SCUTTLEBUTT 1343 - June 4, 2003
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digest of major yacht racing news, commentary, opinions, features and dock
talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
(While the dispute rages on between the International Sailing Federation
and the Swedish Match Tour, Scuttlebutt just received insight provided by a
third party - Line 7 - a former sponsor of the Tour.)
Through our apparel brand Line 7 we sponsor and support a sport that has
been great to us. We put both money and product into our national
association, yacht clubs, Olympic aspirants, national teams, youth sailing,
Americas Cup and Volvo teams. In addition to this we have for many years
been co-sponsor of the Steinlager-Line 7 Grand Prix which is a Grade 1
event and part of the Swedish Match Tour, as well as the Official Supplier
of apparel to the tour.
As of this year we have withdrawn our sponsorship of the Match Racing
event, as have Steinlager, and have not renewed our supply agreement with
the Tour. Consequently this event has been postponed, even though we gave
12 months notice of our intentions, due to the inability to attract a new
sponsor for the event.
Reading Scuttlebutt over the last few issues re the infighting between ISAF
and the Swedish Match Tour I believe vindicates my position to not invest
in the sport at this level. I believe that the Tour is great for sailing,
and from my experiences Tour management in general and Swedish Match in
particular have done a great job in bringing disparate events into an
professional era that should be good for the sport, for the participants
and for the individual events. It has bought a higher standard of racing to
be enjoyed by spectators, and through their investment into an umpires
programme there is more consistency of calls between events.
To develop our event we needed to invest more money. We did not see where
the corresponding returns were going to come from a commercial standpoint
if we had made this investment; therefore we decided that the investment in
total was not warranted.
Contrary to popular opinion, sponsors for sailing are not lining up at the
door. The majority of income for any regatta comes from sponsorship. For
ISAF to dip their hand into a pot that is already struggling to accommodate
the specific needs of each event is doing the sport no good. We are only a
small player in the world of yachting sponsorship, but there are many
sponsors out there who are evaluating their returns from a sport that does
not seem to have its act together.
Companies like Swedish Match are good for this sport. The governing bodies
need to do more to encourage future investment so that the sport can grow
and flourish, not make it difficult for sponsors to get returns on their
investments so that they look to other areas of investment as I have. -
Ross Munro, Managing Director, Line 7.
Australian Catamaran Challenge have successfully erected their radical wing
sail as part of their preparations for an assault on the "Little America's
Cup". Construction of the wing commenced late in 2002. "We are very pleased
with the progress so far" says Damien Smith syndicate designer and naval
architect "the design combines the flexibility of a conventional soft sail
with the extraordinary efficiency of the an aircraft wing." Continued
Smith. "I'm thrilled," said syndicate coordinator Ian Jenkins " the team
have done an amazing job building the wing. It is as much a piece of
sculpture as sailing machine."
The race known as "The Little Americas Cup" will be sailed in Rhode Island
in September 2004. Australian Catamaran Challenge Syndicate will come up
against previous winner Steve Clark's Cogito and the British Invictus team
to decide who can build the fastest sailing boat on the planet.
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The first annual Sail-Cuba Regatta, scheduled to begin May 3 from Tampa
Bay, went to the bottom, a foundering wreck, before the start. At the
closed skippers meeting on May 2 at the St. Petersburg Bayfront Center, the
attendees-each of whom had a minimum of $350 invested in the event, voted
to a man to cancel the race. They also wanted their money back. This writer
was present to cover the meeting but was denied entry by Gilles Rancourt, a
Canadian citizen who was behind the regatta. Rancourt runs a Canadian
company called Exit Solutions and, apparently, is its sole employee.
On April 19, I wrote about the Sail-Cuba regatta in this column. I
explained that attempts to get clarification on how many boats were in the
regatta had failed. I said I had talked to a man in Canada who never
identified himself and who was as slippery as oil on ice when asked direct
questions. What I did not know at the time the article appeared is that the
Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had, on April
18, posted a notice on its website about incorrect information that
Rancourt was putting out on the Exit Solutions' website. The sum and
substance of the notice was that "…a U.S. boater cannot claim fully-hosted
status if he or she is prepaying a third country entity to cover his or her
travel-related transactions in Cuba."
People who went to Cuba, under Rancourt's plan, would be breaking the law,
the OFAC posting said. The penalties are Draconian. There are no
restrictions on travel to Cuba by Americans, but people who have no
specific or general license to do so cannot legally spend money there. That
was the core issue Rancourt had hoped to skirt. He failed.
