SCUTTLEBUTT 1456 - November 12, 2003
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GUEST EDITORIAL - Fred Hagedorn
As the US Olympic Selection Trials have recently begun, it is not
surprising to see so many people getting interested in the numbers of
boats, the process that we use to select our sailors and interest in
general. I thought it might be good to share what our thought process is
and share some of our concerns for the future.
Every four years, as we begin a new quadrennium, the US Sailing Olympic
Sailing Committee takes a long, hard look at its selection process for the
Olympic Sailing Team. In 2001, we solicited input from a number of past
Olympic Sailors (both medalists and non-medalists) on this very issue. To
nearly a person, they shared that our approach of a winner take all event
was preferable than a series of international events.
Firstly, it simulates the pressure that they experienced at the Olympics.
Secondly, using a series of international events creates unusual sailing as
you are actually sailing against the other boats from your country, and how
you finish is only relative. And thirdly, although the fleet size of our
Trials is smaller than potentially preferred, we have to remember that the
fleets at the Olympics are much smaller than those at the typical World
Championships. At the 2004 Olympics, to keep with the 470 example, there
will only be 30 men's and 19 women's boats.
As to the concept of the OSC purchasing 20-40 boats of a number of
different classes, I must take exception. Firstly, Dues to the US Sailing
Association do not get used to support the Olympic Sailing Committee
mission in any way. Secondly, if the USA was to invest that amount of money
in development, we would have no money to invest in any of our sailors who
are actually campaigning.
We have a little over $1.2 MM to spend each year across 13 events (11
Olympic and 2 Paralympic). We provide about $20,000 in support of the US
Sailing Youth and Junior Championship Clinics, and $10,000 for the Youth
World Team and an additional $10,000 for the Laser Radial Youth Team (with
the assistance of Vanguard Sailboats). Out of the remaining $1,160,000 we
provide funding directly to athletes, ship their boats to and from Europe,
provide a fair amount of coaching, meteorological and Sports Science
support, and spend a small amount (about 20% of our total spend) on
insurance, fees, office rental and administrative support.
Although some will take the position that the OSC should only focus at the
very top, we would love to have the funds that would allow us to provide a
stimulus to our nation's athlete development system. That is why we are now
not only in the sponsorship raising business, but also in the fundraising
business. Anyone who wants to assist us in creating an endowment that will
allow us to fund our top athletes while reaching out to our emerging youth
athletes and assist them in realizing their dreams, please contact me at
FredHagedorn@ussailing.net. - Frederick H. Hagedorn, Chairman, Olympic
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TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE
Although they started five days behind, the leading 60ft multihulls have
overhauled the front-running monohulls as the two-handed Le Havre-Brazil
Transat Jacques Vabre race passes its halfway mark. Groupama, sailed by
Franck Cammas and Franck Proffit, heads the fleet and late yesterday had
1,800 miles remaining in the distance to go standings. The leading
trimarans passed the Cape Verde islands yesterday, Groupama holding an
86-mile lead over second-placed Geant, sailed by Vendee Globe winner Michel
Desjoyeaux and Herve Jan.
Such is the speed potential of the trimarans that a few more knots of
steady tradewind breeze can be converted into much faster pace, so much so
that Ellen MacArthur and Alain Gautier, on Foncia, are now a staggering 670
miles behind Groupama in 11th place.
Among the Open 60 monohulls, Virbac (Jean-Pierre Dick and Nicholas Abiven)
keeps its potentially race-winning 160-mile lead over Sill (Alex Thomson
and Roland Jourdain). - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph,
* With boats in the Trade Winds the chances of any change to the leader
board decrease as the tactical opportunities to pass disappear. Boat
problems can obviously slow a boat but the next opportunity to gain the
tactical upper hand will be at the transition zone [Inter-Tropical
Convergence Zone] where the NE trades meet the SE trades creating a
notorious windless zone.
