SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1004 - February 11, 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.
IT'S GETTING UGLY
(Following are a series of excerpts from a page one story in the New Zealand Herald by Tony Wall.)
An Auckland lawyer accused of peddling America's Cup secrets has deepened the spying scandal by claiming Black Boat designs were obtained by an American rival during the Team New Zealand break-up. Sean Reeves, who left Team NZ in 2000 and lured others with him to the One World syndicate, claims in US court papers that Team NZ technology which took years to develop was among information which the Americans were able to obtain.
The documents name seven men from prominent syndicates, including five New Zealanders. Reeves' allegations - which come as Team NZ prepares to battle One World in an America's Cup practice regatta starting on Monday - are in a statement of defences and counterclaims filed in the US District Court in Seattle this week.
Reeves, a former Olympic sailor from Devonport, has gone on the offensive, suing One World for defamation for its writ filed in the King County Superior Court in Seattle last year. That writ accused him of trying to sell $6 million of One World's secret design and technical plans to rival syndicate Oracle Racing through old friend Chris Dickson. The 40-year-old denies offering any secrets to Dickson during an international telephone call.
In his affidavit, Reeves alleges:
* One World obtained, for $3.5 million, design plans which were exact replicas of the boats NZL57 and 60, effectively allowing the Americans to race the "next generation" of Team NZ yachts.
* Also arriving at One World were dozens of color photos of tests and models.
* Details of a revolutionary millennium rig which took Team NZ three years to develop cut One World's duplication effort to three months.
* Some new syndicate members violated America's Cup protocols, in one case delivering internal fittings designs to One World.
* Crucial design and technical information arrived at One World on disks compiled before Team NZ purged its computers.
Reeves says this enabled the Americans to produce on demand almost any design or specification of any Team NZ boat.
* A folder entitled "Team NZ Laminate Specifications" also arrived at One World.
Reeves also says a senior boatbuilder from America True and a sail design expert from Prada took pictures and design data from their syndicates to One World. Reeves has accused One World of committing "numerous violations of the protocol governing the 2003 America's Cup competition" by accepting the information delivered by staff it lured from other syndicates. - Tony Wall, NZ Herald
Full story: www.nzherald.co.nz
Members of Team New Zealand are deeply upset by an allegation that former teammates may have divulged secrets to rival syndicates. The Herald understands Team New Zealand members are struggling to come to terms with the possibility that crucial design information may have gone to competitors during the team's break-up two years ago.
Team NZ chief executive Ross Blackman said yesterday that it was difficult to accept that any of the allegations might be true. All former members of Team NZ had signed confidentiality agreements binding for life. "So if the allegations prove to be correct, Team NZ will pursue every possible legal action against any individual involved," he said.
Reeves' documents name seven men from prominent syndicates who were involved, including five New Zealanders. One is alleged to have given One World design information for a revolutionary mast at a meeting in San Francisco. The suit alleges the information given by this man allowed One World to duplicate a design in three months that had taken Team New Zealand three years to develop. The man told the Herald yesterday to be "very cautious" about what it did with information on the allegations against him because "someone is going to be burned".
Another man is alleged to have had internal fittings designs from Team NZ at One World Challenge. He denied the allegations yesterday. He said Reeves was "quite mistaken" and it was "a shame" he was making the allegations. "He seems to be imagining things or fabricating things or just misunderstanding what's gone on," the former Team NZ member said. "I believe my name is there in the documents but I believe anyone who published anything about me would be taking a tremendous risk of being up for defamation, including yourself." - Anne Beston, NZ Herald.
Full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
illbruck rounded Cape Horn at 0838 GMT Sunday in a very favorable current which allowed her to open up on the trailing fleet. Next around was Amer Sports One at 1348 GMT, followed by Tyco less than three minutes after. News Corp in fourth position led Assa Abloy, who rounded at 1526 GMT, by 12 minutes. Djuice rounded Cape Horn at 1801 GMT.
illbruck is stretching distance away from the fleet towards the Falkland Islands with the fleet stuck in the Estrecho de Le Maire. This is a 20 mile wide channel between the eastern tip of Argentina and an island Isla de los Estrados where the current can run from anything between five and even up to eight knots in places. A big advantage if you can get through this channel with the tide and it appears that illbruck just managed to achieve this. Her rivals seem not to have been so fortunate, taking almost double the length of time to pass through the Estrecho.
