SCUTTLEBUTT 1269 - February 23, 2003
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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Lighter winds plagued the Hauraki Gulf again on Sunday, and although both
teams went to the race area, Race Four was eventually postponed for the
third consecutive time. The wind was fairly soft and shifty at the
scheduled start time of 13:15, but as the afternoon wore on, a light
Northeasterly began to build. At 14:00, Alinghi started sailing, and Team
New Zealand began it's preparations about 30-minutes later. The Race
Committee however, couldn't set a race course.
With the 15:30 time limit for a warning signal approaching, the Royal New
Zealand Yacht Squadron's Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett was forced
to consult with both teams to see whether they'd agree to wait longer to
see if a race could start. America's Cup Condition 13.1 states that, "No
warning signal shall be made after 15:30, unless otherwise agreed by both
Race Committee Boat Representatives."
The Swiss Alinghi Team, leading the best of nine series 3 - 0, immediately
told Bennett they would be happy to start. Team New Zealand consulted for
several minutes with its weather team before navigator Mike Drummond
responded, "We don't think it's suitable to race."
A few moments later he told the Race Committee that Team New Zealand would
be willing to wait until 16:00 to see whether conditions improved. But
under Condition 13.1, starting the race was no longer at the discretion of
the Race Committee, but at the discretion of the teams.
Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts was clearly eager to race, and at 15:45,
SUI-64, the race boat, and SUI-75, the tune-up boat, staged a mock start,
complete with Code 0 masthead headsails and a dial-up. Neither Bennett, nor
Team New Zealand were persuaded however, and at 16:00, the Race Committee
called it off for the day.
Race Four will now be attempted on Monday (previously scheduled as an off
day), with the start at 13:15. The forecast for the Hauraki Gulf at 13:00
Monday calls for Easterly winds backing Northeasterly, 5 - 13 knots. -
America's Cup website, http://americascup.yahoo.com/
KIWI AFTERGUARD - ADAM BEASHEL
Adam Beashel may have been a barefoot kid running around the Australia II
base in Newport in 1983, but he learned a valuable lesson he's putting to
use at Team New Zealand today. Beashel was 13 when his brother, Colin, was
mainsheet trimmer on Australia II, and his dad, Ken, was head boatbuilder
for the history-breaking campaign in Newport. The Australians knew they had
a faster boat than Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes, but were staring defeat
in the face with the score 3-1 to the New York Yacht Club in the
Twenty years on, Team New Zealand afterguard member Beashel is calling on
his memories of those days to turn Team New Zealand's fortunes around. "I
remember it was pretty hard on the whole Australia II team back then too,"
he says. "They all knew, just as we know, that they were capable of winning
races. There wasn't a lot in it between the two boats.
"Back then was the beginning of the old cliche that we stick to now: 'We've
got to win five races and forget about the others.' There's a lot of merit
and truth in that. "I still believe in not looking at the score. My goal,
and I think one of the primary goals of Team New Zealand, is to go out
there and show how we are capable of beating the best challenger the Louis
Vuitton Cup could produce. "Boat-for-boat, man-for-man we can do it, just
as Australia II did." TNZ website, full story:
KOSTECKI, BUTTERWORTH, REYNOLDS, NICHOLSON, CAMPBELL
John Kostecki, Brad Butterworth, Mark Reynolds, Chris Nicholson, Andrew
Campbell, Warwick Fleury, Simon Daubney, John Barnit, Peter Evans, Mike
Drummond, Barry McKay, Pete Melvin, Howie Hamlin, Mike Martin, Iain Murray,
Buddy Melges, Paul Foerster, Kevin Burnham, Cam Lewis, Ken Read, Iain
Percy. This is only part of our team. Kaenon Polarized. Advanced
technololgy for the human element. Evolve Optically. Available at TeamOne
Newport, Sailing Supply San Diego, West Marine, Solstice and Alain Mikli
New York City. Or, visit our website for an authorized dealer or link.