Standings - 0500 GMT November 12:
Open 60 Monohulls: 1. Virbac, Jean-Pierre Dick & Nicolas Abiven, 1676 miles
to finish; 2. Sill, Roland Jourdain & Alex Thomson, 154 miles from leader;
3. Ecover, Mike Golding & Brian Thompson, 210 mfl.
Open 60 Multihulls: 1. Groupama, Franck Cammas & Franck Proffit, 1631 miles
from finish; 2. Geant, Michel Desjoyeaux & Hervé Jan, 84 mfl; 3. Sergio
Tacchini, Karine Fauconnier & Damian Foxall, 131 mfl.
Event website: www.jacques-vabre.com
US OLYMPIC TRIALS
Houston YC - Perfect wind returned to Houston and powered three excellent
races for all classes. The SE breezes that everyone had trained in for the
weeks before the trials returned with near carbon copy velocities of those
experience in training. No one had an excuse for being unprepared for
today's racing and it showed. Boat speeds were very close and the boat
handling was exceptional. - Skip Whyte
470 Men (9 boats - 6 races with one discard): 1. Paul Foerster/ Kevin
Burnham, 5; 2. Mikee Anderson-Mitterling/ Graham Biehl, 11; 3. Mark Ivey/
Howard Cromwell, 15.
470 Women (7 boats- 6 races with one discard): 1. Katie McDowell/ Isabelle
Kinsolving, 8; 2. Amanda Clark/ Sarah Mergenthaler, 8; 3. Erin Maxwell/ Jen
Laser (31 boats - 6 races with one discard): 1. Mark Mendelblatt, 10; 2.
Zach Railey, 22; 3. Brad Funk, 24; 4. Andrew Lewis, 27; 5. Andrew Campbell, 29.
* US Sailing Center of Martin County- With a flawless performance thus far
in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Mistral Women's sailor Lanee Butler
Beashel (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) looks to be in an envious position. Her goal
of a fourth trip to the Olympic Games appears to be well within reach after
eight races of a planned 16-race series. With a discard figured into the
total, Beashel carries an overall score of seven points. Racing, which
resumes Thursday after today's planned layday, could be over early for
Beashel if she continues her streak as her closest competitors - Taylor
Duch (Savannah, Ga./Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and Beth Winkler (Cocoa Beach, Fla.)
- are second and third, respectively, with 18 and 19 points.
In the Mistral Men's division, Peter Wells (Newport Beach, Calif.) has
finished first in five of his fleet's eight races to hold a seven point
lead over Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.) who has 17 points for second
place. Kevin Jewett (Deephaven, Minn.) is third with 18 points. The balance
of the boardsailing series is scheduled to conclude November 16, 2003.
* St. Petersburg YC - With no cooperation from the wind, the two Paralympic
classes -- the three-person Sonar and the singlehanded 2.4 Metre - started
their planned 14-race series a day late, frustrating the sailors and
officials who were anxious to get these events underway. After four races
in the five-boat 2.4 Metre, fleet, Tom Brown (Northeast Harbor, Maine),
with five points, holds a three-point lead over John Ruf. In the five-boat
Sonar fleet, there is little room to maneuver with racing close among the
top three teams. Paul Callahan, Keith Burhans and Roger Cleworth old first
place by one point over John Ross-Duggan, J.P. Creignou and Brad Johnson. -
Official website: http://www.ussailing.org/Olympics/OlympicTrials/2004/
BUILDING BIG BOATS
In the Pacific Northwest there are a talented group of boat builders
specializing in the construction of extremely fast and complicated
composite sailboats. They are now actively seeking owners and designers
planning to build big fast custom racing yachts. 60 feet and up. Contact
Paul at 360-385-6632, email@example.com or http://www.townsendbay.com
Spain is pushing hard for the eastern city of Valencia to edge out
favourite Lisbon to host the next America's Cup on its historic return to
Europe in 2007 ahead of the organisers' decision on November 26. On 3
October, an agreement was drawn up by the Central Government, the Valencia
Regional Government and the City Council of Valencia establishing the
guidelines for collaboration among these administrations, creating a
consortium called "Consorcio Valencia 2007".
