Scuttlebutt Today
  
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1636 - July 30, 2004

Powered by SAIC (www.saic.com), an employee-owned company. Scuttlebutt is a
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, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.

RELIEF
Russell Coutts smiles as he considers his future. He is not one to take his
dismissal from the Alinghi America's Cup team in any other way. It appears
to have come as a relief since he and the team's owner, the biotech
billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, were diametrically opposed in their
management styles. There is much of the rich kid's approach from Bertarelli
- "it's my ball and we will play the game my way" - while Coutts's is the
voice of experience. "My style of management and leadership over the years
has been formed both by observing how things run within highly successful
teams," he says, "and also by participating in that leadership in a key
role. Last time it showed that that leadership was successful. I was
surprised to see a departure from that style after we had won the cup."

Coutts is smarting from the decision of Bertarelli to oust him but there is
not the slightest sign of rancour, only ingrained disappointment that
things did not work out the way he says he had been led to believe they
should. "I had very clear undertakings and commitments from Ernesto at the
beginning of all this," he declares, "and during the term of the contract,
and I don't believe he delivered on those commitments."

It is plain that Coutts regards a rule change instigated by Bertarelli 10
days before his summary dismissal as underhand and directed towards him
personally. Bertarelli arranged that America's Cup Management, the group
led by his sidekick Michel Bonnefous that is responsible for the running of
the event in 2007, altered the sailor qualification so that Coutts could
not join another team. "This new rule was issued without prior consultation
with any of the senior members of Team Alinghi," Coutts claims.

Coutts has plenty to keep him busy. He has been seen in various places
around the world together with Paul Cayard, who was "sidelined" by Larry
Ellison from his Oracle campaign because of a clash of temperaments, and
they have made no secret that they are planning a revolutionary event but
refuse to let slip details. "We've been talking about an idea that we have.
If the idea comes off, it will be great for the sport of sailing."

It does not stop there. Sailing for Coutts has to be fun. "There's a lot of
different events in sailing. There's the Volvo Ocean Race and I am really
excited about the Open 60s. I am going sailing on one of the big multihulls
in October; this sport is a great sport and I can do plenty of things
within it." Lack of an America's Cup campaign does not seem to bother this
Kiwi. Excerpts from a story by Bob Fisher in The Guardian, full story:
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/sailing/story/0,10087,1272446,00.html

ALIHGHI
Alinghi tactician Brad Butterworth admits his relationship with syndicate
head Ernesto Bertarelli is strained. Former skipper Russell Coutts, sacked
this week, claimed a clash with Bertarelli was behind his departure from
the America's Cup team. The team said Coutts was fired because he failed to
fulfill his contractual duties. However, Butterworth insists he will be
sticking with the America's Cup holders as the issue is with Coutts and
Bertarelli and that is where it stops.

Following the sacking of Coutts, Butterworth says his relationship with
Bertarelli needs patching up. He says it is a problem he has to get his
head around. He added: 'It is going to take a while to work through it. The
situation is still not over.' He expects the other New Zealand members at
Alinghi will stay, and that includes Warrick Fleury, Simon Daubney and
Murray Jones. - Newstalk ZB, by Courtesy NZ Herald and posted on the Sail
World website, http://www.sail-world.com/

AND THE WINNER IS . . .
After a slow start in the polling, the Annapolis lobby kicked in and Chris
Larsen has emerged as the helmsmen the 'Buttheads think Ernesto Bertarelli
should add to the Alinghi sailing team. Paul Cayard finished a close
second, and those two were the only nominees to gather more votes than
"None of the above."

NOTHING ESCAPES THESE EYES
Around the world racing requires years of experience, preparation and ocean
knowledge. "Covering 32,000 nautical miles around the world can only be
done with the very best equipment. That's why we chose Steiner's new
Comander V" (John Kostecki, skipper of illbruck, V.O.R. winner). When
Annapolis Performance Sailing went looking for the best marine binoculars
available, accolades like this were tough to ignore. That's why APS also
chose Steiner. Don't just demand more, demand the best. Let nothing escape
your eyes. Check out the Commander V and everything that makes Steiner the
ultimate marine binoculars at http://www.apsltd.com/scuttlebutt

SWEDISH MATCH TOUR
Cascais, Portugal - Denmark's Jesper Radich advanced to the semifinals of
Stage 1 of the Swedish Match Tour 2004-'05, the Portugal Match Cup, with a
3-0 quarterfinal victory over France's Bertrand PacÚ. The Radich-PacÚ match
was the only one completed in the quarterfinal round. Ed Baird (USA) ended
the day with a 2-1 lead over Philippe Presti (FRA). The pair was set to
start what could've been the fourth and deciding flight when a large
windshift and drop in pressure forced the race committee to abandon racing
at 7:00 p.m.