PRIZE GIVING CEREMONY
The official presentation of the America's Cup will take place at the
Viaduct Harbour just a couple of hours after the final race. The runner-up
in the racing is due at the Viaduct about 90 minutes after the race and the
winner will arrive at the presentation pontoon in front of the Loaded Hog
bar about 15 minutes later for the trophy presentation. The trophy will be
presented by the commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Bill
It is not known which dignitaries might attend. A spokesman for Helen Clark
said yesterday that her attendance at the presentation ceremony had not
even been considered yet. Security is expected to be tight for the
presentation. When Alinghi won the challenger series police were clearly
evident as Russell Coutts and his team collected the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Three years ago tens of thousands of New Zealanders packed into central
Auckland after Team New Zealand beat Prada to hold the cup, and for some
the party lasted until the following morning. NZ Herald,
(Rob Kothe written a comprehensive update for the Sail-World website on the
proposed Fremantle, Australia based Antarctica Cup race - a Round the world
non-stop south ocean circumnavigation race of 14,600 miles in one-design
boats. Following are some of the quotes from race organizer and West
Australian businessman and yachtsman, Bob Williams about how plans are going.)
"There have been well over 200 downloads of the notice of race. Since then
a good spread of enquiries have come forward. Seven syndicates have
reserved race entry slots Roy Heiner, Paul Cayard, John Quigley's BritXL,
and the Californian Greybeard Syndicate headed by Buzz Boettcher. Now there
are three Australian groups, Grant Wharington who campaign's the Wild
Thing's, Mark Rodereda from Western Australia and the two circumnavigators
Jon Sanders and David Dicks, both Perth locals.
"I think there are a lot of people sitting on the fence, waiting to see
what is going to happen with the race and that is fairly standard. It is a
question of us identifying the 8-10 or even 20 groups who are really
serious about our race and want to be involved. Then sitting with them and
closing the deal, so to speak. That is the mode we are in right now. We are
capitalising on the great interest in the race and wanting final commitment
so that we can get the process rolling.
"Our original concept was that we'd build the boats here in Western
Australia; using the magnificent boat building facilities we have here. But
in reality with the build time we have left, we have 22 months; the boat
building yards here are too busy to be able to deliver for the 2005 race.
However there are number of major boat builders around the world, who do
have the capacity to deliver the number of boats we need by December 2004.
"By the end of March 2003 we want to be close to our 5 minimum entrants. If
we can achieve that then our production slots will be practical. By the end
of March, we need to see deposits from entrants." - Bob Williams quotes
from a story by Rob Kothe on the Sail-World website. Full story:
Two of the Open 60 competitors in Class 1 of the Around Alone Race are
sailing toward Cape Horn under jib only - both have broken booms.
Hexagon skipper Graham Dalton reported that his boom had snapped during a
gybe. A carbon fibre sleeve, essentially a splint', is currently being
built for Hezagon in New Zealand and this will be riveted and glued onto
the existing boom to pull it back together. Richard Bearda, Hexagon's shore
manager, commented, "Dave Peterson and I will be in Argentina 24 hours from
now where we will rendezvous with Graham at Cape Horn. Our aim is to affect
the repair in under 12 hours. We know we can fix the boom, but our biggest
concern is getting the glue to dry as conditions out there are very cold
Bruce Schwab's Ocean Planet suffered even more damage when his 'autopilot
lost its marbles' and the boat crash jibed in 40 knots of wind. The boom
broke when it hit the runner, but not before it ripped the jammer out of
the deck, leaving a sizable hole. A fair amount of water came in through
that hole. In e-mail from the boat Schwab wrote, "Now the challenge is to
see if I can fix the boat at Cape Horn or the Falklands, and somehow manage
to finish this leg and the race."- www.aroundalone.com
For the second time in two days the New Zealand Herald has carried a major
story about Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts. The last one by Jan Corbett
examines the man more than the man's accomplishments. It's long - about 2/3
the size of a normal issue of Scuttlebutt - but it's definitely
FOR THE RECORD
Steve Fossett and his international crew of 12 came through a testing Day 8
(Saturday) - covering 427nm over the past 24 hours - despite the breakage
and subsequent repair of the mainsheet - a short piece of carbon-composite
rope bearing up to 15 tonnes of load and controlling almost 600 sq m of
The beginning of Day 9 thus sees the 125' (38m) maxi-catamaran just 616 nm
from her destination - the same landfall as Columbus' in 1492. This time
the target is not the presumed riches of a new world - but the June 2000
East - West Transatlantic sailing record set by Club Med, co-skippered by
Grant Dalton and Bruno Peyron. To break Club Med's record, PlayStation will
need to arrive at the Bahamian island of San Salvador before Tuesday at
14:53 GMT (09:53 local time) - www.fossettchallenge.com
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 Ken Guyer: The fact that New Zealand turns out talented sailors is
not debated, they do. But I question the country when it comes to having
the proper handle on sportsmanship. We have heard all the whining about
Coutts and Butterworth being traitors. No mention of the other TNZ sailors
and design team members who did the same thing, doesn't matter, they are
not on teams that are kicking their teams butt. This is from a team and
country that touts so-called innovations such as the "hula", designed by an
American and boots their Kiwi Tactician in favor of a Frenchman. All the
while running a campaign saying they are "Loyal".
