SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1165 - September 26, 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.
Auckland, New Zealand / Seattle, Washington - The
United States Federal District Court in Seattle ruled today in favor of
OneWorld Challenge LLC, Challenger for the 2003 America's Cup, in its case
against their former attorney, rules advisor, and operations manager, Sean
St. Leger Reeves. The Court ruled that there was absolutely no question of
fact as to whether Reeves had wrongfully breached his obligations to
OneWorld by retaining and disclosing OneWorld's confidential information.
The case, which was scheduled to go to trial in the April of 2003 was
decided summarily without the need for a trial, and Judge Barbara Rothstein
found that "Reeves did in fact disclose information that was confidential
thus breaching the terms of the Confidentiality Agreement without
justification or excuse."
The Court also rejected Reeves argument with respect to the enforceability
of the liquidated damages provision in his contract and reinforced its
previous ruling that the provision was reasonable and enforceable and that
OneWorld was entitled to liquidated damages and to its attorneys fees. The
exact amount of the liquidated damages remains to be determined but the
Court indicated that the amount should be between $240,000 and $314,000
USD. Legal fees will amount to approximately $500,000 USD.
Although the Court did not have the testimony before it when it reached its
decision, the ruling comes on the heels of deposition testimony last week
by Reeves' own expert confirming that OneWorld's design package was not a
copy of or even similar to previous Team New Zealand yacht designs. Reeves
provided OneWorld's stolen design package to his design expert, Robert
Perry, along with the lines plans for Team New Zealand's 2000 winning
yachts. After making his comparison of the plans, designer Robert Perry
testified, "Éit became quite obvious that we're looking at very different
boats." "That should put to rest once and for all that Laurie Davidson did
not provide OneWorld with work that he had done for Team New Zealand in the
previous America's Cup," said Gary Wright.
OneWorld's motion to hold Reeves in contempt of court for his repeated
abuses of the Court's orders and procedures remains to be determined - as
does the issue of whether Reeves will be prosecuted criminally for perjury
and other violations of US federal law. The Court, did, however, impose a
permanent injunction against Reeves requiring him to return all OneWorld
confidential information and preventing him from making any further
disclosures. A violation of the injunction could expose Reeves to
additional sanctions and findings of contempt. - Bob Ratliffe, OneWorld
OLN's COVERAGE OF THE LOUIS VUITTON CUP
There has been some confusion and misunderstanding concerning our upcoming
coverage of the Louis Vuitton Cup races. Based upon the unpredictable
nature of the weather in New Zealand, and the reliance of the races upon
the ideal conditions, at least 30% of the races are expected to not even
take place. Many others will most definitely be delayed, and others will
start, only to be put in hold for a period of time, and then continued.
There is a 4-1/2 hour window available to verify the start of a race on any
given day, which means we may not even know until well after midnight ET
that a race is going to take place. Still, if the race doesn't start until
12:30am ET, we will be covering it at 12:30am ET even though this is 3 1/2
hours past the scheduled time on our network.
Given that New Zealand will lose an hour in the first week of October, the
US will gain an hour at the end of the month, and then the actual race
times will change, our 9-11pm ET time frame allows for the most flexibility
with regards to race starts and finishes. In addition, we will have the
flexibility of a 45-minute tape delay should we need it, to allow for the
best possible coverage to be brought to the US. We cannot factor in every
scenario, and considering we are the first network to offer this type of
coverage, we can only base our programming decisions upon past years' races.
