Scuttlebutt Today
  
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1256 - February 6, 2003

Powered by SAIC (www.saic.com), an employee-owned company. Scuttlebutt is a
digest of major yacht racing news, 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.

THE SPITTING WARS CONTINUE
Sir Peter Blake's old guard of former trustees have fired back at Russell
Coutts and Brad Butterworth with documents they say show the pair backed
out of a deal to stay for the 2003 America's Cup defense. The centrepiece
is a "mutual understanding" agreement dated September 1999 in which they
signed up to a transition process to take over running Team New Zealand
with Tom Schnackenberg in July 2000. While Schnackenberg stayed, Coutts and
Butterworth decided in May 2000 to switch to Swiss billionaire Ernesto
Bertarelli's Alinghi syndicate - the challenger that will race Team NZ for
the cup.

The agreement established a transition committee and stated as an objective
the need to retain key "human and physical" assets for future defenses. It
was signed by the three sailors, Sir Peter and trustees' and sponsors'
representatives. Former trustee Roger France yesterday described the
document as a "powerful statement of intent and honor between the parties.
Every party to that document has honored those intentions with the
exception of Russell and Brad."

Last night, Jim Farmer, QC, who acted for Coutts and Butterworth until
December 1999, said the agreement was not what the pair had sought from the
trust - "It was not regarded by me as satisfactory." The document's release
is the latest round of a war of words revealing the bitterness and
divisions that racked Team NZ in the build-up to the 2000 defense.

Last week, Coutts released a statement blaming the former trustees,
particularly lawyers Richard Green and John Lusk. He said he and
Butterworth joined Alinghi frustrated that they had not been able to strike
a deal with the family of five sponsors or the old trustees.

The men - who have since been replaced on the Team NZ trust board by a new
set of trustees headed by Ralph Norris - responded to Coutts with a
statement published today. It acknowledges the disharmony over the
transition, but blames Coutts and Butterworth, saying they fell out with
Sir Peter because of their refusal to recognise him as chief executive, and
because of their attitude towards the sponsors. - Eugene Bingham and Helen
Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/acstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3099727&thesection=sport&thesubsection=americascup&thesecondsubsection=teamnz

* The full text of the statement by the former directors of Team New
Zealand is very long, but happily the websites of the NZ Herald, the Louis
Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup (and probably others) have it posted
online. Take your pick:
http://louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1822.html
http://americascup.yahoo.com/story1826.html
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/acstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3099729&thesection=sport&thesubsection=americascup

RANKINGS- OLYMPIC CLASSES
The first ISAF World Sailing Rankings of 2003 were released on Wednesday.
In the Star class, Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell (GBR) have continued their
rise up the rankings. After a solid performance in Miami, they now replace
Mark Reynolds and Magnus Lijledahl at the top. Pretty amazing considering
that twelve months ago they ranked 156. Mark Reynolds and Magnus Lijledahl
are now in the third spot while Bermuda's Peter Bromby and Martin Siese
moved up to fifth.

Monica Azon (ESP) retains her top spot in the Yngling rankings, but Betsy
Alison, Suzy Leech and Lee Icyda (USA) moved from seventh to second place
in the rankings. Hannah Swett, Melissa Purdy, Joan Touchette are now ranked
fourth in this class. Complete rankings: http://www.sailing.org/rankings/

BRAD VAN LIEW SWITCHES TO SAMSON LINES FOR AROUND ALONE RACE!
Brad Van Liew, after leading the Class-50 segment of the grueling Around
Alone race, has switched his lines to Samson during his New Zealand
stop-over before continuing the final two legs of the race. "The Samson
product line is the best rope available which is proven to be reliable,
strong and lightweight," said Van Liew. "I am excited about using Samson to
make the deck layout sing. My small and devoted team will really appreciate
the ease of working with Samson products." For details, visit
www.samsonrope.com

ISAF TEAM RACING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Defending champion New Zealand will go into tomorrow's semifinal of the
Team Racing World Championships as though it was the final deciding race in
the America's Cup. The New Zealand team, world champions for the past four
years, finished the gold fleet round robins today in fifth place, but will
be third seeds for the semifinals tomorrow, the last day of racing. Their
promotion came through a regatta rule that allows only one team from each
country to compete in the semifinals.

