SCUTTLEBUTT 1263 - February 17, 2003
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THE BIG AWARDS
Two Californians, John Kostecki, age 38, of Fairfax, and Liz Baylis, age
39, of San Rafael, have been named Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the
Year, respectively, for 2002. A panel of sailing journalists selected the
two accomplished sailors for this year's distinction from a shortlist of
nine nominees for the Rolex Yachtsman and five nominees for the Rolex
Kostecki, who also was named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 1988, made
international headlines in 2002 when he skippered the yacht illbruck to win
the Volvo Ocean Race, after nine months of intense around-the-world racing.
In addition to winning overall, illbruck won four of the nine race legs and
on the seventh leg, broke the world monohull speed record with a 484 mile
24-hour run. Kostecki's responsibilities as skipper included selection of
illbruck's 14-person crew as well as management of the training program and
onboard strategy during the race. As one of the Rolex panelists put it,
"the illbruck team's accomplishment was like scaling Mt. Everest without
oxygen while everyone else was hiking the Appalachian Trail."
Baylis, a first-time nominee for the award, crowned her sailing resume with
a hard-fought victory at the 2002 ISAF Women's Match Racing World
Championship in Spain. Having originally assembled her team in preparation
for the women's match racing discipline at the 2004 Olympics, Baylis had
steadily climbed into the top six in the ISAF Match Racing World Rankings.
Panelists also credited Baylis for crewing to a class victory at the
Pacific Cup, a 2200-mile race from San Francisco to Hawaii, aboard an
Antrim 27 with just three people aboard. In addition, she co-helmed a Farr
40 to second place at the Belvedere Cup, a match racing series, and
skippered to fourth place at the BOAT U.S. Santa Maria Cup, also a match
racing event. - Media Pro Int'l,
31st AMERICA'S CUP STANDINGS
Alinghi leads Team New Zealand in the best-of-nine series, 2 - 0.
* For Team New Zealand, the race was over almost before it began. Due in
large part to a disastrous series of events aboard a Kiwi boat that
appeared woefully unprepared for the task-and which was forced to retire
due to multiple gear failures midway up the first leg - Switzerland's
Alinghi Challenge sailed the majority of the course alone this afternoon to
take a remarkably easy 1-0 lead in the best-of-nine series for the
America's Cup. - Herb McCormick, Sailing World website,
* Team New Zealand estimate their yacht NZL-82 had between two and six
tonnes of water aboard during the run of disasters that led to them
crashing out of the first America's Cup race on the Hauraki Gulf today. The
defenders pulled out of the race without even completing the first leg,
leaving Swiss-based challengers Alinghi to sail cautiously on and go 1-0 up
in the best-of-nine series.
In the first few minutes NZL-82 had looked good, getting its nose in front
of Alinghi's SUI-64, before the worst of the water problems set in as the
combatants raced in 20 to 24 knot southerlies and choppy seas. Thirteen
minutes into the race the end of the boom on NZL-82 broke off, presenting
the team with a major problem. Four minutes later their predicament
worsened as the tack of the headsail exploded away from its fastening. The
metal headfoil that held the headsail on to the forestay had also been
damaged in the incident, making it impossible to hoist a replacement headsail.
At 1:40 PM, just 25 minutes after the start, Team New Zealand officially
retired from the race. It was a premature end to a much-anticipated day on
which, officials estimated, 2500 spectator boats gathered under clear skies
to see whether the defenders had a yacht good enough to fend off Alinghi's
challenge. A subdued Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said "it's one of
the days you'd like to forget". - Michael Daly, NZ Herald, full story:
* "I'm stunned," said Tom Whidden, the tactician for Dennis Conner's
Stars & Stripes, who was watching the race as part of the spectator fleet.
"I certainly expected after all this time Team New Zealand would be more
ready for these conditions." - NY Times,
* Challengers have been criticized since racing began in October for
refusing to start in winds more than 19 knots. Today's race never would
have happened in the challenger series Alinghi won to advance to the Cup.
Most observers reckoned TNZ, with no restrictions in its preparations,
would have an edge as a result. - Angus Phillips, Washington Post,
* The last time a defender withdrew from a race in the America's Cup
Match was in 1920. Resolute retired from a race against Shamrock IV when
the throat halyard, controlling the inboard end of the gaff supporting the
mainsail, broke in a squall. Ten years after that, challenger Shamrock V
withdrew from Race 3 against defender Enterprise when its mainsail halyard
broke. - America's Cup website, http://americascup.yahoo.com/story1954.html
RACE ONE WATER PROBLEM
"The sea state was in a fairly short chop and I think that was factor along
with the strong breeze and also the spectator wash, we certainly haven't
encountered a problem like that in any of the other sailing we have done so
it was a bit of shock to us to have the leeward side full of water after
only 8-9 minutes sailing. We certainly have never experienced that before.