Positions on February 11 at 0400 GMT:
1. illbruck, 2063 miles to finish
2. Amer Sports One, 74 miles behind leader
3. Team Tyco, 74 mbl
4. News Corp, 83 mbl
5. Assa Abloy, 84 mbl
6. djuice, 101 mbl
7. Amer Sports Too, 542 mbl
8. Team SEB, 928 mbl
APEN MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD?
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Peter Harrison, Founder and Chairman of GBR Challenge, the British America's Cup team for 2002-03, announced that he has appointed double Olympic Silver Medallist Ian Walker to be the GBR Challenge Skipper. "I have had confidence in Ian as the Sailing Team Manager from the outset, having given him the responsibility for recruiting and building the right young talent for the team," Peter Harrison explained. "As the campaign has progressed, Ian has displayed the intellectual and leadership qualities I had hoped to see and has earned the respect of the rest of the team."
Walker takes up his new role with immediate effect, for the America's Cup International Regatta which marks the first time that GBR Challenge will officially compete in New Zealand waters. Ian will act as Skipper on GBR 52 which is entering the regatta against Team New Zealand, One World, USA and Victory Challenge from Sweden. He will be sharing the helmsman role with Andy Green and Andy Beadsworth. Adrian Stead will be acting as tactician and the rest of the sailing team will be selected on a daily basis from the squad on a rotation basis. Paul Standbridge will fill the role of Sailing Manager to support Ian in the areas of management, coaching and administration of the sailing team. - Mark Bullingham, www.gbrchallenge.com/gbr/default.asp
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(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 Dave Few, Past Chairman NCPHRF: The passing of Carl Schumacher, whose designs are legend, has left those of us on the NCPHRF committee shocked and terribly saddened. No more valued or finer member has ever served on our committee both as a Past Chairman and as a continuing member. He was truly one of my "Heros" and one of the most knowledgeable and admired men I have ever had the privilege to know, patient to the extreme and giving unselfishly of his time to NCPHRF. He was first and always a gentleman with an unlimited willingness to serve the sport we all love. Without question he was our most respected member and though we will carry on Carl will be impossible to replace.
* From Sally Lindsay Honey: I am not sure why Carl chose to befriend me, but I will always feel grateful and privileged that he did. Carl has, does, and always will inspire me to be a better person. He constantly strove to live principles most of the rest of us just mouth. He centered every day on trying to be a better person, in his family, his work, and his play. He never hesitated to stop to answer a question, giving it his genuine concerned response. He sailed with people, not for his own glory, but because he wanted to support those he admired and liked.
I will always be grateful that he showed confidence in my abilities, even when I questioned them myself. Whether racing to Hawaii on the Express 37, Mélange, or building spinnakers for his own Express 27, or struggling with boat evaluations at Sailing World's BOTY, he supported and encouraged in his quiet way that made me feel I could be better than I was.
Whenever Stan and I stopped by his little office, perched on the Alameda estuary waterfront, he was always delighted to have our company and would stop what he was doing to show us his latest designs, glowing quietly with justified, unspoken pride. He was doing what he wanted to do and loved his life, his family and his work. He leaves a legacy to inspire us all.
* From Douglas Logan: I'm reeling from the news about Carl Schumacher. As you pointed out, he was a gentle, positive, helpful man. I served on a couple of Boat of the Year panels with him, and as the other panel members of those years will attest, when Carl spoke up, always with a quiet smile from behind that mustache, the yammering stopped and things made sense again. The forms and sailing qualities of his boats matched his personality. To my mind he was the best designer of our generation.
* From Rodger Martin: There is a small handful of designers' boats I look at and think "I wish I'd done that." Carl Schumacher was at the top of those to my eye. Call it the 'Mullian School.' I am now so sorry I did not meet him, (opposite coasts?) as I was sure I would one day.
* From Leif Beiley: I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Carl Schumacher. I did not know him well but always respected the man and his work. Our sport is diminished by his loss.
* From Garry Hoyt: Carl Schumacher's passing leaves a significant void. Having worked with Carl on several projects, I acquired great respect for his design skill and his unique ability to balance traditional looks with modern performance. His many successful boats will remain eloquent testimonials to his talent. Beyond that, he was a very nice guy whose enthusiasm for sailing matched his extensive knowledge.
