SCUTTLEBUTT 3677 - Monday, September 17, 2012
Scuttlebutt is published each weekday with the support of its sponsors,
providing a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features
and dock talk . . . with a North American focus.
Today's sponsors: Quantum Sails and New England Ropes.
THE DARK CLOUDS BEHIND THE SILVER LINING
By Ryan O'Grady, Sailing World
With the recent announcement that an all-female team has placed a deposit
for the first VO 65 One Design, the decision to move to a one-design boat
appears to have been vindicated for the next Volvo Ocean Race. "I reckon
that with the old boat, the Volvo Open 70, we would not even have thought
about this," says Richard Brisius, head of Atlant Ocean Racing, the
management team behind the female SCA team. "The new 65-foot design is
still a monster--still a huge boat--but it's now at least possible, even
though you could never say it's going to be easy."
The move to a one-design boat is a bold attempt by Volvo Ocean Race
management to ensure the viability of the event in these tough economic
times. With the average Volvo campaign costing upwards of $30 million in
2012, the Race's CEO Knut Frostad hopes the new boat will slash the average
campaign to $12-15 million for the 2014 race. Frostad has put his money
where his mouth is; the Race is financing the construction of the first
eight boats. But will a new boat and a $15 million budget be enough to
bring eight quality teams to the line in 2014? As of right now, the answer
appears to be no.
The reality of the Volvo Ocean Race is that there are two separate events
occurring at the same time. There is the sailing race, and the hospitality
race. We all know the sailing side, but for the large international
corporations the Race is courting as sponsors, it's the hospitality race
that matters most.
In the 2009 race, Ericsson was widely believed to have spent almost $30
million on the corporate hospitality side alone. That spending is not
included in the campaign costs being thrown around by event management.
Granted, Ericsson did outspend other sponsors, but any company looking to
use the race as a marketing tool on shore needs to add about $1 million per
stopover to cover logistics, hospitality, and staffing.
Further, while the costs of the sailing campaign can be diluted over 2.5
years, the spend for hospitality is heavily weighted to a company's 2014
marketing budget, and a $8-10 million sponsorship for 2014 is a big number
for most companies to swallow in this economy.
The dark clouds are already building. Before the 2012 race ended, Groupama
suggested that they will be prematurely ending their sponsorship with
Franck Cammas. Veolia then pulled its sponsorship for Roland Jourdain, and
just recently, Foncia terminated the MOD 70 funding to Michel Desjoyeaux
after the 2012 season. When worries over the global economy can sideline
the heroes of French sailing, heroes who have had some of the longest
relationships in the history of the sport with their sponsors, where does
that leave potential Volvo entrants? -- Read on:
SHARING THE PAST TO IMPROVE THE FUTURE
Though the start of the next Volvo Ocean Race is over two years off, there
is an urgency to finalize decisions for the new VO65 one design boat to be
raced in the 2014-15 and 2017-18 editions of the race. To insure the deck
layout evolves from what has been learned in the past, race organizers are
involving the people that have been in the trenches.
Among the group are Chris Nicholson and Neil Cox, skipper and shore manager
of the CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, who are applying their
experience of preparing boats for the past two races. They worked on PUMA's
campaign for the 2008-09 edition and as skipper and shore crew manager did
the same for the CAMPER project in 2011-12.
Both have been part of working groups around the new boat project since
even before the announcement of the new one-design. Now consulting for the
project, they confess that the exercise is rather different from their
"It's not an easy one because in the past, we had only 10 other people in
the crew and one sponsor," Nicholson says. "Here, we've got to consider
several teams, including a women's boat, who will have their different
views. It won't suit everybody perfectly but as an overall package, I think
it will deliver nicely."
They recently visited the Multiplast boatyard at Vannes, France, where a
group of sailors, shore crew, designers and engineers met to assess a
plywood mock-up of the deck.
Also in the group were sailor Phil Harmer and shore manager Ben Wright of
Groupama, Sanya's Richard Mason and female navigator Sam Davies. Also
taking part were project manager James Dadd, Pat Shaughnessy for Farr Yacht
Design and Jean-Baptiste Mouton for Multiplast.
