SCUTTLEBUTT 1738 - December 23, 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.
The Russians will not be taking part in next year's Volvo Ocean Racing
after all, and neither will the finish of the fully crewed, grand prix
round-the-world race be in the spectacular setting of St Petersburg. That
much is evident from the race chief executive, Glenn Bourke, who says: "I
can now confirm that the race will finish in either Amsterdam, Rotterdam or
Gothenburg [Volvo's home city]."
If it appears odd that St Petersburg is out when it was never officially
`in' the race, that speaks volumes about the nebulous nature of much about
a race which takes place in November 2005. Although this is just 10 months
away, and the race, which began as the Whitbread in 1973/74, is held only
every four years, the final course is not settled and the number of entries
remains at six boats. The Russian entry, to have been skippered by Danish
Olympic sailor Stig Westergaard, was one of a handful of that Bourke had
been trying to cement in place.
Bourke's policy has been to award host-port rights to countries fielding
entries. This has brought in Pedro Campos/ Bouwe Bekking's Telefónica
Movistar team (Spain), Grant Wharington's Premier Challenge (Australia) and
Torben Grael and Alan Adler's Brazil 1. Also in-build are Roy Heiner/ Mike
Sanderson's two ABN Amro boats (Holland) and Atlant, whose Swedish project
bosses Richard Brisius and Johen Salén have not yet revealed a skipper or
sponsor. If Bourke is to achieve his goal of nine boats in an event
revamped with new bigger Volvo 70s and the inclusion of in-port racing to
match the previous race, he needs no repeat of the Russian campaign folding
up. - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, full story: http://tinyurl.com/6dcp9
BENDING THE RULES
America's Cup rules have been waived to allow Spanish syndicate El Reto to
join the list of challengers. El Reto will represent the Real Federacion
Espaola de Vela, the Spanish Sailing Federation, rather than a yacht club.
Cup rules say teams must align themselves with a yacht club. Alinghi, which
took the cup from New Zealand last year, represents the Societe Nautique de
Geneve, which accepted the Spanish challenge last Friday.
El Reto is a new team headed by Agustin Zulueta, a Spanish yacht-racing
project manager. "With the 32nd America's Cup taking place in Spain, all
the elements are ready for us to mount a competitive Spanish challenge," he
said. "Our objectives now are to get structured with our team and main
sponsor, to organize boats so that we will be ready to race competitively
next June during the Valencia Louis Vuitton Acts, and to develop our
long-term strategy for the Louis Vuitton Cup and 32nd America's Cup in
2007. We have a lot of work to do."
The inclusion of the Spanish team will come as a great relief to event
organizers, who looked likely to be hosting an event in a country that did
not have a team competing. A Spanish newspaper has reported that some other
challengers might protest against the club affiliation rule being
disregarded. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:
IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME
Emirates Team New Zealand will take full advantage of the summer in New
Zealand to test its new boat, NZL68. For 2005 there will be a new version
of the America's Cup racing yachts - known as version five. ETNZ has
already built and fitted out its new version five boat and took it out on
to the water for the first time recently - making the team one of the first
America's Cup syndicates sailing in the new version of the design rule.
The main changes now allowed to the boats are a deeper keel and lighter
bulb, a larger sail area - thanks to a longer spinnaker pole - and
inflatable battens. Hull appendages, or hulas, are banned. As a result, the
version five boats should prove lighter and faster - and thus make for some
even more dramatic and exciting racing in Europe next summer. Grant Dalton,
Managing Director of Emirates Team New Zealand, in Dubai for a review of
the team's plans with its title sponsor, said: "The team numbers 95 people
and it was not possible until now to get everybody working together full
time in one place. There were moments before Emirates' and Team New
Zealand's joint announcement last June when I wondered if this time would
ever come. The funding we needed was massive by New Zealand standards, and
the business people who make decisions about sponsorships of this magnitude
wanted more than just hope for a good result. - Excerpt from a story posted
on The Daily Sail subscription website, www.thedailysail.com
US Sailing and Mount Gay Rum have launched of the Mount Gay Rum Speaker
Series. The grassroots, educational series will deliver seminars hosted by
select sailing organizations and yacht clubs. The 2005 Speaker Series will
feature as many as ten events with subjects that range from "Understanding
the new racing rules" to "An inside look at the Olympic Games."
