SCUTTLEBUTT 1571 - April 28, 2004
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CHAOS REIGNS AT STAR WORLDS - Magnus Wheatley
Wherever there's sailing there's politics and day three of the Star World's
proved no exception with the international jury throwing a spanner in the
works after twenty-four hours of crazy decision making, amendments and
counter-amendments that very nearly threatened to kybosh the regatta.
The problems all started yesterday morning at the weigh-in of USA crew
George Szabo and Christian Finnsgard who after standing on the scales were
informed that they were a full one pound over the permitted limit. Cue a
frantic cycle around the town to shed the excess weight and the boys jumped
back on the scales only to find that they were still over the limit.
Furthermore the Italian crew of class chairman Riccardo Simoneschi and
Marco Marenco were also found to be over the limit alongside two other
Now came the first of a series of errors by the mis-managed event staff who
informed Szabo and the others verbally that they were not allowed to race
and that they should stay on shore. Szabo checked the sailing instructions
and found that there was no provision for re-weighing during the event
despite the notice of race stating in article 8.2 that there was. (In other
words the two documents governing the event were at odds with each other).
Quite rightly Szabo and Simoneschi protested, claiming redress for the
situation on the grounds that they were told that they were not allowed to
race despite no official protest by the race committee. The jury upheld the
protest and then made the astounding decision that race two was to be
re-sailed on Tuesday with a premise that "no boat will be scored worse for
race two than the score they achieved from the race sailed on Monday!"
Where they cooked that one up from, heaven only knows!
Remembering that the championships are, for some, the final qualifying
event for the Olympic Games a series of counter protest threats emerged and
the committee were forced into a lengthy jury session to decide how on
earth to dig themselves out of the situation remaining fair to the
aggrieved Szabo and Simoneschi whilst upholding their earlier decision. As
the day rolled into afternoon the postponement flag still flew from the
Base Nautico until a decision was taken at 2.30pm to can the day as the
crews scattered around the town, confused, ill-informed and frustrated at
the sheer ineptitude of the organising authorities.
In a final statement the committee owned up to their failings and reopened
the redress hearing to dig themselves out of the royal mess that they'd
created. In doing so they found that their first decision was "not the
fairest arrangement possible as required by RRS 64.2 and reopened the
hearing as provided by RRS 66".
The result (which should have happened in the first place) was that race
two would not be re-sailed. The overweight crews would receive average
points over the series for that race and the committee admitted their
anomaly between the SI's and the notice of race whilst also admitting that
they were wrong to verbally tell the crews to stay shoreside without
formally protesting. In addition the class agreed a procedure with the race
committee for weighing during the remainder of the event and cancelled
tomorrow's planned lay day to complete race three whilst canceling all
racing for the day (Tuesday). As one seasoned campaigner put it, "it was
not John Doerr's (International Jury member) finest hour. - Magnus
Wheatley, Yachts and Yachting website, full story:
TEAM NEW ZEALAND
Middle Eastern airline Emirates has signed a multi-million-dollar
sponsorship deal with Team New Zealand, apparently securing our
participation in the 2007 America's Cup regatta in Spain. The contract,
understood to be for as much as $50 million, was signed in Dubai
three-and-a-half weeks ago. Team NZ boss Grant Dalton told New Zealand
media earlier this month he was "not far" from signing sponsorship deals
for nearly $100 million of the total $150 million needed to mount a Cup
Dalton did not respond yesterday to calls made via his PR man, Warren
Douglas. Nor was Emirates' New Zealand country manager Chris Lethbridge
contactable on Tuesday. Emirates PR woman Pamela Wong said "as far as New
Zealand is concerned, we have had no contact [from Emirates headquarters]
and we know of nothing that has been signed." Earlier this month Daily
Telegraph sports writer, Tim Jeffery, tipped a Middle Eastern airline would
be Team NZ's title sponsor. Team NZ failed to respond to this speculation.
It is understood some high-profile Europeans are also keen to kick in funds
to support Team NZ and Emirates will make an announcement about the
sponsorship deal within weeks. The carrier has taken an increasing interest
in New Zealand recently. It started flying out of Auckland to the Middle
East via Sydney last August and yesterday announced special launch fares to
Melbourne, Dubai and Europe for services out of Christchurch from 1 July.
