SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1134 - August 12, 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.
Secret Team New Zealand design plans from the last America's Cup have been returned to the syndicate. In a major development in the cup spy scandal, Black Boat plans allegedly used by a rival syndicate have turned up at the team's Auckland base. Sources told the Weekend Herald this week that drawings of NZL60 and NZL57 were returned with an affidavit alleging that they had been recovered from another syndicate. Team NZ would not confirm yesterday that it had received the package.
The spy drama began last year when challenger OneWorld launched court action against Sean Reeves, who left Team NZ in 2000 and lured others with him to the Seattle-based team. In a US court case that is still continuing, the syndicate alleged that Reeves had tried to sell secrets to another team after he left OneWorld in May last year. Reeves has denied the allegations and made a counter-claim accusing OneWorld of obtaining sensitive Team NZ design and technical information.
The plans returned this week are believed to have been used by a rival syndicate to gain a valuable insight into New Zealand's design secrets in its 2000 defence of the cup. Team NZ's designers have produced innovations for the boats that will race next year. Syndicate head Tom Schnackenberg has said of the design process for next year's defence: "We have always believed that to defend the cup successfully we are going to have to move well on from 2000, and we have made good progress to that end." - Eugene Bingham and Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
MORE AMERICA'S CUP
So long in the spotlight for supposedly illegally holding Team New Zealand's winning designs from the 2000 America's Cup, the Seattle-based OneWorld team now believe the reverse is true: that the Kiwi defenders have copies of their own designs for next year's America's Cup.
The startling discovery was made on Friday when Sean Reeves, OneWorld's former employee, met the team's lawyers in Seattle. Reeves' allegations and evidence are at the center of a civil case being heard in the Washington State courts, and a pending judgment from the America's Cup arbitration panel.
OneWorld spokesman Bob Ratcliffe alleges that, in a deposition sworn on Friday, Reeves admitted copying eight or nine of OneWorld's hull lines drawings and sending them to Team New Zealand. These are said to be the same hull designs that Reeves originally claimed OneWorld had illegally obtained, apparently of TNZ's 2000 Cup winner, NZL 60, and her sistership, NZL 57.
An incensed Ratcliffe believes that, if the Cup defenders did receive the plans unsolicited from Reeves, they should have informed the challenger immediately and returned them, or handed the confidential material directly to a neutral third party, such as the arbitration panel or America's Cup Class technical director.
"It is disgraceful that Team New Zealand have failed to return our calls," said Ratcliffe. "They have not had the good courtesy to tell us if they have these plans. The defender is also the trustee of the Cup and this is shoddy. The trustee should be above reproach."
For more than a year, OneWorld have been on the defensive over the so-called 'Reevesgate' affair. OneWorld sued Reeves for breaching their separation agreement and, since then, allegations have leaked out implicating OneWorld. In December, the Seattle team admitted to the arbitration panel that they held design, test and construction data from the last Cup, in contravention of the Cup's protocol. OneWorld argued, however, that the panel should be lenient in their censure since their acquisition was either unauthorised or inadvertent and was of negligible value in creating their next generation boats.
Ratcliffe now believes he has new and "huge" information to justify OneWorld's position as a wronged challenger. Ratcliffe, spokesman for Craig McCaw, billionaire founder of the OneWorld team who are now backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, further alleges that Reeves admits to perjuring himself in an earlier court deposition, expressly in his previous denial that he had copied the hull lines.
Ratcliffe also claims that noted American yacht designer Robert Perry, brought in by Reeves as an expert witness, has confirmed that the disputed hull drawings are not of TNZ's boats but are indeed OneWorld. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK, full story:
STATEMENT ONEWORLD SYNDICATE
* From Bob Ratliffe, Executive Director, OneWorld America's Cup Syndicate: In light of facts that have unfolded over the last few days in the US Federal court proceedings between OneWorld Challenge and its former Attorney and Rules Advisor Sean St. Leger Reeves, we felt it important that we provide interested parties with an in-depth response to these very serious developments. The eight sets of line drawings and hydrostatic studies, that were stolen by Reeves, were actually copied at his direction, contrary to his earlier testimony. He retained the copies and recently had a set delivered to Team New Zealand. As you will see in the attached detailed statement we will be pursuing Mr. Reeves aggressively through legal means and have filed an application before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel to ask them to seek the return of our lines plans and deal with what we believe are violations of the America's Cup protocol by Team New Zealand.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: The statement referred to by Mr Ratliffe is way too long to carry in Scuttlebutt, but I suspect it may be posted soon on the syndicate's website: www.oneworldchallenge.com
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* Due to unavoidable conflicts and very difficult time issues beyond its control, the Knickerbocker Yacht Club announced the cancellation of this year's Knickerbocker Cup Grade 1 Match Racing Event originally scheduled for August 22-28. While this was an extremely difficult decision, the Committee regretfully came to the conclusion that it was in the best interests of the event to postpone it until summer 2003.
