SCUTTLEBUTT 1286 - March 14, 2003
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"I am not sure Alinghi's approach could work for other teams," (Russell)
Coutts said. "I don't think it would have worked in the Team New Zealand I
knew. We had quite a different group of people here. At Team New Zealand I
knew the people for many, many years, whereas here I didn't know many of
the people when we started and we had to adopt a different structure just
to handle that."
Despite the perceptions, the local sailors did not impose Team New
Zealand's ideas at Alinghi. Coutts believes a key factor in his team's
success was buying and modifying the old Swiss boat, SUI59, in 2001. It got
the sailing and design teams working together very early and straight away
we were able to identify our strengths and weaknesses in our organisational
structure. We could have put two sailing teams on the water immediately but
we thought sailing could take a backseat for a while so we could get our
organisation up and running. It was important to learn about the people in
"So in the early days we were probably behind other sailing teams but as an
organisation we were developing rapidly. You saw the teams making
organisational changes really late in the programme, even during the
series, whereas Alinghi were very settled."
Having 15 nationalities within the team meant the designers were never
short of an idea or two. "I can tell you that I steered this boat totally
different from some of the previous boats I was on. "The way we trimmed the
sails was different. A lot of those ideas came from people new to the
So what now for the team who sailed through the cup regatta with ease -
losing just three races out of 33? "We have a strong team here at Alinghi
and we will make it even stronger," said Coutts, who plans to continue in
his role in management and as skipper of the syndicate. "We will be putting
some thought into how we can make the team better and it is a process that
will probably go on for a few months. "From a technical sense, the game
just keeps evolving. I know if we were to design a boat today for these
conditions it would be considerably faster than SUI64." - Julie Ash, NZ
Herald, full story: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
RATING RULE WORKING PARTY
At the ISAF meeting in November the Royal Ocean Racing Club, US Sailing and
the Offshore Racing Council agreed to form a joint Rule Working Party with
the aim of examining the feasibility and possible form of an international
rating rule for grand prix racing. The first meeting of that Rule Working
Party will take place in Annapolis on March 24-25, chaired by the French
international yachtsman, Jean-Louis Fabry and comprised of:
US Sailing - Peter Reichelsdorfer & Stan Honey
RORC - Stuart Quarrie & David Lyons
ORC - Manolo Ruiz de Elvira & Paolo Massarini
Consultant - Olin Stephens
In addition, each of the three stakeholders may send their own technical
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After a frustrating final few days that were marred by light winds, heavy
squalls and an adverse current, Italian skipper Simone Bianchetti sailed
his bright blue yacht Tiscali across the finish line in Salvador, Brazil
Thursday. For Simone it was his first podium finish for the race and he was
clearly pleased. When asked if the fact that he missed finishing within
Bernard Stamm's 48 hour penalty time, Bianchetti was in fact relieved: "I
am so happy to make this podium but also to do this properly; I really
didn't want to come second because of a friend who has a penalty, that's
not my spirit." -Brian Hancock, www.aroundalone.com
STANDINGS: 2200 UTC March 13 CLASS 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard
Stamm Solidaires, finished; 2. Thierry Dubois, finished; 14; 3. Tiscali,
Simone Bianchetti, 397; 4. Pindar, Emma Richards, 140 miles from finish; 5.
Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1061 mff; Hexagon, Graham Dalton, dismasted.
CLASS 2: 1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 325 miles from finish; 2.
Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 1130 mff; 3. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro
Shiraishi, 1295 mff; 4. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 1900 mff; Spirit of
Canada, Derek Hatfield, dismasted.
THE FINAL WORD - John B. Dawson, Jr.
With regard to your lead guest editorial yesterday by Ian Jenkins, the
syndicate head of the Australian Catamaran Challenge questioning
"inaccuracies" in my letter, claiming the correspondence welcoming a
challenge did not contain any time limitations I am attaching a copy of my
correspondence of January 10, 2002, which clearly states that the challenge
must be made "on or before September 1, 2002" and "The Challenge would be
sailed in or around September of 2003". I also attach Mr. Jenkin's reply of
January 12, 2002 acknowledging receipt of my correspondence and stating
"one of our primary goals is to assist in the resurrection, if possible, of
The Trustees continue to wish Ian and his team, Steve Clark and his team
and Norman Wijker and his team the very best success in their efforts to
"resurrect" the C Class.
What appears to be overlooked is the fact that the Trustees are not the
Trustees of the C Class, but of the International Catamaran Challenge
Trophy (ICCT). With one event in eleven years we believed a different class
was necessary and we have structured an event that, hopefully, has removed
as many barriers to participation as possible, while maintaining a
What course we take once the event is active again, who can say, but our
belief is it is easier to turn a moving ship than one that has stood still
for 7 years. Copies of the attachments have been added to the "Chairman's
Letter" on our web site. - John B. Dawson, Jr. Chairman of the Trustees,
International Catamaran Challenge Trophy (ICCT). - www.icct2003.org /
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: With exception of the two letters below, the Chairman
of the Trustees has been given the final word. This thread is now
JULES VERNE TROPHY
On Day 61 of her record attempt, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric
trimaran covered 431 nautical miles at an average speed of 17.96 knots.