Other quarterfinal matches feature Russell Coutts (NZL) against Staffan
Lindberg (FIN) and Peter Gilmour (AUS) versus Peter Holmberg (USVI).
Neither was started Thursday, but both are scheduled for Friday. Lindberg
and Presti advanced to the quarters from the repechage round, which
finished this afternoon. Lindberg won the five-flight series with a 5-0
record, while Presti finished second at 4-1.

Presti had to defeat Law in the final match to ensure advancement. The
Frenchman started to windward of the Briton, and never gave him a chance to
shake loose. Law, Michael Dunstan (AUS), Geoff Meek (RSA) and Francisco
Neto (POR) were all eliminated from competition after placing 3rd through
6th in the repechage round. - Sean McNeill, www.SwedishMatchTour.com

Curmudgeon's comment: We posted a new gallery on the Scuttlebutt website
profiling the Swedish Match 40 they are using in Portugal:
http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/04/sm40/

TOUR DE FRANCE
Typical of a night leg in the Mediterranean, the alternate Tour de France Ó
la Voile leaders, evanescent and unpredictable gusts, all of this
punctuated what proved to be a long night with the fastest boats making an
average of just 4 knots with the Swiss team Bienne Voile on the water for
25 hours and the latecomers 28. In these trying conditions the
American skipper of Groovederci, Deneen Demourkas, saw her lead melt away
as the hours went by and has lost her blue leader spinnaker in the process,
now a painful third in the General Ranking. There are still two Olympic
courses to race off St Maxime on Friday. - Translation by Kate Jennings

Standings:
1. Bouygues Telecom, Pierre Lo´c Berthet, 1121
2. Defi Partage Marseille, Thierry Bouchard/ Dimitri Deruelle, 1106
3. Groovederci, Deneen B. Demourkas/ Laurent Pages, 1095

Event website: http://www.tourvoile.fr/

NEWS BRIEFS
* BMW has joined the nine-event Swedish Match Tour as a Partner in a
three-year agreement that runs through the completion of the 2006-'07 Tour
season. As the official car of the Swedish Match Tour, BMW will award a BMW
545i Touring to the Tour champion. The BMW 5 Series Touring, valued at Euro
70,000 (approximately $85,000), will be awarded in conjunction with the
$60,000 bonus prize offered by the Swedish Match Tour, making the Tour
championship worth approximately $145,000. The sixth season of the Swedish
Match Tour includes nine events with prize money totaling more than $1
million. - www.SwedishMatchTour.com

* Perfect conditions greeted the eleven teams this morning for the
continued windward-leeward races of the Rolex Commodores' Cup. To make up
for the races lost earlier this week, today's 10-15 knot winds enabled the
organizers to regain a further race, sailed this afternoon after the two
scheduled. With six races sailed the Irish team now hold a comfortable
lead, on 25 points ahead of GBR Black on 29.5 and France Blue, led by the
Rolex Commodore's Cup defender Gery Trentesaux, on 31.5. -
www.rorc.org/comcup/index.php

* The twenty-fifth Anniversary of the 1979 Fastnet Race in which fifteen
sailors perished will be honored with a Remembrance Ceremony at Cape Clear
Island, County Cork, Ireland on Sunday afternoon 15 August 2004. Cape Clear
Island Museum & Archive is organizing the event which includes a book
launch, unveiling of a memorial, an exhibition and a ceremony at sea. Cape
Clear Museum Archive invites the submission of documentation of any kind
relating to the 1979 Fastnet Race. Cape Clear island community invites
participants in the 1979 Fastnet Race to visit the island for the
Remembrance. - www.placenames.ie/capeclear/news.html

* Tivo Time - OLN's coverage of the UBS Trophy series re-airs on August 2,
3 and 4 at 11:00 AM ET/ 2:00 PM PT each day.