* Mascalzone Latino have returned to Auckland with their new boat ITA72 and their fellow Italian syndicate Prada are expecting the arrival of their new yacht, ITA74, in the next two weeks. . - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
* At sunrise on August 8, Orm (SWE 73) rolled into the Victory Challenge base at the America's Cup village in Auckland.. This means that the Swedish America's Cup challenge has its second boat in place for the Louis Vuitton Cup challenge series. With two new generation AC boats in Auckland, the Victory Challenge has their trial horse, NZL 38, available for sail for 500,000 US dollars - www.victorychallenge.com
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(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 Bill Lee: The current state of America's Cup is an embarrassment to all of us who sail. America's Cup very obviously very ready for a new, cost effective, spectator oriented, "think out of the box" boat. Equally important, the America's Cup administrative system is way overdue for top to bottom structural overhaul so as to better focus on the sailing, and the TV presentation of that sailing, and less on the ridiculous, non sailing related foolishness that has been making the headlines over the past few months.
* From James H. Stevralia: The letter you posted from Jock Anderson of the National Business Review is very interesting and very disturbing. It is a sad situation that someone would stoop to such tactics to discredit two very talented AC teams. Being familiar with investigative techniques, I am certain that the plot will be quickly exposed. The reference to the NY Attorney General investigation is particularly interesting. As practicing NY lawyers know, AG investigations are not publicly exposed, they are kept very confidential. A casual call to the AG's office will never get a response as the writer asserts. The only way the writer would possibly get any insight into an investigation is if he is a target or has information from a target.
Also undermining the credibility of the real letter writer is a failure to understand jurisdictional limitations. If there is anything wrong with the TNZ financials, it would seem to be a New Zealand issue. Why would the NY Attorney General be involved? I assure you, we have enough issues in NY to keep the AG's office plenty busy!
I suspect that the plot was generated by someone who has a terrible lack of understanding of the seriousness of his actions. He will be caught quickly, he will suffer criminal punishment and he will be disgraced in the sailing community!
* From Mike Blecher: On the last day the Leiter Cup, the Junior Women's Single-handed National Championship Regatta, held at Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, a 50 knot squall hit the Laser Radial fleet just as the race committee was finishing the competitors. The situation was serious enough to mobilize the USCG as well as local police as everyone was concerned about the safety of nearly 60 teenage women sailors. Much of the fleet ended up scattered and well downwind, and several were unaccounted for after the squall. During the height of the storm, three boats went on the rocks, but thanks to the well run and perfectly organized crew from Southern Yacht Club, all the competitors were plucked from the water, quickly matched up with missing boat numbers, etc., and soon declared all present.
Congratulations to Southern Yacht Club for having plenty of suitable crash boats around during this regatta, and to the good seamanship of their operators. Also worth mentioning, several girls who were caught out in the storm demonstrated true heroics by managing to work their way back upwind to pick up fellow competitors that became separated from their boats. The top third of the fleet managed to duck inside the breakwater just as the squall hit, and so gave the spectators at the yacht club bar a demonstration in Laser Aerobatics, as the boats crashed and wiped out everywhere along the channel.
* From Ed du Moulin: I agree Scott MacLeod deserves great credit for putting on an outstanding world class Grade 1 event in Newport. President Ted Weisberg of the Match Racing Assoc and Vice Commodore George Hinman of the New York Yacht Club were key players as well as others.