Emirates was a major sponsor and official carrier for the 2004 Holden NZ
Open Golf Tournament in January and is a sponsor of the NZ Barbarians rugby
team. - xtramsn website, full story:
If you admire big classic boats, we think you will enjoy the Onne van der
Wal photos from the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta that we've just posted in
the Scuttlebutt Gallery:
Event website: http://www.antiguaclassics.com/
"TEAM MUSTO" WINS THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP
You don't need to have a maxi catamaran to wear Musto gear; you don't even
have to race offshore. Ed Baird has just won the Crimson Blazer at the
Congressional Cup wearing Musto's latest Gore-Tex race gear. "Great kit"
said Ed, "Comfortable, easy to move in, very breathable, keeps you dry and
does its job for a very long time. Nice quality." Thanks Ed, and
congratulations. Good luck in Elba next week. You don't need to be the
Match Racing World Champion to experience Musto. Give it a try next time:
OneWorld executive director Bob Ratliffe says his America's Cup syndicate
will do all it can to ensure former operations manager Sean Reeves coughs
up the $1.6 million awarded to it. Reeves, a former Team New Zealand
member, was ordered for the second time this week to hand over the money
for his involvement in an America's Cup secrets scandal. The High Court at
Auckland backed a United States judicial order that Reeves compensate
OneWorld Challenge for a breach of contract over allegations that he tried
to sell the Seattle-based syndicate's design and technical plans.
Ratliffe said the the US Federal Court judgment was now well over a year
old. "He has the resources financially to pay the judgment; he is a wealthy
man. We will do everything we need to do to get the judgment claimed. If it
means bankrupting him and taking his tennis racket and his house and his
car then that is what we are going to do."
Peter Spring, the lawyer representing Reeves, said he would meet his client
this week and discuss whether he wanted to appeal against the decision. -
Excerpts from a story by Julie Ash in the NZ Herald, full story:
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
Monday's average of 23.5 knots point-to-point reflects an excellent day's
surfing of the kind for which Geronimo was designed and developed. The
ability to skirt around the depression, pick up speed and get in front of
it requires this potential for pure speed that only large multihulls can
offer. Tuesday looks like being a slower day as the crew tries to make the
jump to the anticyclone off Ireland, although tomorrow promises to be a
tougher proposition altogether, with over 30 knots of headwind and a pretty
Day 61 Update: Geronimo covered 565 nautical miles in 24 hours for an
average speed of 23.5 knots which places them 321 miles ahead of the Day 61
track of Jules Verne Record holder Orange I. - www.trimaran-geronimo.com/
ORACLE BMW RACING
BMW has just signed a new agreement with Oracle to remain a part of that
team's America's Cup effort through 2007. According to the announcement on
the syndicate's website, "BMW will in future contribute even more expertise
to the team. Increased technology input on the part of BMW, an expanded
personnel contingent, and experts from the automotive concern have been
actively incorporated throughout the new challenge's entire development
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NEWPORT TO ENSENADA RACE
Ensenada Mexico (April 27, 2004) ≠ Afterburner demonstrated exceptional
sailing, beating a fleet of 460 boats to finish the 125 nautical mile Tommy
Bahama Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. The 52-foot Bladerunner Catamaran,
skippered by Bill Gibbs from the Pierpont Bay Yacht Club, won the most
trophies in NOSA's 57th annual race held this weekend. Afterburner won
several trophies including the coveted First-to-Finish trophy, the new
Tommy Bahama trophy for overall winner on best corrected time and the
President of NOSA Trophy for 1st place on corrected time in ORCA class.
Northwest winds between 10 and 15 miles per hour allowed most boats to get
a good start. Wind conditions were good through Friday, slowed down
considerably overnight and were good throughout most of Saturday bringing
most of the fleet in during the daylight hours on Saturday.
Dick Compton's Alchemy sailed smoothly to the finish line in 13 hours and
19 minutes making it the first monohull to finish. Alchemy also won its
class (ULDB-A) and was first overall in the PHRF class. This is Dick
Compton's 36th consecutive Ensenada race. Finishing just 10 minutes behind
Alchemy was Magnitude 80, skippered by Doug Baker. A showdown was expected
between the two Alan Andrews designed boats, which sailed neck and neck
throughout most of the race.
