A SAD WEEKEND
Sad news tops this edition of Grand Prix Sailor’s Monday Digest, as two well-known sailors in the Northeast died over the weekend. Joe Schulz-Heik died of an apparent heart attack early Friday morning after Hilaria, the J/105 he owned with David Florence, was struck and sunk while on delivery from Western Long Island Sound to Block Island. And on Sunday morning, Eric Swenson, the owner of the vintage 50-footer Toscana, and a man responsible for a good portion of the classic yachting books that you may have on your bookshelf, died after a long illness.
If youve ever raced on Long Island Sound and the surrounding areas, you probably competed against Joe and Eric. Joe had several championships under his belt, most recently in J/105s and Shields, and Eric was the long-time owner of the IOR 50-footer Toscana (nee Blizzard, an Admirals Cup entry from 1979). “Eric was a man of tremendous spirit and vitality,” says John Rousmaniere, long-time friend and shipmate. “And his crews loyalty to him was phenomenal.” Rousmaniere says that for 20 years in the 70s and 80s, Eric was also responsible for W.W. Nortons being the leading publisher of boating titles, including all of Don Streets books and Rousmanieres own Fastnet Force 10. Erics last ocean race aboard Toscana was last years Bermuda Race, in which he competed at the age of 82.
Joe died after the 122-foot charter boat Mariner 3 collided with Hilaria 8 miles off Guilford, Conn. in dense fog early Friday morning. Joe and his son, Robert and crewmember Scott Rosasco were aboard Hilaria and made it off the boat as it sank. They were only in the water briefly before being rescued by the crew of Mariner 3. Immediately following the rescue, Joe began to show signs of cardiac arrest, and despite CPR attempts by Mariners crew and Coast Guard personnel, he was declared dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital later Friday morning. Joe was 61.
On Friday, the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge fleet lost one of its entries as the crew of Peter Flugges Abeking & Rasmussen-built 46-foot ketch, Monsun, was forced to abandon ship south of Newfoundland. With southerly winds in the 40s and a boat that was coming apart, the crew called for help, and thanks to fellow competitors, the Canadian Coast Guard, and the U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center, only spent a few hours in their liferaft before being picked up by a nearby merchant vessel.
Another lucky pair, rescued on Friday, were the two men aboard the Open 50 Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent and Rick McKenna. While competing in the second leg of the Bermuda 1-2-the trip back to Newport from Bermuda-and only 110 miles out of Bermuda, the bulb on Everest Horizontal fell off, capsizing the boat. Kent and McKenna were able to board the upturned hull and attract the attention of a nearby cruise ship, which deployed a lifeboat. Kent and Everest Horizontal had only recently completed the Around Alone Race, and showing the camaraderie that a race like that breeds, fellow competitors Alan Paris and Brad Van Liew immediately headed for Bermuda with the hopes of salvaging their friends boat.
| Nordbank, shown here as Morning Glory, has damaged its rig and has retired from the Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge* * *|
NORDBANK (MORNING GLORY) RETIRES
HSH Nordbank, one of the five yachts to start in Class II on June 21, has retired from the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge due to equipment failure. “The decision was executed on June 23 at 0010 (UTC), at position 38°30’N / 65°57′ W,” reported Erik von Krause, the yacht’s navigator. At the time of the incident, HSH Nordbank was ahead of its Class II rivals, Zephyrus V and UCA, by 30 nautical miles.
During a routine spinnaker set, the spinnaker pole fitting failed, causing damage to the mast of the 78-foot Reichel/Pugh design. Crewmembers determined that the damage to the mast was extensive enough not to continue sailing the roughly 3,000 miles remaining in the race and turned back to Newport. They are expected to arrive sometime Monday.
