SCUTTLEBUTT 1240 - January 15, 2003
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LOUIS VUITTON CUP FINALS
If Oracle BMW Racing had perfected their penalty turns to be one second
faster, they would have won their first race against Alinghi in the Louis
Vuitton Cup finals series on Wednesday evening.
There was no sign of the previous upwind Alinghi, downwind Oracle
advantages in the tumultuous racing between the two finalists on day three,
as the duo battled it out through 14 downwind protests. The first 13
resulted in green flags, but when Oracle luffed Alinghi up and contacted
the Swiss boat late in the fourth leg, the umpires awarded a penalty to the
American crew, for not giving SUI64 room and opportunity to keep clear.
Although the Oracle crew managed to round mark four and five ahead and
extend out to a 12 boat-length lead in the final leg, it was not enough
time to execute the 270-degree penalty turn, and they watched in utter
dismay as the red swirl of SUI64 crossed ahead, taking the gun by a mere
second. The official delta, however, was one minute and three seconds, as
Oracle touched the mark while executing their penalty turn and had to
complete another penalty before the clock was stopped. - Fiona McIlroy,
NZoom.com website, full story:
EDITOR'S NOTE: For the first time in the LVC Finals, Larry Ellison was not
aboard Oracle BMW Racing as the 17th person. Also, Chris Dickson
relinquished the helm to Peter Holmberg and did tactics.
SERIES STANDINGS: Alinghi leads Oracle BMW Racing 3-0 in the 'first to five
Although Seattle's OneWorld already has been knocked out of the America's
Cup, the team is carefully watching the remaining races. Aside from a
dislike of the Ellison campaign - apparently a common sentiment among
sailors in Auckland - OneWorld team members know the results could
determine whether they, along with backers Craig McCaw and Paul Allen, will
be competing in the next America's Cup regatta. A victory by San
Francisco-based Oracle or defender New Zealand would make a second Seattle
McCaw has said he will not compete again in New Zealand because of the
at-times ugly BlackHeart campaign denouncing sailors who left the defenders.
The best chance for OneWorld to sail again would be for the Swiss to win
and for the cup to move to Europe for the first time. Promises of rule
reforms that would reduce costs and increase the number of competitors make
Europe the most appealing scenario to McCaw and Allen, who are waiting
until racing is over before announcing a decision.
One idea under consideration to keep the talent and technology developed
over the past two years would be to launch campaigns for the Olympics and
other large regattas under the OneWorld banner, spokesman Bob Ratliffe
said. For now, OneWorld is packing up and the boats are being dismantled.
By next month, most of the 105-member crew will be gone and the boats put
in storage - either to be sold or used for practice in a future campaign.
In the end, it was simple speed that let them down, Seattle sailor Jonathan
McKee said. "We were close, very close," he said. "Our speed was OK, but
was not quite with the very top teams. I don't know exactly where the
deficiencies were. It is a combination of so many technical issues." - Nick
Perry, Seattle Times, full story:
BlackHeart, the controversial group which focused attention on Kiwi sailors
opposing Team New Zealand in the America's Cup, is making a tactical
retreat. The group's leader, David Walden, told the Herald last night: "We
think BlackHeart has made its point and it's time to move on."
* BlackHeart had tried to portray itself as pro-Team New Zealand rather
than anti-anything but it could not escape criticism as Alinghi sailors,
who include Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth, became targeted by a
mystery, threatening letter campaign.
"Despite all attempts to distance ourselves from these alleged threats ...
mud sticks and BlackHeart's core purpose [of building a home-ground
advantage for Team New Zealand] has been hijacked," he said. "It's been
suggested we should go away and, yes, we will withdraw from the media
circus, which is distracting to everyone. We will pull our heads in, but we
will not go away."
Mr Walden said a website would continue to publish "facts that we think are
important" but BlackHeart would not make public comments, or be drawn "into
the spin from the challenger's well-oiled public relations machine. - NZ
Herald, full story:
TEAM ONE NEWPORT BEST GEAR
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the Acura SORC. Team One Newport supplies many of the top regattas and
events around the world including the UBS Challenge, the Around Alone Race
and Sunsail Charters. Looking for your America's Cup gear? They are always
right there where the action is! The embroidery and crew uniform department
at Team One Newport has outfitted a large number of the top racing boats
around the world! What are you waiting for? Give them a call at 800-VIP
-GEAR (800-847-4327) or visit their website at http://www.team1newport.com
* Chief measurer Ken McAlpine said measurers had worked with Team New
Zealand for several months, checking and rechecking that there was no
illegal contact between the hula and hull. "It is confidential information
between the measurers and Team New Zealand how we have got to that stage.
We just use a fair degree of common sense with applying a series of tests
that have been running over the past four months to establish that it
doesn't touch." - Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:
* Harken Yacht Equipment has named Tim Loftus U.S. Distributor Sales
Manager. In his new position, Loftus will work closely with the sales staff
in Harken's Pewaukee, Newport, Southeast, and California offices as well as
with the company's U.S. distributor network. Prior to joining Harken,
Loftus was Regional Marketing Manager, North America's West Region for
Fairchild Semiconductor. He is an experienced sailor and is currently
rebuilding a Lightning.
