SCUTTLEBUTT 1325 - May 8, 2003
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releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
The Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) of US Sailing has announced the
athletes it will send to the 2003 Athens Regatta. Scheduled for August
14-28 at the Aghios Kosmas Sailing Centre in Glyfadha, the 2003 Athens
Regatta is the sport's dress rehearsal for the 2004 Olympic Games. The
event will offer competition in all nine Olympic classes (11 divisions),
with participating nations allowed only one entry per class. To select the
athletes attending this event, the OSC determined that the top-finishing
U.S. sailor at its respective Olympic Pre-Trials would earn the coveted
slot to this event:
- Europe: Meg Gaillard
- Finn: Greg Skidmore
- 470 Men: Steve Hunt / Michael Miller
- 470 Women: Katie McDowell / Isabelle Kinsolving
- 49er: Tim Wadlow / Pete Spaulding
- Laser: Ben Richardson
- Mistral Men: Peter Wells
- Mistral Women: Lanee Butler
- Star: Paul Cayard / Phil Trinter
- Tornado: Robbie Daniel / Eric Jacobsen
- Yngling: Hannah Swett / Joan Touchette /Melissa Purdy
All of the athletes named are members of the 2003 US Sailing Team.
Membership on the US Sailing Team identifies sailors as strong contenders
for an Olympic berth and provides them with coaching, training
opportunities and financial assistance in addition to national recognition.
- Jan Harley, www.ussailing.org/Olympics
The first Open 40 to finish in Newport RI, and in third place for Leg 5 was
Spirit of yukoh, skippered by Japan's Kojiro Shiraishi, when he crossed the
line at 16:41:41 GMT (12:41:41 local time) on 7th May. Shiraishi was the
youngest person to have solo circumnavigated the globe before, and had
already sailed half way round the world from Japan to Newport to get Spirit
of yukoh here. His inspiration and mentor was the late Yukoh Tada, previous
Class 2 winner of the BOC Challenge, who committed suicide during the
1990/1 BOC Challenge:
"When I was a boy, I read about Yukoh Tada doing the first BOC Challenge
race and since then I wanted to follow in his footsteps. When he took part
in the 3rd BOC Challenge I was his apprentice, but he killed himself during
the race and so I decided to take on the mantle and achieve his ambitions
With 572 miles to go Alan Paris on BTC Velocity unfortunately passed the
closest landmark on his homeland of Bermuda 50 miles offshore and at
midnight. Instead he will have to wait until he flies back there to take up
a new job at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.
Meanwhile, Class 2 skipper Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada restarted Leg
5 from Salvador to Newport RI today. His start time is in fact the same as
the other boats, 13:00 local Brazilian time on 13th April 2003. - Mary
TURN YOUR BOAT INTO A WORLD-BEATER
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The UK's Peter Harrison will enter two teams in this year's Admiral's Cup
Regatta under one name - the Sailability Admiral's Cup Team. One team will
sail under the RORC burgee and a second team sailing under the Cowes
Corinthian Yacht Club banner.
The RORC entry is packed with GBR Challenge and Olympic medalists. They
will be sailing on the Farr 52, Chernikeeff 2 skippered by Marc Fitzgerald,
and a Rodman 42, skippered by Ian Walker, with 15 and 10 crewmembers
respectively. The team pairs Walker with another of Britain's foremost
sailing talents, fellow double Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie, for the first
The Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club entry will be sailing on the Farr 50,
Chernikeeff, skipper to be announced, and a Sinergia 40, skippered by
Paralympic Gold Medallist Andy Cassell, with at least half of the 25 strong
team having disabilities.
"This project combines my two main interests - supporting sailing and
disability sport," explained Team Captain, Peter Harrison. Both teams will
work to create fundraising events for the benefit of RYA Sailability.
The Admiral's Cup takes place in Cowes from the 10th - 23rd July 2003.
Despite being cancelled in 2001 due to lack of interest, this year's
regatta already has eight other teams entered from around the world.
Event website: http://www.rorc.org/admiralscup/index.php
STAR EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
In contrast to the first day's sailing, race 2 in the Star European Spring
Championship was started in a fantastic 12 knot northerly breeze on Lake
Ballaton in Hungary. It was, however, not to last.
Frederick Loof and Anders Elkstrom (SWE) were leading at the first leeward
mark, and had been for the duration of the race, when the breeze dropped to
nothing, before filling in from the South-east. With half the fleet
becalmed at the leeward mark.
Mark Mansfield and Killian Collins (IRL), far enough behind the becalmed
fleet at that stage of the race, to see what was going on, sailed the long
way round the fleet, caught up from 50th position, to round the leeward
mark in third, and finish race 2 in second place, Loof and Elkstrom
finished first, with Han Spitzauer and Andreas Hanakamp (AUT) in third.