On any day there is racing in New Zealand, OLN will be covering it. That
is our commitment to our viewers. George Smirnoff, Consumer Marketing
Coordinator, Outdoor Life Network
OLN Louis Vuitton Cup schedule: www.olntv.com/OATV_1781.cfm
BIG RESULTS FROM THE BIG BOAT SERIES
Both Pendragon IV, winner of Class A, and Golden Moon, top Express 37, had
the latest high tech lines from Samson Rope Technologies on board for their
victories. Ralf Morgan, rigging manager at Keefe Kaplan Maritime says that
Samson is by far their most popular rope with the high end racers. "We had
dozens of boats before the series coming in requesting Samson rope for
their running rigging. Samson simply gives the best performance available."
said Ralf. Want every ounce of energy going into boat speed instead of
line stretch? Rig with Samson! Visit www.samsonrope.com/home/recmarine/index.cfm
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
* "It would be silly to rank the challengers on their budgets. It doesn't
make them any faster on the race course. "We don't feel like the poor kids
on the block. We know we have a good boat and a good team. We have what we
need and we have as good a chance as any." - Dennis Conner, From a story by
Julie Ash in the NZ Herald,
* "Unlike past regattas we've found that the physical side has meant that
more guys have been going down, and having good replacements has been quite
key for us. We identified this early on so we're quite fortunate there. We
are counting on all the guys to be up for sailing next week so we wouldn't
aim to sail with any one set up, we'd rotate the crew as much as we can to
keep the team going really. The back of the boat has been a bit simpler
although it's been close, Jochen Schuemann, myself, Ernesto Bertarelli will
be in the afterguard and Russell will sail the boat." - Brad Butterworth,
Alinghi's tactician from an interview by Matthew Sheahan on the Louis
Vuitton Cup website. Full story:
* "I think our best achievement is how far we have come as a team
physically, mentally and technically. It is very easy to lose sight of just
how much we have learnt as a group. All of this will of course count for
nothing compared to race results starting in one week's time." - Ian
Walker, skipper, GBR Challenge,
* "From a designer's perspective, it would be interesting to explore the
possibility of changing the (America's Cup) basic formula for future
contests to bring more variety back into the competition. Whether this
would be an improvement to the America's Cup is a moot point -there is
plenty of expensive uncertainty already. Perhaps, after all, there is a
good argument that having the boats settled into a corner of the Rule is
just fine for the future strength of the event." - Tom Schnackenberg, Team
New Zealand, from a story on the official America's Cup website. Full
* "We've learned that we've got two competitive boats and things are
going pretty well. But these are only informal races and you don't know
what the opposition is putting into it, or whether they're showing all
their cards - I doubt whether they are. Also you're only getting an
impression in one wind condition and given the difference in the design of
these boats, I think there will be boats that perform better in lighter
winds and those that perform better in stronger winds. What I'm saying is
that you'd have to race these boats 10 or 15 times to really get a good
idea of what you're up against." - Russell Coutts, From an interview with
Matthew Sheahan on the Yachting World website, full story:
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 Benjamin Cohen (edited to our 250-word limit): It's interesting to hear talk of the shape the AC may take in the future. We talk about technology, costs, television rights, public interest, rules and so forth and so on. To spend so much only to have these technological marvels race once every blue moon is detrimental to public and corporate interest. Why not allow these teams, corporate sponsors and spectators around the world get their moneys worth not to mention the sailing fraternity.
We've all heard comparison that link similarities to Formula one racing, and many of these are real. Bernie Eccelstone turned motor racing into one of the great technological spectacles of modern sport. Why doesn't AC racing do the same? The AC could be run and decided over an eight month or so period and staged in a variety of destinations around the world. Each team builds and design their own boats as they do now, and as F1 does. This would ensure technological advancement that eventually filters through to the general yachties and boat builder. It increases public awareness and access of the event and provides the all-important sponsors global publicity over the competitive year.
The format can stay pretty much the same and run summarily to that of the Louis Vuitton Cup. The top two or three boats could be determined by fleet racing in the first week and match racing for the final two or three in the second week. The sponsorship dollars, tourism and publicity for host locations has unlimited potential.
* From Reynald Neron: For those of you who are complaining about the lack of coverage in your area, please think about us in Australia: One of only 3 countries to have ever held the AC, no boat entered this year, and no channel have brought the TV rights. This means that the TV Channels will only give us information when something spectacular happens. The funny thing is, we are probably one of the few countries where they could show the races live without discomfort of the time difference. Shame shame shame.