It's a performance that extends Geronimo's lead over the current record. At
03:00 GMT today, Orange was the equivalent of 1361.60 nautical miles from
the finish line, whilst Geronimo was 1251.90 nautical miles away: a lead of
109.7 nautical miles.
As predicted, Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew arrived off the
Azores last night. By the end of this morning, the wind had fallen to 5
knots and Geronimo was making just 9 knots between the islands. However,
the average speed over the last 12 hours remains 13.40 knots, raising the
average required to cross the finish line before 12:36:33 on Sunday to
Forecasts are beginning to predict low wind speeds of between 2 and 15
knots for the next 700 nautical miles, thanks to an oscillating high
pressure region currently sitting right over their route home. The final
300 nautical miles are promising around 15 knots of wind from the
south-east. In these conditions, Geronimo could make over 20 knots on a
flat sea, but will it be enough? - www.grandsrecords.com
EXCLUSIVELY AT LAYLINE
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HALL OF FAME
Over the years, Sailing World magazine has honored 40 champion sailors,
designers, and innovative thinkers by inducting them into their Hall of
Fame. And now, the magazine has opened the doors for nominations for the
'Class of 2003.'
Go to the Sailing World website to look at the Selection Criteria - and to
review the list of those who have been previously honored. If you feel the
magazine has overlooked someone, this is your chance to add that name to
the list of potential nominees. Just send your nomination(s), and any
supporting material, to HallofFame@sailingworld.com or Sailing World Hall
of Fame, P.O. Box 3400, Newport, RI 02840-0992.
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 Charles Schmeckle: Of course kinetics should be allowed to be used
at the college level. All that flexing of rigs and decks, "smashing the
glass" and pushing it to the limits is great for those that typically don't
own or maintain their own boats. The schools or benefactors get the bills
and the sailors just enjoy the fruits. Sounds great doesn't it. Face it
folks, this kinda stuff is very hard on a boat and it's expected life or
* Chad Demarest: I had a hard time deciphering both the poll and the
results because it seemed that the "problem related to Kinetics in Tacking
" was assumed and not defined. The lack of specificity taints questions 3
and 4, in that the assumed definition of the problem - which will differ
based on the sailor's background - affects the respondent's answers.
Is the problem that collegiate sailors import their tacking style to
non-collegiate sailing? Is the problem that it is difficult (and not fun)
to tack certain dinghies in a way that complies with the ISAF rule? Keeping
in mind Ben Disreali's liar's maxim, I think the survey conclusions are
biased by the respondent's a prior perceptions of a problem.
I hope that this gets people talking. It would be great if classes affected
by the problem, whatever it is, can individually try to solve it. Waiting
for ISAF to adopt a new rule is not time well spent. This issue applies
only to light, round-bottomed boats with hull speeds sufficiently limited
such that they go faster out of a tack than they went into it - in the
great scheme of sailing, not a lot of classes.
On rule 42 - which may be what a lot of the respondents were opining on -
the 470 is a class worth watching. Every time it blows I'm envious of their
yellow flag rule. But classes should be free and encouraged to pick which
side of the fence they come down on.
* From Tom Keogh (edited to our 250-word limit): Peter Commette might be
the wrong guy to take a poll, as he says, but I'd sure like know what he
thinks about the rules. Peter has earned the credibility to have his ideas
deserve some extra weight. So has Toby Tobin who wrote last week about
offshore safety. It would be a shame to lose the value of their insights by
making them "scientifically" equivalent to those who don't have their
knowledge or experience.
On the question of kinetics, I like what Peter Barrett said - Let the
individual classes decide. Keep the decisions close to the people who sail
the boats. Some will want to experiment, others won't. The good ideas will
spread and those that don't work will go away. People will seek out the
boats that suit them best. I remember the last time I rolled an FJ mast
horizontal - it stayed there. I would probably not choose to race in a
class that required me to be good at that but I would never want to tell
someone else that they couldn't do it because I haven't figured it out. One
size does not fit all - nor should it.
Maybe polling is not the way to sort this out. Debating and voting make
more sense to me. But keep the debates and the votes among the smaller
groups who are actually affected by the decisions. And give some extra
consideration to the folks who have shown that they know what they're
* From Spencer Fulweiler: On a sultry Long Island Sound years ago,
resting on the trampoline of an Aqua-Cat as I drifted home off of Rotan
Point, CT, I remember hearing an unfamiliar sound that caught my attention
and caused me to look up. My jaw dropped as the Class C cat Patient Lady IV
whizzed closely by on one pontoon at a seemingly impossible speed for the
conditions, one crew member lying prostrate on the bow of the leeward
pontoon. It was an awesome sight. For every sailor it represented the very
cutting edge of sailing technology: sophisticated, exotic, and fast. It
grabbed the attention of everyone who loved sailing.
