SCUTTLEBUTT 1398 - August 21, 2003
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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.
Bruce Schwab, the only American sailor in the "Open 60" ocean racing
circuit, has officially announced his entry in the 2004/2005 Vendee Globe
Race. "No American has ever officially finished this event. Not only do I
want to be the first American to finish it, the goal is to be on the podium."
The Vendee Globe is a non-stop round the world race that starts on November
7th 2004 from Les Sables d'Olonne on the southwest coast of France. The
sailors head into the waters of the Atlantic on a southerly course leading
past South Africa's Cape of Good Hope before entering the perilous Southern
Ocean. They then circumnavigate the Antarctic continent, rounding infamous
Cape Horn before heading north for the finish back where it started, in Les
Bruce's boat, "Ocean Planet," is the only American Open 60 and a departure
from the other Open 60 designs in several ways. One example of his design
team's innovations is the boat's rotating unstayed mast. Bruce points out,
"Ocean Planet is already the first racing sailboat, single-handed or
crewed, to complete an around the world race with an unstayed mast.
Frankly, many thought it wouldn't survive the race. But we proved them
wrong. Our unstayed mast is nearly as light as a conventional one, and has
a significantly lower center of gravity. It may seem radical, but it's just
one of the reasons she's extremely reliable, durable and easy to handle
which, as you can imagine, is a very big deal in a solo around the world race."
Ocean Planet will be in Portland, Maine, over the winter to finish the
upgrades for next fall's race. "Some of our developments will be hidden,
but for the most part the project will be open for public viewing. We'll be
indoors at our new base at Portland Yacht Service all winter and will be
launching our education program there." -
MORE SINGLEHANDED RACING
Offshore Challenges Events (OCEvents), the event management division of the
Offshore Challenges Group, has reached an agreement with the Royal Western
Yacht Club, Plymouth, regarding the future organisation of the famous
Single-handed TransAtlantic Race originally known as the OSTAR. OCEvents,
as the new Organising Authority, has acquired all sponsorship and media
rights for the 4-yearly event, commencing with the next race starting May
The STAR was founded in 1960 by the Royal Western Yacht Club, and was the
very first single-handed ocean race. At the time commentators said to sail
across the Atlantic alone "couldn't be done". It ran from Plymouth, UK to
the eastern seaboard of the USA - in 1960 to the Ambrose Light off of New
York, and thereafter to Newport, Rhode Island. The race has been the
starting point for just about every famous offshore sailor's racing career
- including Sir Francis Chichester whose wager with Blondie Haslar kicked
the idea off in the first place, Sir Chay Blyth, Clare Francis, Eric
Tabarly and more recently Ellen MacArthur who won the monohull division in
the last race in 2000 before going on to compete, famously, in the non-stop
around the world Vendée Globe Challenge. The very first race took 40 days
for the winner, yet the latest hi-tech racing machines are covering the
2900 mile (4500km) ocean racetrack in under ten.
The STAR 2004 is part of the official calendars of the world's two biggest
professional ocean-going raceboat fleets. For the space-age flying machines
of the ORMA 60 foot trimaran class it is one of just two solo races in
their 4 year cycle of events - the other being the famous Route du Rhum .
For the IMOCA Open 60 monohull fleet the STAR is the last chance to
qualify, and train for the Vendée Globe race, and it is effectively the
prologue to the event. Up to 50 top raceboats are expected to be in
Plymouth for the week leading up to the start on May 30, 2004.
The agreement between OCEvents and the RWYC marks an important landmark for
the event. Conceived by the Royal Western, it has undergone significant
change in recent years as the fleet has become more professional, and the
resources required to run an event of this scale, both logistically and
commercially, have dramatically increased. OCEvents has an extensive skill
set, a European team, and excellent knowledge and understanding of the
needs of the sailors and their sponsors, their highly technical racing
yachts and the media.
A new Notice of Race will be issued to potential competitors by 30
September 2003. A more detailed briefing on the next event will be held in
Le Havre before the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre race, late October.
Read an interview with Mark Turner, CEO of the Offshore Challenges Group
and OCEvents: http://www.ocftp.com/audio/ostar_mt_uk_180803.mp3
SWEDISH MATCH TOUR
The Swedish Match Tour professional sailing series has announced its
preliminary schedule of events for 2003/2004. Dates for seven events are
currently confirmed with plans to announce additional stops to the fifth
year's schedule, soon. - Shawn McBride, http://www.swedishmatchtour.com/
- August 13-18, 2003, Danish Open, Skovshoved, Denmark
- October 18-26, 2003, Investors Guaranty King Edward VII Gold Cup, Bermuda
- April 19-24, 2004, Congressional Cup, Long Beach, CA, USA
- May, 2004, Toscana Elba Cup - Trofeo Locman, Elba, Italy
- May 24-29, 2004, ACI HT Cronet Cup, Split, Croatia
- June 8-13, 2004, Match Race Germany, Langenargen, Germany
- July 5-11, 2004, Swedish Match Cup, Marstrand, Sweden
PADDED SAILING SHORTS & PANTS
Sailing Angles trademarked Sailing Shorts and Longpants have padded rear
and knee fender options and come with a rugged double Cordura seat and
knees! You'll love their functional deep pockets, non- corroding zippers,
waist adjustment straps, and double waist buttons, all designed to help you
sail and play hard. Breathable, water resistant Supplex makes these quick
drying clothes easy to pack and an absolute pleasure on the race course!