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 Andrew Vare: Amidst a tepid media brew of death threats on Alinghi
team members, Dickson going fishing, clip art, blah blah blah, it's damn
impressive to see a story about Howie Hamlin two-peating the JJ Giltinan
World Skiff Championship. Back to back, no less. Does anyone know how hard
these boats are to sail?
This epic achievement is new ground for American sailors, and should make
the US sailing community stand up and take notice. In relative perspective,
it's the full equivalent of John Bertrand's crew coming to Newport with
Australia II and schooling us in the 1983 Cup. Aspiring Olympians in the
29er and 49er, are you paying attention? Howie and crew get my nomination
for sailors of the year, hands down.
* From Michael H. Koster: Having owners and the builders running their
own classes and rules as suggested by Mr. Fletcher in 'Butt 1239, would
have the same outcome as allowing airlines to operate without any
government intervention. How many of us would fly if the FAA did not
oversee the airlines? Many organizations are short sighted and have
difficulty seeing the big picture, necessitating the need for some type
intervention by a higher authority.
* From Mats Grip: Nick Pipsy asked: "Where did some of your readers get
the notion that developments in America's Cup class yachts should benefit
yachting at large?" Right there in the IACC rule preamble: "The America's
Cup Class is intended: (a) to produce wholesome day sailing monohulls of
similar performance while fostering design developments that will flow
through to the mainstream of yachting; and (b) for yachts that are raced
"around the buoys" with tenders present, as opposed to off-shore in high
wind and rough sea conditions with or without tenders."
* From Malcolm McKeag: Ted Beier (Scuttlebutt 1239) slightly misses the
point of having on-board observers communicating with both the skippers and
the following umpires. What matters to the match racing skipper is not
whether or no there is an overlap, or whether or no his boat has achieved a
close-hauled course - but whether or no the umpires, judging the satiation
from off the boat and from that judgment deciding which rules apply, think
there is an overlap, etc. These and the other moments at which the burden
to keep clear passes from one boat to the other are among the most crucial
in close-quarters dueling.
Skippers rarely make mistakes about what they are allowed or not allowed to
do - but frequently differ from the umpire in deciding the precise moment
they are (or are not) allowed to do it. To have an observer making that
moment an objective, public, third party call crystallizes an otherwise
potentially disastrous uncertainty. Bryan Willis and his team of umpires (I
assume them to be the initiators of the move) are to be congratulated in
getting everyone to agree to this ultra sensible move (we were doing it at
the Royal Lymington Yacht Club's Lymington Cup in the mid-Eighties, by the
way - if memory serves, Bryan was chief umpire then, too). It can only
improve the game for everyone.
* From Gram Schweikert: In all the talk about the "HULA" and its
legality, I have yet to hear anyone involved even discuss Rule 19.7 which
states "... the appendage shall not contribute to the strength of the
hull." I sure would feel a lot better if Ken McAlpine, TNZ, the Jury, or
anybody for that matter recognized that this rule might not be that easy to
comply with when the HULA has to be strong enough avoid contacting the
hull, yet weak enough to not contribute to the strength of the hull. It
seems like a real contradiction to me yet no one has mentioned it.
* From Dave Stoker: Unless I'm going blind, the America's Cup Class Rule
Version 4.0 (19-Oct-2000) has absolutely nothing to say on where an
appendage may or may not touch the hull. It does specify where an appendage
may be attached to the hull (class rule 19.8). Rather than being required
by the Class Rule, the "no touch" constraint for TNZ's "hula" appears to be
an "interpretation of intent" by the ACC Technical Director or Measurement
Committee. To quote Tom Schnackenberg: "The measurers laid down
stipulations that the appendage not touch the hull while the boats are
racing..." The result: an appendage like any other?
* From Ralph Taylor: Rich Roberts is a master of the unconventional and
controversial idea. His latest take on the America's Cup is a good example,
even if it is probably tongue-in-cheek. But if we're going to "deep-six the
Dead Sea Scroll of sport", let's take it to the max. First, we should get
rid of the defender/challenger concept; all teams compete on an even basis,
regardless of who won last time -- no automatic passes. Of course, the
previous winner could be eliminated in the first round but that just proves
they weren't worthy enough this time around to make the finals.
That means we need a commissioner's office to oversee the competition and
the event will move around the globe, based on what's best for its prestige
and income. Next, we'll institute a draft and long-term contracts for the
players -- sailors, designers, sailmakers, etc. Probably followed by unions
and a salary cap. We'll turn the protest system into something more like
those used in other sports; eliminating the adversary system will reduce
the need for attorneys. This helps deal with the design rules questions;
officials working out of the commissioner's office make the calls, which
can be appealed only to the commissioner.
