SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1133 - August 9, 2002
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, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
Startling details emerged yesterday of a dirty tricks plot to sabotage Team New Zealand and US billionaire Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW Racing America's Cup campaigns. The National Business Review was to have been used as a pawn in a nasty bid to discredit both yachting camps and ultimately this newspaper. Police action may follow in the wake of NBR's exposure of the plot only a few hours before this issue went to press.
Documents posted in Auckland and purporting to be from Oracle Racing rules adviser Tom Ehman came to me at NBR. But in a dramatic telephone interview from San Diego yesterday afternoon an angry and gravely concerned Mr. Ehman emphatically denied sending any documents to NBR.
When the covering note addressed to me and bearing his name on the bottom was read to Mr. Ehman he expressed grave concern that Oracle BMW Racing and NBR appeared to have been caught up in a dirty tricks bid to discredit Team New Zealand. "I did not send that note, nor did I send the documents. I know nothing about them," Mr. Ehman assured me. Mr. Ehman declined to comment further on the record except to say that legal action could follow.
The computer-generated covering note under the logo Oracle Racing that accompanied the documents read: "Dear Jock, I understand your frustration on the TNZ [Team New Zealand] financials, so I have sent a list of salaries. The information on the AC [America's Cup] trust is very relevant as the New York attorney-general is investigating the misuse of funds by TNZ in the past at this moment. A call to the charities department would substantiate this. Regards, Tom Ehman."
Included in the package of professionally prepared documents was what purported to be a six-page review of likely revenue to be accounted for by the America's Cup Charitable Trust. A single page broke down the structure and membership of Team New Zealand's 2000 and 2003 trusts and corporate entities.
A two-page document listed all members of Team New Zealand and their purported annual salaries alongside their names. It showed purported salaries ranging from $40,000 for Team New Zealand shore team members and up to $600,000 for each of skipper Dean Barker, Tom Schnackenberg and Mike Drummond - figures Team New Zealand chief executive Ross Blackman described as "wildly out." - Jock Anderson, The National Business Review, NZ, full story: www.nbr.co.nz
Auckland, NZ, August 9, 2002 - Oracle BMW Racing was surprised and appalled at the documents fraudulently attributed to one of their team members, and sent to a reporter of the New Zealand National Business Review yesterday, August 8, 2002.
The documents were obviously a ploy by some individual or persons looking to tarnish the reputation of both Oracle BMW Racing and Team New Zealand. To falsify and forward fraudulent documents is an extremely serious matter, and Oracle BMW Racing have contacted the Police and appropriate authorities to ask that they investigate this matter further.
It was not until National Business Reporter, Jock Anderson, contacted Oracle BMW Racing yesterday, that the team were made aware of the falsified correspondence that reportedly pertained to 2003 America's Cup Defenders Team New Zealand. - Joanna Ingley, Oracle BMW Racing
AMERICAN SAILOR INJURED IN ATHENS
According to a press release from US Sailing, U.S. Sailing Team member Kimberly Birkenfeld, 37, of Miami, was injured by a motorboat propeller in Athens, Greece. The accident occurred this morning at 11 a.m. local time as Birkenfeld, a Mistral sailor, was training for the upcoming Athens 2002 Regatta, a pre-Olympic event. The press release continues to states that Birkenfeld was undergoing surgery as of Thursday afternoon (EST) and that US Sailing is in close contact with her family.
Birkenfeld, a later comer to the sport of sailing, has competed in the Mistral class in the past two U.S. Olympic Trials. She finished third in 2000 behind three-time Olympian Lanee Butler and Cara Reid. - Sailing World website, www.sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=1196
MORE ON THE ACCIDENT
Fred Hagedorn, Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman and Team Leader for the Athens 2002 Regatta issued the following statement:
"The facts as we know them at 1:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon are that Mistral sailor Kimberly Birkenfeld of Miami, Fla., and Myrtle Creek, Ore., was injured the morning of August 8 by a motor boat propeller in an accident that occurred while she was sailing in Athens in preparation for the upcoming Athens 2002 Regatta. She has undergone surgery and we are in close contact with her family. Our thoughts are with her and our focus is on her recovery. Only a handful of our US Sailing Team members are at the regatta site at this time and the U.S. coaches and support personnel, including myself, begin arriving in Athens tomorrow. We will update this situation as we know more."