The racing rules seminars will allow sailors to interact directly with
prominent experts like Dave Perry, Butch Ulmer and Dick Rose in discussing
the new 2005-2008 racing rules, which go into effect on January 1, 2005.
The Olympic-themed events will feature Athens medallists like Kevin Burnham
(Gold medal, 470 class) who will share a first-hand perspective on his
Olympic experiences, from training to the podium. The series kicks off on
January and will run through April. Markets currently on the schedule include:
* Pascagoula, Miss.
* Blue Point, N.Y.
* Seattle, Wash.
* Houston, TX
* Chicago, Ill.
* Boston, Mass,
* San Francisco, Calif.
* Westport, Conn.
Event website: www.ussailing.org/sponsorship/speakerseries/index.asp.
Looking forward to the first boat show of the year, which is the 2005 San
Diego Boat Show, starting January 6th. The new J/100, Sailing World's 2005
Overall Boat of the Year and the J/133, which won Cruising World's 2004
Best Performance Cruiser and Sailing World's 2004 Overall Boat of the Year,
will both be at the show. Please stop by the Sail California display to
take a look or give us a call at 619-224-6200 for a private showing. We
wish you a warm and wonderful Holiday Season. Hope to see you at the show!
Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) was uncharacteristically lucid in his comments at
today's radio session, anxiety tangible in his words. "I have seen icebergs
and the bad news is that they are all over the place. The good news is that
the visibility is good and the radar works well. I saw one which was 100
metres high. I'm now going left and right and haven't got a clue what to
do. I think I'll be up on deck all night."
Making around 9 knot averages Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) is making around the
same speed as Vincent Riou (PRB) though he has stretched out his lead to
60.9 miles thanks to around 3 knots better VMG (speed towards the goal). In
an attempt to avoid the various ice zones Le Cam is making south-easterly
on port tack while Riou is making north-easterly on starboard tack as they
slalom through the icebergs, on deck keeping look-out for possible
growlers. The duo passed the International Date Line today with Jean Le Cam
the first to pass from 180°E to 180°W at 0800 Auckland time on 23 December.
Leaders at 1900 GMT December 22:
1. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 10,802 miles to finish
2. PRB, Vincent Riou, 61 miles to leader
3. Ecover, Mike Golding, 319 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 341 mtl
5. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1110 mtl
Complete standings: www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk/
CHRISTMAS WILL BE HORRIBLE
It will be survival mode for Ellen MacArthur on B&Q come Christmas time, as
the option to head north to avoid the storm evaporates "Going north is not
going to keep us out of the storm, whatever happens, it is going to hit
us," Ellen said. "We can't get away from this one and all we can do is try
and move as far to the east, as fast as we possibly can to try and stay in
front of it and not drop behind the front. But whatever happens it's going
to be horrible. It's going to be very windy and it's going to be survival
conditions for a period of time."
The only option for Ellen is to try and stay in the strong breeze ahead of
the frontal system and not let it go over the top of her. "I'm just going
to do my best and sail as fast as I can and just hope that we can stay with
it and ahead of that storm for several days to come." Her biggest concern
will be the risk of strong 30-40+ knot northerlies slamming into the side
of B&Q, and if this happens Ellen will be forced to head south into even
rougher conditions. The Southern Ocean is a continuous game of trying to
keep in the best 'weather corridor', gybing with each wind shift generated
by the frontal systems, to keep moving in an easterly direction.
Ellen spent eight hours Wednesday fixing broken watermakers (again) and had
a collision. B&Q went from 26 knots to 14 after hit an unidentified object,
probably living. No damage found, yet. At 2300 GMT Wednesday Ellen was
nearly 16 hours ahead of Joyon's record pace. - www.teamellen.com
December 23 - The legitimacy of Grant Wharington's super-maxi Skandia for
the start of the (Sydney-Hobart) bluewater classic on Sunday was clouded
further last night after Wharington declared his boat was legal but the
race's official measurer said it wasn't. "Weight's right," Wharington
declared 24 hours after his race entry rating certificate became invalid
because the yacht was 471kg lighter than the figure shown on the paperwork.