This was not the first such event in the U. S. The Knickerbocker Cup, initiated by the 175 member Knickerbocker Yacht Club of Port Washington, N.Y. , for the past 20 years has had title sponsored (Brut and Cigna) Grade 1 events. It was the first big boat match race series on our East Coast and at times the only Grade 1 event in the U.S. Past winners of the K Cup include Ed Baird, Paul Cayard, Russell Coutts, Dave Dellenbaugh, Peter Gilmour, Terry Hutchinson and Dave Perry.
Today, of course, the venerable Congressional Cup of the Long Beach (Ca) Y.C. is a Grade 1 event and part of the Swedish Match Tour.
* From Pete Young: I have to take exception to Dobbs Davis characterization of the UBS Challenge as "the first truly world-class Grade 1 event here in the US." While I'm sure the USB challenge is a large Grade 1 event, it is nowhere near the first "truly world-class Grade 1 event in the US."
That distinction would go to the Congressional Cup put on annually by the Long Beach Yacht Club in Long Beach, California. Started in 1965 the Congressional Cup has been consistently the top international match race in the US, with winners including Dennis Conner, Bill Ficker, Ted Turner, Terry Hutchinson, Chris Law, Peter Gilmore, Gavin Brady, Peter Holmberg, Rod Davis and Chris Dickson. The participants in the Congressional Cup read like a who's who of match racing.
There are two huge differences between the Congressional Cup and the USB Challenge. The Congressional Cup is a volunteer run regatta, and participation is by invitation only. Other than the financial support and the feeder regattas, the Congressional Cup has all of the other attributes that Mr. Davis lavishes on the USB Challenge. The Congressional Cup is held usually in April of each year and can be followed at www.lbyc.org/cup.html
* From Nathalie Le Pen I am writing on behalf of the NZL Olympic sailor and Maiden 2 crewmember Sharon Ferris who last night had her brand new Yngling stolen whilst on her way to a pre-Olympic event in Athens. The Yngling was on it's trailer in a "secure" car park in Italy near Lake Como.
Sharon would really appreciate it if you could put these details in your next editions as it may help trace the boat if it is sailed or sold in the near future.
The Yngling was on it's trailer with blue covers. The hull is white with grey decks and Line 7 stickers. Sail No: NZL 4, Hull No: 0448, the builder is Borrenson and the boat is just 2 months old. The trailer is a variant reg: JL8284 with 2 fibreglass boxes with Line 7 and Doneghy Ropes stickers.
The pre-Olympic event, which starts next week, is extremely important for Sharon's team as it is for national funding. Any information about the whereabouts of the boat will be gratefully recieved. Call +44 7766 343759 or email: email@example.com
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"Somehow the America's Cup belongs to Dennis. How can we host this event without him? Dennis has much more money than last time, he has two boats instead of one, and he's very comfortable working with the New York Yacht Club again." - Bruno Trouble, Louis Vuitton Media Center, from a story in the NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
BACK TO (OCKAM) SCHOOL
Do you know how to interpret Polar data? The difference between target speed and polar speed? How to Wally on a short course or adjust Heading based on VMC while distance racing? The OckamU manual covers all this and more in easy to understand terms. Whatever brand of instrument system you use, the OckamU manual is an invaluable resource. The price is $25. To order, please email Tom Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, street address and method of payment. See www.ockam.com
If you're following the America's Cup news, you simply must read Suzanne McFadden's profile of Bruno Trouble in the New Zealand Herald. As many of you know, Trouble has been a part of the America's Cup scene for decades and runs the Louis Vuitton Media Center in Auckland. McFadden's story is way too long to run in 'Butt, and while it was impossible for me to pick out a representative excerpt, but I simply could not resist the following:
Trouble is a proud historian of the Auld Mug and all its battles, and there's no other place he would rather be than right in the middle of them, especially when the going gets dirty - as it inevitably does. "It helps that I was a lawyer before all this," he laughs. "We are surrounded by them now - in October there will be more lawyers in town than sailors. It is all part of the America's Cup, and I don't worry about it. But for newcomers it must be difficult to understand all that goes on off the water, unless you read all the history. This is not your normal sports event."
Full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
US Sailing has announced the dates of its Olympic Sailing Pre-Trials for the nine Olympic classes that have been selected for the 2004 Olympic Regatta:
Mistrals: October 31-November 3, 2002 - US Sailing Center- Stuart, Fla.