NEW SPEED RECORDS ANNOUNCED
The World Speed Sailing Record Council has announced two new Performance Certificates:
1. Hong Kong to New York
Great American II, Rich Wilson, Rich du Moulin
2. Jamaica (Montego Bay) to the Lizard
Scarlet Sails, Tony Bullimore and Fedor Konyukhov and nine crew
SONAR CLASS HAS NEW NAME
ISAF requested that the Sonar class association remove the word “International” from its class association name because they are a “Recognized,” not an “International” class. Until the class achieves International status, the class will be officially known as the Sonar Class Association. http://www.sonar.org
SAILING WORLD HALL OF FAME
Three sailors joined SW’s 31-year-old Hall of Fame for champions, designers, and innovators in the sport, as announced in the magazine’s July/August issue-Jochen Schuemann, John Bertrand, and Randy Smyth.
Jochen Schuemann held the high-profile position of sailing team director and strategist for the Swiss Alinghi syndicate in its successful quest for the America’s Cup last winter. The 48-year-old, born in Berlin, Germany, also won four Olympic sailing medals, three gold and one silver, between 1976 and 2000. He will continue his role with Alinghi in preparing for the Cup defense in 2007.
John Bertrand of Melbourne, Australia, won an Olympic bronze medal in 1976 sailing in the Finn class, but the 54-year-old etched his name in sailing’s record books forever in the 1983 America’s Cup. That was the year he skippered Australia II to victory against Dennis Conner’s Liberty, ending the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year winning streak. Although he is retired from grand-prix level racing, Bertrand recently won the Etchells class national championship of Australia.
Randy Smyth won Olympic silver medals in 1984 and 1992 in the Tornado catamaran class, but he has made an equal impression on the sailing world with five victories in the Worrell 1000, a 1,000-mile stage race from Florida to Virginia. Born in Pasadena, Calif., and now living in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Smyth has succeeded at nearly every multihull discipline in North America, winning a slew of national championships. His sailmaking business, The Smyth Team, focuses on multihull sails only, including assisting on designs for Team Adventure, the 110-foot catamaran Smyth helped race around the world two years ago.
A panel of 10 journalists and past honorees in the Hall of Fame made the selections. For more information on the three new inductees and upcoming interviews with them, visit the Sailing World Hall of Fame online at http://www.sailingworld.com.
SW: What was it like where you learned to sail in East Germany?
JS: I started sailing in school. There was an opportunity to join a leisure course called Boatbuilding and Sailing. I always was keen to work with boats and build stuff that was able to sail or float.
SW: How old were you?
JS: I was 11 years old. The main reason I enjoyed it was the craftsmanship side. In the beginning we did very simple jobs like cutting wood, sanding it, and painting it. But we were helping to build Optimists and the next spring we had to sail the Optimists. That was the beginning of my sailing career. It didn’t start too well; I remember well my first race it was very windy, and I returned to the harbor because I was afraid of sinking. There was so much breeze and so many waves that the Optimist got filled and I was not smart enough to bail it out quick enough. So I retired from-or didn’t even show up at the starting line for-my first race.
SW: After the Fast 2000 America’s Cup campaign, were you ready to go for it again?
JS: Actually, I was fed up. Russell called me and I wasn’t that keen to do another campaign, but I knew Russell from Finn sailing already, and then Solings. I told him, “No, I will finish the Sydney 2000 campaign first before I talk about the America’s Cup.” I wanted to finish my campaign well, and this was just a couple months before the Games. I said, “Let me finish that and then we can talk. I’m not that keen, but because you’re asking me, I will think about it, after Sydney.” But Russell was not giving up…
The full-length interview is published with the Hall of Fame announcement at http://www.sailingworld.com.
WOMEN’S MATCH-RACE WORLDS
Sweden’s Malin Millbourn won the 13-team ISAF International Women’s Match Racing Worlds in Sundsvall, Sweden last Friday. Millbourn led after the opening round robin last week before she surrendered her lead on the second day to Betsy Alison of Newport, R.I. Through the remaining rounds, however, Millbourn and her crew Kim Kulstad, Linda Yström, and Åsa Aronsson prevailed in the windy conditions. The final standings are: 1. Malin Millbourn, SWE 2. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN 3. Marie Björling, SWE 4. Liz Baylis, USA (2003 world champion) 5. Betsy Alison, USA 6. Nina Braestrup, DEN 7. Marie Faure, FRA 8. Gwen Joulie, FRA 9. Deborah Willits, USA 10. Sabrina Gurioli, ITA 11. Linda Rahm, SWE 12. Ines Montefusco, ITA
FIRST HAT INTO THE VOLVO RING
Grant Wharington, a 38-year-old construction company owner from Mornington, Australia, is about to launch his 98-foot Maxi sled Wild Thing, a canting keel rocket designed primarily to win 2003 Sydney Hobart Race line honors. Dealing with such a massive program would be plenty for most owners, but Wharington recently added another formidable ocean-racing endeavor to his plate with his announcement of an Australian-based 2005 Volvo Ocean Race campaign. Partnered with him at the top of the Premier Challenge is the team’s sailing master Barney Walker, a fellow Australian who sailed the 2001-02 VOR as a helmsman and tactician with Team News Corp.
