SCUTTLEBUTT #448 - November 24, 1999
THE JUDGE SPEAKS OUT
Accusations and recrimination continued to swirl around New York Yacht
Club's Young America after the Louis Vuitton Cup International Jury
granted, then stripped it, of a point for the race in which it never competed.
But yesterday (Saturday), chairman of the Jury, Englishman Bryan Willis,
hit out hard at the waterfront rumour mill, which suggested Young America
had misled the jury.
"Those accusations of cheating and lying are absolutely outrageous and we
have no truck that," said Willis. "The accusations are disgraceful." --
Ivor Wilkens, Sunday Star Times, November 21.
Following is a brief excerpt from an interview Gary Jobson did with Charlie
McKee after Jonathan and Charlie McKee won the Olympic Trials in the 49er
Jobson: It is a little unusual for the U.S.A. to have such a long period of
time from the trials until the Games actually start. Do you look at that as
an advantage, having this long period to prepare?
McKee: Definitely. We were very much in favor of it and were pushing for
that to happen. We selected about half the team now. I bet when you talk to
the rest of the selected members, they are all excited about the fact that
they can map out their schedule and have time to build back up --sort of
come down, see where they are, build back up and not feel the time pressure
of "I've got to improve in several different areas." We know we have enough
time now and we sort of methodically move forward and make it happen.
Jobson: I guess it is fair to say there is no sibling rivalry between you
McKee: People ask us, "How can you possibly sail with your brother?" I
could lie and say it is easy and we always get along perfectly, but you
know we've been at this a long time and the fact that we know each other so
well is definitely a strength of ours. Sailing these types of boats, there
is so much pressure on the teamwork because you make so many mistakes that
really the crucial thing is the ability to get back on track and not focus
on your previous mistakes. That is something that we have become very adept
at over the course of our 20 years sailing together.
Jobson: The United States historically has done pretty well in the Olympic
sailing, certainly at least since 1984. But Savannah was a disappointment
-- only two bronze medals in 10 classes. What do you think the prospects of
capturing a medal in the 49er class are for you and Jonathan?
McKee: It has gotten much more competitive in our class and that is
something that goes throughout the whole sport of sailing, so you're never
going to see performances like we had in (South) Korea on that team or in
Barcelona again. No team is going to dominate to that extent anymore. The
game has just changed to a certain extent. From a personal standpoint, we
know that we are a strong medal contender. We feel like there are about
eight teams internationally that are good enough to contend for medals and
probably contend for the gold. We feel like we are as strong as any of
them. We feel good about our chances in that regard. It's certainly not a
lock with eight teams that are pretty level. From a team-wise point of
view, we feel pretty good about the fact that so far, everyone that has won
the early set of trials has at least one person on the boat who was on that
incredible winning team in Barcelona. Jonathan was the head coach and
everyone else competed there and did well. We have to feel good that that
helps our medal prospects, the fact that we have veteran people who have
won medals before.
Full story: http://www.nbcolympics.com/
MORE THAN JUST NEWS
You can find America's Cup news in lots of places. But when you're looking
for more than just news -- when you're looking for insightful commentary
that puts all of the 'news' in perspective -- you really must check into
the Quokka AC website. You'll be treated to the well-reasoned thoughts of
seasoned journalists whose observations go well beyond the headlines and
the PR spin. And while you're there, you should also check out the daily
audio recordings, the magnificent collection of images and the unparalleled
news coverage. Try it -- you'll like it: http://www.americascup.org/
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
* Seventh-placed Spain has decided to go for broke in search of boat speed
before the third round of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Spain initially planned
slight changes to Bravo Espana between the second and third rounds. But
after finishing Round 2 seven points behind sixth-placed Young America, the
team has decided on more radical modifications.
"I think the boat is there. It should be fighting for sixth or fifth place
and now we are going to make some changes on the boat and try to take some
risks because we need a little bit more speed," said Skipper Pedro Campos.
"At least we prefer to die fighting, not to just miss out on the semifinals
by one point or four points," he added. "So we are going to make some more,
let us say, dramatic changes because we need to beat some of the good
Campos said Spain made subtle changes to Bravo between Rounds 1 and 2 and
achieved considerably improved performance. The syndicate fitted a new mast
immediately after Round 1 and made slight changes to the boat's
broad-winged keel. "They were very, very light modifications," Campos said.
"This time we're going to go deeper because now we need to beat some of the
good ones. If we don't make these changes perhaps we can again win five
races like we did in the first round but that is not enough. We need to win
at least six.
"In terms of where we are today, I can tell you that the boat is really
good, very strong. The sails and everything works very well and I am very
happy with the work of the crew," he added. "In any case I feel happy. Of
course we would like to make the semis but the main thing here was to prove
we can be in the first level of competition."
