SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1005 - February 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.
Willful wrongdoing litters 152 years of the America's Cup yet the allegations detailed by New Zealander Sean Reeves, that the Seattle-based OneWorld team he help set up illegally obtained design secrets, are probably the most serious in cup history. Reeves, a former New Zealand Olympic sailor who was Team New Zealand's rule adviser in 1995, has been at odds with the OneWorld team since he left last year, despite a separation agreement.
The battle is fought on two fronts: a civil action going through the Seattle courts over damages and defamation, and with the cup's arbitration panel over whether OneWorld will be penalized for breaching the cup protocol rules. In each, the veracity of Reeves's evidence is the crux.
Reeves's latest declaration and counter-claim court papers name seven designers, sailors and technicians who allegedly either brought, sold or passed on confidential details. The most serious charge is that in August 2000, just four months after Team New Zealand won the last cup, their 1995 and 2000 winning designer, Laurie Davidson, was allegedly involved in a £1 million transaction of the Kiwis' secrets. Reeves alleges that this included plans of past and future boats. It is these allegations in the civil suit that OneWorld have "unclean hands" which will most upset the team, backed by Craig McCaw, the telecommunications billionaire, and Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft.
It is further alleged that OneWorld's chief executive, Gary Wright, approved this purchase; that OneWorld had in their possession photographs of tank tests and measurement certificates of the TNZ boats; and that colleagues of Davidson allegedly brought further design information from the hard drives of TNZ's computers to OneWorld.
AmericaTrue designer, Phil Kaiko, also joined OneWorld and Reeves alleges that he brought with him the design of his 2000 cup boat when he was hired, and that a team-mate of Kaiko allegedly brought along detail of a special and unique boat-building process that had been used on AmericaTrue.
OneWorld have already admitted that some of the charges are true in their submission to the panel before Christmas, notably about knowingly having AmericaTrue information. This was a mea culpa pre-emptive admission made nine months before racing starts in the challenger trials in October, when a rival team might have lodged a protest. This way, OneWorld could learn early what penalty they might receive.
Some might feel that in owning up to this charge, OneWorld were acknowledging only something that happens in every cup team anyway. Just as when a Formula One designer swaps teams, people's memories of past work cannot be erased.
However, Reeves's latest allegations in the civil action are so explicit, so serious and so damaging that to find any truth in them would cast grave doubts over OneWorld's future. Hence the pivotal nature of Reeves' evidence. A swingeing points fine even before racing has started might make OneWorld wonder if it would be worth continuing. - Tim Jeffery in Auckland, The Telegraph, UK
Full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
In a brief press conference held at the OneWorld Challenge base Monday in Auckland members of the senior management of the OneWorld syndicate replied to press allegations that they had obtained designs and information illegally. Following is the full text of a prepared statement written by Gary Wright CEO of the OneWorld Challenge:
Given the sensational headlines finding their way into the press these last few days, from a certain Mr Reeves, I believe you all deserve a note from me, to give you OWC's perspective. Firstly there is nothing of any surprise in Mr. Reeves allegations. We expected this to happen, however we have tried to keep this matter dealt with in the appropriate forum, namely the US courts and the Arbitration Panel. It has always been our desire to ensure that the honor, tradition and prestige of the America's Cup is upheld. You have all received our first Submission to the Arbitration Panel. A further Submission will be with you in a matter of days and I am confident that all will be clearer then.
In the early days of OWC certain Rules issues were handled by Mr. Reeves during his time at the helm of our first Auckland office. Certain questions have been raised about Reeves' actions whilst in this position with us. These questions have formed the basis of the Submission that you have all seen, and the Full Grounds of which you will see further in the next few days. Obviously we could have sought not to pursue this matter and hide it from you all and reach a cozy settlement with Mr. Reeves, rather, we chose the more difficult path of a through investigation of OWC's early operations. This we have undertaken.
Clearly we have made some mistakes, but we believe these to be minor and not beneficial to the OWC's design process. If we have not raised any of Reeves allegations in the Submission to the Panel, then it is because there are no grounds or basis in fact. They are untrue and did not happen.
I am saddened that several of our team members, men of integrity and of good standing in the America's Cup world, have had allegations leveled at them by Reeves. I and all of us at OWC plan to stand behind these individuals fully and without reservation.