Taking a page from the illbruck Challenge, winner of the last VOR, Wharington intends to line up his program plenty early and intends to use his 98-footer as a training boat for the next two years. With the yet-to-be finalized Volvo 70 rule to include canting keels, the Premier Challenge crew will be able to learn the idiosynracies of stacking lead rather than sails and water ballast. “In conjunction with my new Maxi, Premier Challenge can offer a truly seamless on-the-water campaign, something we believe will make the difference, not only enhancing sponsor value but also giving us a clear competitive advantage,” said Wharington. “By the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, the crew will have trained together for over two years and will have experienced some of the toughest conditions that we are likely to encounter during the Volvo Ocean Race by competing in such events as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.”
On the financial side, Wharington says he won’t go this one alone, and he has secured Matt Allen, a local businessman and veteran of the Australian ocean-racing scene to seek other partners. “We are well aware that the current economic climate is far from perfect,” said Allen. “However, armed with some exceptionally impressive media statistics and a plethora of strong business arguments for joining in, together with our own Premier Challenge Syndicate strengths we are confident of success.”
LITTLE AMERICA’S CUP
The Trustees for the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy (ICCT) announced that preparations for the 2003 ICCT are accelerating and the entry deadline for potential defenders and challengers has been extended. The event, known as “the Little America’s Cup” and to be sailed for the first time ever in one-design F-18HT catamarans, is set for September 28th to October 3 at the Sail Newport Sailing Center in Newport, R.I. There are 10 accepted entries to date.
“The original entry deadline of June 1 was a result of boat building/shipping logistics,” said John Dawson, Chairman for the ICCT Trustees. “The caliber of the current entries and the high level of interest world-wide has convinced the F-18HT Class to extended the entry window and enable teams that are in the process of forming their challenges to
Henry Menin, of the U.S. Virgin Islands has been named Chief Judge and Umpire for the event, and will be working closely with the events PRO, Peter Reggio.
STORM TRYSAIL’S BLOCK ISLAND RACE WEEK
Today’s the day that the 20th Block Island Race Week kicks off, with 205 boats in 20 classes going at it in the current-addled waters off Block Island, R.I. The weather so far this sailing season in the Northeast has been pretty bleak, but the forecast for this week is remarkably low-free, with warm temperatures and the seabreezes they bring expected by mid-week. http://www.blockislandraceweek.com
In the 2001 Transpac, Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus 77 beat Roy Disney’s Pyewacket by 63 minutes. Last week, in Encinal Yacht Club’s 360-mile race from San Francisco to Santa Catalina Island, effectively a tune-up race down the California coastline, Kahn’s 77-footer beat Roy Disney’s 75-foot Pyewacket by a good margin until Disney’s boat pulled out 25 miles shy of the finish. The score now stands at 2-0, and on July 6, the grudge match will begin again as both turbosleds race the 2,225 miles to Hawaii. This will be the last time these two boats sail with their respective owners, as Pegasus 77 is for sale and Disney will be taking delivery of his canting keel MaxZ86 shortly.
To follow the race for bragging rights and the Barn Door trophy, follow the action on http://www.transpacificyc.org
Grand Prix Sailor is compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you’d like to subscribe, see http://www.sailingworld.com
Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger ([email protected]), Dave Reed ([email protected]), Stuart Streuli ([email protected]), John Burnham ([email protected])