Oh, since it seems that everyone in Auckland read Scuttlebutt, I am available if any team need someone to clean the toilets down there. Anything to share the spirit.
* From Grant Braly: In response to yesterday's letter regarding why Oracle might not have wanted to simply drop the arbitration panel procedure when Prada dropped its lawsuit, I can think of one very good reason: The management at Oracle might be extremely exhausted from the incessant whining and complaining radiating out of the Prada compound, which from what I've heard has been absorbing increasingly large amounts of all the other syndicates' time.
Prada's management once turned down an invitation from Oracle to the entire Prada team (and their families) asking them over to Oracle's compound for food and beer. The reason: "You can't race hard against your friends." If Prada wants enemies to race hard against, they certainly know how to create them. I don't think there are many syndicates up and down Halsey Street who have much patience left for them. Other teams seem to have a different opinion of what is necessary to motivate their crew, and we have seen many reports in scuttlebutt of those teams enjoying the same invitation.
* From Peter Harken: Herb McCormick is the best writer and storyteller the NY Times had and they just blew it big time! Long term intelligent decisions for the public interest is proving to be grossly lacking in growing numbers of big company CEO's today. The Americas Cup is a fascinating story anyway you look at it here in NZ where I'm stationed for the duration and Herb is one of the very, very best at telling it so I hope there is a smart media outlet somewhere that will use him.
* George Bailey (edited to our 250-word limit): One gets a bit tired of hearing people call the AC the sport's "pinnacle event" etc. etc. If it really was, it would not be necessary for these people to try to convince everyone. The single-handed races across the Atlantic and around the globe are far more significant sporting events that the silly and over-promoted AC, with its maze of self-serving rules (albeit rules that are not really rules).
The AC is just one big self-inflated bore. Half the time you do not even know who has "won" until the lawsuits are settled. No wonder "supporters" (re: business interests) have to whine on and on to get any good TV coverage.
The most important sailing race is decided by what happens on the water. Only history can establish this, not publicists. By this standard, the first AC might qualify as big potatoes but thereafter the AC has remained small potatoes. One proof is that the lawsuites generated by this race get far more press than the race itself. Or to put it differently, no, it does not seem to matter how many millions are spent trying to turn the contemporary AC into a real sporting event, the race remains just a mish-mash that usually winds up with a worn-out crew that is not the best of the challenging teams (just the luckiest) racing against a fresh crew who were just lucky enough to win last time. That is not the kind of contest that decides anything.
ULLMAN SAILS GROWING
Ullman Sails is delighted to announce that a new sail loft has opened in
Palermo, Italy. Sailmakers Gabrile Brunie and Giuseppe Leonardi are
experienced professionals and ready to serve all your sail making
requirements. For additional European support Ullman Sails has sail lofts
in Iseo, Repallo, and Trieste, Italy; Brittany, France; Drammen, Norway;
and a new location in the United Kingdom (to open soon) to serve you. For
address information please visit our web site: www.ullmansails.com
THE NEXT CUP
If Swiss challenger Alinghi snatches next year's coveted America's Cup from
defending champion Team New Zealand, Singapore may well benefit from the
upset by becoming its base. Because landlocked Switzerland has no sea or
'water-body' - an America's Cup winner must stage its defence on home
waters - Singapore has offered itself as the 'perfect' port-base for Alinghi.
SingaporeSailing president Low Teo Ping hopes to pull it off after making
the offer to Alinghi's main man, Russell Coutts, who was New Zealand's
winning skipper. Following suggestions from the visiting Team New Zealand
that Singapore could compete in the America's Cup by jump-starting with a
marina for super-yachts, Low said: "I've made a serious offer to Alinghi's
owners, through Coutts, for Singapore to be its base. Coutts is a friend of
mine, and he has told me it's a great idea. - Hauraki News website, full
EXPRESS 27 NATIONALS
Richmond YC - Final results: 1 Swamp Donkey, Sellers 9; 2 Baffett,
Baffico/Baskett 20; 3. Jalapeno, Busch, 30; 4. Magic Bus, Deeds, 37; 5.
