knots from the northeast, with the Bureau of
Meteorology forecasting stronger winds inshore this afternoon. Whilst Alfa
Romeo is holding a lead that should see it take Line Honours tomorrow
afternoon, Skandia has taken a gamble, seeking stronger winds offshore.
Last report had Skandia some 105 nautical miles east of the rhumb line.
Collisions knocked two yachts out of the fleet within the first hour of the
2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race start from Sydney Harbour this
afternoon, with a crewmember being knocked over the side from each boat.
The Tasmanian yacht Valheru, skippered by Tony Lyall, suffered extensive
hull damage in a resounding collision with the French Australian entry,
Peugeot Racing, as they crossed tacks just outside the Heads. The hull of
Valheru has been sliced open on the port side, a gaping hole that has
opened up the entire cabin below deck. Crewmember Peter Fletcher was thrown
into the sea, but was picked quickly up by an Australian Yachting
Federation inflatable dinghy and put back on the yacht. The collision
apparently happened as Peugeot Racing attempted to bear away astern of
Valheru and the mainsheet jammed. Peugeot Racing was not extensively
damaged and continued racing after taking a penalty turn as the boat at fault.
The only Queensland yacht in the race, Trump Card, skippered by Craig
Coulsen from Brisbane, also retired after being holed in the stern by the
Sydney yacht Loki at the start in pouring rain and 50-metre visibility.
Crewmember Richard Cowen was knocked through the rails and dragged for 50
metres with his head in the water. - www.rolexsydneyhobart.com
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
The AP story in the Christmas Eve 'Butt entitled "Another Rule Broken" was
inaccurate to say the least. The jury made no ruling vis-a-vis Oracle, and
most certainly did not rule that "the syndicate broke America's Cup rules
by using a sophisticated radar system during races."
What has occurred is yet another example of how badly the rules, and
structures, governing our sport's most prestigious event are in need of a
+ Prior to being eliminated, OneWorld submitted a number of questions to
the jury seeking interpretations about the use of radar on Cup yachts and
team tenders. The jury circulated OneWorld's questions to the remaining
teams -- Alinghi, Oracle and Team New Zealand -- for their input along with
OneWorld's. This is the usual procedure any time a team asks the jury for
an interpretation. It was not a protest.
+ Team New Zealand, on holiday, made no submission. Alinghi, Oracle and
OneWorld all submitted papers agreeing that Laser Range Finders and Radar
are permitted by the Protocol to ping the opposing yacht in a match (as has
been done since, I believe, the 1983 Cup). Indeed, every team in this LVC
is said to have used one or the other, or both; and Team New Zealand trains
with laser guns and has had a Raytheon radar plainly visible on their "roll
bar" for some time.
+ Nonetheless, on Monday the jury ruled that the "Conditions" (historical
AmCup-speak for "Notice of Race") do not permit the use by Cup yachts of
laser range finders or radar, period. The jury said that the teams were
wrong to rely on the wording in the Protocol that all teams believe states
clearly that laser guns and radar are permitted.
Unless the three remaining teams (Alinghi, Oracle and TNZ) can mutually
consent to a re-wording of the Conditions (two different documents -- one
for the LVC and one for the Match), or unless the teams get a different
ruling out of the Arbitration Panel, it will be back to hand bearing
compasses and lines on the deck for the LV Finals and the Match.
By the way, Oracle has yet to reveal, other than to ACC Technical Director
Ken McAlpine, what is in white pod they call "The Goose." The jury has
never asked if it is - let alone determined that it is - a radar. - Tom
Ehman, Director of Rules Compliance, Oracle BMW Racing."
WHAT'S THE DEAL?
No foul-weather gear or gas-powered blender under your Christmas tree?
Don't be bummed, Annapolis Performance Sailing has the solution for you.
While we'll be closed to enjoy the holidays with our families, APS is
offering free shipping on Internet orders. Check out the tremendous
selection of hardware, line, apparel, and accessories that make APS the
most comprehensive performance sailing store in the Americas. Swap those
sweaters and ties for the gear you can't sail without or take the
opportunity to fit out for the winter circuit or next season. For the
Scuttlebutt holiday deal, visit. http://www.apsltd.com/scuttlebutt.asp
US SAILING CENTER
The City of Miami issued a Certificate of Occupancy to the United States
Sailing Center, a U.S. Olympic Training Site. The official name will be the
Schoonmaker Center and the Herman F. Whiton Pavilion. The dedication will
take place on January 27, 2003.
This visionary project began back in 1987, but received a major boost in
1998 when the United States Sailing Center Miami received the official
designation as a U.S. Olympic Training Facility. Four years later, after an
incredible amount of hard work, determination and generous contributions
from dedicated volunteers and staff, this new state of the art facility
will officially open its doors. The Schoonmaker Center will provide
everything necessary to train champion sailors and host world-class regattas.
