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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1006 - February 13, 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.

The former lead designer of the Team New Zealand America's Cup yachts, Laurie Davidson, has denied allegations that he passed on the team's design secrets to his current employer, the Seattle-based OneWorld Challenge. Mr Davidson said he did not steal designs from other boats and had made no use of design documents that Auckland lawyer Sean Reeves alleges came from the 2000 campaign champions. Mr Davidson was one of five former Team New Zealand design experts who Mr Reeves alleges were involved in passing on secret information to the 2003 American challenger. -- Wayne Thompson, NZ Herald,

Peter Montgomery interviewed Laurie Davidson on RadioNZ. Here are some excerpts:

PM: Laurie Davidson, what's your response to Sean Reeves' allegations?
LD: Sean Reeves allegations are quite untrue. The work that I sold to OWC was all my own work done after I left TNZ. In fact I have two contracts. The contract covering this work is dated 29 May, so the work didn't start until the beginning of June. It was delivered to OWC on the 15th of August. All America's Cup boats these days are within a small group and they all look much the same, particularly the latest ones which incorporate a feature that I designed for TNZ in the last America's Cup which I call the Davidson bow. It's a kind of a knuckle bow. You'll see it in the 2003 boats which have come down here that have been produced by Alinghi, by the Swedish syndicate and also the new Dennis Conner boat which is currently sailing in California has the same kind of bow. So, to an amateur like Sean Reeves, and he has no technical knowledge at all, it could look like NZL-60 or NZL-57 but they're not TNZ boats at all. They're Laurie Davidson 2003 boats and they're better than the TNZ boats.

PM: So do you categorically, absolutely deny that you sold TNZ secrets?
LD: Absolutely, categorically deny it, yes.

PM: Now, he also says that Laurie Davidson brought to One World dozens of color photographs of tank towing tests and models of the Wolfson Institute in Britain. He also says Laurie Davidson had in his possession at OWC copies of the measurement certificates for NZL-57 and 60.

LD: Yeah, those things have a slight element of truth about them. I discovered after I had become part of the OW team I had in my possession a photograph album of some TNZ boats being tested at the Wolfson Institute. This photograph album belonged to TNZ. I decided to take it back to TNZ. On the way to TNZ I went into our OW office, put the photographs down on the table where they might have been for perhaps 20 minutes. Reeves came along, flicked through them and looked at them. I don't know if other people looked at them or not. But I told him what they were. I said I'm just on my way taking them back to TNZ. I picked them up and took them back and gave them to TNZ. So that's the story of that particular instance.

PM: Also the measurement certificate?
LD: The unveiling certificates - NZL-57 and NZL-60 - that's true but they were given to me after August 1st 2000 by Sean Reeves himself. And anyhow, I share the copyright in those boats with TNZ. There's very little design information contained on those certificates. I just put them away in a folder and forgot I even had them until this thing came up.

Later, RadioNZ host, Larry Williams asked Peter Montgomery: Who does actually own the designs and data? He (Davidson) designed it, doesn't he own it?

PM: He was not the absolute complete designer. Remember that TNZ had a design team headed by Tom Schnackenberg and there were other very good people - Clay Oliver, Mike Drummond. Of course Sean Reeves is also talking about struts, rudders, tabs and bulbs and a lot of aerodynamics which does not include Lauries'. There is no doubt that Laurie Davidson came up with the idea of the knuckle bow. He says he shares some of the copyright. I know that people now who sign; it is all TNZ's property and there is no sharing of the copyright. So that is a slightly grey area that I can't answer except to say that it would be quite wrong to imply that the designs were completely Laurie's.

Curmudgeon's Comment: Cheryl has done a great job of posting the full text of these interviews in the forum section of the 2003AC website. Check it out:

The America's Cup arbitration panel will rule on any penalty for the admitted violations some time after Easter. The timetable of the case in the Seattle courts between Reeves and OneWorld could take much longer. The next step in OneWorld's defence will be a supportive sworn statement from Bill Trenkle, Team Dennis Conner's longstanding operations manager. - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, UK -

America's Cup challenger OneWorld could be disqualified amid a row over design secrets that has rocked the world of sailing. The case could take months to settle in the U.S. courts. But an America's Cup arbitration panel meets next month and could impose penalties ranging from fines or even disqualification against teams or individuals. - CNN.Com/Inside Sailing -

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With winds forecast to touch gale force conditions again later today, the V.O.60s will continue to face wet and windy conditions. Initially the gains were for Amer Sports One and djuice to the east, then illbruck, Tyco, News Corp and Assa Abloy took a small gain back; now it appears that the gains could come for the boats in the east again. This is all due to the tricky and fast changing weather patterns due over the next few days and these gains and losses leave the boats fighting hard to take just that extra mile on each other, as the fleet remains so close together. It will be a few days yet before it will be clear as to whether the inshore or offshore route has paid.