Now Auckland City councilor Scott Milne announces no parade in Auckland for
Alinghi if they should win, perhaps understandable, and also no parade for
TNZ should they lose. He is quoted, "And I am afraid there will be no
parade for losers." I got news for Scott Milne. With a prevailing attitude
like that, Auckland is a city of losers. "Win or lose" is the call when
supporting your team and being loyal. This "tude" certainly goes along way
in supporting Coutts and Butterworth's version of how they became
frustrated and went with the Swiss.
Grow up Auckland, give your team the recognition they deserve. They worked
hard and had less money available to them. They have a young skipper and a
talented crew. Winning a regatta is not everything in life, but showing
your true loyalty to the team "win or lose" is.
* From Kevin Dibley: Having lived in Auckland for a number of years and
being involved in the Marine Industry both as a sailor and yacht designer,
I can tell you that the majority of the 'yachties' down here are as proud
of the boys on the 'Black Boat' as they are of all the kiwi's on the other
boats including Allinghi. Yes we want The Cup to stay, but we also want
this to be a yacht race between two of the best. Kiwi's have a lot to be
proud of regardless of who wins or loses.
* From David Polacek, Czech Republic: Barker outclassed? Think twice!
I am tired of reading all those "qualified" analyses on Barker and co.
being outclassed by the infallible Swisskiwi duo. While Barker's body
language may seem to be the one of devastation, reflecting the
contradiction between his countrymen expectations and the unfortunate
scoreline, he shows no trace of it in his on water performance. The actual
comparison? The starts: even, Barker getting favoured side in R1, Coutts in
R2, both getting their goals in R3. The errors: Coutts 1 (letting Barker
pass him on the first run of R2) Barker 1 (last run costly blunder, no time
left to undo it). With the boatspeed and boat handling also too close to
call, the difference in fact was weather team confusion and gear failure,
neither likely to happen again.
Bottom line: whatever the scoreline, the performance level is actually
quite even, and the momentum can easily swing to the other side.
Unprecedented? Just June last year Barker came back to win a 50 footer
Matchrace regatta in Italy after losing the two opening encounters, against
- guess who - Alinghi. He won three in a row to come back there, and added
another five in a row against Coutts a month later in Sweden. Let's not
write him off, just sit back and treat yourself to some great racing.
* From: Stephen Swope: I agree totally with Kelly Young that the
professionalism of Gary Jobson and Paul Page is a refreshing change from
the hyperbole of Peter Montgomery. It is also refreshing to have an
America's Cup decided on the water by sailors rather than on land by
designers or lawyers.
To the extent that professional sailors' incomes are related to the
audiences they deliver to sponsors, I am sure that there are many more of
us who identify with monohulls than with catamarans. Finally, I am not
aware of any information regarding whether or not Bertarelli has locked up
Coutts and Butterworth for a defense campaign. Is it possible that they
could still sell themselves to one of the other 'multi-national' syndicates
(Oracle, OneWorld) for next time?
* From Roland Schulz: (re: Butt 1267): I must say I laughed out loud at
Kelly Young's description of Peter Montgomery's commentary although I think
he does a great job of presenting sailing to the general public.