On 31 October, the three administrations ratified the agreement and
approved the statutes of the consortium and appointed the representatives
of each of the administrations to form part of the Governing body and other
organs of administration of this newly-created entity. The consortium is to
oversee construction of a canal, which would allow participating yachts to
glide out of the port and reach the race area in 15 minutes. - Cup in
Europe website, full story: http://www.cupineurope.com/LatestNews/Where10.htm
The third largest city in Spain, this vibrant Mediterranean destination has
over 1,700 restaurants, 42 museums, 13 art galleries, 17 cinemas, 12
theaters, and 30 gardens or municipal parks. The architecture ranges from
ancient Roman works to cutting-edge modern buildings such as The City of
Arts and Sciences. Valencia has regular moderate to strong winds owing to a
daily sea breeze especially in late spring through October. The warm
climate (recorded maximum of 107 degrees F / 42 degrees C) at the coast
rising to highlands inshore promotes updraft & resulting wind. Tidal range
is moderate with a 1.5 knot current sweeping south along the coast. The
Balcon al Mar basin has extensive area for the team bases and Cup Village.
His Majesty King Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, is an avid sailor, racing
in prestigious regattas including the recent Queen's Cup and the Admiral's
Cup. Not that royal interest guarantees special consideration for Valencia,
but the support of the monarch is seen as a significant asset in their bid
to host the America's Cup. - Cup Info website, full story:
ULLMAN SAILS WIN CHESAPEAKE BAY CHAMPIONSHIP!
J/24 East Coast Championship, 60 boats competing: Alec Cutler's "Fat Boys"
- 3rd overall and 1st in amateur division; Max Skelley's "Jerico" - 5th
overall. J/105's Chesapeake Bay Championship, 30 boats competing: Jim
Konigsberg's "Indigo" - 1st overall. If you and your crew are ready for the
"Fastest Sails on the Planet", contact your local Ullman Sails loft or
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 Wiz Deas: Am I the only person in the world for whom the sight of
monohulls with their keel sticking out to windward looks like a dog taking
a leak against a post? They are just plain ugly! Here's my idea for a
whacky monohull if that's what you want: - large, with the grace and
elegance of an International Canoe where the ballast (in a nice shaped
tank?) is above the water and is moveable like the helmsman on his seat,
but then can be dumped when tacking and becomes neutral if caught aback.
It's a natural progression from water ballasted open 60's, through canting
keels where you carry the weight all the time, to boats where you have the
minimum required ballast keel and then turbo them with extra, dumpable,
righting moment. It also gets around the "10 degree maximum heel when all
ballast is deployed on the wrong side" business, by becoming neutral when
the ballast tank hits the sea.
Pushing great lumps of lead through the water seems like driving with the
brakes on to me. Have a small lump of lead on a "normal" keel and put the
rest in the air where it slows you down less. Or if you really want to see
the light -get a multihull, and leave those idiots with more money than
sense to play in their carbon fibre lead mines.
* From J. D. Stone: Interesting editorial comment that events like these
assist in growing our sport. Most of us normal sailors can't afford to
leave our jobs and spend a week at the Bitter End to participate in
"happenings" with the who's who of sailing's elite. Hold the next event in
New York and include "normal people" instead of the idle rich and maybe
such an event will send the right message about sail boat racing.
* From Tom Donlan: I heartily agree with your assessment of the wonderful
contribution that the Pro-Am regatta and your Scuttlebutt Sailing Club make
to our sport. Do you think there is any chance of enlarging the concept and
reducing the cost, by creating similar regional events?
To the expert and professional sailors in the readership, I ask: Would you
consider participating in a one-day one-design regatta in your area as
skippers, with local amateurs as your crew? Would $500 be enough to make it
worth your while? If not, how much? To the amateurs, I ask: Would you pay
to race with a local expert as skipper? Would $100 be a reasonable fee? If
more, how much more?
