SCUTTLEBUTT 1519 - February 16, 2004
* * Special President's Day Issue * *
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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.
GUEST COMMENTARY - Magnus Wheatley
Am I alone in thinking that the current round the world record-breaking
attempts are utterly boring and, even to the converted, confusing. It seems
that every Tom, Dick, and Bruno have conned a sponsorship deal on some 'man
against the elements' ticket to go and 'race' against a stopwatch.
Furthermore, either the crews genuinely don't get on, the commercial
pressures are too great or the owners are afraid of competition. What's the
point in three maxi-cats setting off days, maybe weeks, apart?
I'm sick to death of reading politically correct, corporate press releases
with precious little analysis, that the desperate for anything yachting
press, lap up (guilty as charged Scuttlebutt). "Oh the hardship. Oh the
elements. 'Cos it's there, etc". Sorry but it's been done before, well
documented and if I want lectures on the weather there's a dedicated
channel on my cable TV system.
It's a bit like running a marathon on your own or climbing Everest against
the clock. You just don't do it, the public are getting bored and fatigue
is setting in. For heaven's sake turn the stopwatch off, get together and
have a race. If records fall then great, otherwise at least the whinging
stops about weather systems (the ultimate get-out) and there's an element
of racing involved.
Here's an idea, how about a global race, no limits, first back wins a big
pot of gold like a million bucks? Now that's the way to a wider public
appeal and might also be interesting to the aforementioned 'converted' ...
please step forward Ms Edwards and save us from these boring,
vain-glorious, annual globe-trotting jamboree jaunts. - Magnus Wheatley
US OLYMPIC TRIALS
There was 12-15 knots of breeze on Biscayne Bay where the U.S. Olympic Team
Trials for 49er, Tornado and Yngling classes have gotten underway on
Saturday. Sunday was different story - the breeze was up and down all day,
from 8 - 15. Rain showers and sunshine alternated and there was a heavy
chop on the water. Pretty ugly.
After two days of racing, there are still two sailors who have yet to lose
a race - Meg Gaillard (Europe) and Kevin Hall (Finn).
EUROPE DINGHY (14 boats - standings after 4 races at the Lauderdale YC): 1.
Meg Gaillard, 4; 2. Krysia Pohl, 9; 3. Christin Feldman, 11.
FINN (23 boats - Standings after 4 races at the Lauderdale YC): 1. Kevin
Hall, 4; 2. Mo Hart, 10; 3. Bryan Boyd, 16.
49ER (11 boats) Standings after 6 races w/1 discard at the Key Biscayne YC:
1. Wadlow/ Spaulding, 8; 2. Bergan/ Maxam, 13; 3. Mack/ Lowry, 15; 4.
Fagen/ Goss 15.
TORNADO (8 boats) Standings after 4 races at the Miami YC: 1. Lovell/
Ogletree, 5; 2. Guck/ Farrar, 10; 3. Daniel/ Rodriguez, 12.
YNGLING (6 boats) Standings after 4 races at the Coral Reef YC & US Sailing
Center: 1. Barkow/ Howe/ Capozzi, 5; 2. Swett/ Touchette/ Purdy, 9; 3.
Alison/ Icyda/ Leech, 12.
FOR THE RECORD
* Friday, February 13 - After blowing out her second gennaker, Olivier de
Kersauson's Geronimo is on her way home to Brest for repairs before
restarting her Jules Verne Trophy bid. Geronimo was carrying three
gennakers for this Jules Verne Trophy attempt. Designed as spinnaker/genoa
hybrids (hence the name), these sails provide the boat's main driving force
in light-to-medium winds. In other words, they are key to achieving maximum
speed in the trade winds and calms. Two of these sails are new and were
delivered last December especially for this round-the-world trip. They were
tested at sea last month.