Activities officially get underway later this week with the Orange Bowl
International Youth Regatta (December 27-30), the final USA Junior Olympic
Sailing Festival of 2002, co-hosted with the Coral Reef Yacht Club. Next
month, between January 28 and February 1, the Schoonmaker Center will play
host to the preeminent Olympic Class regatta in the United States, the
Miami Rolex OCR, which attracts hundreds of sailors from around the world.
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 Christian Fevrier (edited to our 250-word limit): The Morris and
Stanley's stunning images have certainly pushed a lot of us to embrace the
maritime photography and we are deeply indebted with their influence. In
the early sixties, when I did my first shots during the RORC races, there
was a handful of masters to follow really. Stanley was certainly the most
respected. Others were Keith Beken in UK, Peter Cornelius in Germany and
Erwan Quemere in France. The wonderful Edwin Levick's maritime photographs
were hidden somewhere and unknown then.
What was remarkable in the Stanley's photographs was his passion for the
action at sea and how he was mastering the light. Stanley was certainly not
interested to do a perfect yacht portrait only. He wished more. The wave
shapes, the clouds or the peculiar light of the day were certainly of equal
interest for him. I will never forget a helicopter flight with him for the
first race of the 1988 AC "Mistmatch" in San Diego. We were three seated on
the rear seat of a small Bell Ranger. Stanley was seated the closest of the
door. Almost 10 minutes were necessary to do a turn. So the possibility to
have both boats on the same exposure was short. Seeing that, Stanley
stopped to shoot at our second passage to allow me the possibility to get
some pictures at the exact moment when the boats were in front of each
other. Who would do that today ? We have lost a great master and a true
* From Marilyn Mower: Just as Stanley Rosenfeld was so overwhelmed by the
many letters of cheer and remembrance he received shortly before his
passing, the Rosenfeld family is similarly buoyed by the compassion
extended to them since. Stanley's wife and sons suggest that in lieu of
flowers or gifts, donations to support the "care and feeding" of the
massive Rosenfeld Collection at Mystic Seaport Museum are more appropriate.
The conservation of thousands of off-gassing negatives made during the
1930s continues, according to the Collection's Director, Mary Anne Stets.
Donations earmarked for the conservation and rehousing of the Rosenfeld
Collection at Mystic Seaport Museum can be sent to Stets' attention at the
museum, 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT 06355-0990. You can read all
about the Collection on the Website:
* From Art Engel (In reply to Nick Nicholson, America's Cup Measurement
Committee): Mr. Nicholson makes a good point - that readers should not
necessarily believe 100% of what is reported by the media but should look
to the original documents. [In my experience, reporters virtually always
get it wrong in ways they consider minor and unimportant but some of us
would consider critical to correctly understanding what really happened. I
put this down to lack of time and limited experience with the subject
rather than evil intent.]
Unfortunately, only some of the background material for the America's Cup
is available to the public. Rule Interpretations, Jury Decisions,
Arbitration Panel Decisions - none of these are available to the public on
the official LV or AC site so far as I can find (although they apparently
are available to the media only on the "secret" media site - perhaps some
kind media person would post them for the public!). I seem to recall that
for the last AC they posted all of these documents to the public under a
"Documents" section. [The LV NOR and SIs recently were posted - from the
front page click on CORM/Event, they are near the top of that page. Let's
hope the AC NOR and SIs get posted some day as well.]
* From Cam Lewis: I am amused and amazed every time I read a letter
lamenting the loss of the Corinthian Spirit in the America's Cup. All I can
say is read your history books. Scandal, lawyers, and pushing the rules has
been part of the America's Cup since it's inception. Anytime there's big
money involved in an attempt to win a coveted prize, there will be
controversy. Is it good? Of course not but that's human nature. So, just
sit back and enjoy the spectacle. Don't worry about what non-sailors think
because I frankly doubt most are even paying attention.
* From Gregory Scott: I have two points; 1. I cannot fathom the number of
times I have heard and read, Why can't these guys stay between the man and
the hoop / stay between the opponent and the mark. As amateurs, we must be
missing something that these boats do that justifies these flyers.
2. The rules are mad. This most recent rule issue (the radar) is not unlike
the Volvo radio check vs an illegal strut. One gave a material advantage,
the other didn't. Oracle claimed they were completely inside the rules;
that has been proven false. These AC guys and the Volvo boys play by F-1
racing car type rules. How can we compare what decisions are being made to
the environment anyone not sailing Volvo or AC sails in ? They just don't
compare, and that's fine with me.
* From Jim Morang: As an amateur racer I look forward to top
professionals match racing. As Oracle and One World rounded the upwind mark
with One World in a comfortable and controlling positon, I thought it was a
good observation the commentators made concerning One World being lifted to
the mark, in a left shift, and doing a jibe set to get onto the opposite
tack to take advantage of the shift to be headed to the downwind mark.