"We ran the numbers last night and we don't have to change a thing,"
But the race's official measurer, John Andersen, was quick yesterday to say
that is not the case. "I didn't take Skandia's final measurements, the hull
overhangs, until 5.45am today," Andersen said. "The numbers won't be sent
to London until this evening, so there won't be any official rating figure
for the yacht until tomorrow. Besides that, the rating is based on a secret
formula, so anyone trying to work the numbers can only guess."
Skandia and the three other leading line-honours contenders, Konica Minolta
(Stewart Thwaites), Nicorette (Ludde Ingvall) and AAPT (Sean Langman) were
weighed on Tuesday. Thwaites, whose yacht finished second to Skandia in
last year's classic by 14 minutes, initiated the weigh-in. - Rob Mundle,
The Australian, full story: http://tinyurl.com/3pduq
THE PREZ SAYS - Part 2
(The ISAF website has posted part 2 of The Daily Sail's interview with
president, Göran Petersson. Here's an excerpt.)
thedailysail: What would you like to achieve during your tenure?
Goran Petersson: We have to start looking more at developing sailing and to
increase participation in areas where sailing is not that well known yet
like South America, certain parts of Asia, etc. If you compare it to
England, there the RYA has an excellent program of marketing and contact
with young people to get them into sailing. The other area is to increase
the profile of sailing, so that it is more interesting to media, the
average public and young people again. Get them attacted to sailing. We
will have to look at the format of sailing. What happens if you had a 100m
if you could have a drop-off result. You could say 'no, I'm not running in
the finals because I ran so fast in the semi-finals'. That type of thing.
So we have to look at the format and the scoring system. I don't think we
could have five different scoring systems. But things which will make life
easier for people like yourself, more attractive - the last race is the
winning race that is an example of what we must look at.
tds: Are you planning to have more of the multiple-class world
championships like Cadiz?
GP: That is one of the things we have to look at. I think it is a clear
possibility that we should do that more often. We can't do that right now.
The next is 2007. But we are looking into all our events. If you have 250
World Championships in sailing, you have to have pinnacle events and we
have Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup, and we need some of these events too.
So perhaps a circuit of Olympic classes.
tds: Are there any specific issues you would like to see addressed in your
GP: We have different areas. We will have to look into the qualifications
for the Olympic Games. As that is done mostly at the ISAF World
Championships we will have to look at the qualifications for those
championships. The idea has come up that the Asians and South Americans
especially have said 'it must be easier for us to come to the
qualifications'. It is much easier to be European as most of the
qualifications are done in Europe. If you are Chinese or Japanese or
Brazilian you have to travel to Europe with your boat which is most
expensive. So we have to do something about that. And at the same time we
will have to increase the exchange of judges and umpires and technicians
ULLMAN SAILS HOLIDAY GREETINGS!
From all of us in the worldwide network of Ullman Sails lofts, we wish you
and your families a Happy and Safe Holiday Season. Ullman Sails looks
forward to meeting your sailmaking needs in the coming year. We value your
business, and pledge to continue to bring you the latest and best sail
technology that our industry can provide. "For an Investment in
Performance" and "The Fastest Sails on the Planet," please contact the
nearest Ullman Sails loft and visit us online at http://www.ullmansails.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 Howard Bentey (Re Olympics in Qingdao) I may not have as much
experience as the next guy but isn't wind actually "something really
important" for a regatta.
* From Matthew Lindblad: It seems to me that we are missing the point with
AC TV ratings. Like most sporting events, the amount of people who watch a
sport on TV is usually related to the amount that go and watch the sport in
person. NASCAR = Millions of people load up the camper and go to the track
for the weekend. On the weekends they can't, they settle for TV. NASCAR
goes all over the country, drivers are very accessible to the fans and
people can identify with them. Combine that with speed and an element of
danger and you've got yourself a sport.
