Scuttlebutt Today
  
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1270 - February 24, 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.

ANOTHER DAY OFF
The America's Cup Match has been postponed yet again, with both teams
staying on the dock on Monday. At 08:30 Principal Race Officer Harold
Bennett issued the following statement.

"I have consulted both Alinghi and Team New Zealand and their weather teams
with regard to today's weather forecast. Both teams have agreed that the
predictions show little or no chance of a racing breeze which concurs with
the Race Committee's findings. The Race Committee has therefore further
postponed Race 4 until tomorrow Tuesday 25th February, the next scheduled
race day."

For Tuesday race organisers may have just the opposite problem. The
forecast is for Southeast winds of 23 knots, with gusts approaching 30
knots. Strong winds are expected on Wednesday and Thursday as well. With
Monday's cancellation, 23 out of 68 race days (including the Louis Vuitton
Cup) have been lost to weather delays. The Swiss Alinghi Team leads the
defender, Team New Zealand, 3 - 0 in the best of nine match. - America's
Cup website, http://americascup.yahoo.com/story2067.html

AMERICA'S CUP FORMAT CHANGES - Angus Phillips
(The following is an excerpt from Angus Phillips' column in Sunday's
Washington Post.)

(Alinghi syndicate head Ernesto) Bertarelli and his aides are too
superstitious to talk in detail about the next event before winning this
one, but sources say Alinghi would change the rules on a grand scale. For
starters, Bertarelli wants to charge a fee to the host city for the right
to hold the event and demand that special facilities be built, something
that's been tried in the past but never done.

He also wants to shorten the regatta from the current 4 months to two or
three, eliminate noncompetitive teams early or before they even get to the
venue, and put challengers' racing and the Cup final under the same
umbrella of rules, oversight panels and sponsorship, all of which the
defender would control. As it is, challengers now run their show
separately, present a winner, then the defender organizes the Cup match.
It's a complicated system that results in dual race committees, two sets of
event sponsors, separate TV and radio contracts and other duplication of
effort.

Among other likely changes is an end to nationality rules, opening the way
for anyone to sail or work on the design or building team for any
challenger or defender without establishing residency in the nation
represented, as is currently required.

Because all Cup rules other than the basics covered in the Deed of Gift are
arrived at by mutual consent between defender and a challenger of record,
Alinghi could get away with these changes only if it finds a willing
partner. The Swiss have prepared a protocol for the next Cup and shopped it
around to various potential challengers, sources say. No deal has yet been
signed, but the leading candidate for challenger of record if Alinghi wins
is said to be San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, which sponsored
software billionaire Larry Ellison's Oracle challenge. Ellison plans to
come back and he and Bertarelli became friendly here.

Bertarelli is said to be eyeing the summer of 2007 for the America's Cup,
so as not to conflict with the 2006 World Cup (soccer) in Germany.

One thing that seems certain to change if the Cup goes to Europe is the
number of challengers. If New Zealand were to rally and successfully defend
for a second time, observers reckon as few as six challengers might make
the long trek to the Southern Hemisphere for the next Cup. But a shift to
the Mediterranean or Atlantic Coast of Europe, bringing in major population
areas for commercial sponsors, could raise the number as high as 16,
sources say. That's why Bertarelli is considering elimination challenger
rounds as early as a year before the Cup to arrive at a more manageable
number of competitors for a shortened Cup season.

For decades, Cup followers have complained about the antiquated format of
the regatta and the problems it creates. Bertarelli and the highly
professional aides he brought from his business to run Alinghi reckon they
have the expertise to help the event into the modern world. - Angus
Phillips, full story:
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49162-2003Feb22.html

CHEAP DUDS--FREE SUDS!
Are you having an April regatta? Then cash in on 15% savings on graphic
design and printed apparel with The Pirate's Lair. Better yet, on orders
over $750.00 we'll sponsor a keg! Call (888) 724-5286 or log on for details
at http://www.pirateslair.com/sailing

KINGFISHER2 DISMASTED
At 2222 GMT Sunday, Kingfisher2 was sailing in moderate conditions of 25-30
knots of wind in a 1.5 metre swell under full mainsail and spinnaker
approximately 100 miles south east of the Kerguelen Islands (50 50'S 72
08'E). Suddenly without warning the mast came crashing down, falling
forward and missing the 3 crew who were on deck at the time. The carbon
mast broke in to two places, but the reason is not known.