Sizes: 26"-44"; 4- 14 in women's ; shorts come in two leg lengths. Colors:
Aloha Silver, navy, khaki, red, black and khaki/navy combo. Now at APS,
Layline and http://www.sailingangles.com
What year was it when a devastating storm caused havoc to the Fastnet Race
in England? (answer below)
KAN-DO VOLVO OCEAN RACE SYNDICATE
George Collins, who led Chessie Racing, the yacht in the 1997-98 Whitbread
campaign, is chairman of the new Annapolis-based syndicate Team Kan-do.
Collins, the retired chief executive officer of T. Rowe Price, said
prominent local sailors "hounded me and hounded me" until he agreed to lead
the organizing effort to recruit a boat designer and sailmaker, skipper and
crew. Already he has reached out to the Annapolis sailing industry,
consulting preeminent boat designer Bruce Farr and the staff of North
Sails. "I want it to be an American effort, and we are well on our way in
that respect," he said.
The local entry won't come cheap. One of Collins' partners in the venture,
John Alden, pegged the price tag at $16 to $18 million. Alden said that
level of funding helps ensure a top-three finish and provides "a business
platform around the spirit of Team Kan-do that embodies optimism,
confidence and a sense of purpose. We hope to be fully funded and in
training by the first of the year," he said. - Candus Thomson, the
Baltimore Sun, full story: http://tinyurl.com/klz6
THE NEXT AC VENUE
In June this year AC Management provided each of the five retained cities,
Lisbon, Marseille, Naples, Palma and Valencia, with a document entitled
"manual of questions" which included eighty questions to be answered in the
quest to help determine which city should be chosen to host the next
At the end of July each city submitted extensive dossiers containing their
own answers to the questions posed. Several cities then requested an oral
presentation opportunity with the AC Management City Selection Group. AC
Management decided that each city should be given the same opportunity with
an oral presentation. And so on Wednesday, three cities, Lisbon, Marseille
and Palma each presented in turn for ninety minutes, and on today,
Thursday, it will be the turn of Naples and Valencia. - Marcus Hutchinson,
* After their win in Tuesday's final race, Albert Kooijman of the
Netherlands won the two races sailed on Wednesday. The wind was about 12
knots with shifts of about 10-20 degrees. The Brazilians again showed their
good speed by sailing a 2nd and a 4th, moving them up to second overall.
Racing continues through Friday.: 1. Lorenzo Bressani, ITA, 13; 2. Mauricio
Santa Cruz, BRA, 20; 3. Gabriele Benussi, ITA, 22; 4. Andy Horton/ Rudi
Wolfs, USA, 29; 5. Albert Kooijman, NED, 30; - http://www.j24.nl/worlds/
* All US subscribers will receive the September issue of Seahorse late
this month due to the power outage in New York last week. The magazines
were held up in customs because of this, and due to the backlog took longer
than usual to be cleared. The result is that the magazines were only mailed
from New York yesterday, so look for your issues to be arriving in the post
* Colin Park has won the Lightning Masters North American Championship at
Niantic Bay Yacht Club with a four point victory over Richard Hallagan.
John Hughes finished in third place. http://www.lightningclass.org/
* A family sailing off the coast of Australia watched in horror as a 30ft
humpback whale leapt from the ocean and crashed on top of them. Trevor
Johnson said he was amazed that no one was killed when the whale flung
itself at them, wrecking the boat's mast, sails and rigging. The family
spent two nervous hours drifting towards rocks in force five winds before
being picked up by police. Mr Johnson and his wife, Mary, 59, were sailing
the 40ft sloop off the coast of Queensland with their children Anthony, 24,
and Mark, 27, and his girlfriend, Helen Wilkinson, 24. - The Daily
LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD COLLEGE SAILORS!
Team One Newport has their College Program out and if you are a college
sailing team member, email them or call for your copy! Get ready for the
Fall season with the latest from Gill, Henri-Lloyd, Musto, Camet, Kaenon,
Patagonia, Harken, Ronstan, Extrasport, Lotus and Kokatat. Team One Newport
is also looking for collegiate sailors who would like to work with the
world famous company on a fun project. Email Martha@team1newport.com or ask
for Martha Parker at 1-800-VIP-GEAR.
