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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1210 - December 2, 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 Louis Vuitton Cup website has a comprehensive story about the men who make up the America's Cup arbitration panel. The following excerpts do not do justice to that piece, but will at least identify the five jurists.)

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the Defender, selected Sir David Tompkins, a Retired and Acting Judge of the High Court at Auckland; and John Faire who is currently a Master of the High Court at Auckland, New Zealand. Both served as members of the Arbitration Panel during the America's Cup 2000. Sir David is a member of the RNZYS and a cruising yachtsman. John Faire is a past President of the New Zealand Yachting Federation and has been involved in yachting administration for more than two decades, including current responsibilities with the International Sailing Federation. He has won 15 New Zealand yachting championships.

The Yacht Club Punta Ala, the Challenger of Record, selected Donald Manasse, who lives in Monte Carlo and campaigns a J-24 in national and international regattas; and Professor Henry Peter who lives in Lugano, Switzerland. Both are lawyers with practical experience of international arbitration and yacht racing, Donald Manasse has both American and German nationality and has a legal practice with offices in Nice and Monaco. He has sailed Stars, Rainbows and J-22s and is Vice President of the International J24 Class Association. Professor Henry Peter also has dual nationalities - Swiss and French. He is a partner in a legal practice and professor of company and sport law at the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne of which he is head of the MBL programme. Professor Peter has been cruising and racing mostly in Switzerland, in the Mediterranean and in the English Channel since 1972.

In accordance with Article 22.5 of the America's Cup Protocol, the first four members of the Panel appointed The Honourable Michael Foster QC of Sydney, Australia to be the fifth member and the chairman. He is retired judge of the Federal Court of Australia and an acting Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Michael Foster has had a life time interest in sailing and has been sailing on Sydney Harbour since he was 15 racing 12 foot and 16 foot skiffs. He has raced competitively in the Olympic Soling and International Yngling classes as well as being part owner of a cruising yacht. - Excerpts from a story on the Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

Veteran America's Cup skipper Peter Gilmour expressed his hurt and disappointment at Prada and Team Dennis Conner for going back to the America's Cup arbitration panel with information which accuses his OneWorld syndicate of using other teams' design information.

* When asked about the proceedings, an emotional and almost tearful Gilmour replied: "I am not particularly worried. I am more disappointed than anything. I was very surprised in the New York Yacht Club and Team Dennis Conner, and the Yacht Club Punta Ala and the Prada team, with their approach. They have clearly not respected the efforts that we went to last year in putting an application in front of the arbitration panel and presenting a very detailed and thorough internal investigation. What was seen at the time was a lot of very small combinations of small rule infractions that had occurred. The arbitration panel ruled and they placed a penalty down, and now these guys are coming back. It surprises me they would do it on the eve of when we had to race them. I'd just like to think inside me it is not the sailors."

Conner would not comment on Gilmour's comments. "For me to say anything about it at this point would not be wise," he said. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:

* Of all the hard-working America's Cup team members here, none is as important to his syndicate as the 33-year-old top gun Luis Saenz. Drawing on a lifetime of sailing experience, Saenz puts in 18-hour days, clawing for any advantage he can find over the other guys. Saenz, though, doesn't grind winches, call tactics or helm a boat. In fact, he hardly ever leaves shore. He is Dennis Conner's lawyer.

As litigious sporting events go, nothing tops the America's Cup. That was made clear again this week when Team Dennis Conner, routed on the water by a 4-0 loss to its American rival OneWorld, filed a protest to have OneWorld thrown out of the competition for stealing other teams' design secrets. The case will be heard by an arbitration panel next weekend, and there is a chance, though slim, that OneWorld will be tossed, and Conner reinstated. - Warren St. John, New York Times, full story:

* One of America's top lawyers, Richard Scruggs, has moved from defending a tobacco whistleblower, played by actor Russell Crowe in the movie The Insider, to backing long-time friend Dennis Conner in his America's Cup legal row. Mr Scruggs, a Mississippi lawyer who reportedly earned fees of more than $1 billion in lawsuits against tobacco giants, is a high-profile stalwart of the Conner campaign.