We are looking at that now and we are pretty sure we will not happen
again." - TNZ skipper Dean Barker, AC website,
* Sailing in a strong over 20-knot breeze is not unusual for the New
Zealand crew, and some spectators assumed that the water, and the bailing
bucket used by mid bowman Matt Mitchell, was a normal procedure for the
crew. But Mitchell pointed out to reporters at the post-race press
conference that the bucket is in fact the on-board toilet. - Fiona McIlroy,
While you watch the America's Cup this week, be sure to also check out the
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Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts got the better of his young protégé, Kiwi
skipper Dean Barker on Sunday in a thrilling race to go up 2 - 0 in the
America's Cup Match. Coutts made an incredible pass on the final run,
breaking hearts across New Zealand as Alinghi slipped by just a few hundred
metres from the finish.
Racing was delayed for over two and half hours to allow the sea breeze to
stabilise on Sunday, and the warning signal eventually sounded with 8 - 10
knot Northeasterlies on the race course. Coutts and Alinghi looked strong
in the pre-start as the Swiss team won the favoured left side of the start
line. Halfway up the first beat Alinghi crossed ahead of Team New Zealand,
and hometown sailing fans had their hearts in their mouths.
But after trailing around the first mark, Team New Zealand showed an
impressive display of speed on the first run, and 40-minutes into the race,
the Kiwi black boat crossed ahead of its opponent for the first time in the
XXXI'st America's Cup match. Team New Zealand completed the first lap of
the course with a 34-second lead and looked as if they would hold on the
rest of the way. But on the final run to the finish, Alinghi rolled past
NZL-82 after some ferocious luffing duels, and Coutts enjoyed his 11th
consecutive America's Cup win.
Alinghi (SUI-64) beat Team New Zealand (NZL-82) - Delta: 0:07. Monday is an
'off' day. Race Three is scheduled to start at 13:15 on Tuesday afternoon.
- America's Cup website, full story:
* With the victory, Coutts sets a new record for most wins without a loss
in the America's Cup Match. Coutts has won 11 consecutive races at the helm
of an America's Cup yacht dating back to 1995. He breaks Charlie Barr's
record of nine straight wins through three Cups between 1899 and 1903. -
America's Cup website, http://americascup.yahoo.com/
* "The team, the people, always make the difference and we have a strong
team. We went through tough competition in the Louis Vuitton already, and
all the preparation, with our shore team and sailmakers, all the effort of
the past three years is now paying off. It's still a boat race, it's
sailing. We got it completely wrong on the first downwind, choosing the
wrong side of the downwind, increasing breeze, went to the right again, we
had the wrong sail up, so we did everything wrong that we could do wrong.
And that's the result - you lose a lot. When you do things better obviously
you gain. I think the boats are very close upwind and downwind. Although it
was only for a short time, when we saw them on the first day in strong
breeze, the boats were quite even, so I think we can look forward to more
tight and close racing." - Jochen Schuemann, Alinghi, Press Conference
* "Obviously we're disappointed but we can take a lot of positives out of
it," Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker told reporters at the post-race
press conference. "We know we're competitive against them which is a huge
weight off our shoulders." Alinghi (grinder John) Barnitt said he felt the
boats were very even, especially upwind, and that any advantage came from
being on the favoured left-hand side. "I just can't believe that they can
be so different and go so much the same speed."
Team New Zealand were also quick to quash any suggestions that the hula was
a factor in the loss. "I don't think what happened today has anything to do
with the hula," Barker said. "I think it was more about being in the right
place on the run." And despite the despondent body language Barker says he
still has faith in his syndicate. - Excerpts from a story by Fiona McIlroy,
nzoom.com, full story:
* It was the closest America's Cup race since Italy's Il Moro di Venezia
beat America3 by three seconds in the second race of the 1992 match. The
Americans ended up winning the series, 4-1. -
* The defenders' afterguard are a young bunch of sailors - Barker is 29,
his tactician Hamish Pepper is 31, traveller Adam Beashel is 34, navigator
Mike Drummond is 40 and strategist Peter Evans tops the group at
41-years-old. Collectively they have raced in just 14 America's Cup races,
Across the compound fence are Alinghi whose afterguard, of Russell Coutts,
Brad Butterworth, Murray Jones, Ernesto Bertarelli and triple Olympic gold
medallist Jochen Schuemann, have an average age of 42-years-old. The three
New Zealanders, Coutts, Butterworth and Jones, have won 12 out the last 12
America's races. Another advantage that the Swiss have is that over the
last three months they have sailed against a range of differently designed
yachts and a number of different crews.