So there was good news and bad for Great Britain and the United States
yesterday whose teams filled the top four places in the gold league. For
Great Britain 2, it was second place - but no medal. The team from
Southampton was knocked out of contention by Great Britain 1, who topped
the fleet and earned its country's spot in the semifinal. The same fate
befell USA 1, who finished fourth behind USA 2, runner-up in the last two
world championships, whose hopes stay alive in the semis.

A repechage will be contested between the Czech Republic, Ireland 1 Japan 2
and the Netherlands, with the winner progressing. New Zealand 2, the team
of promising youth sailors from the Kohimarama Yacht Club, convincingly
topped the silver fleet rounds, losing only one of 21 races - but with New
Zealand 1 in the semifinals, it was not eligible to compete in the repechage.

Gold Fleet Standings: Great Britain 2, 16 wins; Great Britain 1, 15; USA 2,
15; USA 1, 12; New Zealand 1, 11; Ireland 1, 7; Netherlands, 5; Australia 1, 3.

Silver Fleet standings: New Zealand 2, 20 wins; Czech Republic, 14; Japan
2, 12 ; Ireland 2, 11; India 1, 11; Japan 1, 10; Australia 2, 6; India 2,
0. - www.nzteamracing.com

JULES VERNE TROPHY
* KINGFISHER2 has less than 350 miles to go to the Equator and is sailing
fast (skipper Ellen MacArthur confirmed 25 knots in latest audio conference
at 1500GMT) at 27 degrees west which is where they want to be to cross the
Equator. The record time set by Geronimo from Ushant (start) to the Equator
is now unattainable but Ellen and the crew are pushing hard to better the
times set by Orange and ENZA.

MacArthur reported that there is not too much concern for the Doldrums on
the current weather models but it is the huge high pressure zone across the
South Atlantic that is the most worrying. Kingfisher2 may be forced to sail
further west towards the coast of Brazil to find the stronger breeze. But
the gains made in the last 24 hour run (532 nm) and the fast sailing today
should ensure Kingfisher2 stays on the pace of the Orange record and slowly
closing the gap on Geronimo.

Kingfisher2 Day 6 Summary (http://www.teamkingfisher.com):
- 1 hours 56 minutes behind Orange
- Day 6 24 hour run (point to point): Kingfisher2 532 nm, Orange 373 nm,
Geronimo 527 nm
- End Day 6 distance to go: KF2-22173 nm, Orange-22142 nm, Geronimo-21948 nm

* GERONIMO: The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric trimaran
continues to make headway through the Indian Ocean in biblical sea
conditions that combine a westerly swell, waves from the northwest and
wavelets and wind from the west-southwest. "The squalls are travelling at
over 60 knots the sea is strong and wild, with waves making 30 knots. It's
virtually impossible to get anywhere in this sea - it's an incredible boat
breaker" reports the skipper.

Under triple-reefed main and staysail, the trimaran is struggling hard to
keep her bows out of this grasping sea and is already considering how best
to position herself for the attack on the Pacific. On the advice of their
router and weather guru, the crew will not venture further south than the
47th parallel, where the sea is completely chaotic. "Further south than
that and we'd be massacred" says skipper Olivier de Kersauson.

The two low pressure systems that triggered the current sea state will
cause the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric crew many long and difficult
days yet. However, the weather forecasts stop short of the terrible, there
are no equipment failures to report at present and everything continues to
work well on board. In the last 24 hours Geronimo has traveled 448 miles
and remains more than 1200 miles ahead of Orange's Jules Verne record
setting pace. - http://www.grandsrecords.com

AS SEEN BY LAURIE DAVIDSON
"Team New Zealand has created the boat we'd all like to draw but haven't
because of the rules governing the hulls. I think the NZ boats are plainly
illegal (with the Hula) under Rule 26B. The device contravenes the rule.
Look at it yourself, it's very simple to read. The measurer shouldn't have
allowed it in the first place. The Hula clearly gives extra effective
length from a device that's not technically part of the hull but acts as
part of the hull.