Campbell's Sloop, an all-female team, won their category and was awarded
the Caroline Starr Trophy for Best All Women's Crew on corrected time.
Ernie Minney's Samarang took the Serena Trophy for the Ancient Mariner
schooner with the best corrected time (17:52:40) Campaign II, skippered by
James Devling, was awarded the President of the USA trophy for the PHRF
boat with the best corrected time. - Bryn Punt, full results: www.nosa.org
Curmudgeon's Comment: The Cortez Racing Association has posted 12 pages of
photos of the event: http://www.cortezracing.com/CRA2004/04TACOweb/04taco.html
* Australia's leading sailors and their yacht, Alfa Romeo will be
campaigning under the Italian car maker's colours for a second European
season after their total dominance of the 2003 European regatta season.
With skipper and owner Neville Crichton at the helm, Alfa Romeo has now
recorded more than 65 wins and Alfa Romeo confirmed her position as the
fastest maxi yacht in the world. Murphy and Nye in supporting Neville
Crichton and his crew of Australian and New Zealand sailors in one of the
largest sponsorship programmes in support of Australasian sportsmen this year.
* HyŤres, France - Blue sky, sunshine and good wind started the 3rd day of
racing in Olympic Sailing Week. Starting at 8 knots the South Easterly
breeze increased to 14 knots providing perfect sailing conditions for all
classes, finally able to catch up with the program and race the last
qualifications in the Lasers, 470 and Europe classes. Current top U.S.
finishers: 49er: 4. Wadlow/ Spaulding; 470 Men: 6. Foerster/ Burnham; 470
Women: 31. McDowell/ Kinsolving; Europe: 20. Gaillard; Laser: 8.
Mendelblatt; Mistral Men: 12. Barger; Tornado: 2. Lovell/ Ogletree;
Yngling: 2. Barkow/ Howe/ Capozzi. - Event website: http://hyeres.ffvoile.net/
We are getting a ton of e-mail about yesterday's Guest Editorial by Drs.
Richard Schmidt and Tim Lee. So - we've asked Dick Schmidt to write a story
for Scuttlebutt outlining what he considers to be appropriate training for
recreational sailors eager to improve their position in the fleet. And he's
agreed to do that - soon.
Who is Dick Schmidt and is he qualified to outline training for recreation
sailors? Dr. Richard Schmidt earned his Ph.D. in human performance at the
University of Illinois in 1967. He has served on the faculty at the
University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Southern
California, and UCLA, where he is currently Professor of Psychology
(Emeritus). He is currently consulting in the area of human performance,
human factors, and ergonomics at his consulting firm Human Performance
Research in Marina del Rey. He has written about 150 research articles and
He does laboratory research in human performance and human learning,
focusing on the principles that help us to understand how some people can
perform skills at amazingly high levels. He has collaborated with tennis
guru Vic Braden in his Tennis College, given lectures on learning
principles to the ski instructors at Aspen, and applies his work to
situations where learning is involved in such diverse areas as sailing,
race-car driving, and physical therapy and speech therapy.
More important perhaps, Schmidt learned to sail at the age of 13 and has
been competing in sailboats most of his life. He sailed Snipes with his
wife Gwen Gordon for 18 years, 470s for 5 years, and Starboats for 4 years.
He and Gordon raced "Outlier" in the competitive Southern California Schock
35 fleet for 17 years; they were Class Champions for three years (once with
the curmudgeon as tactician, even).
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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 Mark Taylor: Your article about the Trophee Jules Verne suggests
that some yachts will throw all wastes overboard ("...Geronimo keeps all
non-biodegradable waste on board..."). Is this correct? If so, it is
terrible to think that ocean racers may also be ocean polluters in the
search for speed - surely we should all be trying to keep the oceans
beautiful and rubbish free and in so doing protect our amenity and the
* From Ted Rogers (In response to the guest editorial on practice and the
notion that repetition does not improve later retention): I'm sure that the
research is correct. However, the vast majority of us who sail only a few
days a month probably all qualify as "rank novices" when it comes to
executing the exact motions required by a particular crew member for a
particular maneuver on a particular boat in a particular wind strength.
