SCUTTLEBUTT 1526 - February 25, 2004
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GUEST COMMENTARY - Rich Roberts
The sailors who will represent the U.S. in 10 of the 11 Olympic classes at
Athens in August have been selected. No, that's the wrong word. They were
selected only in the sense that they selected themselves by outsailing
their rivals in a single high-pressure regatta, the U.S. Trials. As it
Other countries do it different ways. Some use committees that consider
past performance, with a bit of personal bias built in. A sailor can win
the "trials" and still not go to the Games. Some countries say to heck with
everyone else, he's our guy (or girl), let's just give him (or her) a
truckload of money to train and not waste time with trials and other
nonsense. The skewed thinking in all of that is that anyone can have a bad
regatta and you don't want your best sailors knocked out on flukes.
Why not? Throw them all into a crucible and see who performs best when the
heat's on. That's who you want sailing in the Games. Rankings are fine, but
only as a guide. US Sailing ranks the top five in each class as the "US
Sailing Team" to determine funding, as limited as it is. The system is
based on no more than four events, but none are overseas and some date back
to more than a year before the trials.
That may explain why the list below shows that only five of the 10 reps
determined so far were ranked tops in their classes. But ISAF, whose world
rankings are based on a competitor's best seven results in international
events over the past two years, had seven of the 10 winners as its highest
ranked Americans. Extreme examples were Kevin Hall in Finn and Mark
Mendelblatt in Laser. Both were unranked and outside the US Sailing Team
cocoon, although Mendelblatt was ISAF's highest-ranked American (18th).
Hall didn't rank well anywhere but seemingly came out of nowhere to win the
only regatta that counted. Until August.
Pre-Trials Rankings of 2004 US Olympic Sailors*
- Europe: Meg Gaillard, first on US Team; 12th ISAF (first American).
- Finn: Kevin Hall, not on US Team; 43rd ISAF (fourth American).
- Men's 470: Paul Foerster/Kevin Burnham , second on US Team; 14th ISAF
- Women's 470: Katie McDowell/Isabelle Kinsolving, first on US Team; 19th
ISAF (first Americans).
- 49er: Time Wadlow/Pete Spaulding, first on US Team; sixth ISAF (first
- Laser: Mark Mendelblatt, not on US Team; 18th ISAF (first American).
- Men's Mistral: Peter Wells, first on US Team; 36th ISAF (first American).
- Women's Mistral: Lanee Beashel, first on US Team; 53rd ISAF (first
- Tornado: John Lovell/Charlie Ogletree, second on US Team; ninth ISAF
- Yngling: Carol Cronin/Liz Filter/Nancy Haberland, third on US Team;
ninth ISAF (fourth Americans).
- Star (Trials March 20-28): Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter, first on US Team;
14th ISAF (second Americans).
* --- Final 2003 US Team rankings of March 27, 2003; ISAF rankings of Feb.
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
* I think (the winner-takes-all trials are a) really good thing as it
simulates the Olympic pressure. Sure someone can win Keil and SPA but that
doesn't simulate the same atmosphere as a winner-takes-all event. It also
means that everyone is on the same playing field compared to the European
regatta by regatta approach, which means you are sailing against people
where it doesn't mean anything to them. - Carol Cronin, The Daily Sail,
full story: www.thedailysail.com
* I really felt for those poor Yngling girls having their final four races
last weekend to decide it all. After four years of training 5 teams were
within 4 points with 4 races to go. They sailed those last four races in 5
knots or less wind with exaggerated chop from motorboats. It was ugly. The
team of Hanah Sweat, Melissa Purdy and Joan Touchette, who are the current
world champions and silver medalists in Athens last summer, finished second
in the trials regatta, in those conditions, and that isn't good enough in
our system. - Paul Cayard
WARM AND DRY OFFSHORE, MAJOR STYLE POINTS ON SHORE
You know that favorite jacket you always grab when you head down to the
boat? It's time to retire the jacket, because Henri Lloyd has introduced
the Escape Jacket, which has everything you liked about your old jacket,
plus Henri Lloyd's exclusive Laminated fabric technology. The Escape Jacket
is 100% waterproof, durable, and one of the most breathable jackets you can
buy. With an adjustable hood, the Escape Jacket is built to keep the wet
and cold out when you're afloat, and it will keep you looking good when you
step ashore, too. Try it on at:
TRANSATLANTIC ON BEACH CATAMARAN
Young and brave at heart, Thomas Plog and Glenn Roothooft are about to defy
the international sailing world by embarking upon a large-scale, ambitious
enterprise. During the spring season of 2003 they joined their aquatic
masterminds and came up with a project that will soon invert the history of
sailing. Their endeavour consists of nothing less than breaking the record
Hans Bouscholte and Gérard Navarin set up at 15 days, 2 hours and 26
minutes when they ventured to cross the Atlantic in 1999. Their record has
remained unbeaten up until now, but if Glenn and Thomas have a say in it,
it will soon vanish from the face of the earth.