ATHENS PRE-OLYMPIC REGATTA
Racing at the Athens 2003 (Pre-Olympic) Regatta started yesterday. The
robust meltemi wind experienced earlier in the week was replaced by a
weaker cousin with major shifts, more lulls, more opportunities, more
frustration: it was a tricky day. Full results are posted at
It was 1979, when fifteen competitors lost their lives in the 605-mile race
and only 85 out of 303 yachts made it back to the finishing line off the
English port of Plymouth.
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 nor 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 Longley, Crew Australia II (re Frank Betz's comments on Tom
Whidden - edited to our 250-word limit): Well Frank it is all a long time
ago but it is interesting to see your comments on why Liberty broke cover
in Race 7. You quote Tom Whidden as saying "...they broke their leading
cover because of their absolute certainty that Austrailia II was so
significantly faster upwind..." . Well if that was the case then I guess
our psychological ploy of hiding the keel long after it was feasible for
Dennis to copy it must have worked.
From my viewpoint on Australia II, I clearly remember Liberty simply
sailing away from us - particularly on the second windward leg. People may
have forgotten that Dennis had come out on to the race course with a new
certificate in that he lightened the boat and increased his sail area. In
the light conditions of that race he was faster, although if it had got up
to 15 knots he would have been in all sorts of trouble.
We did not pass Dennis upwind but downwind when the wings simply provided
drag. We got past him because our sail program had developed much better
spinnakers and because we found some pressure on the left that got us back
into the race. To be fair to Dennis, I doubt that any of the Defenders ever
considered that the sails the Challengers were developing were superior to
theirs, as the American sails had typically always been superior. They
simply did not cover that base.
* From John Glynn (edited to our 250-word limit): Sailing needs to be
covered at the grass roots level first. We can't just expect the national
and international media to cover our sport unless there is a call for it
from below (i.e. readers who buy the newspapers and magazines, and watch
TV). Historically, sailing gets very little coverage at the local newspaper
level. That's where we need to start building.
People, particularly children, love to see their names/ pictures in print.
Editors know and understand this. If we barrage the sports editors at the
local papers with quality stories, descriptive photos, and results five
places deep, sailors and non-sailors alike will eventually tune in.
Optimist racing can compete for line space with Little League. Keep the
pressure on sports editors to include sailing stories.
Every local fleet must have at least one person who can cobble a few words
together. If not, the newswires regularly contain national/ international
sailing stories that local sports editors can pick up cheap. As a hobby,
I've been doing a weekly boating column for my local paper for the last
three years, and now when I miss one or two, the sports editor gets angry
e-mails. And I get flooded with Junior Sailing results daily. During the
winter, I do profiles on the various YC programs (the boats they sail) and
do features on hometown collegiate and high school sailors of note. Sailing
needs to become part of the fabric of local/ hometown media, before it can
effectively jump to the big screen.
* From Colin Dawson: Hear, hear Marcus Wheatley, I could not agree with
your comments more. I am an overseas member of the RORC and, as a member
paying my dues, how good it would have been to receive a daily E Mail
bulletin from the RORC of what was happening, not just for this race but
how about the Admiral's Cup too? Thousands of people would have been more
aware of what was happening and, oh, they would also have seen the
sponsor's name! Talk about the use of technology ... look how Virtual
Spectator helped the Louis Vuitton and America's Cups. In fairness, look
how much of an enormous effort Louis Vuitton put into the programme
themselves. When it is suggested to 'sailing's hierarchy' (as Marcus puts
it) that we play to the media more, how often do we hear said 'this is a
yacht race, not a media circus'?
We absolutely must have more media exposure if we are to gain more
sponsorship. The only way more media coverage is going to be more
forthcoming is if it made easier (and in many cases more fun) for them to
be involved with more front page picture opportunities. More press means
more sponsorship which means lower entry fees and better regattas, not just
the sailing (where there will be less financial pressure on the orgainsers)
but parties too! In turn this is likely to result in more entries which,
surprise results in more press coverage and so the cycle starts over.
* From Graham Kelly: Bob Miller said: "To suggest that the 'first name on
the crew list should be the media guy' is to lower the standard of the crew
even if, as he claims, there are 'good, young, fit, informed journalists
out there.' None of them could hold a candle to the professional crews on
the boats that make news."
I know I'm putting my head into the lion's mouth when I contradict this
authoritative and venerable commentator on our sport. However, I think that
Dobbs Davis, Peter Isler, and Paul Cayard have authoritative journalistic
credentials. Their sailing skills speak for themselves.
Do sailing journalists exist? Obviously, yes. Are they more rare than hen's
teeth? That's another question. Or is my short list "the exception that
proves the rule."
Bob Miller is correct on his larger point that the issue for journalism is
to take an overall perspective, winnow out the interesting elements, and
report them in a way that grabs the attention of the reader. This is truly
a monumental challenge in a sport which involves as many complex variables
as offshore racing, and which takes place on a "gameboard" of hundreds - or
thousands - of square miles of ocean.
One of life's great mysteries is how a two pound box of candy can make a
person gain five pounds.