Standings after two races (65 boats): 1. IRL Mansfield Mark/ Collins
Killian, 3; 2. GER Koch Michael/ Koy Markus, 11; 3. SUI Marazzi Flavio/
deMaria Enrico, 14; 4. SWE Lööf Fredrik/ Ekstrom Anders, 16; 5. FRA Presti
Philippe/ Saliou Jean-Philippe, 18.
TEAM NEW ZEALAND
America's Cup Minister Trevor Mallard is warning that other sponsors will
have to be signed up before the Government puts up cash for a yachting
challenge overseas. "They've got to go out there and get some other people
first and then come back (to us). We might be the last on board, but we
certainly won't be the first." Mr Mallard confirmed yesterday that he would
meet new Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton this week.
He refused to be drawn on reports the Government might put up $30 million
in a "$2-for-every-$1-raised" sponsorship deal. "I made it very clear on
March 6 when announcing $5.6 million (for Team New Zealand) that, if a
challenge went ahead and a robust business case was made, then the
Government would give its consideration. I'm a great sporting nationalist,
but this is not a sporting decision. This can only be an economic decision.
Any sizable contribution has got to be economically justified."
The Government's initial contribution was to help secure key team members
and avoid the defections that marred the end of the 2000 event. - Jane
Boland and Tracy Watkins, Waikato Times, full story:
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ETCHELLS NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The first race of the 2003 Etchells North American Championship, hosted by
Annapolis Yacht Club, was delayed for two hours while waiting for fog to
lift and the wind to fill in on the Chesapeake Bay. At 1pm, a one and a
half mile course was set at 195 degrees. with winds of 5-8 knots. During
the first beat the wind shifted 50 degrees to the right but filled in on
the left. Jud Smith of Marblehead, MA, gave the fleet a sailing lesson,
leading around the course and finishing with a comfortable lead. - Melinda
Race One Results (58 boats):
1. Jud Smith, Marblehead, MA
2. Jose Fuentes, Annapolis, MD
3. Marvin Beckmann, Houston, TX
4. T. J. Pascalides, East Greenwich, RI
5. Wade Edwards, Concord, MA
Complete results at:
FATAL AUSTRALIAN ACCIDENT
A ship builder allegedly patched over a keel he had accidentally cut in
half on the doomed racing yacht Excalibur before it sank, claiming four
lives. The $1 million yacht sank in 10 seconds about 110km off the coast of
Port Stephens on September 16 last year with suspicions it lost its keel
after a collision with sea debris. But a police investigation has found the
keel snapped in half on a fatigued crack which had been patched over.
It is understood a worker at a Melbourne yacht building firm had
accidentally drove an angle-grinder into the three-tonne, bulbed stainless
steel keel before welding over his mistake. Metallurgical tests on a 1.4
metre part of the keel retrieved on the yacht, found the cutting error
caused massive stress and fatigue and it would have only been a matter of
time before the remaining two metres of the keel snapped off. This was
despite the stainless steel keel having a SAF-225 rating -- the strongest
steel grade available.
It is understood the finding -- including extensive interviews with
yachting experts, the ship's builders and the worker allegedly involved in
the error -- has forced the NSW Coroner's Court into the unprecedented move
of considering having a full jury for its inquiry into the disaster. That
inquiry, scheduled for later this year, could include a number of legal
representations with a raft of negligence charges possible. - Charles
Miranda, Sail-World website, full story:
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 Jeff Conery: By my view Team New Zealand was the second fastest
boat down under, the three races they finished were very close with lead
changes and final margins of only 7, 22 and 30 seconds. We don't reward 2nd
place but to call it a "calamity", "less than professional", and say "the
NZ public was badly let down" is simply not accurate. They had a good team
but were beaten by a better one.
* From Mark Jamieson: Oh dear! The worst excesses engendered by hosting
the Americas Cup continue to plague us. The Black Heart campaign brought to
light parts of the national psyche we would rather never have brought out
into the open. Now that a very full and frank review of the limitations of
the 2003 Team New Zealand campaign are open for all to see, the usual
"everything is a disaster" merchants get their time in the sun.
Don't forget that Peter Bidwell and the Dominion Post (Scuttlebutt 1324)
come from Wellington. The rest of us are still proud of what our team did
and especially their honesty in fronting up to their shortcomings. Despite
the issues they were competitive: Did we not see one of the most exciting
races ever in Race 2?
Was it good sport? It was certainly not predictable at the time, one of the
more important factors in holding our attention. The losing margins (when
the boat held together) were close. The regret is for what could have been:
they were capable of retaining the cup, just as they are more than capable
of getting it back. Let us see the true meaning of Loyal: it is easy to
support a winning team, but the real test is when the going is tough. We
can either focus on what is wrong and lose heart, and show what we are
really made of and get it back.