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QUOTE / UNQUOTE - James Spithill
"I've learned a heap from working with Peter (Gilmour) and not only just him but also the former Team New Zealand guys who are involved and all the Olympic medallists. We're really fortunate to have such a diverse team with a mix of ages and nationalities with experiences from a number of former campaigns. It can be quite hard just to take it all in on a day-to-day basis. With Gilly, for myself, obviously we both steer so I've gained so much from him from his experience. It has been an apprenticeship in a way but also I've been very much involved in the preparations and process. It's a dream come true to work in a situation like this and learn from all these high quality sailors." James Spithill, OneWorld Challenge, full story: www.oneworldchallenge.com/news/archive/07312002.html
* Hall Spars & Rigging has just completed the longest carbon-fiber mast ever built in Bristol, Rhode Island. The 6,000 pound carbon-fiber mast stands 182 feet tall and is currently being shipped to Finland. (The distinction of the longest mast built in Bristol belongs to Herreshoff Manufacturing, which delivered the 196-foot steel spar for Reliance in 1903.) The Hall carbon mast is for the new Baltic 147, a light-displacement, high-performance sloop constructed of carbon fiber and designed by Reichel/Pugh. www.hallspars.com
* As is tradition, most of Team New Zealand - including Tom Schnackenberg and skipper Dean Barker - pitched in to give the boat her final long-board sanding their new boat (NZL81) the day before she left the yard. The hull will now be completed by Team New Zealand at their base before the yacht is launched later in the month. The final touches include securing fittings and appendages and getting the boat officially measured. Work is continuing on the second boat, NZL82, which should be finished within the next two months. Full story: xtramsn.co.nz/teamnewzealand/0,,7136-1660305,00.html
* The Swedish Victory Challenge syndicate has sailed their training boat Cristina (NZL 38) for the last time. What will happen to the former America's Cup winner now? "Just now it looks like we'll sell her," said Mats Johansson, Victory Challenge Project Manager. "Hopefully, she'll get a home here in Auckland, she's a historic boat after all, especially for New Zealand."
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (email@example.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 or a bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best shot and don't whine if others disagree.)
* From Joe Dervin: I'm in agreement with the thought that the Swedes shouldn't be out sparring with Team NZ. However, I'm puzzled by Peter Huston's comment about the Kiwis keeping the Cup in the "stone ages". Does he also believe that the Cup was best served by liberating it from "banishment" to that little river port in Western Australia.
We all remember how it benefited by being returned to its rightful home in the US, in - San Diego? Now there were two, oops - two and a half, memorable AC campaigns. Memorable for their miserable failure economically (ask San Diego), unexciting racing (where's the Doctor when you need him) and Bill Koch.
The only really interesting things that happened in the 92/95 campaigns were the '95 race between Black Magic and One Australia (the one still on the surface) - certainly the best AC race in modern times, possibly ever, and the fact that the Kiwis mercifully took it away, which desperately needed to happen for the good of the AC. I'd love nothing better than to see them hold onto it for another 3 or 4 years.
* From Peter Falck (Danish Open Organizing Committee): Goat Island in Newport could not be a better place for match racing and fulfils the most required demand for a successful event - the race course is within few boat lengths of the grandstands bringing the spectators from time to time so close to the racing that not even a spectator boat can do. Peter Montgomery and his fellow commentators even made the sailing come even closer. Any new event will always have a relatively low number of spectators in its first year. I wouldn't worry too much about that. If the event stays at Goat Island and the match racing keeps being as good my advice to the organizer for next year is: build a bigger grandstand.
* From Dobbs Davis (Edited to our 250-word limit): I'm compelled to weigh-in on the UBS thread, not from an admittedly biased winner's viewpoint, but as an observer and competitor in other Swedish Match Tour events around the world:
Scott MacLeod and his team at Octagon have done a superb job with organizing the first truly world-class Grade 1 event here in the US. The UBS Challenge incorporates all the elements of successful sponsor-driven sailing: a broad base of feeder series spread around the US to attract the interest of club-level sailors aspiring to a high level of competition; a qualifying regatta from which the top three amateur-level teams can meet the pros; a venue selected for maximizing exposure to spectators, sponsors, and media alike; fun pro-am regattas to give the sponsors and their guests a taste of the excitement of competitive sailing; and enough prize money and exposure to attract the top-level teams from around the world.
Your extraction in 'Butt 1131 of that small portion of Tom Meade's piece was unfortunate: it not only missed the many positive things Tom said about the event in that and other articles, but also obscured the excitement felt by spectators like Ken Sheehan ('Butt 1130) as we flung ourselves and those J/105's around the course. And besides those being entertained by PJ Montgomery on shore, the best seats in the house were those owners and owner's reps who were on board while we raced: I bet these guys will all want to come back again next year.
ARBITRATION PANEL DEED OF INDEMNITY FINALIZED
The 31st America's Cup Challenger of Record and Defender (COR/D) are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the details of a 'Supplementary Deed of Indemnity.' This Deed of Indemnity deals with the concerns of the five-member Arbitration Panel with regard to personal liability. It also creates a fund for possible future insurance purposes that may exist after this current America's Cup cycle has ended. The deed will now be circulated to all participating syndicates and yacht clubs for signature.
Dyer Jones - For the Challenger of Record Management (CORM): "I expect all challenging syndicates and their yacht clubs to sign off on this within the next few days. There are currently several outstanding issues before the Arbitration Panel and finalising this Deed of Indemnity will pave the way for their resolution well in advance of the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup."
