SCUTTLEBUTT 1279 - March 5, 2003
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TELEVISUAL CUP PLANNED
Switzerland's Alinghi Challenge return for Saturday's victory parade in
Geneva, but one of their last acts here was to map out a vision for the
32nd America's Cup. Plans to relax the nationality rules and set up new
independent bodies to control the marketing and race organisation aspects
were foreseen in Monday's Daily Telegraph, but yesterday skipper Russell
Coutts brought up other changes.
A key aspect is to fit the event into time frames to appeal to fans and
television audiences. In the series just ended the challenger trials and
cup match started on Oct 1 and finished last Sunday. Alinghi would like to
halve that time. Likewise, instead of races lasting 2.25 hours, it is
likely that the race director will be empowered to reduce the number of
laps and the length of the legs to fit a race into 90 minutes.
An announcement on the venue will be made by Dec 15 this year for a series
which will probably be staged in 2007. Then, a springtime fleet race will
be used, along with annual championships in the United States and Europe,
to seed challengers into two or three pools.
Cities wishing to host the next America's Cup, which will not be contested
in Switzerland, have a few weeks to express interest before a selection
process starts. Not only will reliable winds be a high priority for
Alinghi, but so too will infrastructure and financial and political
support. Lisbon, Sete, Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma, Malta and southern
Italy have all been mooted, with the first two front-runners. - Tim Jeffery
in Auckland, The Telegraph, UK,
The most controversial element of the new protocol is the decision to
eliminate nationality requirements for crews. The founding document of the
regatta, the Deed of Gift, calls for a "friendly competition between
nations," and some have argued that without nationalism to spur the
public's interest, the Cup would lose its appeal.
In the just-completed Cup, teams were required to establish residency in
their home countries for their crews. Russell Coutts, for example, the Kiwi
sailor who skippered Alinghi, had to maintain an empty apartment in
Switzerland during the regatta. Hamish Ross, Alinghi's rules adviser,
called the residency requirement "an absurd waste of money." He said
sailors should be free to choose what teams they sail for.
"We believe in freedom of choice," he said. "Others believe in restriction
of personal liberties."
John Rousmaniere, an America's Cup historian, said scrapping the
nationality requirement seemed at odds with the idea of making it more
popular. "Russell wants all those TV viewers, yet we all know that broad
public's interests are driven very largely by patriotism," he said. "It
seems to me that you can't have wide public interest if the boat's flag is
merely one of convenience."
David K. Elwell, the New York Yacht Club's representative in Auckland, said
he was disappointed with the decision on nationality but that over all, the
changes were welcome. "It's as big a change as we've ever seen in the
protocol," Elwell said. "There's more good than bad. The event desperately
needed to be modernized." - Warren St. John, NY Times, full story:
RUSSELL COUTTS SPEAKS
"The future of our sport lies in providing the youth of the world with
products that are exciting, fast and physical. If we don't grab their
attention now, there are dozens of other sports that will. The 29er skiff,
an International Class used as a World Youth boat for the first time in
2002, is one such product. Built and sailed worldwide, it is capturing the
imagination of young sailors everywhere and that gives me a good feeling
for the future." Russell Coutts, Team Alinghi. You will find the 29er built
in North America at PS2000. http://www.ps2000.ca
JULES VERNE TROPHY
On her 52nd day at sea, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran
covered 402 nautical miles at an average speed of 16.73 knots. Now though,
Geronimo has reached an area of ocean where the winds are uncertain in
strength and direction, the sky is full of black clouds and violent squalls
are interspersed with lightning flashes: this is the Doldrums, also known
as the intertropical convergence zone. On day 52 Geronimo still hold a lead
of 115 miles over the current Jules Verne record set by Orange. -
Coral Reef YC - Standings after three races (112 Star boats): 1/ Peter
Bromby / Martin Seise, BER, 19; 2. George Szabo / Chrisian Finnsgard, USA,
24; 3. Ian Percy / Steve Mitchell, UK, 28; 4. Mark Reynolds / Magnus
Liljedahl, USA, 28; 5. Andy Lovell / Eric Oetgen, USA, 31; 6. Augie Diaz /
Mark Strude, USA, 38; 7. Ian Walker / Nick Williams, AUS, 38; John Kostecki
/ Austin Sperry, USA, 48. - www.stardistrict20.org/racing/2003/index.html
Bernard Stamm (Bobst Group Armor lux) and Thierry Dubois (Solidaires) at
the front of the pack are still locked in a tight race for the first boat
into Brazil. More interesting is the race for third. Simone Bianchetti
(Tiscali) and Emma Richards (Pindar) are only 21 miles apart with Emma
gaining at each poll. - www.aroundalone.com
STANDINGS: 2200 UTC March 3 CLASS 1: 1. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 984
miles from finish; 2. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 75 miles behind
leader; 3. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 321 mbl; 4. Pindar, Emma Richards,
342 mbl 5. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 1288 mbl; 6. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab,
CLASS 2: 1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 1697 miles from finish; 2.
Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 891 mbl; 3. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro
Shiraishi, 1054 mbl; 4. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 1688 mbl; 5. Spirit of
Canada, Derek Hatfield, 1787 mbl.
ST. PETERSBURG NOOD 2003
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CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* April 10-13: Rolex Women's Match, St. Petersburg, YC. ISAF grade 4
women's match racing event preceded by a skills and rules clinic by Ed
* May 3: First annual Sail-Cuba.com Regatta from Tampa Bay, Florida, to
the Marina Hemingway at Havana, Cuba. A PHRF regatta for offshore-equipped
multihulls and monohulls 24 feet or longer. www.sail-cuba.com/
* July 19: Bacardi Bayview Mackinac Yacht Race, Bayview YC, - www.byc.com
*IACCSF announced its revised schedule for the upcoming 2003 season. The
Sausalito Cup will be held June 20-22, IL Moro Trophy July 25-27, Golden
Gate Series September 6-14 and the IACC World's October 13-19. The fleet
racing will consist of two groups, Vintage (1992 and 1995 yachts) and Grand
Prix (2000-2003 yachts). Both divisions are owner driver. - www.iaccsf.com
The southern Spanish city of Cadiz, which will host the world sailing
championships in September, has made a formal offer to host the next
America's Cup last week but it was formally announced Tuesday. Alinghi is
committed to visiting Cadiz over the next two weeks to tour marina
facilities and receive a detailed report on weather and sea conditions in
the Bay of Cadiz, said Carmen Horta, spokeswoman for a grouping of town
halls in Cadiz province.
Moreover, the Secretary General of the Irish Sailing Association, Paddy
Boyd has written to Ernesto Bertarelli, asking him to consider Ireland as a
potential venue for the title defence in three years time. "I wrote to him
before they won the event, asking him to consider us as a venue in the
event of their success," Mr Boyd said yesterday. "Obviously the
Mediterranean will come in for consideration given its closeness to
Switzerland but indications are that they will explore options throughout
"There are a number of factors to be considered," the ISA secretary general
added. "The area must have reasonably good weather. There must be
reasonable landscape for each syndicate, for their facilities and for their
back-up teams. The issue, for example with the Med is that these areas are
well developed and are costly".
"The Swiss will also hope to host it somewhere neutral and not give
advantage to nations like France or Italy, who may themselves be
competing", Mr Boyd said, who believes that Ireland can easily match the
requirements of the organisers. - Hauraki News, full story:
Team New Zealand was one of a handful of teams that tried to finance its
campaign primarily with corporate sponsors. The result was what Alinghi
mockingly called "the tower of tombstones" on TNZ's mainsail -- a huge
block of space devoted to ads for five title sponsors -- Lotto, the phone
company Telecom, Steinlager beer, Toyota and the German software company SAP.
Alinghi was proud to have no ads on its sails, and in truth it was much
prettier to look at. - Angus Phillips, Washington Post, full story:
PICTURES ARE WORTH MORE THAN 1000 WORDS
Momentos of Americas Cup 2003: Alinghi, Team New Zealand and the America's
Cup, the Louis Vuitton Cup and OneWorld Challenge ...custom prints of the
action as captured by award-winning photographer, Sharon Green, can be
yours immediately. Order now at http://www.ultimatesailing.com
The America's Cup, international sport's oldest trophy, will arrive in
Switzerland on Saturday, making its return to Europe after an absence of
152 years, officials said Wednesday. Cup winners Alinghi, carrying the
trophy aboard a charter flight from Auckland, will land at Geneva airport
in the early afternoon and will be met by federal, regional and Geneva
municipal dignitaries. A public celebration of Alinghi's victory will be
held in the evening in downtown Geneva. Alinghi syndicate spokesman Bernard
The Cup leaves Auckland Friday afternoon, ending an eight year stay in New
Zealand. Team New Zealand won the trophy from the United States in San
Diego in 1995 and successfully defended it in 2000, before Alinghi's
successful 2003 challenge. - Fox Sports website, full story:
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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 pundits have written that Coutts has more Cup wins
than Dennis Conner. They say 13 for Dennis and 14 for Coutts. I count 17
total for Dennis. Beginning with the 4 wins in 1974 (Courageous -
co-skipper with Ted Hood), 4 in 1980 (Freedom), 3 in 1983 (Liberty), 4 in
1987 (Stars & Stripes '87), and 2 in 1988 (Stars & Stripes '88).The way
Coutts is going though, if Dennis doesn't win anymore, Russell will
eventually break the record, no doubt.
