Scuttlebutt: November 4

4th November 2003.
By Tom Leweck

Powered by saic.com, Scuttlebutt is a digest of yacht racing news of major significance; commentary, opinions, features and dock talk . . . with a North American emphasis. Corrections, contributions, press releases and contrasting viewpoints are always welcome, but save your personal attacks for elsewhere.

PETER HOLMBERG
While the rumour mill runs rife, Virgin Islander, top match racer and
America’s Cup veteran Peter Holmberg has come back home – for the time
being – and is considering his future after his rollercoaster ride with
Larry Ellison and the Oracle BMW challenge for the America’s Cup; and his
future looks rosy, he’s getting married, building a home and weighing his
options as a professional sailor and America’s Cup participant.

“My girl and I came back down to the VI and looked around trying decide
where was home, and it was a pleasant surprise. Either my eyes brightened
or the islands have got a little bit better but it was a really enjoyable
feeling to come home and we looked around at different islands and St
Thomas is still the place we like the most,” said Peter.

With the next America’s Cup five years away, Peter wants to take some time
off and do other things before re-joining the America’s Cup fray. He’s
given himself two years to get his life back. Having bought some land on St
Thomas and designed a house, he’s preparing to build. He gets married in
December.

While he’s looking at his America’s Cup choices, he’s in no rush and after
his last experience and to wants to weigh his options. “I don’t need the
Cup. If it comes, the perfect deal, I’ll take it but I’m able to make a
living professional sailing and live in the VI. That’s just about as close
to an ideal life as I can imagine. I think it’s the right mind set for
looking at the Cup.”

With rumours flying that he’s joining Alinghi and no official comment from
either party, reading between the lines it seems that Peter is close to
signing a deal with someone. Knowing that the key teams are quietly
assembling now, he’s aware that if he leaves it too late he may have missed
the boat. He has no interest in a four-year training program with the view
that two to two and half years is more than enough time to train a sailing
team. An early relocation doesn’t seem to be in his game plan but he would
expect to stay involved and relocate two years out.

Next up he’ll be competing this week at the Bitter End ProAm against
Russell Coutts, Ed Baird, Andy Burdick and Dawn Riley. – Alastair Abrehart,
full story: www.caribbeanracing.com/artman/publish/printer_364.shtml

GOING FOR BROKE
Peter Bromby is going for broke in his quest to avoid the bridesmaid
position at a second successive Olympic Games. Bermuda’s Male Athlete of
the Year and world-ranked Star Class skipper has joined forces with one of
sailing’s giants – Peter Holmberg – as he steps up preparation for next
summer’s assignment in Athens. Starting this month and running right up to
the Olympiad, Holmberg will work with Bromby and his crew, fine-tuning
their performances. Holmberg is a former Olympic silver medalist in the
Finn Class. Since that success in 1988, the US Virgin Islander turned pro
and counts two world championships among his several international accolades.

“He will be coaching us in Miami and hopefully he will bring some new ideas
to the table. In addition to that we’ve ordered some new equipment to help
analyze our mast and sail shape and our mast performance and that’s going
to help us a lot. We’re looking to get consistency in our boat speed
throughout a wider variety of conditions,” explained Bromby, disclosing
that he is setting up a training base in the Florida, USA, hub.

“We’ll probably be training about ten days at a time – short, intensive
programmes as opposed to long drawn-out ones,” said Bromby who was fourth
in the Star at the 2000 Olympics.
Assessing his chances in Athens, the Bermudian – now ranked among the best
in his class – believes they “are as good as anybody’s”.

As the crunch time draws, Bromby faces another challenge – choosing which
of his alternating crew – Martin Siese or Lee White – will accompany him to
the Greek capital. The Miami training stints as well as competing in
another ten or so regattas next year should bring him closer to a decision.
- Gayle Alleyne, The Royal Gazette, full story: tinyurl.com/th1q

WHERE ARE THEY NOW
Three years after Pete Goss’s ill-fated Team Philips project came to a
tragic end when his radically designed 120-foot catamaran was abandoned
while undergoing sea trials (for The Race in 2000), Goss is embarking on
his next challenge – walking to the South Pole.

Together with his teammate and fellow Royal Marine Alan Chambers, Goss is
planning to close the chapter of arguably one of the most famous
expeditions ever. They plan to follow in Captain Scott’s footsteps after
his tragically unsuccessful attempt to be the first person to reach the
South Pole on foot in 1911.