For Little America's Challenges, members of our local yacht club eagerly
volunteered on the race committee and mark boats because they loved the
sport and wanted to be a part of it.
Those who only call 'pathetic' the attempt to deny the history of this
unique event by sponsoring it in production boats do not adequately
describe the magnitude of what is proposed. They propose to devalue the
sport itself. I posit that those who are proposing to exploit this historic
competition are not respecting the sport of sailing. They may respect
themselves to be business managers, they may crave a little attention, they
may even love money. But they are not respecting the spirit and history of
this great event or expressing a love of the sophistication, challenge,
excitement, and aesthetic thrill that is sailing. Let the Little America's
* From Andy Magruder, United States Sailing Association: I too am sorry
to see the ICCT drop C-cats, and will be watching when and if the
Australians race against Cogito. the book which did the most to kindle my
interest in sailing was Reg White's "Catamaran Racing" which I read over
and over when I was 10-12 years old, about the early C-cats in the ICCT.
The first time you see a solid-wing C-cat sail, you can't believe your eyes
how fast they are. They have a smooth motion like no other sailboat. At one
of the ICCT races in the 80's, I was spectating from a Tornado catamaran.
The course was a triangle: windward, 90 degree reach, 45 degree broad
reach. When the C-cats rounded the windward mark, a pack of spectating
Tornado's followed them down the beam reaching leg. I remember sailing most
of the way down the leg, turning around and beam reaching back toward the
course's weather mark. The C-cats beat us to the weather mark! The C-cats
sailed the entire triangle in less time than the Tornado's sailed two beam
reach legs. Cogito is an amazing piece of engineering: about half the
weight, less breakage prone, better aero/hydrodynamics and considerably
faster than the C-cats we were watching. I hope the ICCT goes back to
* From Barry Auger: 'Butt 1284 was the most positive report for the
upcoming Euro AC. Magnus Wheatley's "Yes we can!" report was the sort of
thing that has to make us armchair sailors believe there is truly hope for
the future of the AC. Couple that with the (at last) heightened involvement
of the ISAF, (who are, after all, the world governing body for our sport)
make the prospects for an AC on a level playing field a dream come true.
So what if we have to wait four years: at least when it comes it will be
one heck of an event. Bringing ISAF officials and rules in will go a long
way towards solving the BS problems of past events and encourage further
competitors who otherwise might just sit on the fence. And lest anyone
wonder if ISAF can handle such an event: look at the Volvo Ocean Race: a
massive event run literally all over the world by ISAF officials and
judges... without a hitch! They should be able to keep the puppies in the
pen! I can hardly wait!
* From John Rumsey: The Americas Cup holders would be best advised not to
have anything to do with ISAF.
* From Barton Beek: Andy Vare is alarmed by the relationship between ISAF
and the Star Class. As a long time Star sailor and a traditionalist, I
disagree with him. The Star Class meets the requirements imposed on it by
the Olympics. There's nothing new about that; all sports organizations, in
sailing and in other sports, subordinate their rules to meet Olympic
demands. For example, 35 years ago in 1968, the Star Class did not hold its
traditional World's Championship regatta because the IOC objected to it.
Currently, the IOC delegates to ISAF its power over the sport of sailing.
ISAF has chosen to hold what it calls a World's Championship for all the
sailing classes, for the primary purpose of selecting those nations which
will qualify to send their athletes to compete in Olympic sailing events.
Of course, this ISAF regatta is not being held in accordance with Star
Class rules. Why should it be? Nobody should be getting heartburn over the
ancient proposition that the Olympics are dominant in the world of sport.
* From Max Rosenberg It is with much sadness I read of Neil Baker's
passing. My first memory of Neal is of a kid my age (at the time 13 years
old) foaming at the mouth saying "Rosenberg your slow … get out of the
way!" Neil was a hard driven and understated sailor. If you were in Neil's
way he would let you know. At the same time, if Neil saw you struggling at
the hoist, he was the first to lend a hand.
Neil was one of the few sailors who could make the transition from total
dedicated on the water warrior, and turn into a dockside Angel. No, Neil
was never apologetic when he beat you, he was not even the overly humble
type. No, Neil was the type of guy who truly enjoyed the camaraderie of
being in the sailing scene hanging with his buddies. He may beat you into a
pulp on the race course, but at the bar he would let you in line. Neal will
be missed, I know I will miss him. I can see him at the Pearly Gates now -
"Hey you up front, go in or get out of the way!". Bye Neil.
* From Craig Fletcher: All who Neal Baker will miss him. He was a good
friend and a great sailor. We all wish him peace.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
What difference 30 years makes - 1973: Rolling Stones; 2003: Kidney Stones.