SCUTTLEBUTT 1265 - February 19, 2003
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AMERICA'S CUP COMMENTARY - Rich Roberts
Myths of the America's Cup:
--The faster boat always wins.
--The top crews are equal.
--The "hula" hull appendage is the biggest breakthrough in sailing since
Welcome to reality. No, it's not over yet. Team New Zealand could win five
of six . . . the day a kiwi bird learns to fly.
The defenders, after their boat became a bathtub and started blowing apart
in Race 1, have lost by only 7 and 23 seconds in the next two races. That
isn't nearly as bad as three years ago when another Team New Zealand
blitzed Prada five straight with winning margins of 48 seconds to 2 minutes
43 seconds. Make a note of that for future consolation, because that's
about all it's worth.
Of no consolation is that TNZ may have the faster boat but still can't win.
It certainly doesn't seem any slower than Alinghi. Mark one for the hula.
So the difference must be luck-that is, Alinghi is lucky to have Russell
Coutts and Brad Butterworth on its side. Sometimes Butterworth seems to
have ethereal powers. It was worth a chuckle recently when the company that
makes Butterworth's sunglasses ran an ad claiming he could "see" breeze
that others could not. Now I'm starting to believe it.
If Butterworth had been telling TNZ skipper Dean Barker to take the right
side for the Race 3 start, overriding the opinions of others on board,
today we would be writing comeback stories for the Kiwis at 2-1. And if
Coutts, nervously looking over his shoulder, which he seldom does, hadn't
sensed his lead eroding and insisted on tacking back to cover TNZ just in
time to keep Alinghi in front, we'd all be writing that even the infallible
ones could blunder victory into defeat.
* The character of the New Zealand sailor remains intact, but the best ones
are no longer exclusive to the home team. Coutts and Butterworth took the
pick of the litter with them to Switzerland, as the next level jumped ship
to Seattle and San Francisco. Even the world's deepest little reservoir of
sailing talent has to feel the loss. Isn't that what we're seeing now? -
Excerpts from a story by Rich Roberts to be posted today on the Yacht
Racing website, full story: www.yachtracing.com
AROUND ALONE 2003
Brad Van Liew aboard Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America reports severe weather
this evening. Steady 40 knots gusting 50. Graham Dalton has sailed Hexagon
to within .8 of a mile of Simone Bianchetti on Tiscali. The Italian skipper
has moved north to avoid running into ice and in doing so has lost out to
STANDINGS: 2200 UTC February 16 CLASS 1: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux,
Bernard Stamm, 4596 miles from finish 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois 77
miles behind leader; 3. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 227 mbl; 4. Hexagon,
Graham Dalton, 228 mbl; 5. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 349 mbl 6. Pindar,
Emma Richards, 357 mbl.
CLASS 2: 1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 5132 miles from finish; 2.
Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 390 mbl; 3. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro
Shiraishi, 483 mbl; 4. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 742 mbl; 5. Spirit of
Canada, Derek Hatfield, 112 mbl. - www.aroundalone.com
J/105 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MIDWINTER'S 2003
Nineteen J/105 teams descended on Dana Point Harbor for the J/105
Midwinters, and one sailmaker dominated the class. Five races were held and
Ullman Sails customers finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in every race! Our
customers swept the regatta with 1st through 5th place, and finished eight
boats in the top 10. Are you and your crew ready for the "Fastest Sails on
the Planet?" Call your nearest Ullman Sails loft or visit us at
Team New Zealand have not ruled out crew changes as the winless America's
Cup holders try to work out how to defy America's Cup history and recover
from being 3-0 down.
* Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker confessed that his sailing team
made another costly tactical blunder in yesterday's race, effectively
handing the win to the Swiss team before they crossed the starting line.
His weather team told the New Zealanders to try to take the right-hand
start of the side line, but Barker said "confusion" meant the sailors
elected to stick to the left. It was the wrong decision.
* Barker said last night he was very happy with his sailing team. But he
did not rule out changes, including putting syndicate head and chief
designer Tom Schnackenberg on the boat. "Never say never," he said.
"We don't think we're doing anything particularly badly. We're happy with
the way we're sailing. I've got absolutely no problems with any of the guys
who are on the boat. Things just haven't gone our way." If he was told he
was no longer the right person to be skipper, "I'd be more than happy to
live by that".
Observers say the crew are sailing the boat well. But Barker yesterday
admitted there was "confusion" in the afterguard, where the race tactics
and strategies are decided. - Excerpts from a story by Helen Tunnah in the
NZ Herald, full story:
* "These changes can go either way," said sports psychologist Gilbert
Enoka, whose client list includes the New Zealand All Black rugby team and
the Black Caps cricket team. "I have been around so many teams where a
change in personnel at the top has led to fantastic turn-arounds. I have
also seen situations where it has turned into disaster."