Team New Zealand have said time and time again that their in-house racing
has been just as close if not closer than the Louis Vuitton Cup series, but
Barker told reporters on Sunday that they have had to be careful not to get
themselves into a rut. "We are sailing two very similar boats the whole
time and you have to be careful you don't sail yourself into a bit of a
corner," he said. "But I don't believe today (Sunday) was a result of any
lack of in-house competition." - Fiona McIlroy, nzoom.com, full story:
* Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, still dressed in his racing gear,
is bathed in the bright lights of a press conference an hour and a half
after his team's loss to Swiss challengers Alinghi. But you can tell his
mind is miles away. His whole body speaks of fatigue, of a mighty effort to
suppress the sting of defeat. Sitting down to face about 70 journalists and
their unforgiving cameras, Barker swallows quickly, once, twice, has a sip
of water and warily eyes the crowd. He knows what they are thinking: day
one was bad. Day two, disaster.
As he listens to Alinghi's Jochen Schuemann explain victory, Barker's eyes
roam into the shadows. He might look questioners in the eye as they seek
explanations of the day, but the answers are prefaced with an intake of
breath that comes out as a disappointed sigh. Barker wears the face of a
man who is deeply disappointed but determined not to show it. But there is
an outward giveaway: he licks his lower lip quickly, then purses his lips
enough that his dimples crease. It's not a grimace, nothing near a smile;
it's an expression that says: I am trying to be professional about this but
I want to get out of here and deal with our defeat in private. - Julie
Middleton, NZ Herald, full story:
AROUND ALONE 2003
The main topic of conversation among the Around Alone skippers is one about
ice. Not ice for cocktails, but hard, cold, deadly ice in the water,
perhaps in the path of one of them as they streak across the Southern
Ocean. It is, as Bernard Stamm quite rightly pointed out, a game of Russian
Roulette. It's a high stakes blast through the cold south pacific darkness
as the boats fly along at speeds in excess of 20 knots blind to the dangers
that lie ahead. Onboard radar's can pick up the big bergs; nothing can pick
up the growlers or bergy bits that lurk just below the surface. The only
rule of thumb is to always pass to windward of an iceberg. Duck to leeward
and you stand a better than average chance of hitting a growler that has
broken off the main berg. - www.aroundalone.com
STANDINGS: 2200 UTC February 16 CLASS 1: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux,
Bernard Stamm, 5315 miles from finish 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois 47
miles behind leader; 3. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 96 mbl; 4. Hexagon,
Graham Dalton, 141 mbl; 5. Pindar, Emma Richards, 229 mbl; 6. Ocean Planet,
Bruce Schwab, 237 mbl.
CLASS 2: 1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 5661 miles from finish; 2.
Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 312 mbl; 3. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro
Shiraishi, 375 mbl; 4. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 537 mbl; 5. Spirit of
Canada, Derek Hatfield, 969 mbl.
JULES VERNE TROPHY
* GERONIMO covered 454 nautical miles on her 36th day at sea: an average
speed of 18.90 knots point-to-point. The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric
trimaran has been making headway at over 20 knots through the Pacific, but
is having to tack all the way with several gibes a day. The continued
presence of ice still blocks any hope of getting further south, especially
at night. Further to the north, the wind has little power, so the crew
continues to have to compromise the precious advantage they have
accumulated since the start of this record attempt. The Southern Ocean is
decidedly mediocre this year, offering no opportunity for long days of
gliding progress, due to the lack of wind, confused seas and the presence
* KINGFISHER2 is hiding for cover with boatspeed sitting on 30+ knots. The
boat is hurtling down waves - big waves - and trying to avoid "stuffing"
the bows into the wave in front - this is the Southern Ocean. The art of
riding the lows pressure systems is to ride them to the north, close enough
to get good breeze, but not so close that storm conditions put you in to
survival mode rather than speed mode...as the low passes over the wind will
switch from north west, to west, then south west as the low departs...these
giant cats are capable of sustaining speeds that mean they can stay with
the same low for a thousand miles or more.