We apologize for the disrepute this action with Reeves has bought this event into and will do our up most to set the record straight. We remain happy that our future is in the hands of the Arbitration Panel, and that truth, honor and integrity will prevail.
Posted on the Louis Vuitton Cup website: www.lvcup.com
COLD WATER SAILING
Right now is the time for small boat sailors to get ready for the spring sailing that will soon be here. At the top of your list should be Camet 2001 neoprene hiking pants. The Heavy Cordura padding covers the reinforced battens that have been designed for effective hiking. Don't forget to check out the Kiwi ² length Hiking pants, they protect your knees and keep you warm. Either will help you hike longer and harder ... while they keep your little buns warm. Check out all the performance apparel on: www.camet.com
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
The Falkland Islands are right between two schools of thought with illbruck leading the westerly pack of Tyco, News Corp and Assa Abloy, and Amer Sports One leading djuice on the eastern side. Amer Sports One has gained three miles on illbruck since the last position report, and both she and djuice have been maintaining higher boat speeds of one to two knots more over the period.
According to illbruck, this split decision has been caused by two of the weather models disagreeing. One indicated that she should stay on course, or even slightly high and wait for a front to bring some running conditions and the other showed that they should reach into the back of the old front and avoid the light spot between the two. Time will tell which was the right decision.
Meanwhile, SEB is sailing under jury rig to Chilean Punta Arenas, located on the western shore of Magellan's Sound. SEB is estimated to arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile on Saturday the 16th and will there be lifted onboard a cargo vessel for further transport to Rio de Janeiro, the stopover city following the fourth leg in the Volvo Ocean Race. In Rio all repairs will be carried out and the new mast will be mounted. The cargo ship is estimated to arrive in Rio on February 24th or 25th.
"This really is a logistical challenge for us. Getting the spare mast to the boat proved harder than we initially thought, that's why we have decided to get the boat to the mast instead." said Team SEB Managing Director Pelle Norberg.
The decision of retiring from the leg or not will not be made until SEB's arrival in Chile. There are many parameters to weigh in when making the decision, for example how the race has developed for the other boats. "With this scenario we make the solution as simple as possible for us, and we get the time we need for preparing ourselves to 100 per cent for the next leg" says Gurra Krantz, skipper of SEB.
Positions on February 12 at 0359 GMT:
1. illbruck, 1830 miles to finish
2. Amer Sports One, 40 miles behind leader
3. Team Tyco, 66 mbl
4. djuice, 75 mbl
5. News Corp, 84 mbl
5. Assa Abloy, 92 mbl
7. Amer Sports Too, 524 mbl
8. Team SEB, 1003 mbl
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 Philip Gage: This winter I spent far to many hours in the protest room listening to requests for reinstatement from boats that claimed that they were not over the line. To overcome this I am putting forward the thought of the "Pony Start". Here the signal at the start time is used to indicate that the boats are "under starters Orders", and later start signal is made when the race officer sees a clear line. Hence no OCS No Recalls. Of course this will be a different game, with different starting tactics, but would it be a worse game?
My draft wording would be:
When Code flag Second Substitute is used as a preparatory signal the following starting sequence will be used
Warning signal - Class flag, One sound signal - 5 Minutes
Preparatory signal - Second Substitute, One sound signal - 4 minutes
One minute signal No flag changes One sound signal - 1 minute
Starters orders - Class flag lowered One sound signal - Starting Time
Start - Second substitute lowered One sound signal - Variable
The starting signal may be made with or after the starters orders signal and will be made at the race officers discretion when all boats are on the pre course side of the line. The race time will be from the starters orders signal.
* From Everett A. Pearson: The news of Carl Schumacher's passing struck me like I was surfing down a wave with the chute up and hit a rock. Of all the designers I have worked with over the past forty some years, Carl was the best. His easy going attitude, combined with his design talent and attention to details, made it a pleasure to work to work with him. Of the thousands of boats I have built, the looks and sailing qualities of the Alerion Express were the ultimate.
Everett A. Pearson * From Dan Doyle: I was shocked and saddened to hear of Carl Schumacher's death. The sport has lost a true gentleman, and a designer whose ideas were often well ahead of their time. Whether you needed advice on one of his designs, or guidance in any aspect of the sport, Carl was freely giving of his time, resources and knowledge. It didn't matter whether you stopped in to his office unannounced, emailed or called; Carl was always available to help. As Grant Bright once said, "How long after you are gone will ripples remain as evidence that you were cast into the pool of life?" In Carl's case, it's going to be a very long time.