The mast fell forward and sideways over the port (leeward) hull - the
bottom 10 metre section of the mast has been salvaged. But the remainder of
the mast, rigging and sails were all cut away to prevent any further damage
to the boat - a broken section of the mast in the water punctured a small
hole in the port hull but the boat is not taking on water and is now in a
good and seaworthy condition. The crew has a 'jury rig in place and is
making between 7 and 10 knots towards their nearest practical safe haven,
Perth some 2000 miles to the east. - www.teamkingfisher.com

AROUND ALONE - MORE CARNAGE
Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group - Armor Lux has rounded Cape Horn. It was his
first time around this legendary rock, and he did it "surfing at 21 knots
fully reefed in winds gusting up to 60 knots and monstrous seas." The
passage from New Zealand to this point has taken 14 days - which is just
half a day more than the crewed Volvo 60's - and yet it has also taken its
toll on the boat.

Temporarily unable to use his satellite phone, Stamm sent a fax to say that
the part of the keel inside the boat had been damaged when Bobst Group -
Armor Lux fell down the side of a huge wave and he had heard a sinister
cracking noise. "I immediately understood that this came from the keel, and
I jumped on the winch to let everything off. Thankfully I managed to limit
the damage by doing this. It was the part of the keel above the axe, which
has cracked. I have jury-rigged it so it will hold, but I am having to
throttle back from the speeds this boat can normally do."

He is still on course and the conditions dropped to 10 knots in the
afternoon. Stamm's shore team is also on the case; the 4.5m keel carries a
3 ton bulb but the temporary repair Bernard has effected is not going to
last him through to Salvador, still nearly 3,000 miles up the South
Atlantic. No decision as to his plan of action has yet been taken, but for
now the skipper is trying to resolve this problem without having to
recourse to outside assistance, and therefore a potentially crushing
penalty of 48 hours on his elapsed time for the leg. - www.aroundalone.com

ARRIVEDERCI PRADA
Volatile syndicate head Patrizio Bertelli shocked Prada team-members Monday
with news that their America's Cup involvement was over. Bertelli, business
head of Prada fashion house who spent US$130 million on two Cup campaigns,
told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport that he would not challenge
again. "This adventure is finished," he said.

Alessandra Ghezzi, a spokeswoman for the Prada syndicate in Auckland, said
there'd been no forewarning. "We haven't been told we are not competing in
another Cup," she said. "At this stage we don't know what is happening. We
have been told there will be no official statement."

Prada's stylish race yachts, which have all carried the name Luna Rossa
(Italian for "red moon"), are reportedly on the market. "I could sell
them," Bertelli was quoted saying. "I've had requests, even from Italy."

Ghezzi confirmed that Bertelli had arrived in Auckland unexpectedly
Saturday and had held impromptu meetings with team members including
skipper Francesco de Angelis. Bertelli had been due in Auckland two weeks
earlier. He told team management he was no longer able to make the trip,
then arrived by air the following day. Team sources said meetings with
Bertelli had been animated and he had given no indication of his future Cup
plans. - Steve McMorran, Associated Press, full story posted on the Fox
Sports website: http://foxsports.lycos.com/content/view?contentId=920292

ACURA SORC GEAR
Team One Newport has a technical wicking polo that is being debuted at the
Acura SORC along with the other awesome Acura SORC gear! There is even a
limited run custom Hawaiian shirt that is flash. The crew from Team One
Newport will be at SORC so be sure to stop by and get your new catalog and
chat with Robin and Julia! If you need other items for the SORC such as the
Kaenon polarized sunglasses or the new Harken Italian shoes, be sure to
call Team One Newport at 800-VIP-GEAR (800-847-4327) or go to
http://www.team1newport.com

NEWS BRIEFS
* Aucklanders are well aware the America's Cup is on, but keen interest in
the event is modest. An Auckland City Council poll has found that just 3
per cent of Aucklanders do not know about the yacht race and that 38 per
cent are "very interested" in it. However, another 45 per cent say they are
only "somewhat" interested and 16 per cent are not interested at all. - NZ
Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/

* Steve Fossett and the crew of PlayStation spent Sunday racing through
the Caribbean archipelago at over 20 kts, aiming to arrive at their
Bahamian island destination of San Salvador sometime Monday morning. To
break Club Med's East - West Transatlantic sailing 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

* Race 4 for the America's Cup is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2 on
Monday evening, February 24 at 7:00 PM ET 4:00 PM PT) as scheduled. -
www.jobsonsailing.com

WHERE WILL THE NEXT CUP BE HELD?
(Speculation is running on high on the question as to where the next Cup
will be held if Alinghi wins this one. Here's an excerpt from a story
Michelle Slade wrote for the cupviews.com website.)