* In collaboration with the Higher Institute for Integral Product Design,
the boat is developed by Thomas who regards safety, speed, comfort and
energy management of paramount importance. The initial concept was
originally inspired by boats such as the 'Techniques Avancées' and 'Team
Philips.' Later on, the final design was strongly influenced by the ideas
of Yves Parlier, who is working on a similar boat measuring 60 feet.
* The first (two-masted) prototype is currently under construction in
Antwerp. Its design is based on the existing double-mast catamaran models
and provides a technical innovation by attaching hydrofoils underneath the
hulls. On an ergonomic level the crew's accommodation needs to be extended.
Integrating the newest technologies with regard to equipment and
communication systems will guarantee a successful project. - Excerpts from
a story posted onSailhead.com. To read the whole story:
FOR THE RECORD
* Despite the need to effect a major repair to re-attach the Forestay from
midnight Sunday through Monday afternoon, Cheyenne and her crew covered 457
miles during Day 17 of their RTW sailing record attempt, averaging 19 kts
as they continued E/SE. Steve Fossett and team's current position keeps
them approximately 430 - 450 nm ahead of the 2002 RTW record position of
Bruno Peyron's Orange after 17 days, having lost 60 - 80 nm Monday while
making repairs. - www.fossettchallenge.com
* The Orange II maxi-catamaran was re-launched Tuesday afternoon in front
of the Défi Français base in Lorient, and is back in the starting blocks.
"We're doing everything to have the boat ready to leave Lorient Wednesday
in order to catch a weather window which will be open between Wednesday and
Thursday," said skipper Bruno Peyron. - www.orange.fr/0/visiteur/PV
* The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran will leave the Brest
arsenal Wednesday to arrive at the Jules Verne Trophy start line at around
midday. She will cross the line as quickly as possible, the actual time
depending on the latest weather forecasts. After her earlier touch-and-go
departure in less than perfect weather and her express return for
modifications to her new foresails, Geronimo and her crew are now ready to
leave once more in pursuit of the Jules Verne Trophy. With a much more
predictable weather pattern, this new opportunity looks more promising than
the first. - http://www.trimaran-geronimo.com/index.php?lang=en
The librarians at the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club have just finished a
complete overhaul of the 117 book titles on the shelves of the Club
Library. These sailing stories, all recommended by the 'Buttheads, are now
alphabetically searchable by both book title and author. Additionally, they
all now have links that connect you to book reviews and purchase
information. Please let us know if you don't see your favorite nautical
novel listed and we will track it down. You can step (quietly) into the
Club Library at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/ssc/books
* Cruising World magazine stood at the top of the class in the Boating
Writers International Excellence in Boating Journalism Awards, winning four
categories. Overall, the magazine received eight top-three finishes in
seven different writing categories for work published in 2003. No other
marine publication had more total awards or first-place honors than
Cruising World. "It's a great honor to accept these awards," said Herb
McCormick, Editor of Cruising World, which won in Boating Lifestyles,
Boating Travel or Destination, Consumer/Trade News, and Gear, Electronics
and Product Tests. http://cruisingworld.com/
* There are six teams that have declared their preliminary entry into the
Volvo Ocean Race: Premier Challenge - Australia; Team Kan-do - USA;
McDonald Yachting - UK; Boating Partners - UK; Patrick Tabarly - France.