* From Nick Gibbens: As a past member with Carl of the St FYC Executive Race Committee he always had a unique angle on issues. One generally deeper and more reflective of the true issue on the table. Carl was a great competitor and always a gentleman on the course.
* From Don Watson: In 1990, I had the privilege of working with Carl Schumacher as the builder of Heart of Gold. It was one of those rare moments when you get to work with good Owners and a good Architect building a boat you really like. It's also a good thing when the boat is used as extensively and successfully as this one has been. Carl's feel for performance combined with an eye for aesthetics was as rare and appreciated as his expertise and lack of ego. Many of his boats show a certain family resemblance and they turn your head both at how fast they go and how beautiful they are.
* From Richard du Moulin: For those who ever read Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, Carl reminds me of the architect Howard Roark. In his quiet modest manner, he designed to his own personal high standards, and only for people he liked who wanted his designs.
* From Phil Olbert: Many people advocate the passive response to armed robbery (piracy). Actual data simple does not support this approach as the safest and lest likely to cause harm. It is my understanding that significant data shows that a vigorous and forceful armed response to armed attack will more often than not result in the attackers withdrawing if they are not cornered or trapped. After all, they don't want to get themselves killed any more than the people they are attacking. On the other hand, in order to leave no witnesses, pirates will often murder people that passively allow themselves to be robbed.
* From From Tim Zimmermann (edited to our 250-word limit): Regarding the problem of piracy, I recently had occasion to conduct an e-mail interview on the subject with Jimmy Cornell:
1) To what extent is piracy and crime a growing problem for cruising sailors? What is the trend (more piracy? same? less? more violence?)
JC: The situation has deteriorated dramatically in recent years, not just piracy attacks in well-known areas (Somalia, Yemen) but also violent robberies in several countries frequented by cruising sailors (Trinidad, Guatemala, Venezuela, etc)
2) What are the most dangerous cruising areas?
JC: The Gulf of Aden - off the coasts of Somalia and Yemen as well as the vicinity of the island of Soccotra.
3) Should cruisers carry guns?
JC: No. Violence begets violence and in virtually all cases where the attacked have responded with firepower, there have been casualties among the attacked. Pirates and robbers will always be better armed, and also more ruthless.
4) Is there a lesson in the Peter Blake incident about how to cope with a armed intruders?
JC: Unfortunately, yes: hand over all they ask for, avoid antagonizing them, and do what you are told. A life is worth a lot more than a few hundred bucks, a camera, or an outboard engine! Although I don't know the exact circumstances, I am convinced that if Peter Blake had not wielded a gun he may still be alive today.
AMERICA'S CUP INTERNATIONAL REGATTA
The racing was delayed for one hour today whilst wind conditions stabilized enough for a start to be given. Eight knots of wind at the start from the North West quickly faded and shifted around making racing difficult and curtailing the day's programme early with only one race run of the two races scheduled.
In the races that were completed, Victory Challenge beat GBR Challenge by 58 seconds and Team New Zealand beat OneWorld Challenge by two minutes and 13 seconds. Racing for Round Robin One will resume on Thursday after Wednesday's scheduled day-off.
For a full report of the races: www.louisvuittoncup.com
QUOTES FOR THE VOLVO BOATS
* "Rounding the Horn represents a tremendous leap forward in the possibility of me being accepted in my hometown, Skaelskoer's, local seamen's association. With my 30 years of sailing experience I have so far only made it to the waiting list. So an application for a full membership is hereby formally lodged." Stig Westergaard, djuice.
* "Rounded Cape Horn in blazing sunshine and 20 kts of downwind sailing yesterday, but the Southern Ocean was not going to let us off that easily. The first night it blew 35kts dead on the nose, as we beat our way between islands in huge swells caused by strong currents. We are wetter now than we have been the whole trip, after a brief period of sun and warmth yesterday afternoon. It is good to get the Southern Ocean and all its ice behind us now." - Jez Fanstone, News Corp.
* "When we thought we were out of the high winds and seas, we were back in it again. Tacking up the Straits of de le Maire, which is between Tierra del Fuego and the island Los Estados in around 25-35 knots and with eight knots of current pushing us along. The seas developed into a huge washing machine with massive tide 'over falls'. The poor old boat was launched into mid air and then crashed down. Water everywhere and the waves were like your favourite surf beach. Of course all this in the middle of the night, a night that was as black as 'the inside of a cow'. Dawn broke this morning and we found we were pulling miles of weed along with us so after a few back downs we are under way again." - Ross Field, News Corp.