There are many ports and coastal towns in Europe who want to bid for the
privilege of hosting the 32nd America's Cup. The following is a reasonable
short list of possibilities: Cowes (Great Britain); French ports include
Lorient, Sete, Marseille, Toulon and Saint Tropez; Italian ports include
Savona, Venezia, Livorno, Punta Elba, Elba, Naples, Trieste, Port Cervo and
Cagliari; Spanish ports include Palma, Barcelona and Valencia, and in
Portugal, Cascais.

The rumour mill currently favors Cascais, located on the Lisbon coast in
Portugal as the number one choice. Portugal is considered less expensive to
host an event than other parts of Europe, particularly when one considers
the cost of living in high profile places such as Palma, Barcelona and
Marseille. Portugal is favored because it's considered neutral, unlikely to
host a challenger. Most importantly, given that the current event has now
lost approximately one third of racing days to unfavorable weather
conditions, apparently Cascais boasts optimal sailing conditions.

Even if the Cup does go to Europe, it's expected that at the earliest, an
announcement won't be made until later in the year as to the location. -
Michelle Slade, Full story: http://cupviews.com/

QUOTE / UNQUOTE
One of the purposes of having a best-of-nine series is to test the sailors
in a variety of conditions. A light, shifty race is every bit as
interesting as a steady wind race. Ironically, TNZ seemed to be very
competitive against Alinghi in the light winds of race two. So it's curious
why they resist wanting to sail. - Gary Jobson, Sailing World website, full
story: www.sailingworld.com/sw_article_AC.php?articleID=1681

"I think we're seeing that the current format doesn't work. We really need
to have an independent race committee who decides when a race takes place,
and the competitors are there at their disposal. This is a zoo..." -
Alinghi syndicate head Ernesto Bertarelli, Los Angeles Times, full story:
http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-sail23feb23,1,1870426.story

TRICKLE DOWN
Batten technology took another huge step forward during the America's Cup.
CT Sailbattens developed a new carbon fiber mainsail batten used by both
Alinghi and Team New Zealand. For more information on these battens other
products, go to http://www.sailbattens.com

MAJOR MONEY
Worrell 1000 Race Director and Founder, Mike Worrell announced that the
22nd running of the Worrell 1000 will feature a One Million Dollars Cash
Purse. The 2004 race will start on Sunday, May 9 and finish on Saturday,
May 22. The format is similar to one that major fishing tournaments have
used for years. Part of the entry fee is set aside to fund the cash purse.

The virtually all inclusive cost of entry for 2004 is an escalating Entry
Fee that starts at $8,000 and a $20,000 Escrow Fee. The proper Entry Fee in
U.S. funds is due upon entry and provides a complete turn key race package
for a team minus travel expenses to and from the race. This package will
include a Boat Charter, with spare parts and extra sails, for 21 days
(available one week prior to the start), 3 Hotel Rooms for 21 nights, a
Vehicle for the shore crew, all Required Safety Gear (EPIRB, VHF Radios,
Flares, Strobes, Charts), and a Full Insurance Package (Liability, Boat
Damage, Hospitalization, Rental Vehicle).

Entry will be limited to the first 50 qualified entries, (except for 2003
entries, see below).With 50 entries, a team will have a 20% or 1 in 5
opportunity of recouping their entire expense of competing in the race and
1 in 50 opportunity to win the grand prize of $ 400,000. There may be other
prizes including individual leg prizes. If there are less than 50 entries,
the payout will be pro-rated based on the above schedule. - www.worrell1000.com


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 Nancy Johnson : Clearly the America's Cup PRO is impartial - we
understand. However, we're wondering? What happens in the America's Cup if
he never starts another race? Based on their current race committee
performance, maybe that's the plan. And it's certainly the likely outcome.
Does the Cup then revert to the current owner - i.e., New Zealand?

* From Chris and Heather Stockard While it makes sense that fans of both
teams are frustrated by the delays in racing, TNZ's decision to decline
racing last week is very much in keeping with the spirit of the AC game.
The AC is not just a boat race. The event involves complex engineering,
logistics, team management, and eventually racing.

After the shock of their boat breaking so badly in race 1, followed by the
heartbreaker in race 2, and the loss in race 3, TNZ is smart to get as much
time away from the course as they can to rebuild their team's confidence
and allow the sting of defeat to ease. The rules of the event require both
teams to agree to starts after 3:30pm, and TNZ made the smart choice to
refuse. The delay gives them more time to rebuild, regroup, and
reinvigorate their team. I'm willing to wait for the conditions to give us
more great racing.