Rick Deppe, attending the workshop for the Volvo Ocean Race. describes the
process: "With Neil in charge of the master list, Chris takes control of
getting everyone in position to make manoeuvres."
"They think of everything. The day started with them getting the boat off
the dock. Can the helmsman see the guy on the bow, etc, etc? Next they
hoisted the main and at every stage of the manoeuvre anyone can stop the
process and throw out ideas. It may seem strange, but doing it this way can
lead to tiny but important changes of position."
After a week-long deck mock-up workshop in Multiplast, one of the four
boatyards of the consortium responsible for the construction of the new
boat, they are advocates for the one-design project.
Nicholson: "One design will be great racing. The hull shape itself is
safer, which makes the deck safer. Above that, the bigger jump is that
sponsors know than they can get a fast boat on the water. That was the
sponsors' bigger concern in the past. Now that problem is taken away. That
alone will be a success."
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FRENCH PREVAIL AS WIND ABANDONS F18 WORLDS
Long Beach, CA (September 15, 2012) - France's Olivier Backes and crew
Matthieu Vandame figured they needed to sail only two of the last three
races to pocket first place in the GLOBALTECH Formula 18 World Championship
Wrong. They needed only one as a light southwest breeze gasped its last
against warm desert Santa Ana winds---a local autumn phenomenon---blowing
offshore from the opposite direction, leaving the fleet of 114 Gold and
Silver flight boats from 16 countries drifting helplessly in the event
hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
The regatta was caught in the middle. The single race was delayed 1 1/4
hours by racers' early starts and course changes required with shifting
light winds of 3 to 7 knots. Later, as the stragglers crept in from the
mile-square trapezoid course, principal race officer Mark Townsend debated
for an hour whether to continue.
At one point he even studied smoke from the oil refinery fire west of Long
Beach for clues to what the wind might do. Then at 3:30 he called it a
regatta, and Backes and Vandame's coach, Alex Udin, jumped aboard their cat
to provide the winners a champagne shower.
"When I put up the [abandonment] flags, all the boats cheered," Townsend
As far as the championship was concerned, ending two short of the 15
scheduled races made no difference. Backes/Vandame finished 15th in
Saturday's only race, but none of their challengers finished better than
sixth---not nearly enough to threaten their lead, especially with a second
throwout to play.
Even with the subdued climax, Olivier said the victory was better than his
first win of the F18 Worlds two years ago in France. "The first time I won
there was a big fight for the win at the end with three boats," he said.
"This was much better." -- Read on:
Final Results - Top 5 of 114 (13 races, 1 throwout)
1. Olivier Backes/ Matthieu Vandame (FRA), 34 points
2. Oscar Zeekant/ Karel Begemann (NED), 52
3. Billy Besson/ Jeremie Laguarrigue (SUI), 53
4. Mischa Heemskerk/ Bastiaan Tentij (NED), 57
5. Gunnar Larsen/ Gerhard van Geest (NED), 57
10. Michael Easton/ Tripp Burd (USA), 95
COMMENT: I'm not sure what it means, but I find it worth emphasizing how
this World Championship just occurred in the U.S. that drew over 100 boats.
This doesn't happen too often, particularly in a class that's rooted in
Europe. Congrats to the multihull planet, we salute you! - Craig Leweck,
THE TRAINING CONUNDRUM
While it was a goal of the 34th America's Cup to control the cost to
compete, the fact that only four challengers (which may become three) have
stepped up infers the budget is still quite high. Among the tools to
control costs was to control the costs associated with training. This was
done with these rules:
- First AC72 not to be launched before July 1 2012
- Maximum of 30 days from July 1 2012 to January 31 2013
- Second AC72 Yacht not to be launched before February 1 2013
- Maximum of 45 days per AC72 from February 1 to May 1 2013
- No restrictions after May 1 2013
It is disputed whether these rules have helped to limit costs, but one
thing is for certain. With a limit on training days, each day is highly
valuable. The days will be long, and the conditions must be perfect.