Goss and Chambers started training for the 90-day expedition in 2002, and
in April 2003 they went to the North Pole in preparation for this month’s
South Pole departure. But lack of funds has forced the postponement of the
expedition for 12 months. The sum of money raised reached was ?100,000 but
to commence the journey they need a total of ?360,000. – Sue Pelling,
Yachting World, tinyurl.com/timy

SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM!
Any time you start getting your gear together to go to a regatta, the first
thing on you mind will be your Camet Padded sailing shorts and pants. You
may already own some, but now is the time to get on the Camet web page and
look at the different models and colors they have. The Bermuda, Aruba,
3000, Cargo, and Women’s Ocean shorts are all made out of the fast drying,
breathable Supplex (UV 40+) and with the Cordura seat patch to hold the
foam pad that will help you get through those long hours on the rail. Check
them out at www.camet.com

MADE FOR TV
Is your enthusiasm for sailing so intense you never miss the occasional
sailing segment on ESPN? Unfortunately for those of us who like to watch
sailboat racing on TV, our sport doesn’t produce gripping footage; proof is
in the numbers, as ratings don’t exactly soar. A larger sailing audience
would command more coverage; imagine viewing a channel dedicated to
sailing. The America’s Cup gets the best spots on TV, but the next Cup is
scheduled for 2007. So what’s a sailing fanatic to do? Stay tuned for the
CarbonCat Racing League, a new outfit promising high speeds, exciting
shoreside racing, and TV coverage.

The idea isn’t new. Australian TV viewers were introduced to Aussie 18
sailing years ago; thrilling clips of crash-and-burn racing were broadcast
between cricket matches. The Pro Sail Formula 40 league, starring the likes
of catamaran whiz Randy Smyth, had a go at American television. More
recently, the One-Design 48 and 49er classes tried getting their racing on
TV. The Swedish Match Tour, the international pro match-racing circuit,
gets some airtime in this country and much more in Europe. In New England,
sailors can view regional footage of the sailing lifestyle on “Let’s Go
Boating,” a show broadcast on the New England Sports Network.

The new cat-racing league, scheduled to launch next April, is marketing
itself as a made-for-TV event: fast boats in big cities with an educated
and affluent audience. But with sailing’s unimpressive TV track record –
only the Cup and Gary Jobson’s seasonal reports on ESPN are steady features
- can the new guys make it on the air?

Racing is scheduled to begin next April in Annapolis. By design there are
no big-name racers signed up. CCRL CEO Craig McBurney plans to develop
young sailors and build teams, rather than having teams develop
independently and show up self-sponsored. CCRL will own the boats and the
teams, and racers will be employed by CCRL. Construction is under way on
the first Firebird, a 26-foot carbon-fiber catamaran. The Martin Smith
design, which is built by Still Water Design in Chelsea, Massachusetts,
weighs 1,400 pounds; beams and mast are also built of carbon. McBurney
plans to have six Firebirds touring the East Coast in 2004, spending one
month each in Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Miami, plus six boats on the
West Coast (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle). – SAIL
Magazine, full story: www.sailmagazine.com/news/NEWS

TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE
Le Havre, 3rd November 03 – The fleet racing in the Transat Jacques Vabre
yet again has been subjected to harsh weather conditions generated by the
strong low pressure moving eastwards, coupled with heavy cross seas off
Ushant as they head out of the English Channel into the Atlantic. The
latest casualties include:
* Open 60 Objectif 3, skippered by Spaniard Javier Sanso, dismasted early
Monday morning and has since withdrawn from the race
* Mollymawk, the only remaining 50ft multihull, hit an unidentified
object and given extensive flooding, skipper Ross Hobson decided to abandon
the race and get the boat into Southampton.
* Open 50 monohull Labesfal, skippered by Portugese Ricardo Diniz and
Brit Mark Taylor, announced their retirement after pulling into Brixham due
to a damaged forestay.
* One of the race favourites, Emma Richards and Mike Sanderson on Open 60
Pindar, pulled into Brest Monday to announce that they were withdrawing
from the race due to extensive flooding and subsequent technical problems.
* Bernard Stamm reported in Monday that Chemin?es Poujoulat/Armor Lux has
had major ballast problems which has caused their boatspeed to drop in the
upwind conditions, but they are bearing their bad luck with patience.

A quick number check leaves us with no more Class 2 multihulls, 4 out of 5
Open 50 and 14 out of 17 Open 60 monohulls. – Event website, full report:
www.jacques-vabre.com

QUOTE / UNQUOTE – Emma Richards
“When we saw the weather forecast before the start on Saturday we joked
that we had about a 50/50 chance of surviving the first four days, and
unfortunately, that has proved to be the case. Maybe I’m wrong, but it
seems crazy that the multihulls were delayed until Wednesday but it was
deemed okay to send us out there.” – Yachting World, full report:
tinyurl.com/tjyb

The Scuttlebutt website has a slew of Open 60 and Open 50 pictures before
the casualty count occurred: www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos

FOR SALE
Brindabella, an 80′ icon of Australian maxi yachting. Sydney Hobart line
honors and race record holder. Outstanding, all-around ocean racing yacht.
Brindabella’s current configuration ensures she is equally at home around
the cans, blue water racing or sailing short-handed. For further details,
contact info@brindabella.com or see at www.brindabella.com