However a more tried and proven tactic that hardly ever fails is to cover
your opposition. What in the world was the brain trust on One World
thinking letting Oracle get so separated. Regardless of the "right thing
according to the numbers" to jibe set and go right, you have to get back in
phase with your opposition and cover. I am disappointed that we will not
see more close racing between these two boats.
* Peter Harken: I have never lost a race watching from a powerboat and
during my expert vigil there are many, "what the hell are they doing?"
"Good grief, I don't believe this!" "It's a two boat race for God-sake!"
and many more expletives that always emanate from my yap after the fact!
Later, I, thankfully, remember the reason my butt is on a power boat
watching rather than being chosen to sail on an AC boat is rather simple:
I'm a lot dumber than then those lads when I'm under a sail and therefore I
will not criticize any of them publicly and continue to have the highest
respect for them regardless of their moves, win or lose! Except for some of
the lawyering, but that has always been part of the AC since 1851, so
people shouldn't get a thin skin over it, but rather read it, laugh about
it, enjoy it and get on with it. It's a helluva event steeped in history
anyway you look at it and the sailing expertise and boats are superb!
* From Rick Merriman (edited to our 250-word limit): With all the arm
chair quarterback calls that have been made against One World coupled with
the discussions about the pod on Oracle "The Goose", I am surprised that no
one has put the two together. It sounds like the goose is a Lidar (Light
Detection and Ranging radar) or Sodar (Sound Detection and Ranging radar).
Simply put it uses a laser or sound to measure the Doppler shift in the
returns which are bounced off the particles in the air. It is assumed that
the particles are moving the same direction/speed of the wind.
On a shifty day when the wind is coming down the cliffs and is taking a
while to hit the water you could use Lidar to see the wind coming before it
hits the water. This could explain why OneWorld would have decided not to
stay with Oracle. The wind was not to be seen any where on the water so
they assumed Oracle was just taking a flyer since they were behind. In
actuality Oracle did see the wind coming by use of the Lidar and was
confident that it would fill from that direction. How many times have you
looked over at someone on the course and said that is flyer I do not see
any wind coming! I am not getting suckered into that wind hole! With a
Lidar you would not be taking a flyer because you would know what is out there.
A mystery rival is asking officials in the United States to investigate
Team New Zealand's use of money earned from trademark rights for the
America's Cup. Team NZ use the money to pay for hosting the event, with any
surplus spent on financing the sailing team who will defend the trophy next
year. But at least one challenger, Alinghi of Switzerland, are suggesting
that a surplus should be distributed among all the teams.
Two former high-profile Team NZ members, Russell Coutts and Brad
Butterworth, are key members of the Alinghi challenge. Alinghi have not
laid any complaint with the New York State Attorney-General, but someone
has asked questions about what trademark income can properly be spent on.
The amount earned from trademark rights is not known, but it is increasing
as the cup becomes more commercial. For Team NZ, operating in a small
economy with limited sponsorship opportunities, money from America's Cup
trademarks is a vital part of their defence budget.
The Attorney-General's office would not say who laid the complaint, or
exactly what it was about. A spokesman did confirm that an inquiry was
A discussion paper written by Alinghi rules adviser Hamish Ross is central
to the dispute, and it is understood to propose changes to the cup
management while questioning if the event should have been registered as a
charitable trust. Mr Ross said yesterday that no one from Alinghi had laid
a complaint with the Attorney-General's office, which oversees trusts in
New York state. He declined to comment further. However, Alinghi media
spokesman Bernard Schopfer said the Swiss wanted to "get around the table"
with Team New Zealand, Oracle BMW Racing and Prada to talk about proposals.
- Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, Full story:
IT'S BOAT SHOW SEASON
Savvy buyers know that the boat shows are a great time to buy: good deals,
new models, and plenty of time for delivery and commissioning for the next
sailing season. This year the finance rates are the lowest they've been in
a long time. With boatsbank.com, getting a loan has gotten a lot easier.
You can apply online, get multiple lenders to compete for your business,
and get your loan approved FAST. There's a call center for help, a wide
range of financing options, and very competitive rates.
Front runners Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group-Armor Lux and Thierry Dubois on
Solidaires find themselves in a peculiar position sailing in very light
flukey airs in the Southern Ocean. Dubois echoes Stamm's thoughts in his
log: "We had to opt for a progressive climb to the North as the virtual
waypoint constrains us from dipping too far South and it's not easy to take
a hard left at the lights! We're caught in a transition zone, so the boats
behind will get the Westerlies before us and the fleet will bunch up again
soon." - Mary Ambler
Standings 2200 UTC December 26, 2002 CLASS 1:: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux,
Bernard Stamm, 3543 miles from finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 245
miles behind leader; 3. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 613 mbl. CLASS 2: 1. Tommy
Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 4631 miles from finish; 2. Spirit of Canada, Derek
Hatfield, 416 mbl. 3. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 423 ml:
Event website: www.aroundalone.com
The Louis Vuitton Media Center Staff have posted a few of their favorite
images on their website. It's well worth a visit:
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Some men are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you
still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.