* From Robert Constable: (Re Peter Bidwell's editorial concerning TNZ's
failures) (Edited to our 250-word limit): I thought the Scuttlebutt Policy
Board guarded against personal attacks. This piece rang of such spite that
it seemed the author grew giddy as he worked himself into a heated rage. We
can all sympathize with the disappointment being felt by the people of New
Zealand, and certainly TNZ's sponsors, but, hey, the Cup has one winner and
many losers. What about the failed efforts of Team Dennis Conner, or Le
Defi, or the Latin Rascals, GBR, Swedish Victory--or even the once-mighty
Oracle, for that matter? Would not a public bare-all post-mortem of those
campaigns also expose significant shortcomings? The microscope being
applied to TNZ might be natural, since they have had such a long and
successful hold on the Cup, but frankly all of the competitors failed to
measure up when compared to Alinghi's juggernaut.
Ten tried; one succeeded. And that one looks about as intimidating now as
TNZ did in 2000. Perhaps the national stakes were higher for TNZ, but in
the America's Cup, the loser's aren't ranked by the ignominy of their
loss--none of that matters once they've departed the field. Besides, as
hosts of commentators have pointed out, the Challengers have four months of
battle-testing before they have to face the real foe, and the Defender is
left alone to practice, plot, and pray that their campaign is up to the
task. So much for high expectations--fail at your peril, the knives are
quick to come out.
* From Larry Law (Re; Butt 1324): They came, they raced, they lost. It's
sail boat racing - it happens. While the TNZ issues unravel, I'm sure it's
helpful for them, but for the rest of us - who really cares. NZL has great
sailors and wonderful people - everyone loses. It's not a crime to have
made mistakes and not won - there are all sorts of teams that faced the
same end - just much earlier in the game.
To TNZ and the people of NZ, "come back out swinging with the rest of the
world and have at it - this next Cup is going to be very interesting and
not having you there would be a shame". However, I for one don't need to be
dragged through the internal analysis. Let that remain in the hands of the
powers that survive the "inquisition".
* From Charles Smith: I was troubled initially about the evenness of the
playing field between Great American and Sea Witch. The difference is like
the difference between a fleet race and record attempt. When Sea Witch was
sailing there were, I'm assuming, hundreds of ships trying to get there the
fastest. Sea Witch happened to have great conditions on one voyage. It
could have been any one of the others and their name would be in the record
books. So for hundreds of vessels over tens of years we pick the fastest
Great American is one vessel on one voyage trying to beat the best of
thousands of voyages. Two guys on a multihull with weather satellite
against a fully crewed full size ship who have made the passage frequently
and can compare their experience with other vessels. It may not be a
perfectly level playing field but it is at least comparable.
* From Ian Duff: Let's see, Great America is 56 feet long, with a crew of
two. Sea Witch was 192 feet long, 165 ft on the waterline, with a crew of
thousands. Well maybe not thousands, but enough for a legitimate watch
system. GA, on the other hand, has two lunatics (my hat's off to you,
boys!) sailing watch and watch.
For a 14,255 mile course covered in 74 days 14 hours, Sea Witch would have
covered just under 200 miles a day. This would have required an average
speed of roughly half her hull speed. Great America has much higher
potential top speed than Sea Witch, but requires the utmost diligence to
attain it, even more so for an extended period. In lighter breeze, her
significantly smaller size limits her to a much lower ultimate speed,
increasing the need for diligence even more. Tough to be diligent when
exhaustion is your constant companion.
I call this a worthy target pursued by two determined men. Bully Waterman
certainly used every means at his disposal to beat his competitors to New
York, Great America is following suit.
* From Rich Wilson, skipper Great American II (Lat. 04:29S Lon. 22:27W):
Times change! That today we read out here in the South Atlantic Ocean Ken
Brooke's comments about a level playing field (Scuttlebutt 1324) attests to
that. The simple fact is that the extreme clipper ship Sea Witch, a
spectacular example of the technology of her time, has held the Hong Kong
to New York record for a century and a half. Anyone attempting to beat that
record must either build and crew a historically comparable vessel or make
their bid in something more contemporary.
It speaks volumes for Sea Witch's legendary speed and the seamanship of
Captain Robert "Bully" Waterman that we are barely a day's sail ahead of
Sea Witch's time, even though aided by daily weather routing, autopilots
and other modern aids, Rather ominously, we still have to cross the doldrums.
Those weather routers at the heart of Ken Brooke's concerns are consulting
their satellite-fed information streams and advising us that the short term
picture is far from rosy. But all of the above misses the point that this
extended exercise is all about education - a way to focus kids in grades
K-12 on a real-life adventure with real-life lessons delivered through:
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what
the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be
replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another
theory which states that this has already happened.