SCUTTLEBUTT 1280 - March 6, 2003
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If Team New Zealand is looking for solace in the rout it suffered at the
hands of Ernesto Bertarelli's Swiss challenger Alinghi, they can look to
the numbers for some justification that they weren't far off the mark. A
number of America's Cup firsts were set in the 31st Match.
Alinghi won the Match 5-0, but only had to complete three of the five
races. Team New Zealand gifted the challenger two races it dropped out of
due to breakdowns, a first for the Defender. Team New Zealand dropped out
of Race 1 when it was just 17 minutes old. Their boom was broken, two
genoas pulled out of the luff groove and NZL-82 was taking on large amounts
of water. They were forced to retire from Race 4 when their mast broke
about halfway up the second beat due to a failed spreader tip cup.
In the three races that both boats finished, Alinghi won by an average of
25 seconds, which ranks as the closest average delta and a bright spot for
the young New Zealand squad. The closest average delta for a full series
was the 1992 final between William I. Koch's America3 and Raul Gardini's Il
Moro di Venezia. That five-race series produced an average delta of 52
seconds. Alinghi's 7-second, come-from-behind victory in Race 2 ranks as
the fourth closest in Cup Match history. The closest was the dead heat
between Sir Thomas Lipton's Shamrock IV and the Nathanael G.
Herreshoff-designed Resolute in Race 3 of the 1920 Match.
Alinghi won three of the five starts, all five first crosses and led at the
first windward mark in every race. They lost one lead, in Race 2, before
staging the dramatic comeback on the run to the finish. Alinghi led at 13
mark roundings and Team New Zealand at four. - Sean McNeill, America's Cup
website, full story: http://americascup.yahoo.com/story2167.html
LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD
The new America's Cup protocol announced by the defenders Alinghi and
Challenger of Record Oracle BMW, on Tuesday evening, indicated a leveling
of the playing field between the defender and the challenger for future
events. In the past the defenders have had advantages, such as being able
to delay declaring their racing yacht and collecting all the funds
generated by the event.
Not any more. "It's not a radical departure but we haven't just tacked,"
Oracle rules advisor Tom Ehman told reporters at Tuesday's press
conference. "We're going downhill to a new era. A lot of us have been
talking about and writing about these ideas for many years," he said. -
Fiona McIlroy, nzoom.com,
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CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* March 28-30: International Rolex Regatta, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin
Islands. Multi-class regatta for keelboats and catamarans. -
* April 7-11: US Sailing's Multihull Championship (Alter Cup), Clearwater
Community Sailing Center and the Clearwater YC. To be sailed in Bimare
Javelin 2 (B). - http://ussailing.org/alter
* June 14, 2004: Liberty Cup Transatlantic Race, Blue Water Sailing Club
and Corinthian Yacht Club, Marblehead, Massachusetts, USA. - www.libertycup.net
JULES VERNE TROPHY - DAY 54
The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran crossed the Equator at
12:37:48 GMT today (13:37:48 French time). After 22,000 sea miles and 53
days, 9 hours, 37 minutes and 39 seconds of racing against the clock,
Geronimo crossed the 0° parallel for the second time just 4 hours and 48
minutes behind the record set by Orange last year.
The current record stands at 64 days, 8 hours, 37 minutes and 27 seconds.
So to break it, Geronimo will have to cross the finish line in less than 10
days´ and 23 hours´ time. "The Doldrums are developing ahead of us. The
weather system that we're now in continues up to 3° or 4° North. There's no
wind in the North Atlantic because the trade winds are not established. The
Doldrums cover an enormous area, at least 1400 kilometers across. No
information we have at the moment gives any reason to think that we'll be
able to go quickly in the days ahead," said skipper Olivier de Kersauson.