Thirty two preliminary entries have paid a preliminary entry fee of £1,500:
Australia (3), Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, France (3), Germany, Italy,
the Netherlands (2), New Zealand (2), Russia, Singapore, Spain (3), Sweden
( 2) UK (5) and the USA (5). Although the race starts in just 619 days, no
new boats have begun construction. - www.volvooceanrace.com
* After a run of 13 years, Sailing World magazine will no longer host a
NOOD regatta at St. Francis YC on the San Francisco Bay. The reason given -
small attendance compared to other NOOD Regattas the magazine holds around
the country. However, St. Francis YC has picked up the ball and scheduled a
one-design regatta on the traditional Labor Day weekend. - http://stfyc.org/
* Loïck Peyon says the rumors, reported by French newspaper Libération
(which wrote that Bertrand Pacé "had deserted the Front"), are absolutely
not true. - Cup in Europe, www.cupineurope.com/LatestNews/2007TF-LN3.htm
* Southern YC in New Orleans, LA. hosted the 69-boat Legg Mason J22
Midwinter Championship over a rainy week during Mardi Gras, February 13th -
15th. Conditions ranged from 6 to 20 knots over the three day event which
saw lots of rain and cooler than normal temperatures. The five race series
was dominated by Scott Nixon and his team on USA 1464, winning the
championship by 27 points with no finish outside the top three. 1. Scott
Nixon, 8.8; 2. Rob Johnston, 35; 3.Kenny Wolfe, 37; 4. Greg Fisher, 46; 5.
Bill Vickers, 48. - www.j22fleet46.org/midwinters/
Roy Disney, Hasso Plattner, and Dick and Doug DeVos, the owners
respectively of the maxZ86 racers Pyewacket, Morning Glory, and Windquest,
have invited other big boat owners to race on a global circuit for a new
Super Maxi Class. "This group is looking to compete in handicap racing with
and against big boats which are the general speed and size of a maxZ86,
which fit into a relatively narrow rating band, and which fall inside the
speed limits set for the Bermuda Race, Transpac, Fastnet and other
international events," said the invitation letter, sent to other owners.
The calendar at present is based on the circuit proposed for the maxZ86
Class. The first event is the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta in March,
followed by Antigua Sailing Week in April. Other events in 2004 include the
Newport Bermuda Race in June and Ford Cork Week in July, followed by the
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Sardinia in September and the Rolex Middle Sea Race
in October. Not all the boats above are expected to enter all the races
listed. The group has expressed the hope that owners who join the circuit
will work with event organizers, rule-making authorities, designers and the
ORC and the ISAF to establish a Super Maxi Class with its own World
Championship. - Keith Taylor, www.maxZ86.com
PICK UP LINE
Hall Spars & Rigging recommends you "pick up" your lines - especially your
halyards - and give them a thorough inspection (if your halyards are in
the mast, attach a spare line or halyard tail to the shackle and go over
the full length of the line). Check the cover for excessive wear. Look for
"thin" spots, which indicate the line's core might be compromised. Check
the shackle for proper operation. If you need a new high-tech halyard,
ordering is simple using the Hall webstore. Click to a dedicated one-design
page, or use our Custom Line Lengths feature. http://www.hallspars.com
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 Augie Diaz: Fred Applegate should have done a little more research
before he made his irresponsible comment about the Yngling Trials winners.
A look at the US Yngling results over the last two years shows that
probably any one of the top 5 teams would have represented us well at the
Olympics. If we medal in the Yngling, each of the four teams that did not
qualify, should feel some measure of satisfaction for having pushed each
other so hard.
The Olympic Trials and the Olympics are all about peaking at the right time
and responding to pressure the way Carol Cronin, Liz Filter and Nancy
Haberland did last week. Further, a look at the individual record and
accomplishments of these three great sailors would convince anyone of how
worthy they are to represent us. Congratulations Carol, Liz and Nancy on a
well deserved win and good luck in the Olympics.
* From Jesse Falsone: Regarding Fred Applegate's insinuation that the wrong
Yngling team is representing the USA in the Olympics, I'd just like to say
that any one of the five top teams would have an excellent chance at
winning the gold in Athens. All of these teams were superb, but Carol, Liz,
and Nancy proved to be a bit better when the Olympic berth was at stake.