* We've talked a lot about big waves this week, and if you've been
following that thread you'll want to take a look at some real monsters:
www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/04/bigwaves/
http://tv-antenna.com/heavy-seas/

* The U.S. Offshore Championship is currently accepting resumes for this
prestigious event to be held September 23 to 27. Hosted by Long Beach Yacht
Club, Calif., this year's regatta will be sailed in Catalina 37's and is
sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. Application deadline is August 27, 2004. To
download the Notice of Race and the application form:
http://www.ussailing.org/championships/lloyd

* Saturday, November 13, marks the holding of the ISAF General Assembly, at
which the election of the ISAF Executive Committee, President and Seven
Vice-Presidents, for the ensuing four year term will take place. At least
two of the Vice-Presidents shall be women. In order to be eligible to stand
as a President or Vice-President, candidates must receive nominations from
five or more full members (Member National Authorities). Member National
Authorities may nominate as many or as few candidates as they wish and
candidates do not need to be nationals of that country.
http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=7722

* A new New Zealand based website was launched this week which offers the
opportunity for Kiwis interested in sailing to collaborate online.
www.crew.org.nz has forums for cruising, racing, dinghies, crew
wanted/available, women's sailing, and selling gear. The organizers say it
is the online version of catching up at the clubhouse after a race. The
site is designed to be an easy to use resource of sailing information, and
is based on formats that have been successful for other sports, such as
multisport and mountain biking.

* Southern Spars has a new self-contained factory in the Auckland suburb of
Kingsland to build "off-the-shelf" carbon-fibre rigs for one-design fleets
up to 60 feet in length right down to Olympic class and club dinghy class
fleets. John Clinton has been named the One Design General Manager while
Matthew Smith is the Projects manager and the Production manager is Ian
Matthews. Southern Spars has also acquired the sole agency for Kilwell
tubes for marine use for masts in yachts up to 20ft and for booms and poles
for bigger boats. - www.southernspars.com

* Carlsbad-based Invitrogen Corporation presented Challenged America with a
$10,000 donation to help the San Diego-based free sailing program for kids
and adults with disabilities make much needed repairs to their fleet of
specially adapted sailboats and replace equipment. Today, providing free
sailing experiences to hundreds yearly, program participants from around
the United States and the world visit San Diego to participate in this
year-round program. - www.ChallengedAmerica.org

1 TRYAD UPGRADE = 2 WINNERS
The success of Ockam's super performance Tryad system can provide a double
benefit. We've upgraded numerous boats, taking their tried and true Unisyn
level components in trade: Unisyn equipment helped win the last 2 out of 3
America's Cup matches, so it is safe to say that a Unisyn based system is
no slouch! For those on a more modest budget, complete systems comprising
these traded-in, bench tested components are available at tremendous
savings. Isn't it your time to have great instruments aboard? Contact Tom
Davis (tom@ockam.com) and visit http://www.ockam.com


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(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 Albert Holt: I see the new version of the racing rules covers
2005-2008. In my opinion the rules should not be changed so often. My
experience is that the effect of the rules is strongly influenced by the
appeals. Four years is not enough time for appeals to occur, then be
published, and then be understood by the sailing community. I'd suggest
stretching the time between changes to 10 years. Or maybe 25. I suspect
there would be some cost savings. It would give the sea lawyers more time
to sail under the "new" rules before going back to their meddling.

* From Maurice Cusick, Esq: Being a lawyer in Newport, RI, one wonders why
Russell Coutts entered into this agreement. It is usually a mistake to
chase the big money, and you often end up paying a much bigger price than
anticipated. As I have told many people in the past, don't deal with people
you do not openly trust. If someone places an oppressive contract on the
table in front of you, don't even negotiate. Just politely decline, get up,
and walk away from the table. We saw the same situation with Paul Cayard.
Had Russell followed this advice, there would be no issue and he would be
sailing in the next Cup without any doubt.