Distance traveled in the last 24 hours: 336 nm - www.grandsrecords.com
Yachting syndicates from around the world could poach Kiwi sailors under
new America's Cup rules unveiled last night. The changes mean crew will be
able to sail for any country. Previously crew members had to live in the
syndicate's country of origin for at least two years. That means Team New
Zealand potentially faces a poaching frenzy as teams from other countries
try to lure Kiwi sailors to their syndicates.
Two of the world's richest men, Alinghi's Ernesto Bertarelli and Oracle's
Larry Ellison, were involved in drawing up the protocol. Ellison's
involvement is because Golden Gate Yacht Club, with which Oracle BMW Racing
is affiliated, is the challenger of record for the next Cup.
"We spent literally millions of dollars having empty apartments in Geneva
simply to comply with the (nationality rule)," Alinghi lawyer Hamish Ross
said at a press conference to announce the changes. But Mr Ross rejected
fears that the changes would allow those with the biggest chequebooks to
secure the best sailors, saying instead that it would "open up
possibilities for young sailors to look for berths".
Under the new protocol sailors must sign on with their designated syndicate
for at least 18 months before the regatta starts. - Mary Jane Boland, The
Dominion Post, full story: www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,2307040a7313,00.html
BUTTERWORTH WINS! KAENON POLARIZED
Brad Butterworth, Warwick Fleury and Simon Daubney insisted on wearing
Kaenon Polarized to win the America's Cup. John Kostecki insists on Kaenon
Polarized, as did illbruck. Over the past several months Kaenon Polarized
has been mandatory equipment winning the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race,
Youth Worlds, 18' Worlds, 505 Worlds, Pre-Olympics, Miami OCR…and on, and
on. This week, we're all over the leader board at the Bacardi Cup. Some
call our lenses magic. We call them Advanced Technology for the Human
Element. Results speak. Available at TeamOne Newport, West Marine,
Solstice, Alain Mikli NYC. http://www.kaenon.com
* The World Sailing Speed Record Council have today officially ratified
Playstation's new world record from Cadiz (ESP) to San Salvador (BAH).
Steve Fossett and his crew of twelve completed the discovery route in 9
days, 13 hours, 30 minutes and 18 seconds. One minute faster than was
originally claimed, thanks to the WSSRC ratification process.
* The New Zealand Government has stepped in to provide Team New Zealand
with $NZ5.6 million to seed the formation of an America's Cup Challenge in
2007. "The new funding will allow Team New Zealand to start the process of
re-signing key team members," said Minister for the America's Cup, Trevor
Mallard. "Without it, the human capital and intellectual property built up
by Team New Zealand could disperse, putting at serious risk New Zealand's
ongoing participation in the America's Cup. If this happens, all our best
sailing, design and boat building talent will be forced to join foreign
syndicates and related industries, which would be a tragedy for New Zealand
yachting and for New Zealand." - Ivor Wilkins, America's Cup website, full
* Australia's America's Cup veteran Syd Fischer is looking at taking part
in another assault on the Auld Mug. Encouraged by cost cutting changes
unveiled for Alinghi's 2007 defense in Europe Fischer yesterday said he was
"looking at" organizing a crack Australian syndicate after the Swiss
revealed a new format designed to encourage more challengers for the
world's oldest sporting trophy. They have changed the rules so that any
syndicate buying a used yacht before October 2004 can also buy its
technical data, making it easier and cheaper to enter. - NZ Herald,
HULA REPORT CARD
In reality, the hula may have caused more trouble than it was worth.
Certainly, its weight meant that there was less weight in the ballast bulb,
lowering the boat's stability. To compensate, Team New Zealand created a
low and long bulb, trying to lower the centre of gravity. But that didn't
seem to help. NZL-82 appeared more tender than SUI-64 in the windy
conditions. Team New Zealand also spent many hours in the boatshed assuring
the measurers that the hula wouldn't touch the hull, which would contravene
the rules. The extra time in the shed meant less time on the water.