* From John Callahan: In response to the change of protocol from 'Butt
Extra March 4, this sentence is very interesting: "The lead-up events,
which will culminate in a fleet race, including the defenders, at the cup
venue early in 2007, would help to determine seedings for the challengers'
Will this break the long standing tradition of the challengers and
defender(s) staying in separate corners until the opening bell of the
America's Cup? What type of sandbagging and showmanship will go on in these
lead-up events? This was different from the Road to the America's Cup
format when v. 1.0 boats were being sailed and not the syndicates "best and
final" boat. It is conceivable that if a challenger or challengers appear
notably faster than the defender(s) that the LVC could be a more
interesting regatta than the AC.
Heck, if we are going to toss them all in the same sandbox early on, why
not just run the AC like the Final Four. 64 teams enter, one team leaves -
Thunderdome style! This way, the defender(s) get more races under their
belt and their sponsors get more exposure to their branding and bang for
* From Lawrence (Lance) Harasym: I would like to add a suggestion in
response to the potential changes to the America's Cup Protocol. If a
syndicate has more than one boat available for racing, let the competitors
choose whichever boat they want to sail on that particular day of racing.
Will that create an issue for syndicates with only one boat? Yes, but I
believe it will allow for more racing on days that were deemed either too
light or too strong.
* From Nelson Weiderman Am I the only reader who believes that four and a
half years is too long an interval between Cups? Am I the only one who
believes that Europe is big enough to host both the Americas Cup and the
World Cup in the same year? From the paucity of commentary in Scuttlebutt
on these topics, perhaps I am. Or maybe there are other reasons for waiting
that long. Is it a done deal or should Scuttlebutt readers question the
trial balloon that appears to be floating around?
* From Bob Sweet I know the dollar has been very weak lately but this is
going a little too far! Perhaps somebody was celebrating the Alinghi
victory or mourning the NZ loss too much when they did the AC entry fee
conversion from Euros to Dollars in butt EXTRA? The AC entry fees of Euro
450,000 would be closer to $490,000US instead of $876,300US.
* From Eric Hall: Paul Page's note to Scuttlebutt showed a lot of style.
I have enjoyed his Indy coverage, but was frankly aghast when he appeared
on America's Cup coverage (who's next, I thought, John Madden?).But Paul
did an excellent job and if he is not and has not been an avid sailor for a
long time, then you could have fooled me. He was totally at ease describing
the racing in his role as co-anchor for the coverage. He appears to have
enjoyed his work and I did too.
* From Jeff Dahl: While watching the fifth and last race, as TNZ dropped
further behind with the call for the asymmetrical, I commented that "at
least we won't have to watch anymore Lincoln Navigator ads." My eight year
old responded: "Dad, we should be grateful to Lincoln Aviator for
sponsoring this show." He was, of course, absolutely correct.
Thank you to ESPN, OLN, Lincoln, Pacific Life and all the other sponsors
who made it possible for us to watch these great events. While we can never
expect non-sailors to completely understand the passion we have for sailing
in all its forms, both networks did a great job of making these events
approachable. At the same time, we sailors had a wonderful opportunity to
bear witness to people at the pinnacle of our sport working those great
machines around the course. It was heartening to hear that even an AC crew,
after rounding a leeward mark, needed to be reminded to get their heads out
of the boat.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Enough - the America's Cup TV coverage thread is now
* From Ian Farquharson: Forget the America's Cup guys - I just tuned in
to my new TV channel, "Xtreme Sports", last night (in Canada). They seem to
show a lot of sailing so I subscribed to check it out. It was match racing
in Australian skiffs - wow! It made the America's Cup look like a gardening
show where we watch the grass grow. The coverage is incredible because
these guys wear "headcam's". The pre-start wind up was awesome - talk about
manoeuverability and acceleration. These things took off like a rocket. You
would think that with 10 seconds to go luffing near the RC you could afford
to bear off for speed - wrong! After 3 seconds you are already down at the
pin and too early. It was very exciting - God knows what it must be like
when the wind is more than 6 knots!
* From Marty Browne: I believe that the increased safety regulation of
participants by Race Committees is a bad trend. RCs should regulate Junior,
youth or school, and adult-school racers but not adult racers racing
privately owned vessels. It seems inappropriate for RCs to dictate when
safety equipment will be used. It will create a liability issue if RCs
break the barrier that says that boats, skippers, and crews must decide for
themselves, when, where, and why to race in any given weather condition. If
the RCs break that barrier, then someone will decide that the RCs are
responsible for the actions of any boat in its race.
RCs should recommend, suggest, or require certain equipment to be on-board
their participating racing boats. The RC may or should require proof of
knowledge of usage of that equipment and proof that the equipment is
functioning or inspected. . RCs should not specify when, where or why that
equipment is to be used. I don't know of any rule or regulation that
prohibits the use of PFDs or safety harnesses. I don't want any rule or
regulation that requires their use either.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Somehow or other I let the PFD thread get reopened.
Let me correct mistake that now and shut it down again!
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Life is full of surprises - just say 'never' and you'll see.