Few places on the planet offer perfect conditions year round. While winds
on San Francisco Bay are near perfect during the summer, they are anything
but from November through March. Add in the strong currents and it could
become a challenge to maximize the value of these limited training days.
This is the situation the defender of the America's Cup, Oracle Team USA,
faces. They initially solved the problem when they announced their
relocation to New Zealand during the winter, but those plans were scuttled
when the launch of their AC72 was delayed. So what might be their Plan B?
How about a move to Hawaii?
This is the latest rumor, and not too farfetched considering that team
owner Larry Ellison bought the island of Lanai in June. Sources tell Hawaii
News Now that Ellison's representatives are seeking state and county
approvals to upgrade boating facilities to accommodate Oracle Team USA so
that they can practice off of Lanai.
The team, which will defend the America's Cup title in San Francisco next
summer, could spend several months training there. Full story:
NOTE: The challengers are preparing for the Louis Vuitton Cup on July 4 -
September 1, which determines which team faces the defender in the 34th
America's Cup on September 7-22.
MAKING A FRESH WATER SPLASH
Since the launch of the first Farr 40 in 1997, this high-octane grand-prix
class has grown to 160 boats sailed in 20 countries. The well-organized
class is run like a business, and the ensuing international competition has
led the fleet around the globe to race in many of the sailing world's most
iconic venues: San Francisco, Miami, Porto Cervo, Newport and Sydney.
From September 17-20, 2012, the 40' high-performance one-design yachts will
contest the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Chicago, notable as an
international hub for finance, commerce, industry, telecommunications and
transportation. The 20 yachts, representing eight nations (Australia,
Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Turkey and the U.S.A.), will
compete on fast-paced and technically demanding courses, with the first
starting signal scheduled to be given daily at 11:00 a.m.
This marriage of business and sport extends from the class organization to
the collaboration between the amateur owners and their semi-professional
crew that more often than not includes a world-renowned tactician who
brings his particular expertise to the contest. The tacticians competing in
Chicago boast impressive credentials: no less than seven are Olympians,
while at least that many are world champions in other classes.
Bill Hardesty (San Diego, Calif.), the 2011 Etchells World Champion and
winner of the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award, is the tactician
aboard Flash Gordon 6 whose owner, Chicago architect Helmut Jahn, was the
primary force behind the 15th edition of the world championships being held
for the first time on Lake Michigan.
"The Farr 40 is one of the best one design classes in the world," said
Hardesty who explained that sailing on Lake Michigan will be different than
at other venues. "In fresh water, believe it or not, the boat actually
feels a little bit different and we've made a few small changes with the
instruments. But even bigger, way more weather patterns come through and
the wind is all dependent on what the weather system is at the time. Here,
anything can happen on any day and so you have to be prepared for whatever
you get thrown." -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/RN-091612
* Chicago, IL (September 15, 2012) - On the strength of day one's 1-2-1
scores and top-ten finishes in today's two final races, Jim Richardson from
Newport, RI and his Barking Mad team have won the 20-boat 2012 Farr 40
Pre-Worlds, held at Chicago YC. A feature of the event was for each team to
include a CYC junior sailor. Being the last of five-event 2012 Farr 40
North American Circuit, the Pre-Worlds win also gives Richardson the
overall series title. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/Farr-40-091612
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* San Francisco, CA (September 16, 2012) - For the third time in four
years, Genny Tulloch has won the U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship.
Tulloch and her crew were dominant this week by winning all 21 matches they
raced. They put the finishing touches on this fantastic four-day event by
winning 3-0 over Nicole Breault in today's Finals. Tulloch sailed this week
with Margaret Shea (Wilmette, Ill.), Jennifer Chamberlin (Washington, D.C.)
and Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.). Breault's crew consisted of Evan
Brown (San Francisco, Calif.), Casey Williams (Belmont, Mass.), and Julie
Servais (San Diego, Calif.). -- Full report:
* Hamilton, ONT (September 14, 2012) - There was just one race on the
fourth and final day of the Star North American Championship, and light
winds would provide a climatic setting for the 33-boat fleet. John
MacCausland/ Guy Avelon held a four point lead over Arthur Anosov/ David
Ceasar entering the race, but after the teams posted a 17 and 14
respectively, they tied for the title. Additionally, Jud Smith/ David
Timberlake won the final race, which also put them even on points with the
leaders. Courtesy of tiebreakers, John MacCausland/ Guy Avelon were deemed
the winners. -- Full report:
* Yacht Xiamen, crewed with eight Chinese sailors has just completed the
first circumnavigation by a Chinese flagged modern yacht. Xiamen returned
triumphantly on Friday after more than 10 months' voyage of 23,000nm,
making it a remarkable record for China's sailboat sport history. The
yacht, which set off on November 3, 2011, is named after 'Xiamen', a
coastal city in Southeast China, also the start and finish point of the
voyage. -- Sail-World, read on: http://tinyurl.com/China-091612
* Ninety-six teams from 12 countries have converged on Rochester, New York
for the 2012 J/24 World Championship. Represented at the championship are
Argentina, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, Peru and the United States. Racing begins on Monday,
September 17 and continues through Friday, September 21. Ten races are
planned, and live updates will be available all week the event website. --
Full report: http://www.2012j24worlds.com/press/practiceDay.shtml
* Nautor's Swan together with historic partners Rolex and the Yacht Club
Costa Smeralda (YCCS) announced the creation of the Rolex Swan Cup -
Caribbean. Taking place March 11-15 2013 at the YCCS Virgin Gorda, the
Rolex Swan Cup - Caribbean will include four days of racing under IRC
rules, as well as a range of social events. The regatta is open to all Swan
yachts built by the Finnish shipyard and is based on the concept of the
highly successful Rolex Swan Cup, which has been held biennially in Porto
Cervo since 1980. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/YCCS-091612
* The 2012 Canadian Yachting Association Annual General Meeting and
Conference is in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 26-28. Details here:
SCUTTLEBUTT SAILING CALENDAR
Events listed at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar
Scuttlebutt strongly encourages feedback from the Scuttlebutt community.
Either submit comments by email or post them on the Forum. Submitted
comments chosen to be published in the newsletter may be limited to 250
words. Authors may have one published submission per subject, and should
save their bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
* From Scott Whitworth:
As much as I like the qualifying format that the 49er Europeans was
trialing (Scuttlebutt 3676), which I recall was also suggested after the
Olympics in Scuttlebutt, I see the problems too.
Yes, an elimination format is how many other events are managed, but those
events don't deal with the variables that occur in sailing. The pool is
always the same size, the track is always flat. In sports like swimming and
track and field, the best prepared athlete tends to win. But in sailing,
the best athlete can only be determined by averaging.
To negate the influence of the variables that occur on the race course, a
number of races are run. The best athlete might not be determined in one
race, but the cream will rise to the top after a series of races. It would
be great to have a 'winner take all' format, but it is not the fairest
format for sailing.
* From Kristin Tyther:
Considering that 200-300 million dollars will possibly be spent to find the
elusive speed edge to win the America's Cup, it is hopeful that the small
group behind Vestas Sailrocket can take their ideas to Namibia and try to
push the speed bar higher than anyone has before (Scuttlebutt 3676).
These are people who are doing it for the right reasons. They are not doing
it for a paycheck; they are doing it for the love of the game. If Larry
Ellison wanted to set the Outright World Speed Sailing Record, he could
likely put it out of reach, but that would screw up an area of our sport
where the dreamers can rule.
* From Bill Laverty:
I was stunned when I read in Scuttlebutt 3676 how the Australian rower
thought she could become an Olympic caliber skiff crew in 3+ years. More
amazing was how a Gold Medal winning skipper was willing to partner with
this novice. It is one thing for Sarah Lihan to transition from the Laser
Radial to Olympic 470 crew, but she probably had 15+ years of sailing
experience to help learn the new skills. With that said, it would be
awesome if this experiment worked, as it would open up sailing to a whole
lot of people tired of going backwards.
Alcohol is not the answer; it just makes you forget the question.
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