* "When you are a professional sports team and you do not get results,
you have to make changes." - Larry Ellison
* "You should dance with the one that brung ya." - Young America 2000
skipper Ed Baird
Excerpts from a story by Ivor Wilkins on the official America's Cup
* "The dramatic dejection I see after each loss shows a team that is
overly concerned about the outcome of the regatta. Everyone likes a big
turnaround in sports. In the current configuration, TNZ lacks the tactical
skill to defeat Alinghi. A change could reverse this trend." - Gary Jobson,
Sailing World website,
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* May 17-18: Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge, San Diego YC. Competition between
yacht clubs in J/105s in the Coronado Roads.
* July 15-19: /24 Silver Anniversary Regatta, Sail Newport, Newport, RI.
More than 160 teams from 20 U.S. States, Canada, Ireland, Germany and the
Bahamas competed during the three-day Sailing World National Offshore One
Design (NOOD) Regatta in St. Petersburg, Florida. The J/24 class was the
largest class of the event with 28 boats competing on the weekend. Peter
Bream of Jacksonville took top honors for the fourth time in the last five
years of the NOOD event. Bream took second-place in 2002 when he decided to
leave his team before the end of the event to attend the Daytona 500. This
year his team coaxed him into skipping the 500.
One of the youngest racers to take home a Regatta title was Josh Wilus of
St. Petersburg who won the SR Max class. Wilus, only 17 and a recent high
school graduate, was the Hall Spars & Rigging Boat of the Day Award winner
on day one of the St. Pete NOOD event, winning each of his races on the
first day. Wilus didn't let up throughout the event, taking his class by
Complete results: www.sailingworld.com
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JULES VERNE TROPHY
* GERONIMO: Having identified a suspect area of very low water temperatures
around 110° West, Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew have stayed
north of the 52° South parallel. This seems a wise decision when you learn
that Geronimo found herself nose-to-nose with a 300-metre long iceberg last
Friday, despite water temperatures of 9°C at 53° South. This berg was not
picked up by satellite, although another several kilometres long was
observed to the north of the trimaran's track. The only method available
for assessing the presence of ice therefore remains seawater temperature.
Geronimo covered 552 nm in the last 24 hours for an average speed of 23
* KINGFISHER2: "The next 24 hours are not looking brilliant," said skipper
Ellen MacArthur. Over the next few days the maxi-catarmaran Kingfisher2
will be moving south to avoid a huge high pressure zone in the mid Indian
Ocean but other lows that are moving around are forming a convergence zone
- basically a 200 mile corridor - that may not hold as much pressure as
Ellen and the crew would like. Both Orange and Geronimo positioned further
north, had "slower" periods and lower 24 hour mileage rates during the same
stage of their record bids, so it is a good opportunity for Kingfisher2 to
get back more time if the weather holds for them.
Kingfisher2 Day 19 Summary (http://www.teamkingfisher.com):
- 1 hours 35 minutes behind Orange
- 53 hours 24 minutes behind Geronimo
- Day 19 (24 hour run): Kingfisher2- 517 nm, Orange- 487 mn, Geronimo- 344 nm
- Distance to go: Kingfisher2- 17570 nm, Orange- 17595 nm, Geronimo- 17595 nm
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Scuttlebutt has the latest images of Ellen MacArthur
and crew aboard Kingfisher2 during their attempt to break the Jules Verne
QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Tim Jeffery
* "Once again, the speed margin between Alinghi's SUI 64 and Team New
Zealand's NZL 82 is infinitesimal, but the gulf between the teams gigantic."
* 'The demoralizing effect that this has had on Barker is incalculable.'
- Excerpts from a story by Tim Jeffery in The Telegraph, full story:
* Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC) are anticipating upwards of 950 entries for
this year's Regatta, August 1-9. The race organisers are expecting more big
boats and foreign entries as a result of 2003 being a Fastnet Race year.
Also the Admiral's Cup returns to Cowes shortly before the start of Skandia
Cowes Week (SCW) and CCC hopes that the timing will attract some of the
teams to stay and compete. Meanwhile CCC is forced to increase the 2003
entry fees by an average of 5% as a direct result of being stung with a
massive increase in its third party liability insurance premiums - from
£7.5k up to £24k - in the aftermath of September 11th and the recent
stockmarket falls. www.cowesweek.co.uk
* Virtual Spectator is set to cash in on its Internet exposure during the
Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup racing by moving to the unlisted
securities market and raising $1 million in funding. Chief executive Greg
Young said the company's debut on the largely unregulated secondary board
was aimed at raising money from "habitual and professional investors" to
complete the acquisition of an Australian company. He would not name the
company but said the acquisition would "double the size of Virtual
Spectator". - www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,2273418a13,00.html
* Delta Lloyd Insurances and the Royal Dutch Sailing Federation reached
an agreement on co-operation as of March 2003. The partnership between
Delta Lloyd and the Sailing Federation is for a three years period and
concerns an innovative kind of co-operation and is different from
sponsoring in the traditional way. Delta Lloyd and the Sailing Federation
will develop activities in order to introduce their products to each others
members under attractive conditions.