I'm sure nothing can match the Bitter End Yacht Club, but is there an
opportunity here for local fleets to do something new and interesting?
Perhaps it also could be a vehicle for a charity fund-raiser.
* From Watt Duffy: Recently there was a letter that was published that
stated that a member of US Sailing was sick of paying for the US Olympic
team. This is crazy! The US Olympic Sailing Team is awarded 1.1 million
dollars a year. US Sailing controls this money. Ask your area's Olympic
hopefuls how much of this money they see! If the books were audited you
would find that not all this money makes it to the sailors. In fact, not a
lot of it does.
US Sailing decides were the money goes! I'll bet that none of your dues
ends up in the Olympic Sailing Team's hands. In fact some of the US Olympic
teams money ends up paying for US Sailing's management. An example is when
an Olympic team receives a donation through US Sailing, the funds are taxed
by US Sailing (it is about 2-4%).
So my friends do not complain about the US Sailing Olympic Team. It not
only supports but promotes our sport!
* From Glenn McCarthy: Gail Turluck has a point. How many facilities in the
U.S. (club or other program) offers regular racing for at least four active
Olympic classes (Olympic Trail and OCR facilities don't count)? Keep in
mind that there are 11 Olympic classes.
* From Tom Priest (Re: Baja Development): As much as I'm intrigued by the
idea of the Baja "ladder"… 50,000 boats annually? No way! I'm not even sure
there are 50,000 West coast (or Pacific Ocean!) boats even capable of the
trip, never mind willing! Perhaps it would make more sense to approximately
double the distances between stops. At 120 miles apart, the ability to
"leapfrog" alternate stops would spell disaster economically.
Speaking as a former delivery skipper, one thing is for certain: Turtle
Bay, Mag Bay/Bahia Santa Maria, maybe San Quintin, and maybe something
around Cabo Lazaro would be very welcome as developed "pit stops."
* From Jamie Haines: Development of the Baja peninsula would not alone be
disastrous to the marine environment, but also the terrestrial environment,
since desert environments are inherently delicate. Dredging alone creates
numerous problems with sedimentation, suffocating and killing corals, and
decreasing the amount of light that can get through the water, upsetting
the entire natural system. And the gray whales, yes they travel up and down
the Pacific coast with not much trouble at all because they are migrating,
not calving and nursing.
As history shows there is typically little regard for national sanctuaries
when they come up against big development dollars, just look at what is
going on in our national parks right now for an example. The proposed
Escalera Nautica development project would compromise areas that are
crucial to the survival of many species.
You don't need marinas in order to go cruising. For the three and a half
years that I was cruising around the world with my family, we rarely went
to marinas. And the beauty of a certain cruising grounds is certainly not
at the local marina.
As sailors we have a very unique connection with the ocean, and if we can't
depend on ourselves to help conserve our oceans then on whom can we depend?
World Wildlife federation has estimated that humans have destroyed more
than 30% of the natural world since 1970. We have a responsibility to
conserve and protect the places that we value, such as the ocean.
* From Eric Steinberg (Re Baja development): What the?? Was this piece
intended to run on April 1? If not, somebody let the Mexican officials in
on a closely held industry secret, the best way to make a little money in
the marine business is to start with a lot.
* From Steve Greatrex (re 'rich man's sport'): I race PHRF in the South Bay
of San Diego primarily, with a few selected offshore races thrown in. We do
40 to 60 races a year, and all I ask of my crew is they have a hat,
sunglasses, sunscreen, reasonable clothing, sailing gloves, and deck shoes.
They can be outfitted for less than 50 bucks if they catch a sale on the
shoes. What other sport has such a low initial cost for the participant? My
competitive CF-27 cost me less than 15-grand. This is a rich man's sport?
* From Kevin Crandall (re Rich Man's sport): Punctuality, handiness, and
alertness have never cost me anything. Countless numbers of skippers need
that sort of person - crew! Let's notice that skippers' financial
commitment, then celebrate the challenges and joys of sailing.
If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?