470 and Lasers: November 14-17, 2002 - Houston YC
Yngling and 49ers: February 7-9, 2003 - Key Biscayne YC
Tornados: February 7-9, 2003 - Miami YC
Europe and Finns: February 7-9, 2003 - Lauderdale YC
Stars: May 15-18, 2003 - Coral Reef YC and U.S. Sailing Center (Miami, Fla.)
North Cape Yacht Club, LaSalle, Michigan/ Toledo, Ohio - With the third day of racing called due to lack of wind, George Fisher was again crowned the Lightning Master's North American Champion. With his crew Tom Emch and Greg Shea, they posted amazingly consistent scores to top a field of past World, North American and Pan-Am Champions.
Defending Sears Cup Champion Erik Johnson, won the Jr. NAs after an eight race series. With Karl Johnson and Kate Brush, they finished with a 4-point margin over rivals Ryan Ruhlman and Wade Schon.
In the Women's division, Mandy Hofmeister, Kathy Osborne & Kathy Connell from Nashville once again claimed top prize with a 1 point victory over Karen Park from St. Petersberg, Florida.
Complete results: www.lightningclass.net/2002nas/Results.htm
SANTANA 20 NATIONALS
Del Rey YC, Marina del Rey, CA - This nationals event will be forever remembered as a race with tough high quality competitors but dominated by one boat - Disaster Area. If there ever was an advantage, it was in boatspeed. Today, Chris Winnard, Andrew Kerr, and Bill Ramacciotti, the same team racing in Klamath Falls last year, are the 2002 National Champions. For Winnard and Kerr, this is the 4th time they have captured the championship. This year is unique in that their win both in distance and in points left mouths agape with amazement.- Roberto Cordero
Final results (29 boats): 1. Disaster Area, Chris Winnard /Andrew Kerr /Bill Ramacciotti, SWYC 10; 2. Cal Trans, Charlie Ogletree /Mark Hallman/ John Papadopolous, 16; 3. Bruce Golison/ Stevie Washburn/ Steve Washburn, 20; 4. Altitude Sickness, Payson Infelise /Phillip Infelise/ Jon Bell, 26; 5. Voo Doo Chicken, Greg Helias /Austin Rogers/ Andy Dipple, 47. www.s20.org/archives/2002/2002_nationals_results.htm
The Club 420 North Americans were completed today at Wayzata Yacht Club on Lake Minnetonka, MN. With 54 teams competing, TJ Tullo and John Sampson of NJ took a commanding lead on the first day with four bullets in four races. Three top ten finishes and one discarded DSQ on day two did the trick to sew up the victory. Day three saw no wind until shortly after racing was canceled for the day. Lee and Mandy Sackett of OH finished second, and Cullen Shaughnessy and Elizabeth Bryant of FL finished third. The winning female team was Leigh Kempton and Kaity Storck or NJ, who finished fourth overall. - Dallas Johnson,
Complete results and photos: www.wyc.org/420
Marina del Rey, CA - Seventy four Star boats raced in the California YC's King of Spain Regatta - for many it was a final tune-up for the Nautica Star World Championships that begins at CYC later this week. The fleet, which included a number of former Star World Champions and Olympic medalists, battled light air, big chop and major wind shifts for two days. Max Treacy, 24, and crew Anthony Shanks, 30, a pair of Dublin lads sailing for the Royal St. George Yacht Club were the best of the best with modest string of 8-18-6-5 finishes. The Augie Diaz/ Christian Finnsgard duo from Florida and Sweden were nine points behind, 37-46. After leading the first day. San Francisco's Howie Shiebler, with local crew Rick Peters, was another point back in third after winning the final race in a runaway. - Rich Roberts.
Others: 4. Mark Mansfield/ Killian Collins, 49; 5. Peter Vessella/ Brian Fatih, 51; .6. Ian Walker/ Nick Williams 52; 7. Paul Sustronk/ Mike Wolf, 54; 8. Ross Macdonald/ Eric Jespersen, 58; 9. Bill Buchan/ Mark Brink, 62; 10. Gavin Brady/ Rodney Kenann, 70; 11. Vince Brun/ Rodrigo Meireles, 71; 12. Colin Beashel/ David Giles, 76. www.calyachtclub.com/RaceResults/Series103.htm
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.