An entirely different way to see the issue Rich raises is to say that
comparing the America's Cup to a one-design world championship is like
comparing discus-throwing to pole-vaulting. No one maintains that each
could beat the other at the other's game.
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THE BIG BOYS
Some of the biggest and fastest sailing yachts in the world will battle for
glory next month when superyachts from around the world compete on the
Hauraki Gulf in the Millennium Cup 2003. The superyacht regatta, February
10-13, will set the stage for racing for the America's Cup which starts two
days later on the 15th.
The four-day rendezvous for both sail and motor yachts has attracted an
eclectic mix of luxury vessels from international ports as diverse as Hong
Kong and Antigua, Halifax and Guernsey, Boston and Monaco. Auckland and
Sydney are both well represented. With 40 superyachts already entered and
entries coming in every day, event organizer Lane Finley is confident that
this year's field will be bigger than the billion dollar fleet of 55
vessels that contested the first Cup. Of the early entries, 16 are vessels
that competed three years ago.
The biggest and fastest sailing yachts in the Millennium Cup will be
battling for first to finish honors in two round the buoys events and the
passage race to Kawau Island, followed by a second race back to Auckland.
Smaller and older craft will have their chance to win under the IRC
handicap system, a formula that takes into account the speed-producing
features and potential of widely diverse designs. Powered craft will pit
the skills of their skippers and navigators against each other in predicted
log competitions, in which boats transit the day's course in a set time
without the benefit of time pieces or instruments, using only a compass for
direction and engine revolutions to estimate speed. - Keith Taylor,
Graham Dalton, skipper of the HSBC-sponsored yacht, Hexagon, sailed into
Tauranga, New Zealand at 0638 hrs GMT/UCT 14th January (1938hrs local time)
to finish third in Class 1 of the third leg of the Around Alone
single-handed round-the-world race. Over 1000 spectators on land and sea
were on hand to cheer him into Hexagon's home port.
The last night of the voyage was possibly the worst for Dalton as he
reported in to have seen 60 knot headwinds and torrential rain, which
caused some concern as Hexagon was knocked down a couple of times near
rocky shores. Not only that but rival competitor Italian Simone Bianchetti
on Tiscali had been pursuing him doggedly down the coastline, himself
reporting to have had "a bad, bad, bad night in hell" like Dalton.
Bianchetti blew his Genoa headsail overnight, which caused him to lose 25
miles off Dalton
Simone Bianchetti was a tired and very hungry sailor that sailed his Open
60 across the finish line in Tauranga at daybreak on Wednesday morning. He
ran out of food three days ago and had scrounged the last few boxes of
crackers to keep him going until his first meal in port. To add to his woes
the wind died and Bianchetti took four hours to sail the last 10 miles to
the finish. At 05:30:19 local time Bianchetti finally put the leg behind him.
At 11:00 local time Pindar, Ocean Planet and Class 2 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom
America were within 6 miles of each other short tacking down the coast of
New Zealand. The wind is still blowing directly out of Tauranga making
their progress very slow. The best ETA for all three yachts is around
midnight local time. - www.aroundalone.com
JULES VERNE TROPHY
On Day 3 of the record attempt, everything is going well on board Geronimo.
The giant trimaran covered 503 nautical miles in the last 24 hours,
bringing the total to 1460, 72 hours into the voyage.
Yesterday's report from Geronimo briefly mentioned their encounter with a
giant cephalopod. Crewman Didier Ragot discusses that 'meeting' more fully
in a report currently posted on their website. Here's an excerpt: "It was a
giant squid. The tentacles were as thick as my arms plus the waterproofs.
Amazing! To begin with it was jammed between the top of the rudder blade
and the hull and then it sent two of its tentacles down to the base of the
rudder blade and grasped it right the way around at fence level. I saw it
astern after it had let go, and I reckon it was about 10 metres long:
absolutely enormous. It's the first time I've ever seen one so big: it
shook the whole boat and it was rather worrying at the time." -
Meanwhile, the 14-person crew of the maxi-catamaran Kingfisher2 is planning
to go on 'standby status' this Thursday as they look for an appropriate
weather window to begin their attempt at the Jules Verne record. -
Over three days, twelve three-boat teams from across the United States
competed in Vanguard 15's for mid-season team racing regatta at the US
Sailing Center of Martin County. Conditions were perfect with the winds
ranging from 5-20 mph, testing the competitors in a variety of wind and sea
conditions. A total 174 races were needed to identify a clear-cut champion,
team Silver Panda from Rhode Island. Final results: 1. Silver Panda (Colin
Merrick/ Liz Hall, Peter Levesque /John Cline, Brent Jansen /Caroline Hall)
27-6; 2. Dogs In A Bathtub (John Baxter /Molly Curtis, Anthony Katoun
/Mathew Lindblad; Chris Gaffney /Michaela King) 25-7; 3. Team Durex (Matt
Allen /Elizabeth Biondi, Ryan Thoraldsen /Katie Beiser, Brad Funk /Anna
Tunnicliffe) 23-11. - Hart Kelley, www.usscmc.org.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OXYMORON