"There's not much advantage in light winds. It's most effective in stronger
winds with the boat sailing at higher speeds. With NZ Royal Yacht Squadron
running the races, you won't see races run in lighter airs. You should see
stronger winds in the AC than you did in the LV, probably at least 15 most
of the time. (Note: The upper wind limits have been lifted for the
America's Cup Races) - Laurie Davidson, from a story by editor Richard
Hazelton posted on the 48 Degrees North website. Full story:
http://48north.com/feb_2003/davidson.htm

ALINGHI
Although it is thought Alinghi was testing a Team New Zealand style hull
appendage in advance of the America's Cup, Swiss strategist Jochen
Schuemann says they won't be using it during racing. "We obviously did that
much earlier and didn't use it and we're still not using it," Schuemann
said about the 'hula'. "There will be no big surprises at the unveiling day
- maybe that will be the surprise."

Tactician Brad Butterworth didn't talk about the 'hula' specifically, but
confirmed the focus for the team since winning the Louis Vuitton Cup has
been on minor refinements, not radical changes. "We're just working hard on
all the little bits that we can do; sails and boat maintenance and crew
work, so that when we hit the line we give it our best shot," Butterworth
said. "When you look at how long it takes to get everything perfect or near
perfect in this game, a couple of weeks between regattas doesn't give you a
hell of a lot of time to change much. (We're) just trying to focus on Team
New Zealand and see where our boat sits with their boat and how our sailing
style fits with theirs. It's hard to work out when you haven't sailed
against them for over three years."

The 'hula' appendage is an attempt by Team New Zealand to build a faster
boat by exploiting the America's Cup Class Rule. The Kiwis hope to realise
a significant speed advantage from it, although whether they have or not
won't be known until the first race. "I don't expect that one boat will be
so much faster that one is just leading and the other following," Schuemann
said. "I think it will be an exciting and close event and the better team
will win, but it won't be 5-0." - From a story by Peter Rusch on the Louis
Vuitton Cup website, full story:
http://louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1828.html

AS SEEN BY CHRIS DICKSON
Veteran New Zealand sailor Chris Dickson is impressed with the black boats,
but has concerns as to how Team New Zealand will fare upwind against
Alinghi. Throughout the challenger series, Russell Coutts' Swiss syndicate
blew most of their opponents away on the first beat and were able to
increase their lead on the upwind legs. That early advantage was usually
enough for Alinghi to win the match. In the 12 times Dickson's Oracle
syndicate raced Alinghi in the challenger series, 65 per cent of the time
Alinghi made gains in the upwind legs.

"We found Alinghi to be a strong upwind boat," Dickson said yesterday. "In
the eyes of all the challengers they were strong upwind. So it would be
unreasonable for Team New Zealand to think otherwise. They will have to be
alert upwind."

The hull appendage (known as the hula) on both Team New Zealand yachts,
NZL81 and NZL82, adds volume and length to the hull, and therefore
potential speed. "The hull appendage isn't a race winner, but it will
help," Dickson said. But the hula comes at a cost.

The small gap between the appendage and the hull creates friction drag, and
the need for a rigid hull structure adds weight - both of which are
disadvantages in light air, particularly upwind. "Once you fully power a
long boat you can expect it to be faster," said Dickson. "But in light
winds the drag from the gap is bigger, and having a longer boat is not
necessarily a good thing either. I'd expect Team New Zealand to be strong
upwind in moderate and fresh conditions, and fast in all conditions downwind."

Alinghi have modified the shape of their bow, giving it more volume. The
modifications are aimed at increasing the length of their boat to combat
Team New Zealand's possible speed advantage. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full
story:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/acstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3099680&thesection=sport&thesubsection=americascup

RIDERS WANTED
The best ride at the upcoming Acura SORC may not be on a race boat, but on
the Raider RIB by Aquapro. Superb handling no matter the conditions
combined with a comfortable cabin or stylish console model guarantees your
passengers the most comfortable ride around. Whether in a 22' or a 46'
model, Aquapro delivers the most comfortable ride at the most affordable
prices. Still not convinced? Take a test ride at the Acura SORC. Call (619)
709-0697 to schedule your ride. Raider Boats - Quality made affordable.
http://www.raiderboat.com