Amer Sports Too spent almost four hours with very little wind after rounding Cape Horn yesterday, but is now sailing along at around 10 knots.

Positions on February 13 at 0358 GMT:
1. illbruck, 1548 miles to finish
2. Amer Sports One, 50 miles behind leader
3. Team Tyco, 69 mbl
4. djuice, 81 mbl
5. News Corp, 88 mbl
6. Assa Abloy, 91 mbl
7. Amer Sports Too, 550 mbl
8. Team SEB, 1148 mbl

(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 Olin Stephens: Although I enjoy Scuttlebutt, you report a good deal that confuses and saddens me. Worst of all the present America's Cup mess. I feel strongly that if the rules regarding nationality were recognized today and strictly enforced in letter and spirit, there would be little incentive to buy information or to encourage designers, builders and sailors to cross national borders.

To me, it seems clear that the donors of the Cup intended that a match should be a contest between clubs representing their nation's ability to field, with its own national resources, its best competitive yacht. We are not seeing that today.

I wish we were.

* From Alan Ouellette: I was just thinking that the America's Cup is a poor reflection of the sport of sailboat racing.

* From Chris Beeson, Editor, In the piece about the maxi-catamaran Orange we stated that Club Med holds the Jules Verne record. Although faster around the world that Olivier de Kersauson's Sport Elec, Grant Dalton's Club Med sailed a different course during The Race, starting and finishing off Marseilles in the Mediterranean and leaving to starboard several waypoints in the Southern Ocean.

The Jules Verne course starts and finishes on an imaginary line between Créac'h Lighthouse on Ile de l'Ouessant off the coast of northern Brittany and The Lizard Lighthouse on the Cornish coast of southern England, and leaves the three Great Capes, Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, to port.

We apologize for the mistake

* From: Jim Pearson: I'm lucky, as I own one of Carl Schumacher's designs. Upon buying her, we called him out of the blue: He immediately offered to meet us. Mr. Schumacher, one of the very few who might deserve the inflated ego too common in sailing, showed only sincere down-to-earthiness during the afternoon he spent reviewing our boat. He spent 2 hrs discussing the design and improvements -- never rushing or hinting at billing for his time, as others might. To our surprise, he even seemed genuinely excited by the prospect of joining us for a race.... quite an unexpected opportunity for this neophyte.

Let's not let his untimely passing be for nothing: What lessons can we learn? (1) You are definitely not too important or too big a "rockstar" to be a Nice Person. (2) Work Is Not That Important (3) Life Is Too Short - Drink That Expensive Wine, Take That Vacation, Go Race Instead of Cleaning The Backyard, and (4) "Fast" can be beautiful and functional!

A great loss to the sailing community. Ironically, its magnitude may be underestimated because of the gentleman he was.

* From Scott Adam: I was both shocked and saddened at the news of Carl Schumacher's death. Carl was always open to questions and freely shared his expertise with rank beginners as well as those with much experience. What I most remember though was his almost shy quietness and humbleness, his deep and enduring faith in God, and his enthusiasm for sailing, any kind of sailing. There are very few who are so competent yet remain so humble.

* From Kim Desenberg: I am privileged to have known Carl Schumacher through sailing for most of my life - starting as youngsters sailing out of the Balboa Yacht Club. He was a joy to work with as an adult - myself in the building and repair industry, he in design and engineering. His realism and clarity were refreshing and helpful, and his high standard of excellence a constant challenge. In the end we heard his characteristic phrase - when the product was anything less than the ideal - "it is what it is". His life was exemplary in every way but one: he passed on far too soon. We are stunned by our loss.

Following a new weather briefing, Bruno Peyron confirmed the imminent departure of the maxi-catamaran Orange sometime on Thursday 14th February and set out in pursuit of the prestigious Jules Verne Trophy. This negates any opportunity for a duel start with Geronimo, Olivier de Kersauson's trimaran which should be ready around February 18th.

* "There was a lot of talk on board yesterday about ever again. Most people were asked and most would not answer straight. Most agreed that they would not in these same boats. It seems that even a few days dulls the memories." - Mark Christensen, illbruck.

* "Our skipper, Neal McDonald took an earlier than planned bath this morning when we found a whole patch of kelp on our keel. We pulled down the headsails and sailed backwards after the routine methods failed to clear the weed. This still could not clear it, and before we knew what had happened, Neal had stripped off his clothing and had jumped over the side. THE SEAWATER IS 3 DEGREES CELSIUS!!!!!!!!! I thought he was going to die of shock, but after some 5 minutes in the water he had cleared our keel, we got him back on board and we were back in the race." - Mike Joubert, Assa Abloy.

* "The fleet as always is amazingly close especially when you consider the type of sailing we have been doing over the past 5000 miles. Still battling for one-mile gains and losses." - Kevin Shoebridge, Tyco.