* From Gonzo Diaz: From afar and from a person that enjoys sailing and is
aware of the publicity needed for our sport, I am sorry about the parting
of the ways and the publicity about legal issues and not about sailing.
But, perhaps, any publicity is good publicity. Also, in my opinion, Russell
Coutts is a talent that should be in AC competition. Ironically, soon we
will hear of free agency in AC sailing and shortly after it will be salary
(expense) cap and revenue sharing. Will it be good for the sport? I think
so. It will not affect the Sunday sailor such as myself, but it will raise
the profile and make many take notice of our wonderful sport.

* From John Glynn: If I were Alinghi and Oracle's sponsors (UBS, BMW, etc.)
boy would I be upset at this point. I'd be asking out of my contracts.
Bertarelli and Ellison may be the bosses, but they need to remember that
they have signed on others to help fund the program, to whom they have a
responsibility to provide maximum return. Coutts is an icon in the
America's Cup world. Without him, many will tune out, and the America's Cup
will just become another Match Race event, and we all know how much
attention those get. But I suspect Bertarelli does not care (and apparently
neither does Larry Ellison since he bought into the protocol change). Let
Bertarelli and Ellison have their ego trips in 2007, but UBS, BMW, and
others should be demanding their money back, and these two billionaires are
clearly not looking out for the best interests of the event and sailing in
general. First Ellison benches Cayard, so now Bertarelli one-ups him and
tosses Coutts. What a joke the America's Cup has become.

* From Ian Bruce: What an extraordinary state of affairs! Arguably the two
best helmsmen in the world have put out to pasture by arguably the two top
teams in the America's Cup game. Firstly it was Paul Cayard being sent to
the beach. That was a pity for all of us watching because the Farr boat was
clearly faster up and down the course. If you have any doubt, run your
Virtual Spectator coverage of the races at 10x speed and you will be
amazed. As a result, we watched a superior boat with an inferior team go
down to defeat. Now it's Coutts' turn.

Notwithstanding any of the altruistic claims of the syndicates that float
by from time to time, the America's Cup is driven by the egos of the
owners. Trouble is, the skippers have their egos too. He with the money wins.

* From Pete Sherwood: Read between the lines people... Bertarelli is a very
smart individual. He would have realized long ago that he was pushing
Coutt's buttons and the chance of a split highly likely. One has to wonder
if Bertarelli is merely paving the way to introduce an owner driver rule
for the next cup, a move that the challenger of record would certainly
support. Scary times for the AC.

* From Skip Doyle: The America's Cup - lawyers love it!

* From John Edwards: In December 2000 the European Union initiated a
scientific project called MaxWave to confirm the widespread occurrence of
rogue waves, model how they occur and consider their implications for ship
and offshore structure design criteria. Information from that project can
be accessed by going to their website at
http://w3g.gkss.de/projects/maxwave/. The problem has been getting wave
measuring devices out into mid ocean where these waves occur. One of the
new tools that was used in the MaxWave project, and one that will help
mariners and scientists learn more about these waves is wave radar. This
system uses the output from a standard marine X-Band navigation radar to
measure wave spectra, surface currents, and individual waves in real time.
For more information: www.oceanwaves.de

* From Kim Roberts: I was waiting for others to speak first, but I can't
wait any longer, I have to howl at the moon, crying, "Russell Hoyt is dead,
Russell Hoyt is dead". An American Icon of Sailing and a friend has left us
alone on the race course, sending a chill of loneliness across the water?
Russell had a huge influence on me, and thousands of others in global yacht
racing. He showed us leadership, commitment, seamanship, and was a true
yachtsman. I started sailing with him in 1980 on "Destination" and through
the years he has shown me what loyalty, generosity, friendship, and the Joy
of Life are.

He lead sailing with action, personal and immediate. He built classes like
the PJ46's. He did a bazillion SORC's and Bermuda Races. He built
camaraderie through underwriting social events, pulling sailors together.
He was a leader and an innovator. He has been a major contributing factor
in Newport Yachting. Recently, he is most responsible for the flowering up
of the Newport Shields Fleet to 60, to see 32 boats on the starting line.
When Russell spoke we all listened. He usually had us laughing, but when he
said it should be this way, he was right. He knew yachting, where it should
go, and was first in line to give money and his precious time. He loved the
sport and made it better for all. What will we do without this man?

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
"Anger is only one letter short of danger." - Ben Franklin