I had never cared about the AC, too young to understand in the 80's and too
smart to watch boats creep around in less than 8 knots in San Diego, or
watch NZ boat-speed away from everyone. However, when Oracle and Alinghi
came to Newport this summer and I spent the better part of June on the Bay,
watching them race on the same course that I've raced on for the last four
years, it was awesome. Close contact, kites blowing up, great coverage, and
excellent spectator management. We were racing along the sides of the
course just to keep up with the boats. During pre-start, we were between
the two boats as they sailed through the spectator fleet, one coming up to
luff the other with us in between. If you share that experience with more
people (especially kids,) I guarantee you will solve your ratings problems.
* From Cliff Thompson (re: rating rules - edited to our 250-word limit): To
handicap race in the Southern California area I am required to have a PH
rating from San Diego and Southern California. Yes, they are different
numbers. Now, in order to do the Cabo race and the Transpac, it is required
to have an Americap rating. And then, if one wishes to do the Big Boat
series, an IRC rating is required.
So, I recently applied for my Americap rating. I filled out the forms, sent
the application to US Sailing with the appropriate check, contacted the
measurer, (freeboards required), went to the sailmaker with forms, (sail
area required). Bottom line: Many hours spent already, and many more to go.
Since I know nothing about IRC, I haven't even started that process.
Guys, sometimes, it just isn't worth the hassle. Most of us in this area,
and I believe in the US, have been using PH ratings for years now, and we
are all familiar with the system, and the ratings between the boats. The
infrastructure exists, and the administrative system is in place.
Therefore, for the weekend warrior racer/cruiser type, it fits well. I am
not convinced that a new, improved handicap rule is in my best interest, or
that it will increase participation. Please convince me! In the meantime,
if I want to do the events, I have to be measured to the rating rule
specified by the organizers. I hope they are picking the "right" rating
rule. Time will tell!
* From Clayton Dailey (re learning to swim): At 6 years old it's not too
late to start! My son used to be afraid of the water when first introduced
to swimming. We found an excellent swimming instructor that used really
good methods (not the throw them in and sink or swim method) to make him
comfortable in the water. For the longest he would barely put his face in
the water then one day while playing in the pool with his friends it
clicked and hes been swimming like a fish ever since. Don't give up, you
won't regret it. BTW, he's now my favorite crew!!
* From David Tory: One can become blasé by the summary daily log you give
us of Ellen McArthur's extraordinary progress - but I have to tell you I am
in absolute awe of what she has accomplished so far on this her latest
exploit. The story just becomes more and more enthralling.
* From David M. McClatchy, Jr. (re: The Penguin Principle): The advent of
the Laser or Opti, at least here in the US, is not your main culprit. Your
smoking gun is the lack of time parents have to spend with their children.
Life today in the US is one where two incomes are the norm and the two week
vacation is out the door. Will it come back, kids sailing with their
parents and more participation? You bet, but due to the inverse of your
premise and that is indeed the Optimist Class, where children benefit from
strong parental involvement and sailing has lifted off. It is the kids who
are going to lead the parents back, not visa-versa. Opti kids keep
sailing--it is the only answer I have to the significant growth in radials
and approximate tripling over the last five years in the class membership
of the Club 420.
To your question who has more fun, the fourteen year old in the Lighting
with his father or the one in an Opti? Well, "nothing against Dad,
but...see you at Orange Bowl! (along with my other 600 card-carrying US
Sailing jr. member friends). I promise you if strap the Opti, 420 or radial
on the roof and hit the road you will never look back, and create a
life-long sailor who will be back in that Lighting in no time (but this
time with the tiller in his hand and Dad as crew).
* From Jeff A. Jelten: It is because of all the character building elements
that Mr Green talks about, that makes it important that the sport of
sailing compete with "instant gratification pastimes" for the hearts and
minds of our youth. It is necessary if we want to be competitive, not just
on the water but in the world.
Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.