The first gennaker gave up the ghost just after the start and the second
followed suit today in just the same way and, it seems, for the same
reasons. Since the third is identical to the first two, it seems reasonable
to doubt its reliability, so all three must be modified before Geronimo can
restart. If she were to complete the second half of her southward Atlantic
passage or the northern leg on her return without these sails, Geronimo
would lose a third of her potential speed. It might be possible in a race,
but would be madness on a record attempt, especially since the trimaran has
covered only 10% of the course and is only a few days clear of the start
line. So the decision has been made to return to Brest, modify the sails
and cross the start line one more time. www.trimaran-geronimo.com
* Having reached the equator late Sunday morning, Steve Fossett's Cheyenne
pushes relentlessly South at nearly 20 kts, reeling off 234 miles since
0510 this morning for a total 452 nm over the past 24 hrs (avg spd 18.8
kts) in single-minded pursuit of Bruno Peyron's 2002 Round the World
sailing record. With some 3100 nm gone along the route the big cat has now
averaged over 16 kts from the start 8-1/2 days ago at the lighthouse on
Ouessant (Ushant) - and hopes to catch up to Orange's 2002 record track
within the next several days.
"Our first objective is now satisfied: reaching the Equator in less than 9
days (our crossing time was 1138z, so time to Equator was 8 days 6 hours 28
minutes)," Fossett said. "We experienced the frustration of a start pattern
gone bad, which left us slow off Portugal and required extra miles south
because we could not cut across an area of very light winds. Now our
weather fortunes have changed. We just made the easiest crossing of the
Doldrums any of the crew has experienced -- good boat speed all the way. At
one point our distance behind the record pace of Orange was approximately
650 miles, but now it is reduced to less than 100 miles."
* Tim Jeffery reported in the Daily Telegraph that Orange II may start its
round-the-world record attempt today. http://tinyurl.com/28h6b
TEAM NEW ZEALAND
As the sailing world prepares for the first 2007 America's Cup preliminary
races, scheduled to begin this June in Newport, R.I., New Zealand hopes
just to be able to be part of it. But with costs to finance a serious bid
spiraling above $100 million, finding sponsors has been difficult. Many
members of the victorious 2000 team have been hired away by wealthier teams.
Both syndicates that have announced for the 2007 America's Cup - the
defender, Alinghi of Switzerland, and Larry Ellison's Oracle-BMW Racing of
San Francisco - are led by New Zealanders. In the last Cup, the majority of
teams worked with New Zealand sailors or technology. "It was quite clear
that a challenger couldn't win without a lot of Kiwis on the team," John
Rousmaniere, an expert and author on the America's Cup, said of the
poaching of the 2000 New Zealand team. "The Kiwis are that good."
* Oracle-BMW's skipper, Chris Dickson, another New Zealander, dismisses any
national responsibility to Team New Zealand. "There are more top New
Zealand sailors than boats to put them on," he said.
Although Oracle's funding is not completed, Dickson says they are moving
ahead according to plan. Alinghi's Coutts also reports that the Swiss have
essentially finished raising the $124 million they expect to spend on the
next Cup. Those are sums that Dalton and Team New Zealand can only dream of
so far. In between meetings at his office, Dalton hinted at some large
sponsors that were either already on board or strongly considering it. Otto
Pohl, New York Times, full story: http://tinyurl.com/26q28
* Daniel Mangus of Oceanside, CA, formerly Vice Chairman, has been elected
Chairman of US Sailing's Multihull Council to replace Arthur J. Stevens who
resigned for health reasons effective January 31, 2004. John Williams of
Pensacola, FL becomes the Council's Vice Chairman. Deborah Schaefer of Port
Clinton, OH, remains Council Secretary and the ten Area Representatives
round out the MHC Executive Committee.
* Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron - Final results of the Grade 2
International Match Racing Regatta: 1. Cameron Appleton, 2. Rod Davis, 3.
Scott Dickson, 4. Cameron Dunn, 5. Phil Douglass, 6. Allan Coutts.
* Sausalito Yacht Club tossed its hat into the America's Cup ring when its
board voted to support club member John Sweeny's dream of fielding a team
to race against the world's best. "If the funding comes forward, then we
can have a serious go at it," said Tim Prouty, SYC vice commodore. Sweeny,
along with his business partner Tina Kleinjan, are the organizers behind
the Challenge Series for America's Cup boats held on San Francisco Bay. -
Excerpts from The Log, full story:
Russell Coutts has sailed into the controversy over his Halberg Award
nomination, defiantly saying he deserves his place at Thursday night's
ceremony in Christchurch. The Swiss-based sailor confirmed he will attend
the awards with his mother Beverly and is honoured to have been nominated.