Russell Green - For the Defender: " We are happy with this Deed of Indemnity and pleased that this issue has been resolved. We have a great relationship with CORM and although this process has been lengthy there has never been any confrontation between any parties. Moreover, there has only been constructive co-operation in dealing with this difficult and highly complex issue."
CORM - Challenger of Record Management - is the organising authority for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the challenger selection series for the America's Cup, which starts on 1st October 2002.
The Defender - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron/America's Cup 2003 - is the organising authority for the 31st America's Cup Match,which starts on 15th February 2003.
COR/D is the partnership between the Challenger of Record and the Defender responsible for the management structures that are common to both events, such as the Arbitration Panel, the International Jury and the ACC Measurement Committee. - Louis Vuitton Cup website, www.lvcup.com/lvcup/lv/default.asp?m=displayarticle&id=5239
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The U.S. Olympic Committee has named Serge Jorgensen (Sarasota, Fla.) as the National Coach of the Year is, and Brian Doyle (Darien, Conn./Hanover, N.H.) as the Developmental Coach of the Year. The USOC Coaching Recognition Program draws attention to the status of coaching as a profession, while giving recognition to the best coaches in the United States.
For the last two years, sailors in the two classes selected for the 2004 Paralympic Regatta in Greece--the 2.4 Metre and Sonar--have worked closely with US Disabled Sailing Team Head Coach Serge Jorgensen. At the 2002 2.4 Metre World Championship, Jorgensen was instrumental in the performances of the sailors who won silver and bronze medals for the USA.
Brian Doyle helped lead the 2002 Youth World Team to unprecedented success at the 2002 Volvo World Youth Sailing Championships in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. At this annual event, the pinnacle of international youth sailing, the U.S. Team finished as third country out of 30--the highest finish ever by the USA.
Previous winners of sailing's Coach of the Year Award are Luther Carpenter (New Orleans, La.), Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.), and Jay Glaser (Long Beach, Calif.). Mike Zani (Bristol, R.I.), Scott Ikle (Geneva/Manhasset, N.Y.), Adam Werblow (St. Mary's, Md.), and Amy Gross-Kehoe (Bayville, N.Y.) are previous Developmental Coach of the Year Award winners. - Jan Harley
THE MISSING PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
Team Dennis Conner has packed its gear, folded its tent that served as a sail loft, loaded the boats onto container ships and set off for Auckland, N.Z. and the America's Cup. The humble training base amid the giant cranes of the APL container terminal is officially closed.
Only one thing was left behind: the rudder that still lies about two miles off Seal Beach about 10 miles away. "We haven't recovered it yet," operations manager Mick Harvey said Wednesday as the Direct Falcon sailed away with Stars & Stripes USA-66 buried among the containers. "We're still looking for it." That was the only part of USA-77 that wasn't recovered the day the newer of the racing machines went down in about four minutes when the rudder housing failed.
The boat, christened less than two months earlier, was sailing inshore to pick up Conner and some sponsors behind the Long Beach breakwater when it sank in only 55 feet of water. The rudder fell off somewhere in its wake---perhaps deeper, perhaps buried in mud. "It's probably a couple of tenths of a mile [from where the boat sank]," Harvey said. The team has hired a company to look for it using side scan sonar. "It's worth a lot of money to us, and it's a replacement part, too," Harvey said.
Team general manager Bill Trenkle said earlier that they knew---but couldn't reveal---exactly what went wrong, but if the rudder is found "it will complete that part of the puzzle," Harvey said. - Rich Roberts, YachtRacing website, full story: www.yachtracing.com/richroberts/s&sbreakscamp.html
NAPLES SABOT JUNIOR NATIONALS
Mission Bay YC- San Diego, CA - Gold Fleet Final results (120 boats total): 1. Tyler Sinks, 14; 2. Parker Shinn, 18; 3. Wade Buxton, 27; 4. Charlie Ramser, 30; 5. Charlie Buckingham, 31; 6. Zachary Brown, 31; 7. Adam Roberts, 35; 8. Jonathon Ybarra, 36; 9. Justin Law, 43; 10. Adrienne Patterson, 46. www.mbyc.org/regatta/2002sabotseries.htm
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* August 17: San Francisco Bay Classic (Windsurfers), St. Francis YC, San Francisco, CA. www.uswindsurfing.org/
* August 22-25: Soling NAs, Sheridan Shore YC, Wilmette Illinois. www.ussoling.com
* September 3-8: Etchells NAs, Alamitos Bay YC, Long Beach, CA, abyc.org/
* September 14: "Sail for America," New York Harbor. www.sailforamerica.com
* September 20- 22: Six Meter NAs, Seattle, WA. www.6mrnorthamerica.com/
* September 21-29: Snipe Western Hemisphere Championship, Alamitos Bay YC, Long Beach, CA, abyc.org / www.obyc.com/westerns/index.html
* October 12-13 - US Sailing Judges Workshop and Test, Del Rey YC, Marina del Rey, CA. Workshop presented by Tom Farquhar. Contact: Barry Ault, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If you are in hell and you are mad at someone, where do you tell them to go?