On April 21, OFAC sent Rancourt a letter telling him that U.S. citizens or
people under U.S. jurisdiction could not legally participate in his
regatta. However, Rancourt apparently did not immediately inform the people
who had signed up for the race and coughed up their money. He held that
information close. - Morgan Stinemetz, Herald Tribune, The rest of the story:
* June 3 - The Tiverton Yacht Club will be demolished later today after
being destroyed by an early morning fire. Crews battled the blaze, which
began before 5 o'clock this morning, but were unable to prevent the
building from becoming a total loss. Fall River and Portsmouth fire
departments were called in to help fight the fire. No one was injured in
blaze. The cause appears to be electrical. -
* Tufts University (Medford, Mass.) continued to dominate today at the 2003
Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Women's North American
Championship held out of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club on Lake St. Clair.
The Lady Jumbos now lead the regatta by 21 points. St. Mary's College (St.
Mary's City, Md.) is in second place, followed by Old Dominion University
(Norfolk, Va.). Strong easterly winds in the morning faded to a lighter
northeasterly breeze as the day went on. All day, sailors battled chop that
some described as "like sailing in a washing machine." -
* Some airlines in the U.S. do not allow passengers to check-in or
carry-on an inflatable PFD with a CO2 cartridge. US Sailing is attempting
to change those policies. If you do not agree with an airline's policy in
this matter, please feel free to convey your sentiments to the airline. The
airline contact information is included in the Current Status Document:
* Jochen Schumann will be racing on German waters this week after an
absence of about two and a half years. Alinghi´s Director of Sports will be
one of 12 skipper sailing Diamant 2000s in Match Race Germany, the eighth
event on the current Swedish Match Tour, which starts tomorrow. The other
skippers are Jesper Radich (Denmark), Jes Gram-Hansen (Denmark), Ed Baird
(USA), Chris Law (GBR), Luc Pillot (France), Henrik Jensen (Denmark),
Staffan Lindberg (Finland), Mattias Rahm (Sweden), Mikael Lindquist
(Sweden), Markus Weiser (Germany), Andreas Willim (Germany).
2003 ANNAPOLIS NOOD
In the highly competitive J105 class at the 2003 Annapolis NOOD, Ullman
Sails dominated the top places in the 32 boat fleet. Alec Cutler took 1st
place honors in "Hooked on Tonics." In addition to taking five of the top
six places in the J105 class, Ullman Sails won the Henderson 30 class and
placed 2nd in the J30's. Let our sailmakers give you and you crew the speed
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The International America's Cup Class of San Francisco (IACCSF), announced
that its annual Regatta Series has been officially named, The Challenge
Series. The America's Cup Class yachts competing in the regattas will be
described as The San Francisco Cup Class.
The regatta series, launched in San Francisco during the 2002 summer racing
season, was previously and informally referred to as IACC SF. Following the
success of the 2002 IACC events raced on San Francisco Bay, event founders
John Sweeney and Tina Kleinjan confirmed that the series would become an
ongoing annual event.
"Over and above the success of our informal series in 2002, the desire was
apparent from the challenger teams who participated in the 2002-2003 Louis
Vuitton and America's Cup Regattas in New Zealand to keep the racing
momentum going with the current class of America's Cup yachts," stated John
Sweeney. "The Challenge Series held annually on San Francisco Bay will
provide that opportunity."
In the past, the very expensive America's Cup yachts have been used for
testing and then simply discarded once The America's Cup events have
finished. John Sweeney and Tina Kleinjan have built a business rebuilding
older International America's Cup Class yachts and providing the perfect
racing environment for them on San Francisco Bay.
With up to ten teams participating in the 2003 season, including recent
America's Cup winner Team Alinghi and Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW Racing,
corporate sponsors see The Challenge Series as an ideal marketing tool.
With the regatta series officially launched, the stage is set for the most
impressive sailing competition ever seen on San Francisco Bay.
Wells Fargo announced it will sponsor the four-regatta Challenge Series
yacht racing series hosted this summer in the company's headquarters
community and the Wells Fargo team will compete on USA-11 (formerly Stars &
Stripes). USA-11 is a 75-foot yacht that sailed Team Dennis Conner to the
1992 America's Cup Finals. Other yachts currently scheduled to race this
season include New Zealand Challenge, Il Moro di Venezia, NZL-20, Le Defi
Areva, and K-Yachting Challenge.
The complete 2003 IACCSF racing schedule is as follows: The Sausalito Cup -
June 20-22, The Il Moro Trophy - July 25-27, The Golden Gate Cup - Sept.
6-14, and The 2003 IACC Worlds on Oct. 11-19. - Michelle Slade,
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* June 13 - 19: International Six Meter World Championships, St Tropez,
* June 14 to 29: The Cadillac Van Isle 360 - a 580 nm (nautical mile)
point to point race sailed in ten legs circumnavigating Vancouver Island,
B.C. Canada. www.vanisle360.com
Pegasus 77, the ultimate Turbo Sled, winner of Transpac 2001, is for sale.