The US Olympic Trials is a winner-take-all event, just like the games
themselves. Congratulations to all the sailors who had the courage and
determination to compete at this level, and the families and friends who
* From Ken Legler: Congrats to those fine athletes who have just won our
Olympic Trials and the right to represent the USA at the Games. They might
not have been our ISAF rankings leader in their respective class but they
had to be extremely good to win their 16 race (or more) series. It hurts to
be second, or 3rd, 4th or 5th as in the Yngling class, but they too should
be congratulated for pushing our representatives to their limit. Though
neither of our two world champion Yngling teams won the Trials, we had five
teams ranked in the top ten in the world. The winners of this 16-race
series will do us proud.
Paul Elvstrom held forum years ago at Yale with many of our Olympic
aspirants and this very question of a single selection regatta came up. His
believed our system works for the USA because we have so many excellent
Olympic class sailors that someone really good will win, even if they are
not our current points leader in international competition. I'm a big fan
of Paul Cayard and his Star class campaign, but if some other team wins the
16-race Star Trials, I'm sure they will be qualified for a peak performance
in Athens just like the Trials.
* From Peter Wiznowski: Can you imagine the furor that would erupt if the
Brits held Olympic Trials (as we do) and Ben Ainslie, for whatever reason,
did not win that regatta … sending some other UK Finn sailor to Athens,
while Ainslie watched the games on TV?
* From Andrew Sumpton (In response to Mr. Kiely): The dismal turnout at the
trials is the result of the difficulty in putting an Olympic bid together.
And I think this difficulty is primarily financial. A new 470, all up with
spars blades sails and shipping to the US is about 20K. Most campaigns have
two boats. A viable campaign sails the spring and summer circuit in Europe,
which puts yearly campaign budgets at almost 100K. Other classes have even
higher price tags. And of course this is all time spent not employed!
Furthermore there essentially is no funding. Not from the government, and
paltry little from US Sailing and the USOC. So to be able to afford all of
the equipment and sail at this level you need to have private sponsors with
deep pockets, or have deep pockets yourself. Hence, a US Olympic Trials
with only seven competitors. The lasers have, I suspect, less equipment
costs and they had a fleet of over thirty in their trials.
* From Tom Keogh: I'd like to ask The Curmudgeon for some relief from the
Paul Henderson's writings. The next time the ISAF President wants to dump
another report in our direction, let him put it on his own web site. If the
Curmudgeon thinks the message might be of interest to 'Buttheads, include a
brief mention and a link. I, for one, will probably skip it.
* From Leslie Keller (edited to our 250-word limit): US Sailing also spends
a large part of it's time and money on education and training. It is the
level 1 instructor who first teach our prospective Olympians to sail. And
it is the advanced instructors and coaches who help them achieve their
dreams. It is the race committees and judges who help them hone their
racing skills. But these instructors, coaches, judges and race committees
do not do their work while swimming along side the sailboats. They are most
often in small powerboats similar to the ones advertised in the ad on the
US Sailing home page.
Isn't it prudent of US Sailing to offer training for those folks who help
teach our sport to use the tools of their job, i.e. the powerboat? Why
would someone not want to do everything possible to prevent the terrible
accidents we have read about lately including those that involve Olympians?
Yes the ability to purchase a small powerboat at a reduced price is open to
all US Sailing members but its main audience is not the racing sailor but
instead the community sailing centers and yacht clubs who use these types
of boats in their programs to teach our future Olympians. It's also for all
the race committees and judges who spend many hours on the water so that
those who want to participate in our sport have an event to participate in.
* From Jane Watkins: There must be thousands of sailors who have met Kelly
O'Neil Hensen at hundreds of regattas in the US and America's Cup events. A
fabulous sailing photographer, a great sailor, athlete, mom, wife, promoter
and the most joyful, energetic and genuine person I have ever known.
Last Sunday night going to the store for dinner in Auburn, Washington her
car was crushed by a large truck. At this point we are not sure that she
will make it. She has not regained consciousness and is expected to have
surgery on Thursday when she hopefully stabilizes. I know there are so many
of us who want and need her to survive. My heart aches for all of us who
love her. Please pray for her.
* From Richard Alexander: I see that US Sailing has expanded its scope, and
now has a second logo which is proudly displayed on a separate new website:
http://www.uspowerboating.com. Do you think they have also reserved the
URL, www.uspersonalwatercraft.org, for future growth?
One sure way to get back on your feet is to miss a car payment.