Team Dennis Conner would not confirm yesterday if Mr Scruggs was acting for them and Prada in a joint bid to have OneWorld Challenge thrown out of the America's Cup for using other teams' design secrets. But he has reportedly written to OneWorld and told them to pull out to protect the "dignity" of the event. - Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:

* Lawyers for OneWorld sent a letter to Team Dennis Conner and its sanctioning sponsor, the New York YC, saying that by talking to Reeves they might be subjecting themselves to civil contempt charges for violating the order of silence in their Seattle lawsuit. - Yacht Racing website, full story:

* On Sunday morning, Alessandra Pandarese, the principal legal advisor to Prada Challenge 2003 and secretary-general of Challenger of Record Management (CORM), reported the theft of her laptop computer from the premises of her supporting law firm in Auckland. "The office has a window opening onto the back of the premises, with a drop of about 5 feet from the window sill to the ground. The window was open when I went into the office this morning, although I always close it every time I leave the office," Pandarese said. A check was made throughout the premises, and nothing else appears to have been taken from any other office. Laptop computers used by the lawyers who work in the office, and various other valuable computer or electronic equipment were all untouched. -

Initially, the international jury scheduled a hearing on Team DC's protest after completion of the repechages. Now it is waiting until the arbitration panel has its say---a process that could run right into the semifinals scheduled to start Sunday, Dec. 8 (Dec. 9 in New Zealand). But it now seems that Sean Reeves, the central figure in the dispute, will testify despite constraints related to OneWorld's case against him in a U.S. federal court. - Yacht Racing website, full story:

* "The America's Cup is a legal battle that happens to be sailed on the water." - Luis Saenz, lawyer for Team Dennis Conner

* "You might have the fastest boat and the best crew, but without lawyers, you'll never have a chance to go on the water to prove it." - Iain Thain, a New Zealand lawyer who works for OneWorld.

* "I was hopelessly naive. I was warned that this would happen, and I didn't believe it. This is so much tougher - there is so much more biting and scratching - than anything I've dealt with in business, that I've been really stunned. Had I known that we'd have had this, clearly I'd not have become part of it. It's a very high-stakes game, and when there are high stakes, people in competition try to win any way they can. The lesson now is: Be honorable at your own peril." - Craig McCaw, OneWorld syndicate head.

These quotes are all from a story by Warren St. John in the NY Times about the protests that are about to be considered by the AC arbitration panel. -

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* Victory Challenge are packing up and heading home, confident the America's Cup arbitration panel will dismiss attempts to have Seattle syndicate OneWorld thrown out of the Louis Vuitton challenger series. "We are at the end of our challenge," Victory Challenge project manager Mats Johansson said yesterday. Should the arbitration panel decide to eject OneWorld after claims the syndicate used other teams' design information, there is nothing stopping GBR Challenge, Victory or even Le Defi Areva from seeking a recall. But Johansson believes a return for his team is highly unlikely. "There is a small chance, maybe a 1 per cent possibility, we will race again, but I don't think so." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald,

* Larry Ellison will skipper the Bruce Farr designed USA-76 in the International America's Cup Class San Francisco (IACCSF) 2003 regatta series. The series begins in May and will be raced on San Francisco Bay. Oracle BMW Racing's USA-76 is presently in New Zealand competing in the Louis Vuitton Challenger series.

* December 1 - A man overboard incident occurred yesterday afternoon, involving the yacht Toutazimut participating in the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). The incident is believed to have resulted in a fatality. The crewmember's immediate family has been informed. The MRCC Ponta Delgada are co-ordinating the incident, in liaison with MRCC Falmouth, who have been assisted by World Cruising Club which immediately redirected the yachts in the area to Toutazimut's position.

* Kingfisher2, (ex Orange) a 110-foot maxi-catamaran was re-launched last week. Later this winter, Ellen MacArthur and her Team Kingfisher crew will attempt to break the non-stop round the world speed record on Kingfisher2. -

(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 Chris Ericksen: I read with resignation and dismay--but no surprise--the words of ISAF President Paul Henderson in 'Butt 1209. He starts out by declaring that the "International Olympic Committee has complete control over the Olympic Games" and ends with "ISAF is responsible for the Governance of World Sailing" Anyone can see the linkage here: Henderson wants nothing more than to gain complete control over world sailing.

These words came to mind as I read Henderson's comments. "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government."

No educated citizen of the United States will fail to recognize these words as from the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps Henderson can reflect on these words and their implication.

* From John Fox: From the preface of the ISAF Contract with Olympic Classes, paragraph e)... ISAF will always endeavor to maintain the format and principles of the class... While the ISAF may have authority over the Olympic games themselves and entrance to the games, this does not give them the right to completely disregard the class rules. The classes placed trust in the ISAF and Paul Henderson and have been sold out by both. Henderson's arrogant response... "You asked us to be used in the Olympics!"

Recently in Cyprus, the International Sailing Federation flagrantly disregarded the Rules of the Star Class and imposed its own rules for qualification of entrants and format of the racing for the 2003 World Championships scheduled to be held in Cadiz Spain. The Star Class has successfully balanced the needs of Olympic athletes and fleet sailors since it was first chosen in 1932. Why should our format for the World Championship be completely thrown out?