Over-hearing the banter of the world's foremost sailors in the act of
competing for the Holy Grail of yacht racing is certainly a treat for any
amateur of the sport. However it is a treat at the expense of those who
make televised coverage of the America's Cup possible. For the pros, the
sponsors, the commentators and the mass audience to whom yacht races are
supposed to appeal, the fine points of yacht racing are fairly irrelevant.
The spectacle is the thing baby! The louder, the more simplistic the
better. (Deed of Gift?? who needs it? ... just an historical artifact
standing in the way of sponsorship dollars! )
Of course in the old days the only way to overhear the comments of the
world's foremost sailors competing for the America's Cup was to be on board
next to them. So if you want your SailTV I guess you got to expect a few
changes and compromises.
* From Marceline Therrien (re Joe Sircely's letter in 'Butt): It is no
small thing to accuse someone of committing treason. I know that there are
many who are disappointed that Mssrs. Coutts and Butterworth left Team New
Zealand for Alinghi, but accusing these individuals of "treason" for making
a career decision is just plain ignorant. How would any of us feel if we
similarly harangued by perfect strangers? I have never met Coutts and
Butterworth, but I am relatively certain that they are indeed human beings,
and there is no excuse for the vicious slander--culminating in
threats--that they have been subjected to over the last few years. It
should not be part of our sport. Coutts/ Butterworth and Team New Zealand
had a parting of the ways. I'm sure it was painful for everyone and there
is plenty of blame to spread around for everyone.
Mr. Sircely's personal attack on Coutts should have had no place
Scuttlebutt and I am sick of reading similar comments elsewhere. And TNZ's
own "Loyal" campaign, which points an accusing finger directly at Coutts
/Butterworth comes pretty close to "a gross breach … of good manners or
sportsmanship" (Rule 69). Not to mention the disgusting "Black Heart"
campaign. This bad-mouthing reflects badly on the Cup and TNZ in
particular, and after cheering for the Kiwis the last time around, this
time I hope that TNZ receives the ultimate sanction for their spiteful
behavior--losing the trophy.
* From Peter McColl: In response to Bob Longpre's concern that the
Americas Cup is not about racing but about big business! Yep Bob, think
about it - everyone who has "sailboat" in this race is "Big Business". Once
this is over we can go back to watching those events that are not big
business such as, NFL, NHL, Nascar, F1 and Baseball. And Bob, I'm a Kiwi
and I reckon if we can keep delaying the races maybe the Swiss will get
tired and give up! Could you imagine how good we could get at this if we
kept the Cup for 100 years or so....
* From Ed Crouch: It seems to me that the real heroes of this America's
Cup, so far, are the folks at ESPN2. Bravo to them for hanging in for all
of the delays and postponements and working so hard with so little to make
things as interesting as possible to viewers.
* From Anne Jaeschke: As a huge America's cup fan and an avid racer
myself I am absolutely appalled with the race committee. I cannot believe
they did not start a race today (the 22nd here 23rd there). To have Russell
and company sailing at 9 knots right in front of the race committee should
have proven that there was plenty of wind to race. The fact that it was
shifty is what racing is all about sometimes - who can play those shifts
I look at how many races I have done in 5 knots of shifty wind and I can
come up with a big number. Look at big regattas like the NOODS and you will
see them start without hesitation in conditions like we saw today.
I think it is way too convenient for Team New Zealand who is known not to
do good in light air to be able to have the decision made up to them
whether or not to race. It is ridiculous and we should have had a race. If
this is the highest level of racing then let's see them race in all
conditions not just the convenient conditions.
* From Dick Johnson: At this point it seems obvious that whatever support
and respect the world yachting community might have had for the Kiwis is
rapidly vanishing because of the games they are playing on the Hauraki
Gulf. While antics of this sort may have been acceptable when the Cup was a
quaint summer happening in New England, in this era of live world-wide
television coverage, they certainly send the wrong message to the public.
I'm sure the yachting community will be well pleased to see this event
leave the control of the RNZYS. Let's hope the new holders of the Cup learn
from the mistakes of 2003.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If swimming is good for your shape, why do the whales look the way they do?