* From David Redfern, Bristol England: For your interests, our America's Cup team (Peter de Savary's Blue Arrow Challenge) constructed a boat with a sliding keel and daggerboard for use in San Diego. This was approved by the AC Committee. Memory fades a little, but I am certain a confidential ruling of eligibility was granted. It was certainly legal. SDYC accepted the boat.
The boat did not get to San Diego, because once Michael Fay saw how we had interpreted the rules, making a very fast boat, (30 knots plus) he refused to have a challengers series, leaving just his big white boat and Dennis Conner's catamaran to race with no other challengers.
There were some very interesting meetings in New York involving Alan Bond, de Savary, Tom Ehman et al and Michael Fay who would never meet us face on but only through messages passed between floors in the hotel we were all meeting in on Fifth Avenue.
The boat was a monohull and complied with all the Rules of the Deed of Gift. It was just a very interesting interpretation out of the brains of Derek Clark, Ed Dubois, Tony Castro and others all crazy enough under de Savary's leadership to have a fresh look at design.
The boat can be seen on an IMAX film that crops up from time to time. On her very last sail before being committed to the shed and wound up to over 35 knots for the IMAX camera, she spectacularly pitch-poled in Falmouth Harbour.
* From Ken Guyer: The part of the deed which Hamish Ross, expert on the deed of gift for the America's Cup, has directed our attention to really should not be under consideration at all. The deed allows for mutual concent between the Challenger of Record and holder of the deed to alter the specifics of the deed. This should include any interpretation of the wording regarding centerboard or sliding keel.
The only reason to try and alter the class rules and use deed language that appears to allow other than IACC boats to race is to defeat the purpose of the competition. We already had that once in 1988 - to put it mildly, it sucked.
The issue should not be even approached and just interpret the deed language to mean that centerboards or sliding keels cannot be rejected outright just because they are what they are. But when the all the competitors have agreed to the IACC class rules, that is the end of the discussion.
* From Nick Martin: I am intently following the racing in the "roaring 40's". But I have to question the responsibility of all involved that places the lives of these great sailors at risk in conditions beyond their control. Sailing at night through a sea of icebergs, growlers, etc., beyond reach of rescue has placed these individuals in great peril. Wouldn't it be wise to limit the southern course to say 50S. The way it sits now is a formula for disaster and loss of life.
* From Dieter Loibner: I think it needs to be noted that the alleged piracy attack in the Sea of Cortez last summer referred to by the NZ Herald story in Butt 1002, later was recognized as an invention by the skipper who has a history of personal problems.
While that report was damaging to the reputation of Panga fishermen in the area and cast a different light on tall tales of the sea, it cannot be denied that pirates have become more organized and violent in conducting their deadly business. See Peter Blake. Will packing a .45 now become part of fitting out for a world cruise?
* From Rhidian Bridge (re piracy) Something the NZ Herald article overlooked is that IMB figures for the last year report a 26% reduction in reported piracy incidents from last year. Furthermore, as a consequence of 9/11 many of the piracy hotspots such as SE Asia and Gulf of Aden are now patrolled by alliance warships. Which for the time being may enable the yachtsman to sleep a little easier when transiting these areas.
AMERICA'S CUP INTERNATIONAL REGATTA
Victory Challenge's Orn (SWE-63), skippered by Mats Johansson and steered by Jesper Bank, demonstrated great speed to win the first fleet race. Second was OneWorld Challenge who just managed to scrape through overlapped with Team New Zealand. GBR Challenge had started early and was recalled and was hence never really in the match.
In the match races that followed, OneWorld Challenge beat GBR Challenge by 38 seconds and Team New Zealand beat Victory Challenge by 33 seconds.
Racing resumes tomorrow with the second two flights of the first Round Robin. www.louisvuittoncup.com
Most of Charlie Ogletree's sailing for the past couple of years has been hanging from a wire as he and Johnny Lovell campaigned a Tornado catamaran for Sydney Olympics. Recently however, Ogletree drove Mike Stone's Melges 24 in a talent-laden 23-boat fleet at the San Diego NOOD - and they won the event. Convincingly! How did a relative newcomer in this tough class find that kind of boat speed? It could be the complete inventory of Ullman Sails. Get an online price quote for your boat now. Improved performance is more affordable than you think: www.ullmansails.com
WHY DID SEB'S MAST BREAK? - Gurra Krantz
What has put us in this situation? Was it gear failure? No. Just too much wind at one stage in combination with really bad waves.