The Central Long Island Sound Fleet, the oldest in the Star Class has taken the initiative of petitioning the Star Class IGC to withhold sanction of the Cadiz event as a World Championship of the Star Class and to not award the Gold Star unless ISAF runs the event by Star Class Rules. Details are posted on the First District Web site at

* From Chris Bouzaid: Two months ago I wrote an article in the NZ Herald entitled "Lets be Winners not Whingers" referring to the complaining about the New Zealanders sailing for other countries. Now the shoe is on the other foot. The protest by Stars and Stripes and Prada is bad for sport, bad for yachting bad for the America's Cup and bad for patriotic Americans. I am ashamed as a member of the NYYC to be involved. America protesting America, how low can we go?

The reasons for this unlikely couple to become bedfellows are very obvious and the protest and arbitration appeal are degrading to our sport. This protest is so transparent. One doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to see through the process. If OneWorld gets thrown out then Stars and Stripes will be back in. If Stars and Stripes is back in then Prada will have to sail against Stars and Stripes instead of One World, clearly the preferred outcome.

As unfortunate as it may be the NYYC and Stars & Stripes have been clearly defeated on the water, which in the humble opinion of this writer is where the winning and loosing should take place.

* From John Rumsey: It looks like all the boats left in the semi finals are led by Kiwis. Is it possible there is a secret plan to have the NZ led challenger lay down in the finals to keep the cup in NZ another term. There could be some big money in that.

* From Scott Ridgeway: Interestingly, on three of the four boats in the LVC 'Final Four', the person designated as skipper did not drive the boat during pre-start maneuvers. Instead, they had a starting specialist / driver at the helm.

The single exception is of course, Alinghi. On Alinghi, Russell Coutts does it all. But Russell is a bit special, isn't he? Russell has been the winning skipper for the last two America's Cup Series. And he has also been a repeat winner of the Match Racing World Championship. And he spent many, many months as the world's top rated match racer. And he has an Olympic gold medal.

Still, it's very possible that Coutts could go into the record books as the last person to win the cup as both the skipper and the starting helmsman. If that happens, Team New Zealand has a big problem.

* From Helen Johnstone: Has anyone contacted the Hollywood Executives to begin production on the new movie called "Scandals of the America's Cup"? The Figure Skating World got catapulted into the "limelight" after their Nancy Kerrigan/ Tonya Harding scandal. The current "scandals" going on with the America's Cup are a great opportunity for the sailing world to take advantage of and create a "media feeding frenzy". Perhaps the America's Cup teams could create some additional "staged" soap operas to add to the drama. I don't know what is in the air in Auckland, New Zealand but I must say that it is certainly entertaining. Does this America's Cup include any sailing/racing?

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* Dennis Conner: "I am not disappointed in the boat. I am disappointed in our results because we could have done better. In the past I've had boats that we've got the best out of and we haven't done well. It seems like I always have an excuse but this time I don't think it's the boat." - 2003AC website, full story:

* Peter Gilmour: "Having to do the repechage round was absolutely the best thing for us. We saw Dennis Conner as the toughest opponent we could choose, and we wanted to race him, even though everyone tried to convince us we had made the wrong decision. We couldn't have made a better one. We feel really confident now." - From a story by Suzanne McFadden, in the Seattle Times -

* New York Times: "OneWorld seemed to have a slight speed advantage (over Stars & Stripes) upwind. But Conner's team was also outsailed, especially in the starting box, where the lack of practice time clearly showed. With the 23-year-old Australian James Spithill at the helm and the America's Cup veteran Peter Gilmour calling tactics, OneWorld won all four starts, often leaving Stars & Stripes looking confused." - Warren St. John, NY Times, full story:

The Route du Rhum finish line closes Sunday, 8 December at 2038:00 GMT. Thirteen of the 58 competitors of the 2002 are still at sea. 17 have crossed the finish line in Guadeloupe and 28 abandoned. -

Tim Kent's Open 50 Everest Horizontal crossed the finish line Sunday night (the official time has not been posted on the website) in Cape Town to take second place on leg 2 in Class 2 behind Brad Van Liew's Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. The third place boat in Class 2, Derek Hatfield's Open 40 Spirit of Canada, was more than 200 miles astern. -

CHICAGO - Freezing temperatures and gusty winds greeted the college competitors as they raced the 56th annual Timme Angsten Memorial Regatta over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The Timme's, known as 'The best competition you ever froze with,' proved to be just that, with icy boats, torn sails and frequent capsizing. This year sixty students from 15 schools across the country braved the chilly waters of Belmont Harbor to compete in 30 races. Final Results: 1st - Boston College; 2nd - University of Wisconsin; 3rd - University of California-Berkeley. - Haley Pingree Complete results:

Are part-time bandleaders 'semiconductors?'