Launched in 2001, she is the very best in every aspect. Designed by
Reichel-Pugh as the next generation Turbo Sled, Pegasus 77 will be
available August 2003 right after Transpac. Details and photographs are at
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 John McBrearty: Here are my Pet Peeves-
1. Race Committees that want to play "hide the ball". Talk to us when
you're setting the mark, during postponements, getting ready to go into a
sequence, including a countdown to the warning, and OCS calls. You can
write your SI's so that you can avoid a petition for redress. It's easy,
and when you do that, your regattas will have better participation! North
Sails Race Week in Long Beach is a great example and a very successful
event, and it's not a yacht club sponsored event. I would even venture to
guess that it is an event that actually turns a profit!
2. Race Committees that are lazy in setting a windward/ leeward course. I,
very recently sailed a 2nd race where you could fetch the weather mark
without tacking. Get a clue R.C. folks! We love you for doing the job, but
a little effort would be appreciated. The boat owners are spending a lot of
time, money and effort to compete! The race is not about the RC, it's about
your "customers", the racers.
3. Post results promptly on your club's website! This is the 21st Century!
* From Peter Salt, Solihull, UK: Nice to see a Radio Sailing event listed
in your Major Events listing. This is a branch of ISAF supported activity,
in just the same way as, for instance, board sailing. If you check out the
entry list, you will find many GBR sailors there, if I may be so bold as to
wave the flag, who will be finishing in the top slots. In the UK there is a
Radio Sailing match race series, using a scaled-down version of a 6-metre
boat. I don't think this will ever trouble the ISAF the way the Swedish
Match Tour seems to be, however!!
* From Fred Roswold, Australia: Its time to give up the "not invented
here" attitude about IRC. It doesn't matter if Americap is the greatest or
not, no handicap system is perfect. Next year some other armchair sailor
will develop another one. It doesn't matter what your handicapping system
is, what matters is a well prepared boat, a good skipper, and a great crew,
and to stop whinging about your rating and to start looking at your
performance on the course. When you can honestly say you sailed as good a
race as you could possibly sail, I think you'll find you'll win your share,
regardless of the handicap system in use.
* From Paolo Sheaffer: Does the phrase "The market has spoken" occur to
anyone else? The Not Invented Here syndrome will continue to hobble Grand
Prix handicap racing in the US, and our own National Authority seems to be
the primary hindrance toward further development. I have done little big
boat sailing since IOR days, and I miss the variety and innovations of the
old leadmines. Imagine variety and innovation on boats that actually sail
downwind! Bring on the IRC, warts and all!
* From Reynald Neron, France: While I agree with Craig Montrose in
regards to the US joining the rest of the world for measurements, I have to
let him know that most of the world do not drink by pint as he claims, but
by litres. Same question would apply for the navigation systems. When does
the US will use a red marker on your port on your way in? (rather than your
* From Chad Demarest: Paul Anderson's comments regarding financial
assistance to aspiring Olympic sailors demonstrated a very unfortunate view
of Olympic level sailing. Besides it's basic factual inaccuracy (something
less than 10% of all participants at the various trials in 2000 chose
pursue professional sailing as a career), it missed the purpose of
supporting an Olympic aspirant--to help them represent the United States of
America. Unfortunately the playing field won't be truly level without
government subsidies, but that's okay … even small financial contributions
will help those attempting to reach the pinnacle of our sport demonstrate
the fruits of their talent and hard work. Without the money we will never
know just how good our sailors can be.
Please don't bemoan the state of Olympic (or collegiate) athletics and in
so doing punish the sailors that are giving their lives over to an Olympic
dream. Their Olympic aspirations benefit all of us-they are role models,
they run clinics to train our children, they share their invaluable
thoughts and experiences with us at local regattas, and they contribute
heavily to the management and direction of our sport. They are one of the
best things we, as American sailors, have going for us. And they need our help.
* From Ryan Helling (In response to Mr. Andersen's comment about
supporting Olympic sailors): I would like to ask this - how many high
paying jobs there are in professional sailing? I don't see any Laser
sailors making millions. I don't believe that professional sailing can be
called professional in the common sense of the word. The dynamics of the
sport are completely different from any other and thats what makes it great
and completely different from other professional sports. I agree with
supporting Olympic hopefuls, even if the spirit is gone because I would
like to see the sport grow and would love to have the support myself if I
was running an Olympic campaign.
* From Emil Shepard:The World's Smallest Violin Award goes to Dan Tucker
for his lament that he did not get enough money from US Sailing for his
campaign. $3000 is a large chunk of change to be given for no reason other
than you asked for it. There are few people in the world who wouldn't jump
at the chance to be paid to pursue their hobby.
Most of us, however, are forced to work most of the time to play some of
the time. If you can't afford to play as often and wherever you wish, you
have to sit it out. Sounds harsh, but you cannot expect others to foot the
bill for you, then call it a "distraction" and publicly complain that it
* From John Rumsey: I wish sailors would stop the begging for money. If you
can't afford to sail in expensive regattas around the world - stay home and
enjoy the sport where you can afford it. Do we really need a sailing team
to show the world we are better than someone else.
I've learned that I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it. - Andy Rooney