Conditions were as hard as one can only imagine. Snow storms and winds up to 48 knots in the squalls. Really freaky waves as always down here. We had a storm chute, small jiffy reef in the main and a storm jib in the foil, just in case. The gradient wind varied from 28-32 knots. Conditions change from very hard to severe in just a few seconds. Pitch black, snow and the power of the wind just became too much.
The spinnaker was rigged with a 'martin-braker' [emergency release to trigger the shackle that holds the spinnaker at the spinnaker pole, can be operated from the deck]. We did not even have time to release the spinnaker with the 'martin-braker' when the wind shift and strong gust with snow came in. We went flat on our side the wrong way and I believe, had the rig not broken, we could have totally submerged the boat.
The big waves came in through the companionway. Remember the knock down of Amer Sports One. We have two companionways further apart, further outboard. The rig did not have a failure itself: it was a result of us being knocked over. We do not know whether hitting the mast in the water and overloading it, or something else caused the mast to brake. Likely speed of SEB when hitting the rig in the water was 27 knots the loads on the rig when smacking it in the water must be enormous.
After this giant hand pulled the boat over it was water flooding through the hatch and then a first bang, which was followed by the sound of breaking carbon. The hull that was over at 90 degrees stood up as the rig gave away over the side. The terrible noise of breaking parts and water moving around inside was left for us. A quick control that everybody was still onboard and not injured took away the first knot in the stomach. We then went ahead and tried to get the rig organized and back onboard but it seemed too dangerous after a while. The splinters of damaged parts of carbon were everywhere and just waited to cut somebody up.
To wait four hours for daylight was not an option. By then the hull would have been severely damaged. The waves were doing their best to increase the damages when the mast tube was crushing on the sheer line. By far the safest option was to let it go. - Gurra Krantz, skipper.
* "We rolled to windward and the cockpit filled with water. I was the only one of us clipped on at the time and managed to grab a rail in the cockpit. Tom wrapped himself around the leeward, now upper, grinding pedestal and was also underwater. Woos, who was next to the wheel, grabbed the primary winch shaft. Tony held on to the center of the wheel. Woos remembered struggling for breath; that's how far under we were. With our hatch layout (two, a leeward, which was closed and a windward one, which was now 1m underwater) all the guys in the bunk were woken (if not already) with a ton or so of 3 degrees [temperature] water flooding the cabin.
Bang! It was the unmistakable sound of carbon blowing up. We rolled upright; the mast had twisted off about 2m above the boom from the force of the first [bottom] spreader hitting the water at 28 knots. We were lucky it broke otherwise we would have filled the boat with water and sunk." - Scott Beavis, www.vovlooceanrace.com
Photos of SEB: image.teamseb.com/news/index.htm
QUOTES FROM THE VOLVO BOATS
* "I sleep overlapped with [Grant] Dalton or Bouwe Bekking, feet to feet, in a fixed angle bunk with water dripping down the sidewalls of the tanks. The conditions are a bit different than my bed in Kentfield and even then I can't sleep if I am touching my wife. At this point, I am looking forward to having that problem. This has been a fast and furious ride round the Horn. A lot of intensity ... more than I remember last time. The boat has been on the edge 50% of the time in the last eight days. That is draining on everyone." - Paul Cayard, Amer Sports One
* "Stig [Westergaard] had some toilet issues today and just spent three hours cleaning the dunny [toilet]. I took some happy snaps of him covered in....waste... that you may find on the djuice page soon. Very nasty and very funny stuff. So when it was my turn, I opted for the back of the boat. To my surprise I found an elaborate system of sail ties and toilet paper stashes to find some comfort in the outdoor system, before using the bidet with a five degree [temperature] ocean flush at 20 knots boat speed. The French onboard have developed a great system that will make the crew much more culturally aware now that the conventional 'throne' has started regurgitating." Anthony Nossiter, djuuice
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
When you put the two words "The" and "IRS" together, it spells "THEIRS."