* A boatload of America's Cup spectators were thrown from their launch when
it and a trimaran twice its size collided amid a chaotic spectator fleet
returning to shore after yesterday's racing. Another launch sank after it
was swamped by waves caused by the "washing Machine"-like conditions
brought about by choppy seas and the wakes of the 700-odd boats that were
out on the Hauraki Gulf. - NZ Herald,
* AC Race 4 will be on ESPN2 at 7:00 PM ET (4:00 PM PT) today.
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 Gregory Scott: After the 'squillions' have been spent, it's
wonderful to see in the end, it's the simple beauty of sailing that shines
through. The attraction of sailing, like many sports is the simplicity. In
baseball, you throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball.
Sailing, you put sails up and take them down. You make them look and feel
right and you go fast. And of course, as every coach has said, pick the
first shift. Whether it's baseball or sailing, when it's played so well it
looks so simple. Until you spend the hours in that pursuit, it is only then
when you appreciate that Butterworth and company make it so simple. Simple
yes, but brilliant in the simplicity.
* From Joe Sircely: It is heart-wrenching for me to watch Russell Coutts
steal the Cup from New Zealand. While every other syndicate is merely an
economic entity, Team New Zealand truly is a national effort. They are the
last standing relic of what the Cup should be. And while they are not an
exclusive KiwiTeam, they, more than any other team represent this
philosophy. This is why when I saw Coutts cross the line last night to go
up 3-0, I asked myself this question, how can he sleep at night.
For a little country where sailing means so much both in their hearts and
their pocket books, it seems to me an act of treason. Can you imaginge
Shaquile O'Neal playing for Russia in the Olympics and taking the gold.
This metaphor comes no where close since there would be little economic
repercussions. I guess having visited Aukland for the 2000 cup and knowing
how much it means to them it just isn't right for one of their own to be
the one to bring it all down.
* From Charles Russell: I read today in 'Butt that the if Alingi wins the
Cup, one of the venues Bertarelli would consider to put on the next defense
is Cascais, in Portugal. Notwithstanding his apparent lack of sportsmanship
for not wanting to earn the right to defend the Cup next time by having to
compete in "defense trials," (forever a wonderful part of the Cup event
till it went to NZ), this venue would be far better for reliable wind than
the Med - as most know. However, I also read that the representative of the
pre-arranged club, Patrick de Barros of the Cascais Yacht Club, is ready
with guarantees of no challengers for the defense if they can sponsor the
Worst, by far, however, is that he says 2007. That is absurd. The sailing
public already had to endure the painful wait from 1995 to 2000 inflicted
by the Kiwis. Please, not again. Seems like he is using the excuse that
2006 would be out of the question because of the World Cup in Germany that
summer. But, that is only for one month, June 15 - July 15. Suggest that
the sailing world email, or otherwise contact Bertarelli that, in the event
he wins the Cup, to please not drag things out for 4 more years till the
* From Steve Greene: Can of worms ... open. What if Ernesto Bertarallis
and Alinghi wins? Everyone seems so concerned "where" the next Cup might be
held, but I'd propose that we start talking about "what boats" might be
used. Bertarallis is an avid and very accomplished catamaran and trimaran
sailor, and to the victor go the spoils. Although "the rule" was instilled
in 1988 defining what an IACC yacht "is" after Connor's cat "Stars &
Stripes" put a hurting on New Zealand's monster KZ-1, could there be a
petition for another change or update in the rules? Could there be talk of
true innovation and progression once again in the Cup world? Hula or not,
the current array of boats used in the cup are rather boring (until they
Today's boats may be 1/4 knot faster than yesterday's, but is that really
innovation? Why not bring in some multis that are truly cutting edge,
"extreme" and really exciting- boats that take just as much (if not more)
knowledge, skill and teamwork to operate at peak performance? Please
understand I am not a purist either way (mono or multi). I have much
respect for the sailors participating in The Cup as they are super
athletes, excellent sailors, and great representatives of our sport, but
how long are we going to condemn them to the stone age? C'mon, let's push
* From Ed Sherman: The sad thought regarding the present AC races
concerns the fans and children of New Zealand. Their country is the sailing
Mecca if there is a country on earth which is a sailing Mecca. When has
there been an AC race where both skippers are from the same country?
Whichever boat wins, it will have won with a a New Zealander at the helm.
Sad thing is that if Alingi wins the Cup will leave Mecca. However, every
New Zealander can take comfort in knowing the entire sailing world is
presently bowing to them and will never forget these times.
* From Jay Harris: On the last beat of race 3, approximately 1:56 into
the broadcast (thanks Tivo) ESPN provided a closeup of TNZ sailing on port
tack. There is significant waterline turbulence at what appears to be the
hula/ hull junction beneath the Lotto Logo and Toyota symbol. It seems
worthy of commentary regardless of its cause.
* From Jon Rogers: Thought it was funny to read in the Race 3 report, "The
lead Coutts built in the first five minutes of the race would carry him the
rest of the way around the course". Interesting, I could have swore I heard
Brad Butterworth say he liked the right side, and I think I saw a few huge
guys on the boat turning big handles, and some guy up the mast saying
"great breeze ahead" as Alinghi pushed out toward the right after the
start. If I was Mr Bertarelli I think I might consider having Russell
singlehand tomorrow's race.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?