* From Robert R Baker: Here we are on the Hauraki Gulf in 7-9 knots of
breeze, reasonably steady but an AP flag remains up. I've never seen an AP
flag in such a strong breeze. After a while, the Alinghi boats set their
sails and go around the course while TNZ leaves their boom covers on. It's
clear who wants to race and who doesn't. Sadly PRO Harold Bennet gets the
message and decides to wait yet another day. Is TNZ really that scared? By
all accounts the answer is yes.

Consider that there are 1500 spectator boats with 10's of thousands of
eager sailors waiting for the action. But the New Zealand PRO waits for
another day more favourable for TNZ. It's time the rules were changed to be
more precise as to what conditions a race should be started in. At least,
let's have a more indepentant Race Officer making the decisions.

* From Katie Pettibone: I know that many criticized the LVC for having a
top limit and hence cancelling many possible sailing days. But what about
this seeming limit of 9-10 knots to start? Alinghi seems quite prepared to
sail in a solid 7-8 so what is Team NZ's problem? I am glad that we didn't
wait that long in San Diego!

* From Phil Lander: It is quite amusing to read the vitriolic comments of
armchair admirals 1000's of miles away from the action criticising the AC
race committee. Clearly, they are unable to witness what happens throughout
the day and the cheery banter that has gone on between the teams and the
Committee. Yes, for a while yesterday there was 9 knots by the start line.
However, what the critics may not realise is that at the top mark during
this period there was only 4 knots from a 50 degree different direction.
The Race Committee's brief is to lay a fair course. Any team leading 3-0
would be more than happy to race in lottery conditions and conversely any
team 3-0 down wouldn't. To accuse Harold Bennett and his team of bias shows
complete ignorance of both Harold and what is actually happening.

* From Hans la Cour (edited to our 250-word limt): Anne Jaeschke and
others, complain that AC race 4 should have started and slams the race
committee for the postponement. Well, I was there, on the start line, as I
have been since 1 October on every LV and AC race and as I was throughout
the 1999/ 2000 event. At 1315, the expected sea breeze had not kicked in.
We had 2-3 knots, mostly easterly. At 1400 we had around 5 knots, with a 60
degree difference between the bottom and the top marks, and shifts of 45
degrees.

Everyone agreed that racing should not start, including the syndicate
weather teams. At 1500 the breeze was filling to around 8 knots, but
oscillating between 358 and 040 magnetic. At the same time a black band of
cloud was forming along the coast line, indicating that winds could perhaps
die out. The race committee rightly held off, to see if things would
stabilise, which, unfortunately, they didn't. When the plug was pulled at
1600 the wind was down again to under 5 knots. Had the race started at 1500
or 1600 the teams would not have been able to complete the race within the
time limits.

This is the Americas Cup where the stakes are huge, not some local dinghy
race, and the organisers do everything to ensure fair racing conditions.
People like Harold Bennett and Peter Reggio have the guts to make tough
postponement calls, and thankfully do not listen to ill-informed complaints
from disappointed television viewers.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Judging from Ernesto Bertarelli's comments (above)
it's obvious that the 'ill-informed' television viewers were not the only
ones 'disappointed.'

* From John Pettitt: Have you heard they changed the New Zealand national
bird from the Kiwi to the Chicken in honor of Team New Zealand's
willingness to actually race?

* From Tom Hickey: Of course there won't be a parade for Alinghi and why
would anyone have a parade for the losing team. Oakland didn't have a
parade for the Raiders when they lost the Superbowl and I would be
surprised if the sailors on TNZ would want a parade should they lose.

As far as the race committee not having races in light airs, I haven't seen
any sign of a TNZ weakness in light airs. Race 2 was quite light at times
and TNZ showed no problem with speed, in fact, they may have an edge. This
isn't NOOD, it's the America's Cup and I don't think it should be decided
because of 50 degree wind shifts or complete luck depending on where the
zephyrs come in.

* From Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: I noticed a letter regarding the Little
Americas Cup that now lies in the USA. People may be interested to know
that "Lady helmsman", designed by Rod Macalpine-Downie and sailed by Reg
White and Bob Fisher to vistory in a number of the series,is currently on
display at the new National maritime Museum-Cornwall, in Falmouth UK. It is
interesting to see how radical she was for her time, the aerofoil wing mast
was way ahead of its time.

* From George Hartmann: Adam Beashel's attitude on winning is
praiseworthy, but his memory is not. There was no Stars & Stripes in the
1983 America's Cup; Dennis Conner was sailing a boat named Liberty.

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.