(This complexity is part of what makes sailing interesting and rewarding!)
I would suggest that repetitive practice is useful and essential to
determine the "right" set of moves to execute a particular maneuver. Once
the correct sequence is determined, I can believe that then random practice
becomes the better method. In Kevin Hall's case, I suspect it took him
several all-day trips just to determine the correct nuances to practice
downwind. In the case of myself and my crew on our International 14, even
after 150 days of sailing over the last 5 years, I would argue that we're
still learning exactly what we should be practicing in each maneuver,
rather than trying to repeat a known ideal maneuver each time.
Recent performances such as Ben Ainslie's in the Finn suggest that C.A.
Marchaj's notion that the best sailors are sailing their boats at 60-80%
efficiency and the rest of us are considerably worse, is really true. I
suspect the key to these dramatic successes is based in successfully
learning exactly what to practice, rather than just putting in long hours.
(Though it may take long hours to figure out what to practice!)
* From Joby Easton: I think science is nifty and at times even fun, but
while others were studying precisely 'how' Kevin should be training, he was
just 'doing it. Here's to you Kevin for going about things the wrong way.
Congratulations on becoming an Olympian. And in response to science telling
Kevin he went about things the wrong way - check the scoreboard!
* From Douglass Sisk, Dick Schmidt's mast-man (Regarding Dick Schmidt's
guest editorial in 'Butt 1570): Please don't read Dick's note at the end of
his fine editorial to mean that one should only jibe once in practice then
go tacking upwind for a while before reversing course and jibing once
again. More than once in a close race we were able to gain position by
being able to perform more jibes well in a short period of time than our
opponents. Having the Rapid-Sequence-Jibe-Series in your arsenal is a
powerful weapon. The ability to throw just one more good jibe than your
opponent will win races. That said, I heartily agree with Dick that beating
up your crew with numerous jibes everytime you go sailing is
counter-productive. On Dick's Schock 35 we used to go out early before
every race and do some tacks and jibes just to get warmed up. Not only did
it get everybody's head in the game, but if you're going to have a
spectacular failure its much better to do it pre-race than in the heat of
* From Ted Livingston (An additional comment on water in dinghy masts): At
Kingston, in 1976, the Finns were using aluminum masts for the first time
at the Olympics. There was a flotation test for the masts themselves. The
Americans found that the rivets in their masts were "working" resulting in
unexpected leakage, and failure to pass the flotation test. Boatwright Carl
Eichenlaub hopped on his bike and bought radiator fluid at a gasoline
station. He poured this fluid, along with boiling water from a tea kettle,
into a mast. Everyone watched the drip-drip-drip slow to a d-r-i-p, and
then stop altogether. The masts passed the test, and Carl established
himself as our permanent Olympic Boatwright, poised now to fly to Athens.
* From Dave MacVean: Scuttlebutt criticized the Newport Offshore Sailing
Association for not having photos up on their website within 24 hours of
the race finish. This is petty stuff, when considered against the
incredible success of the regatta.
As a first time participant, I would like to express my gratitude for NOSA,
and to everyone who helped organize this incredible event. I now understand
why so many starboard spreaders were covered with veteran burgees. Over 450
yachts were comfortably moored in Newport Harbor before the race, with
fantastic support from the Newport Harbor Police and local yacht clubs. The
Balboa Corinthian Yacht Club threw a party that should be featured in
Vanity Fair. Suffice it to say that food, drink, and camaraderie were in
ample supply. The starts went off on time, with some grumbling from
skippers that it was too close to shore and thus straddled a frustrating
wind line. But in a freshening breeze, it is an incredible thing to see so
many boats broad reaching down the Southern California Coastline, framed by
the Channel Islands to the west.
The organization again did a great job in Ensenada. Water taxis were
plentiful, the race results were posted promptly in the plaza of a local
hotel, and margaritas flowed for the benefit of all racers, organizers,
friends and family.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Is one millionth of a fish the same as a microfiche?