The Wellington-born 41-year-old earned the wrath of many New Zealanders
when he masterminded Alinghi's America's Cup clean sweep over Team New
Zealand last March. He heard of his selection as a finalist on the radio
while holidaying in Mt Maunganui over Christmas. He is aware of the anger
some people feel because the win came against a New Zealand team, but he
sees little relevance in the argument he should not be eligible.
"I'm focusing on the sporting side of it. I'm there for a sporting
occasion. This is a New Zealand award for sport. That's what it's all
about," Coutts said. "In terms of the criteria, as I see it, I'm a New
Zealander and I'm a sportsman. Then it comes down to whether I've achieved
on the sports field or in my case on the ocean. In the past few years I
have been sailing for a foreign team but that doesn't change any of those
two facts," he said from Lausanne, Switzerland. "What will be will be. I'm
very happy to be nominated. That in itself is a big enough honour for me."
Chris Mirams, Sunday Star Times, full story:
A solo Japanese yachtsman was plucked from wild seas in the remote southern
Indian Ocean on Saturday with the help of a jet owned by Australia's
second-richest person, Richard Pratt. Masayuki Kikuchi, a 67-year-old from
Hokkaido, was sailing his 13 metre yacht Beam 7 solo between South Africa
and Western Australia when he was caught in huge seas about 4,000 km
west-south-west of Perth.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesman Ben Mitchell said the
round-the-world sailor's emergency beacon was detected by satellite on
Wednesday night. Mr Mitchell said Mr Kikuchi reported serious injuries
after his yacht rolled 360 degrees in huge seas. Authorities asked Mr Pratt
for the use of his long-range aircraft to find the yacht adrift in
extremely remote waters. Mr Pratt's plane, which seats 15 or 16 passengers,
is the only aircraft in Australia apart from a 747 jet capable of making
The pilot spotted the yacht around 6pm (AEDT) Friday in rough seas
west-south-west of Perth. A Japanese interpreter onboard the billionaire's
plane made contact with Mr Kikuchi who reported he had two broken arms and
was unable to steer his vessel. The jet pinpointed the yacht's location and
guided a nearby cargo ship to rescue the stranded seaman. Mr Kikuchi, who
suffers diabetes, was rescued at 1am (AEDT) Saturday 3,700 km from Perth.
Full Story: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/National/story_2351.asp
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 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 Siegel: I agree with the comments by Dobbs Davis (Scuttlebutt
#1517) regarding RRS 16. Holding one's course places an unnecessary burden
on the right-of-way boat, particularly given the existence of RRS 14. He's
right that RRS 16.2, as written, is redundant with RRS 16.1. If 16.2 was
introduced to prevent hunting as I believe it was, it should be reworded to
give it some teeth. My vote would be to simply eliminate 16.2.
* From Toby Reiley <firstname.lastname@example.org>: In conjunction with Chet's
Video (Marblehead), we are trying to build a world class sailing video and
film collection. I've been so impressed with the SSB library, that I figure
my fellow subscribers are the perfect group to recommend films and videos
to us. We are looking for all types of documentaries, Hollywood
productions, television series, instructional, and just plain fun films and
For an inaugural film, may I suggest the Chris Knight and the New Film
Company 's Around Alone, the lead program on the PBS "Adventure" series,
used our computer controlled on-board camera systems to document a
record-breaking solo voyage around the world. Dodge Morgan's dream of
completing a solo, non-stop sailing circumnavigation aboard American
Promise, a specially built 60-foot sloop, is captured in intimate detail.
The viewer is his only confidante as he confronts his fears and copes with
150 days of loneliness and the mountainous seas of the Southern Ocean.
Totally isolated and dependent on himself for survival, he is forced to
find new emotional strength to persevere.
* Gareth Evans: I must have the best skipper in the world - he conforms to
many of the points listed by Bill Gladstone. You don't realize how lucky
you are until somebody else points it out to you!
* From: Tony Bessinger: The classic quote about boat colors is from Captain
Nathanael G. Herreshoff the Wizard of Bristol, "There are only two colors
to paint a boat, black or white, and only a fool would paint a boat black".
We just heard that 3M will merge with Goodyear, and the new company will be