Team New Zealand also had breakdowns, which was uncharacteristic of its
five-year domination. NZL-82 dropped out of two races due to a variety of
reasons, including a broken boom and damaged genoa head foil (Race 1) and a
broken mast (Race 4).
When asked what he learned from this campaign and what he would do
differently, syndicate head Tom Schnackenberg said they "could afford to be
more conservative in the design." He mentioned that they didn't manage the
risk-to-reward benefits properly. "We don't have to be the lightest here or
there," Schnackenberg said. "The lesson is to be more conservative. We
don't have to be the lightest."
Many of Team New Zealand's problems can't be attributed to the departure of
Coutts and company, but Alinghi's clinical dismantling of the Kiwi
defenders can be. Alinghi has been rock steady in its performance, never
missing a beat. Design coordinator Grant Simmer and lead designer Rolf
Vrolijk produced a solid design that had plenty of room for development.
The crew, led by Coutts and tactician Brad Butterworth, then squeezed every
available second out of the 25-metre yacht. No part of the boat went
unnoticed in the quest for development.
That's the difference that tilted the balance in favour of Alinghi. - Sean
McNeill, America's Cup website, full story:
COMMAND OF THE WEATHER
Cold fronts are windy with sudden shifts. Sea breezes start on the beach,
work outward, then die outside first. Racing or cruising, weather affects
every aspect of our sailing. Learn to understand the weather at the daylong
seminar presented by Commanders' Weather and Bill Biewenga. Sponsored by
Ockam Instruments, Blue Water Sailing, and Spinsheet Magazine, the
interactive classes are available in Chicago, Annapolis, Detroit, Newport,
and Marblehead this March and April. Ockam U sessions are scheduled on the
day following in Chicago and Newport. For Weather Seminar details visit
http://www.WxAdvantage.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For Ockam
U information, email email@example.com
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 Christian Fevrier: To explain the ban of the nationality clause in
the new Protocol, the Alinghi lawyer explained on Tuesday that the
historical support exists. "The schooner America had sixteen English
sailors aboard !" he said. According various sources they were 21 people
onboard for the race, may be 22. From my notes, there was: the NYYC
Commodore John Cox Stevens, Edwins Stevens, (his brother), Colonel James
Hamilton. Henry Steers, 15, the James Steers's son (maybe also George, 17,
his brother). The Royal Yacht Squadron had a representative aboard. One
source reports also three guests without giving their names. The schooner
was skippered by the New York and Sandy Hook pilot Dick Brown. The
Porsmouth US consul had strongly recommended to use Robert Underwood, a
Solent pilot. The American crew were seven, including the cook and the
steward. George Schuyler was in New York. Strangely, the yacht designer
George Steers and his brother James had returned to New York by steamer
before the race, following a dispute with John Stevens. Five English seamen
only had been lent from the schooner Surprise. Not sixteen!
* From Big Mike Howard: It will be interesting to see where the Cup ends
up. Happy that Oracle BMW/ Golden Gate Yacht Club are the Challengers of
record. I think coupled with Alinghi will make for a great event next time
around. I thought that the best place you could hold the America's Cup
would be Hawaii. The state would bend over backwards to host the event.
There is plenty of water down around Pearl Harbor. The TradeWind blows
15-25 knots 340 days a year. For Television that would be a good thing.
A major TV contract could be based on the fact a race would start at 1:15
P.M. on the day scheduled. There are plenty of accommodations available. A
major international airport handy. A huge shipping and container port for
all the gear. Average yearly temperature of 80 degree's. There are plenty
of golf courses to keep Brad and Russell happy in there leisure hours, not
to mention the surfing and water sports for us sailors to add to our
fitness regime( 78-82 degree water). Just my two cents from a guy who has
done his share of sailing around the world. There is a reason they call it
paradise. The Media would love it.