SAP CAPE TO RIO
After a grueling journey of more than 3,400 miles, ten yachts participating
in the SAP Cape to Rio 2003 missed the final cut-off time. The deadline
expired at 13h00 GMT (15h00 SA time) Wednesday, 32 days after the first
fleet left on 4 January. - Yachting World website, for full story and
complete race results:
http://www.yachting-world.com/auto/newsdesk/20030105171318ywnews.html

NEWS BRIEFS
* Marty Mankamyer resigned as the president of the embattled United States
Olympic Committee last night, saying she has "neither the resources nor the
energy to continue to battle against the onslaughts of my detractors." Ms.
Mankamyer, 69, who was elected last August, was scheduled to face a
no-confidence vote on Saturday by the organization's executive committee,
the result of a campaign by some top officials to force her to step down.
According to the U.S.O.C.'s constitution, Ms. Mankamyer's interim successor
will be William C. Martin, a vice president (and the former President of US
Sailing) who is also the athletics director at the University of Michigan.
An election will subsequently be held to elect a president through 2004. -
Richard Sandomir, NY Times, full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/05/sports/othersports/05USOC.html

*The Around Alone race organizers have called a press conference for
Saturday morning to announce, " new and exciting developments to the race
format for 2006/ 07 competition with the aim to position Around Alone as
one of sport's ultimate global challenges." - www.aroundalone.com

* CORRECTION: The Aramid Rigging link in yesterday's Scuttlebutt was
incorrect. The trailer that will providing rigging support at the Acura
SORC can be seen at http://www.aramidrigging.com/trailer.asp


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (editor@sailingscuttlebutt.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 Ronnie R McCracken: I was very disheartened to hear that events
for intellectually disabled athletes will not be included in the Athens
2004 Paralympic Games because the revised system for testing athletes'
eligibility submitted by the International Sports Federation for Persons
with an Intellectual Disability (INAS-FID) did not meet the conditions
required by the IPC. This all came about because of Spanish Fencing Team (I
seem to remember) cheating in Sydney.

There is only one loser here from the squabbling and it's the athletes of
whatever sport they would compete in. It is about time that those who sit
on top of the totem pole realize that these athletes make tremendous
efforts to get where they do in their own sports and it gives them an aim
in life where intellectually disabled persons are not treated as part of
the community.

I am on the Sailing International Jury for their Special Olympics in Dublin
in June this year and look forward to working with all the competitors. If
ever there was an injustice in Olympics this is it and all sailors and
others should write to the IOC expressing their disgust at the decision.

* From Rick Hatch: Am I missing something other than the near nightly
television coverage from October to mid-January, or are there also other
'Buttheads who are finding the nearly four week "pause" between the end of
the Louis Vuitton Cup and the first race of the 31st defense of the
America's Cup painfully long? It feels like going to a live performance of
a Broadway company and waiting interminably for the performers to arrive on
stage.

Imagine if there were even two weeks between the end of the ALCS (or NLCS,
for those more fortunate to be able to attend MLB games without the DH
rule) and the first game of the World Series, or several weeks between the
FIFA or Rugby World Cup Semi Finals and the Cup Finals match? Not only the
fans, but more importantly the sponsors of these other "world's best"
calibre sports events would be screaming "No way, mate" at the organizers.

Future trustees of the Cup and executive of the CORC, of whatever
"nationality", please don't repeat this year's blunder. Get on with the show!

* From David Tabor (re Brad Van Liew, Henri Lloyd, and Western Bay
Finance assisting Tim Kent): What a great story to read amidst all the
dreary news of the days(s). Especially Van Liew's helping his competition!
Jeez, what are the chances of that happening at, say, the Tour de France,
MLBaseball, or what is that other sailboat race taking place down under? I
feel better about life already!

* From Bob Scribner: The article about Everest Horizontal was interesting
yet there was no information to advise a reader how one could make a
donation to Tim. A major oversight.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Everest Horizontal skipper Tim Kent can be contacted
at: lboits@netnitco.net

THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Why is it that most nudists are people you don't want to see naked?