* "The current suddenly shot up to 6 or 7 knots, the wind speed to 38 knots and we were on for a white water rafting trip from hell. The conditions kicked up; sea conditions that were unimaginable. The boat bounced around like a bucking bronco, 18 tons of boat being tossed around like a cork. In the middle of this we had to tack - a terrifying procedure. I was on deck and in the pitch black I have to say I was just as concerned as I was in the Southern Ocean. The boat was banging and crashing around. I had no idea when it would end or what was going to break." - Neal McDonald, Assa Abloy

* "Alby [Pratt] and Jez [Fanstone] are now trying to do the impossible and rebuild the poor old Bart Simpson spinnaker. This was the spinnaker that had been certified dead after being blown apart - it has been given a second chance and should be back in action after 24 hours of sewing and abuse. How they put together a heap of material like this never ceases to amaze me." - Ross Field, News Corp.

* February 15 17: Sailing World NOOD (National Offshore One-Design) Regatta, St. Petersburg YC. Some 155 boats from 20 states, Canada, England, and Ireland A total of 13 classes are expected to compete, including: Corsair, Henderson 30, Hobie 33, J/24, J/29, Level 123, Melges 24, Olson 30, S2 7.9, Sonar, SR Max, Tartan Ten and Ultimate 20. -

* April 14: Miami to Baltimore Race, Storm Trysail YC. Open to boats with an IMS GPH of 640 or faster or a PHRF rating of 90 or faster. The predicted finish times allow the participants to take part in the Annual Baltimore Harbor Festival.

* February 7-14, 2003: 17th Biennial Puerto Vallarta Yacht Race, Del Rey YC. Racing, Performance and cruising classes. -

There are few similarities between Naples Sabot mainsail and the #3 genoa for a Riechel/Pugh 70. But there will be one dramatic similarity if both of those sails have an Ullman Sails tack patch -- they will both be fast. The same applies to a 470 jib, a J/120 A-sail, the main for a 505, a blast reacher for a Transpac 52 or a Schock 35 kite. Right now is the very best time to find out how affordable improved performance can be:

(Following are a few excerpts from an interview with Dee Smith that Rich Roberts just posted on the Yacht Racing website.)

* While 97 of his comrades and comradettes endured the worst the Southern Ocean can throw at a sailor, Dee Smith could only hover over his computer at home in Novato, Calif. and fret that he wasn't there with them, sharing the fear, the freezing, the pitch-black broaches, the soggy sleeping bags, the 24/7 four-hour watches and the crummy food.

Really? Yes, because there was something else he missed terribly.

"Yeah," he said at the height of the adventures, when boats were dodging icebergs at 30 knots. "Yes and no. Yeah, I'm glad I'm not there but, yeah, I wish I were there. That is the best sailing you can do. It is a survival situation. It is difficult and scary--scarier than you could ever believe, and you can't believe you're out there. But it's so incredibly intense that it's good."

* "It is fatigue that causes the crew errors that cause the breakdowns. I can't even remember all the stuff that broke for us on Chessie last time. As soon as you break one thing, then something else goes down because people get tired. When you overload the people in the boat, that one more strand of hay breaks the camel's back."

* "The race is supposed to be dangerous," Smith said. "Has anybody died? No. Have people gotten hurt? Yes. Do people get hurt in football games? Yes. Do people still play football? Yes." But if football players or America's Cup sailors get hurt, they go to the infirmary. Only one Volvo boat-Amer Sports One-has a real doctor on board, and the nearest ER may be a thousand miles away. "You are on your own, absolutely," Smith said. "There's nothing anybody can do for you. You rely on the other [race] boats." - Rich Roberts, Yacht Racing website.

Full interview:

The Women's Sports Foundation announced the election of world-class sailor Dawn Riley as its new president. Riley will serve as president-elect in 2002 and as president for the 2003 and 2004 term. Two-time Olympic gold medalist softball player Lisa Fernandez and WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie were also voted as new members to the Board of Trustees.

Riley, CEO and captain of the America's Cup racing syndicate America True, will begin her term in January 2003 after current Foundation President Julie Foudy's term ends in December 2002. Riley has been a vice-president since January 2001 and has served on the Board since 1999. Riley became the first woman in the world to captain an America's Cup team, at the same time managing an entire America's Cup Racing Syndicate. She also is the only person to sail in three America's Cup races and two Whitbread Round the World Races.

Founded in 1974 by Billie Jean King, the Women's Sports Foundation is a charitable educational organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to participation and leadership opportunities for all girls and women in sports and fitness. -

Three IACC boats - ITA-1, NZL-14, and NZL-20 - will be racing on the San Francisco Bay this weekend in a fleet race organized by America's Cup Media. John Sweeney and his group have also set up a channel so that those with AC/ big boat experience can sign up as potential crew in the Crew Registry section of their website:

The only thing worse than a lawn mower that won't start, is one that will.