* From Tim Prophit: While I don't disagree that broad public interest is
driven by patriotism, it doesn't necessarily mean lack of nationality
requirements will result in any diminished public interest in the AC. Look
at the NHL; here in Detroit, where the Red Wings have won the Stanley Cup 3
of the past 6 seasons, there are only two US born citizens on the team,
with the remainder of the team coming from Canada and Europe. Red Wings
fans are very happy to have the non-US players we have. Yet, during the
Olympics, this same group played for their "home" countries, and there were
Red Wings on all final four teams.
I suspect most US Red Wings fans (I know I did) rooted for the US team
during the Olympics, and, once the Olympics were over, rooted for the same
Olympic players from Canada, Sweden, Belarus, and Russia who play for the
Red Wings to go win the Stanley Cup. The AC is analagous in the respect
there are teams assembled with sailors from all over the world; if any of
them were to sail in the Olympics, they may very well sail for a country
(their "home" country) that is different than the country of their AC team.
* From Steven Pendleton: I have watched and enjoyed the America's cup for
many years and whilst I agree that the protocol needs change I am
disappointed about the decision to eliminate nationality for crews. The
founding document of the regatta, the Deed of Gift, calls for a "friendly
competition between nations." This works with the other major sports
competitions around the world such as Rugby and I see no reason why it
needs to change for the America's cup. Unless of course TV rights and money
are far more important that the competition itself. People have spoken
about the "restriction of personal liberties" if the protocol is not
changed. This is a competition between nations, I am sure Italy would love
to have Martin Johnston in their second row on March 9th but it is not
going to happen!
* From Alex Watters: After suffering through five months of sporadic LV /
Am Cup racing, coupled with lengthy periods of inactivity, I think even the
most avid yacht racing fans were losing interest by the last race. I know I
was! Most of us don't care about the picky new details of the proposed
protocol changes. All we want to do is watch these boats race. Alinghi can
do whatever they feel will improve the cup. But waiting until 2007 is a
Both cups have just completed their most trying and, from a spectator's
point of view, aggravating series in a long time. The cup is in a bit of a
slump, and waiting 4 1/2 years to do it again certainly won't help matters.
Sailing will never compete with the World Cup, we're not in their league
for fan appeal. That said, sponsors should be encouraging Alinghi to run
the event concurrently with the WC, Europe will be full of sports fans who
will inadvertently either read about or watch some of the racing. The WC
will enhance the profile of the Am Cup simply by sharing press space. Who
knows, we may pick up some converts.
* From Jon.Alvord: If Coutts wants to shorten race time by shortening
course, why not just change the boat and make it faster. Maybe time for
multihulls is near. Open 60 Tri's could easily fly around the course at
twice the speed of the AC Boats. They would be finished sooner, be more
exciting to watch, and always have the spectators wondering if they will go
* From Larry Law (Re: Butt 1279): I don't care how many "tombstones" are
on a sail or hull. No matter how it gets financed let's make sure we have
great competition and not thwart any effort to compete - no need to get
"snooty" just cause "it's not pretty."
Blowing off nationality rules is a mistake (just like wasting money on
empty apartments). It is a matter of patriotism that keeps interest up.
Look at the national pride of NZ - very impressive (some may have been over
the top) and the other challengers. We've lost it in the US, we can't seem
to get fewer focused efforts to get the cup back - "individual" seems to
have completely replaced "nation". Some of that's reality - some of that's
a crime. The roots of any prestigious event are important and should not be
totally abandon for convenience - but capitalism is a great system. Is
there some way to balance tradition, patriotism, capitalism, individualism
and a great event together - I hope there is, otherwise it's just a
complete loss of nationalism, I'd miss that.
Make the LVC races shorter, but don't take away the thrill of a hard fought
longer battle when the titans make it to the semi's and the finals - sail
them long and hard.
* From Sue and Bob Kellogg: Four years is too long to wait for the next
Cup. The cost of your next campaign will be directly proportional to the
amount of time available to spend it.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Stress: The confusion created when ones mind overrides the body's basic
desire to choke the living daylights out of some idiot who desperately needs it.