Kingfisher2 Day 18 Summary (http://www.teamkingfisher.com):
- 7 hours 53 minutes behind Orange
- 72 hours 21 minutes behind Geronimo
- Day 18 (24 hour run): Kingfisher2- 507 nm, Orange- 532 mn, Geronimo- 470 nm
- Distance to go: Kingfisher2- 18547 nm, Orange- 18421 nm, Geronimo- 17390 nm
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FOR THE RECORD
American skipper Steve Fossett's 125' (38m) maxi-catamaran PlayStation
embarked on an attempt on the 20-month old 'Christopher Columbus Route'
East - West TransAtlantic Record, crossing the start line at Puerto Sherry,
Cadiz a scant 40 seconds after midnight on Friday. - www.fossettchallenge.com.
Just prior to sunset on Monday in Auckland, NLZ81 which mysteriously and
inexplicably was missing from the racecourse during Race Two, reappeared
from the shed in the TNZ compound and the mast was stepped.
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 Wes Oliver: The first race of the Cup Match has not even begun,
and some are already questioning the impartiality of the RC Chairman. As a
veteran race officer of 3 Cup matches in Newport, the Olympics in Savannah,
and countless club races on Long Island Sound, I take great offense at the
suggestion that any Race Officer is less than impartial. If you haven't
been in Race Committee shoes, be careful how you criticize.
Race committee actions concerning weather have always been a judgment call,
and race committees often have less weather data at their disposal than
some competitors through their paid services. In the end, I think most will
agree, the effort is always to assure fair and safe sailing for all
Veterans like Harold Bennett are selected for their prowess in race
management. He, like all of us, is susceptible to making a bad judgment
call, but with his prior Cup experience and his knowledge of the local
water and weather, who could be better? Don't second guess the race
committee! You won't, if you have worn those shoes!
* From Joel Stiebel: The only disadvantage of the longer, thinner and
lower Kiwi keel bulb that has been written about is its increased wetted
surface, which has more of an effect in light wind.
Another drawback may well be its higher moment of inertia. The NZL-82 keel
bulb is about twice as long, so its mass is distributed further out from
the boat's center. The keel represents 85-90% of the boat's total weight.
Since moment of inertia is a squared function of the distance from the axis
times the mass, the longer length's effect should not be insubstantial.
Designers and sailors try to keep weight out of the ends of the boat.
Everything else being equal, it would seem that this should apply to the
keel as well. As a consequence, particularly in lumpy or wavy conditions,
the NZL-82 keel could be a disadvantage if it tends to force the bow to
plow through waves. Hypothesizing further, the keel could also make the
Kiwi boat a touch less responsive when maneuvering.
* From George Hunter: Comments in this forum regarding the quality of
parties immediately before the America's Cup aside, it is nice to see
somebody call the blackheart campaign what it is - a "disgraceful hate
campaign". I would be a lot more impressed with the hospitality in Auckland
if I heard more kiwis expressing embarrassment over the antics of this
group (to be fair, I have heard it from a few). It would be especially
appropriate to hear this from members of Team New Zealand and/ or from
Talking with people who spent some time in New Zealand working for various
challenges, it seems clear that the two years preceding the competition
were not as enjoyable as they expected. It may be a bit presumptuous to fly
down there in February, go out to a couple of bars, and decide that they
don't know what they are talking about.
* From Rick McKenna: I read the comments of Gary Bruner and the
Curmudgeon's response regarding the American entries in the Around Alone
race with great dismay. Mr. Bruner comments on the success of Bruce Schwab
on a "limited budget" and the Curmudgeon comments on Brad's success as the
class 2 leader. However, I believe that the American skipper who as
accomplished the most with the least resources has to be Tim Kent on
Everest Horizontal. Tim is in squarely in second place overall in Class 2
(having taken 3rd, 2nd and 2nd on the first three legs).
Both Bruce Schwab and Brad Van Liew have received hundreds of thousands of
dollars from corporate sponsors. However, Tim continues to struggle on a
truly Corinthian budget and program. While Tim has received support from
some commercial sponsors, the total corporate sponsorship is less than
$100,000, a fraction of money Bruce and Brad have received. So, I applaud
the success, effort and raw courage of my fellow Americans, Bruce Schwab
and Brad Van Liew, but feel that it is entirely unfair to leave out of this
discussion, the true American underdog, Tim Kent.
* From Chip Pitcairn: After ESPNs coverage of what little racing there
was in race 1 of the America's Cup, I sure do miss OLN, Peter Montgomery,
Ed Baird, Peter Isler and Dawn Riley.
THE CURMUDGEON'S COUNSEL
Never ask a 3-year old to hold a tomato.