Exocet, Crowson/Landon, 48.
STANDINGS - CLASS ONE: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 153 miles
to finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 109 miles from leader; 3.
Garnier, Patrick de Radigues,436 miles behind leader; CLASS TWO: 1 Tommy
Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 801 miles to finish; 2. Spirit of
Canada, Derek Hatfield, 475 miles behind leader 3. Bayer Ascensia, John
Dennis, 480 miles behind leader. - www.aroundalone.com
BLOKART ANYWHERE ANYTIME
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Eastern Yacht Club, Marblehead, MA - Preliminary results after three races:
1. Bill Abbott, Paul Davis & Bill Abbott, CAN, 5; 2 .Dave Curtis, George
Iverson & Ben Richardson, USA, 7; 3. George Wossala, Leslie Kovacsi &
Charlie Vezer, HUN, 16; 4. Dave Franzel, Dave Carlson & Wade Edwards, USA,
19; 5. Don Cohan, Drew Buttner & Andrew Hurlihy, 19.
MUMM 30 WORLDS
Annapolis Yacht Club - Italian Paolo Cristofori's Printel Wind scored a
1-1-2 on the opening day of the Mumm 30 World championship to take a
commanding lead in the regatta. "We prepared for the regatta by racing on
the Italian Circuit from February until the end of July, then packed up the
boat and shipped it to Annapolis," . Cristofori said. "Once we arrived we
worked hard to make a good set up and we are happy with what we did today."
He also indicated that "Annapolis is wonderful - we did not expect such
good conditions [for racing]." Higher winds are forecast for Thursday's racing.
Results after three races (33 boats): 1. Printel Wind (ITA) 4; 2. Alina
(ITA) 16; 3. Fuzzy Logic (USA) 18; 4. Unicredito Italiano (ITA) 19; 5.
Turbo Duck (USA) 23. www.mumm30.org
EXACT SOFTWARE TORNADO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
No rain, mainly clear skies, wind out of the northeast at 50-55 degrees,
velocity 13-18 knots, sea still choppy. At the end of 4 Races, the leaders
are (57 boats): 1. BUNDOCK / FORBES, 10; 2. BACKES / VOIRON, 11; 3. BOOTH /
DERCKSEN, 23; 4. STRANDBERG / MATTSON, 25; 5. HAGARA / STEINACHER, 28.
SNIPE WESTERN HEMISPHERES
Alamitos Bay YC, Long Beach CA - Brazil's Alexandre Paradeda and crew
Flavio Fernandes won both races Wednesday to take a runaway lead and leave
rivals wondering what it will take to stop them from winning the 2002 Snipe
Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship. Through three of the seven
scheduled races, the reigning world champions have finished second in fog
and the next day won in light wind as well as in a blustery 15 knots of
breeze. The leaders (3 of 7 races): 1. Alexandre Paradeda/Flavio Fernandes,
Brazil, 3.5 points; 2. Randy Lake/Piet Van Os, San Diego, 8.75; 3. Augie
Diaz/Jon Rogers, Miami, Fla. 9; 4. George Szabo/Brian Janney, San Diego,
24; 5. Marcos Mascarenhas/Pedro Caldas, Brazil, 25.- Rich Roberts,
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* December 3-6: This international technical conference on High
Performance Yacht Design, University of Auckland's School of Engineering,
Auckland, New Zealand. www.hpyacht.org.nz/news/index.shtml
Word of out Auckland today is that Team Dennis Conner, which was docked a
point for using an illegal rudder during the last Cup, is about to submit
to the Arbitration Panel an admission that they have breached the Protocol
by hiring one of the declared designers and crewmembers of the defunct
Illbruck AC team. This is explicitly prohibited under the Protocol and was
reinforced by a recent decision of the Arbitration panel.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree.