SCUTTLEBUTT 1322 - May 5, 2003
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During his last night at sea racing in Around Alone, Italian skipper Simone
Bianchetti informed his shore team and the race organization Tiscali would
be arriving before dawn, but was worried about his mast because he could
not take more than one reef in the mainsail and yet the wind had risen to
45 - 50 knots. His worst suspicions were confirmed at 04:15hrs local time
Saturday, just 30 miles from the end of a 28,000 mile circumnavigation,
when in the dead of night Bianchetti heard that fearful sound of carbon
cracking and came out of the cabin to find his mast had snapped just above
the 3rd spreader. Amazingly, the spar was still dangling by the threads of
the halyards, with the main sail still attached.
Just one hour later Bianchetti called again: "I am back sailing at 8 knots
and have less than 16 miles to go. Make sure everyone is there to greet
me." With the mast upright, Simone had set his staysail and lashed any
dangling parts of the rig to stop them from smacking into the boat. He was
able to bear off and still make course, and with the mainsail flapping in
the wind and the staysail drawing, he nursed his crippled yacht, tacking
slowly across the bay and crossed over the finish line in Newport at
08:01:30hrs local time (12:01:30 GMT).
A divinely orchestrated orange sunrise greeted Open 50 Tommy Hilfiger
Freedom America when Class 2 American skipper Brad Van Liew crossed the
finish line in Newport at 05:53:58 local time (09:53:58 GMT). His final
24hrs of the 28,000 mile Around Alone race had been one of Van Liew's worst
in his entire career, as he explained in his final log: "I have 40 knots on
the nose. The waves are coming from every direction. On deck the boat is so
sideways that the coach roof is in the water. I have not slept in 2 days. I
feel like I am going to be sick or start hallucinating. This is not a good
place to be, but there is zero possibility of sleeping right now."
But Van Liew, the only veteran of Around Alone in this edition, has now
written the next page in the history books of the race, as the only
American skipper to have won all the legs of the race, and by quite a
margin, thereby scoring the full 50 points to take overall victory in Class
2. His Open 50 was always immaculately prepared and often found racing
amidst the larger Open 60 class, notably arriving just 3 days behind Class
1 winner Bernard Stamm in the final leg. This remarkable achievement places
Van Liew squarely among the best solo sailors in the world. The Tommy
Hilfiger Freedom America campaign has been very professionally run from the
day they announced their partnership with Tommy Hilfiger, and this has been
the secret to Van Liew's success. - Brian Hancock, http://www.aroundalone.com
Standings: 2200 UTC May 4
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux finished at 11:20:10 GMT May 1st after 17 days,
19hrs, 20m 23s
2. Tiscali finished at 12:01:30 GMT May 3rd after 19 days, 20 hrs, 1m 30s
3. Solidaires finished at 19:54:01 GMT May 3rd after 20 days, 3 hrs, 54m, 1s
4. Ocean Planet finished at 03:35:57 GMT May 4th after 20 days 11 hours 35m 57s
5. Pindar finished at 20:15:26 GMT May 4th after 21 days 4hrs 15m 26s
1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, finished at 09:53:58 GMT May 4th
2. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 69 miles from finish
3. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 388 mff
4. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 908 mff
- Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, still sailing leg 4, 17 miles from finish
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San Diego, CA.- Judging from the party atmosphere in the courtyard of the
San Diego Yacht Club, the disappointing loss of one full day of the two-day
Yachting Cup was all but erased from sailors' memories by Sunday
night---especially for those who pranced up for awards. The gnarly
conditions that caused Saturday's schedule to be abandoned before it
started were replaced by brisk, if chilly, westerlies of 12 to 17 knots
that allowed the running of three races with time left over for celebrating.
The marquee winners were John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti in the Farr 40 class and
Bill Turpin's Transpac 52, Alta Vita, in PHRF-1. Also notable: a dogfight
between Scott Birnberg's Indigo, Long Beach YC, and Ed Cummins' Bold
Forbes, Balboa YC, among 23 J/105s, the largest one-design class. Each had
six points with strings of 3-1-2 and 1-2-3, respectively, but Birnberg won
the tiebreaker by finishing ahead of Cummins in the finale, won by Dennis
There were 130 boats sailing on three courses in 12 classes. Rich Roberts,
SWEDISH MATCH TOUR
The Toscana Elba Cup - Trofeo Locman, the sixth event on Swedish Match Tour
2002/2003 scheduled for May 10 - 18, brings together the top four current
Swedish Match Tour Rankings leaders as well as marquis names from the
recent America's Cup challenger series. With the island of Elba a candidate
to host the next America's Cup, the Toscana Elba Cup - Trofeo Locman, a
first-time event on the Swedish Match Tour, promises an exciting week of
world-class competition. Elba, the largest of the Tuscan Islands, and third
largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia, and home to the training
bases for the two Italian challenges for America's Cup 2003, the Prada
Challenge and Mascalzone Latino, is located 6.5 miles off the Italian
mainland. - Shawn McBride, http://www.swedishmatchtour.com/
* Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Victory Lane
* Jesper Radich, DEN/Team Radich
* James Spithill, AUS/Team Spithill
* Chris Law, GBR/ "The Outlaws"
* Ed Baird, USA/Team Musto
* Karol Jablonski, POL/Team MK-Café
* Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team Holmberg
* Vincente Onorato, Mascalzone Latino
* Paolo Cian, ITA/Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team
* Andy Beadsworth, GBR Challenge
* Luc Pillot, FRA/Team Pillot
* Sebastien Destramau, France
THE SUN MAY BE OUT- BUT THE WATER IS STILL CHILLY...
The world leader in marine footwear, Dubarry Of Ireland, has new styles for
2003; the knee-high Helmsman boot, Navigator, and Aquasport lace-up
performance range. All have the cupsole for superior traction and support.
Visit their website for information and dealer locations. -
ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK
Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, May 2, 2003 - Frank Savage's Swan 56 Lolita won
the last race of the week-long regatta to resoundingly stamped its mark on
the class with an 11 point margin. Solid sailing and teamwork notched up a
fleet win by a slimmer margin of nine points to the Antiguan/Italian
second-placer of Caccia Alla Volpe. Swan 56 Vellamo 2 took the second
position in class from Flirt by two points. "This race is made for Swans,"
said Savage. "You've got nice long beats and winds between 14 and 20 knots
and sometimes more."
The nail-biter was between Sotto Voce and Chippewa. They came in to today
tied for second place in fleet with Chippewa leading the big boat class by
two points. Although it looked good for Chippewa to triumph, the day went
to Sotto Voce - on a tiebreak. Neither boat sailed totally clean races
with Sotto Voce picking up a fish pot and Chippewa losing its headsail on
the first beat.
The wind started off light today at about 14-15 knots and almost
imperceptibly built to 19-20 knots by the time Chippewa finished. And
while the increased wind speed played into the hands of Chippewa, it wasn't
enough for the heavier Swan 68 to close the gap.
Antiguan Melges 24 Huey skippered by Bernie Wong topped the racing sport
boat class after a visit to the protest room today. Non-plussed by a
competitor¹s ability to hike, he attended the meeting with photographic
evidence to show that Beneteau 28 Credit Moderne was sailing with lifelines
made from bungee cord; a DSQ followed for Credit Moderne and Huey won the
day. - Alastair Abrehart,
US Sailing has announced its 2003 national youth championships' calendar.
The seven events, which take place throughout the summer, are hosted by six
clubs across the country.
* June 20-26: Sailing Championship (Johnstone & Scott Memorial Trophies),
Milwaukee Yacht Club, Milwaukee, WI; Club 420 & Laser, (age 19 and under in
* July 5-11: Women's Doublehanded Championship (Ida Lewis Trophy),
Windycrest Sailing Club, Tulsa, OK; Club 420, (ages 13 through 18 in 2003).
* July 11-13: Multihull Championship (Hoyt-Jolley Trophy), Fort Walton
Yacht Club, FL; Hobie 16, (age 18 and under in 2003).
* August 2-8: Women's Singlehanded Championship (Leiter Trophy), Mentor
Harbor Yacht Club, OH; Laser Radial, (ages 13 through 18 in 2003).
* August 9-13: Junior Doublehanded Championship (Bemis Trophy), North
Cape Yacht Club, LaSalle, MI; Club 420, (ages 13 through 18 in 2003).
* August 9-13: Singlehanded Championship* (Smythe Trophy), North Cape
Yacht Club, LaSalle, MI; Laser, (ages 13 through 18 in 2003).
* August 10-13: Triplehanded Championship (Sear & Judges Trophies),
Detroit Yacht Club, MI; Flying Scot, (ages 13 through 18 in 2003).
Additional Information: http://www.ussailing.org/championships
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Team New Zealand today said their management structure was the single most
important cause of the 0-5 America's Cup loss to Swiss challenger Alinghi.
In report prepared by Team New Zealand director Peter Menzies and released
today, the syndicate said all subsequent events and occurrences could be
traced to the replacement management structure not delivering.
That structure consisted of three individuals with specific self-contained
areas of responsibility reporting to the four-man board. It said those
responsible for the structure had collectively and individually accepted
responsibility for the team's performance. They were Menzies and fellow
directors Ralph Norris, John Risley and Kevin Roberts; Dean Barker (in
charge of sailing), Ross Blackman (administration) and Tom Schnackenberg
(boat design). "Collectively, they developed the structure, and
collectively they failed to challenge its ability to deliver."
Also, the report said a significant contributing factor was the structural
failure that hit back-up boat NZL81 in December, two months before the cup
match began. "The impact this catastrophe had on the team cannot be
understated. "The failure of NZL81 led to downstream decisions being made
which severely handicapped and disadvantaged the crew and the preparation
of NZL82." The hull and deck on NZL81 failed again just before the start of
the first race in the America's Cup. The same problems did not occur on
NZL82, but created concern among all team members, undermining their
confidence in the structural soundness of NZL82.
This led to compromises being made when testing the limits of NZL82's
capabilities and eventually to pushing the boat during racing.
"Collectively, the sailors expressed confidence in NZL82," the report said.
"However, privately, they harboured the belief that NZL82 might be fragile,
and they treated it too protectively. "There was a genuine concern that if
they pushed NZL82 too hard, it too might fail and they would not have a
boat with which to defend the America's Cup." As a result, in training,
NZL82 was never made to stretch in more than 25 knots, and the issues this
created showed up in the cup match "when the boat was pushed to its limits
for the first time".
Team New Zealand have said they will make a decision by October on whether
to proceed with a challenge in Europe in 2007. Further reading:
CORRECTION -From Rich Jeffries: In a letter I wrote last week in response
to the Scuttlebutt 'scoop' on the Pan Am Games it has been pointed out to
me that I incorrectly attributed the decision concerning Olympic Classes to
the local organizers, COPAN. In fact this decision was made by ODEPA which
in the Americas is an umbrella sports organization somewhat like the IOC.
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 Keith Taylor: Rob James surely has an honored place in the annals
of singlehanded sailing but to keep the record straight it was Canadian
Mike Birch who sailed the little Newick trimaran Third Turtle into a
startling third overall in the '76 OSTAR. Mike at 71 is still a force in
international solo marathons, most recently competing in his seventh Route
du Rhum on the monohull 60-footer Tir Groupé-Montres Yéma.
That said, Don Watson's news (Scuttlebutt 1321) about the Royal Western YC
limiting entries to 50-foot and 60-foot classes in the 2004 Singlehanded
Transatlantic is indeed disappointing. Over the years almost all of the
little guys have eventually made it to Newport, or safely to port
somewhere, and many like Birch have gone on to distinguished careers in the
sport and business of sailing. All thanks to the leadership and the
adventurous spirit displayed by the Royal Western. I have to guess the
club's current decision has little to do with pressure from professionals.
More likely a lack of sponsorship dollars, tougher limits from liability
insurers, or simply the inability in this day and age to muster the
dedicated volunteers needed to manage and monitor competition over the long
weeks that it takes the little boats to cover the 2,800 miles from Plymouth
* From Danny Greene: Although I certainly agree with Don Watson's letter
lamenting the elimination of boats under 50 feet from the singlehanded
trans-Atlantic race, I think that he is incorrect in naming Rob James as
skipper of Third Turtle in the 1976 event. I believe it was Mike Birch,
and that race put not only multuhulls but also Mr. Birch on the map. He
became a very successful racing sailor, singlehanded and crewed, and is
As an editor at Cruising World Magazine at the time, I was privileged to
meet many of the competitors in those early OSTARs, and the majority of
them were unsponsored and sailing in boats under 50 feet. Most of them
were fascinating, and both contributed to the event and derived enormous
satisfaction from competing. To deny such sailors from access to this race
would mean a great loss to them and to sailing in general.
* From Roland Jonkhoff, The Netherlands (Re.: Don Watson's letter in Butt
1321): You are right with the remark on the STAR 2004 that it will only
feature 60 and 50 footers. However, class 3,4 and 5, respectively the 45,
40 and 35 footers will have their own race in 2005. At least that is still
At the start of the STAR in 2000 nearly all media attention was focused on
the fleet of 60 foot mono and multihulls which were there in large numbers.
With all the attention focused on the big boys (and girls) the remainder of
the fleet were nearly forgotten (publicity-wise that is).
In order to prevent a repetition, the problems with the growing fleet (and
probably a lot more reasons), the Royal Western decided to split the race
in two different fleets. The 50 and 60 footers will sail in 2004, using the
STAR as a qualifier for the Vendee and the smaller boats will have their
own race in 2005. If that is good or not, time will tell. Everything has
its pro's and con's. My only concern is whether the 2005 STAR will be on
the agenda. It is on mine.
* From John Charles Baxter: One of my good friends notified me he was not
getting his scuttlebutt in the mornings probably due to the filter issue
you mentioned. However, I guess there is a conundrum in that they would
not get the filter info for the filter is blocking the e-mail!
* From Andrei Glasberg: NZ remains oblivious to its basic management
problem - the lack of it. Alinghi had superb overall management and superb
sailors. The patriotic campaign NZ selected instead was faulty and
insulting. The ugly face NZ showed the world is likely to make any outside
sponsor think twice before linking its market franchise to that of NZ. I
wonder what kind of post-mortem report a funding shortfall will create.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Man is the only critter who feels the need to label things as flowers or weeds.