* "Four hundred and seventy six miles to go and the boredom is far from being relieved. In the days since our dismasting, life on board SEB has settled back into a routine that mainly consists of sleeping. This is the easiest way to tick off the miles and is in contrast to the days before the dismasting, where sleep was in great shortage for the on-deck crew." - Scott Beavis, SEB.
* "Not that there is a bad part of this race but this is not at all the thrill the last week was. Even those who wanted the Southern Ocean leg to be over have to admit that. And in life, those thrilling moments are too far between in my opinion." - Paul Cayard, Amer Sports One.
A Challenger of Record Committee regatta will be held in Auckland in the first weekend of March. The regatta gives the challengers the chance to square off against each other, but its main purpose is to trial race committee staff for the Challenger series in October. All of the Challengers are expected to take part. - NZ Herald
FOR THE RECORD
Bruno Peyron's Ollier-designed 110ft maxicat Orange has moved from her mooring in the Moulin Blanc marina to Brest's commercial harbour, and is champing at her lines, waiting for green-light weather to set out on her attempt at sistership Club Med's 71-day Jules Verne record. - Chris Beeson, Yachting World website. www.yachting-world.com / www.orange.fr
THE KEELS WERE DIFFERENT BUT THE CLOTH WAS THE SAME
In 1983 Australia II won the Americas Cup with a revolutionary keel that was very different to Liberties, but both boats used the same sailcloth technology from Bainbridge. 18 years later and we are still at the forefront of Sailcloth technology with products such as AIRX spinnaker fabric and DIAX-Carbon laminates, and for the Americas Cup jubilee regatta Australia II again chose Bainbridge. More Information at www.sailcloth.com
Eight America's Cup campaigners are lined up for the 38th Congressional Cup April 8-13, the host Long Beach Yacht Club announced. Competitors include winners of the last six Congressionals and 10 overall. The oldest and most prestigious match-racing event in the United States is the first U.S. contest on the Swedish Match Tour, the world's leading professional sailing series, and the fifth on Swedish Match Tour 2001/2002.
The lineup is topped by Sweden's Magnus Holmberg and Peter Holmberg (no relation) of the U.S. Virgin Islands, currently ranked 1-2 on the Swedish Match Tour and in the world match race rankings of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). In his only prior appearance in the Congressional Cup, Magnus tied for eighth with Italy's Francesco de Angelis in 1998. Peter, the current Swedish Match Tour money leader with $28,400, won that title and two more Congressional Cups since.
The Congressional Cup is contested in sturdy Catalina 37s designed for match racing. Like AC boats, they have steering wheels, not tillers. Holmberg will face, among others, 2000 winner Dean Barker of Team New Zealand, '98 and '99 winner Gavin Brady, now with Italy's Prada, and the Congressional's only four-time winner, Rod Davis, also with Prada. Also racing in this year's event will be Morten Henriksen, illbruck Challenge; Luc Pillot, France; Ken Read, Stars & Stripes Challenge; Andy Green, GBR Challenge and Scott Dickson, Long Beach.
The Congressional Cup's total purse is $25,000. The top eight finishers receive Swedish Match Tour Championship Prize points. The top eight point leaders at the conclusion of the Swedish Match Tour divide a $200,000 prize purse, with the Swedish Match Tour champion receiving $60,000. - Rich Roberts, www.lbyc.org / www.swedishmatchtour.com
* Renowned French skipper, Marc Thiercelin, has registered his entry into the Open 60 class for the 20th anniversary of this historic, solo, round the world yacht race. Thiercelin is the 9th skipper and 3rd Frenchman to sign up in Class I for the 6th edition of Around Alone, which departs from Newport R.I., in the USA, and stops over in Europe for the first time ever. - Mary Ambler, Yachts and Yachting website, www.yachtsandyachting.com
* Duncan Gladman and his Canada Challenge Team have chartered an Open 50 (former "Balance Bar") from Stanford University to participate in the upcoming Around Alone race. Having sailed in winds peaking at over 50kts, Gladman felt comfortable with the boat's abilities to handle these conditions. www.canadachallenge.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S COUNSEL
One should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.