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar

NEWS BRIEFS
* The on-line recruitment program signaling the second phase of the OzBoyz
Challenge – Australian Syndicate for the 2007 America’s Cup commences
Wednesday November 5 at www.ozboyzchallenge.com

* Portuguese fishermen are protesting against the Lisbon+Cascais bid to
host the America’s Cup. The action, which began Monday, has seen fishermen
in their boats blockade most of the intensive network of rapid ferries
operating between the two banks of the River Tagus in Lisbon. “It’s to
protest against the arrogance of the government who has ordered the
demolition of the terminal of the fishing boat in order to built the
structure to host the America’s Cup”, said Joaquim Pilo, leader of
fishermen trade union. – www.cupineurope.com

* Entries in next year’s West Marine Pacific Cup have now reached 49 and
this does not include some of the maxis that are expected to be taking
part, most notably Robert Miller’s record breaking schooner, Mari Cha IV.
The organisers are advising that entries should be made as soon as possible
as the entry list is nearly full (http://www.pacificcup.org). In a new move
the Board of Directors of the Pacific Cup Yacht Club have passed a motion
to allow movable ballast boats to enter the race whether that be water
ballast or swing keel. – www.thedailysail.com

* Annapolis, MD (November 2, 2003) – Captain Brian McCormack, Director of
Naval Academy Sailing, presented Hank Stuart and his team the Lloyd Phoenix
Trophy on Sunday, representative of the US Offshore Championship. Stuart of
Rochester, NY, led the regatta from the start. The championship began
Friday with three buoy races with winds from 7-12. Saturday’s distance race
and Sunday’s buoy race were sailed in light breeze. Area A’s Warren Hudson
was second followed by Area B’s Team skippered by Bruce Kuryla. – US
Sailing, complete results: www.ussailing.org/championships/Lloyd

* Tim Healy of Newport, RI won the 55 boat 2003 J-24 Hillman Capital
Management East Coasts Championships with bow Gordon Borges (Newport, RI),
mast Nick Judson, (Nantucket, MA), cockpit Dave Crocker (Boston, MA) and
tactician Nick von der Wense (Annapolis, MD). The five race series hosted
by Severn Sailing Association was dominated by Indian Summer conditions,
light winds and warm temperatures in the 70′s. Mike Hobson of Annapolis, MD
finished second with an all local crew, while Alec Cutler showed his
versatility by winning the Top Amateur award for finishing third. Complete
results – www.severnsailing.org/results/2003/1101j24.shtml

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(tom@ockam.com)

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (editor@sailingscuttlebutt.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 Dieter Loibner: In response to Rich Roberts, a lot in life is about
showing up, as we all were taught. There is nothing wrong with being a
no-name in the top 20 because persistence is important and must be honored,
for the health of the sport. Here is to people who show up for every damn
race and make it fun for those who win every damn race.

* From Steve Girling: (Re – Rich Roberts letter in Butt 1448) It’s
precisely this sort of ranking system that inspires strong roots and broad
wings in a class like the Etchells. It’s the ‘no-names’ (as you so politely
refer to them) that make the class what it is and believe me there’s depth
wherever you sail in this class like so many others. Few ranking systems
are perfect, but this one provides a fair reflection of performance ahead
of attendance over time. (Etchells rankings read like a who’s who of
international yachting – Conner, Miles, Childerley, Bertrand, Smith,
Kneulman, Fogh.)

Ken Read’s performance at the 2003 Worlds was awesome. Unfortunately, due
to other commitments, he didn’t make it to New Zealand ’02, Great Britain
’01, San Diego ’00 and Australia in ’99. If your point is one of
dissatisfaction with the implication or subtext of the Butt headline
towards Ken you should have said so and I would agree.

However, to reward a World Champion with the top spot in the rankings for
competing (and winning) two events in 2003 would strike at the healthy
heart of any strong class. I sincerely hope that Ken will be on the line
for regattas next year and that he intends to defend his crown in Australia ’04

* From Chris Ericksen: Rich Roberts’ comments about sailing’s ranking
systems and that these systems–including that of the Etchells class–tend
to reward good sailors who participate in more than one major regatta is
accurate. I see no problem with this. Dennis Connor and Stewart Childerly
are both two-time Etchells Worlds winners who regularly sail in local and
regional regattas while John Bertrand is (like Connor) an America’s Cup
winner who is an avid and active Etchells sailor. Their contributions to
and support of the Etchells class are beyond question–just as is the fact
that Ken Read was the best Etchells sailor at the one ranking regatta in
which he sailed in the last couple of years.

CURMUDGEON’S COUNSEL
If lost in the wilderness, don’t shoot a signal flare to facilitate your
rescue (this is what started one of the recent San Diego, CA fires, which
led to the loss of 2,232 homes, 14 lives, and over 281,000 acres burned).


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