Campos continued, "We know if we do make the semis it's going to be very
difficult. It's just a question of being able to go back home eventually
and say we made the semis. Unless we make the changes we are going to make
now, unless we completely change the boat, we are not going to be able to
Campos said the changes would take three days to complete. "Sometimes small
changes or not-so-small changes make a big difference," he said. "I think
our boat speed downwind in the second round robin is maybe the fastest of
the fleet. In the first it was America True, but now we have been gaining
in all of the downwind legs. But now we have to point a little bit higher
so now we are going to try to change this downwind speed into upwind speed
and if it works ... anything."
Campos is also hoping Spain has a change of luck in the third round. "The
second round has been very bad for us in terms of luck," he said. "One of
the boats that was behind us, Stars & Stripes, won some races because their
opponents had breakages. Those were races that shouldn't have been won in
terms of the theory of boat speed.
"This is part of the game, to be lucky or unlucky," he continued. "We hope
that this changes in the last round robin when races are worth nine points.
If we are able to get some extra wins, perhaps we can do it." -- Steve
McMorran, Quokka Sports, http://www.americascup.org/
* The international jury, on Tuesday evening, denied a request from Le
Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel to reopen the hearing that allowed the
Young America syndicate an expedited measurement of its substitute boat,
USA-58. The jury ruled that the request, submitted on Sunday, 21 November,
was invalid because it was filed too long after the 12 November hearing
"We knew we were late in filing the request to reopen the hearing, but we
wanted to be completely sure that the jury had considered all the
evidence," said Xavier de Lesquen, general manager of the French team. "The
jury was correct in this decision."
Following the near sinking of USA-53 on 9 November, the jury waived the
requirement that a yacht must have a valid measurement certificate 36 hours
before its first race, which was against the French boat 6eme Sens. Young
America won that race and was awarded four points.
Only later, in a subsequent protest filed by the AmericaOne Challenge, did
additional information come out about USA-58 that, in the opinion of the
French, made the measurement certificate invalid, de Lesquen said. -- Larry
Edwards, Quokka Sports,
Full story: http://www.americascup.org/
Maxi-catamaran PlayStation and her crew are on Code Yellow readiness status
for a departure between Saturday afternoon Nov 27 and Tuesday Nov 30.
Skipper Steve Fossett said "Both our meteorologist George Caras and
consulting meteorologist Chris Bedford believe the developing weather
pattern is close to what we want.
We would start with a strong W or NW wind (think 600-mile day), but will be
struggling somewhat with wind angles behind us as we approach England.
Nothing's perfect." He also advised "This of course is a long range
forecast, so be prepared for a shift in departure days or the possibility
of a disappointment in the pattern development." --
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (email@example.com)
Letters selected to be printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250
words max) or to exclude personal attacks. But only one letter per subject,
so give it your best shot and don't whine if people disagree.
-- From Wally Henry -- In response to Dave Benjamin's letter in butt #447;
obviously, there are no AC boats to date with deck stepped masts.
-- From Bruce Kirby -- As a member of the New York Yacht Club I probably
shouldn't be asking this question - but. There seems to be some
argument as to whether the YOUNG AMERICA difficulty that fateful day was in
the gooseneck or in the area of the hull where the first boat broke. The
voices on the on-board tape are saying, "Where's that crack - we're dead
-jib down - let's get the jib down, we're risking it ... etc." If the
big problem was in the gooseneck then why take the jib down? Seems like
the only action that would relieve strain on the gooseneck would be to get
the main down.
-- From Fred Schultz -- Judging from the news about Young America and it's
upper management folies ever since the famous ESPN/Fox snafu - Young
America looks more like Dumb America.
-- From Ken Guyer in response to Michael Silverman's (butt #447) analogy
comparing the decision reversal by the International Jury in the case of
Young America's redress to that of NFL umpires. The referees in the NFL
rely on vision to make calls. They see an infraction or they don't.
With the International Jury they rely on testimony to make decisions. When
it is brought forward that the verbal testimony presented by Young America
was less than "accurate" to the facts, a reversal of their decision is
warranted. Plain simple language, the new evidence presented showed Young
America had made the decision to withdraw from the racing because of the
problems with the cracking deck (not repairable), not the gooseneck. They
attempted to gain a single point through "less than honest" means.
-- From Bill Carey -- I am a California attorney. Say and think what you
want about attorneys, especially the Southern California variety, but know
this: when we go to a hearing and get caught in a lie, the BEST thing that
can happen to us is to get slapped with a several hundred dollar fine and a
judge who will be an enemy for life. At worst, we get our client's case
thrown out of court, we lose our license, and we get sued for malpractice.
What happens to an America's Cup syndicate if it gets caught in a lie
during a hearing?
-- From Bill Cook -- The issues surrounding Young America are serious, but
the thread here has already degenerated into a shouting match between
people who have neither read the jury decisions nor seen the television
program that caused the hearing to be re-opened. At the syndicate I work
for, just a couple of doors down from those guys, we think the jury made
the right decision and followed the proper proceedures. Most of the people
at Young America are freinds and are good people, and further flaming on
this issue only harms the innocent - including the four other American
teams which seem to get lumped in with "those Americans". We'd like to move
on to some great racing in RR3.
Curmudgeon's comment: I couldn't agree more with Bill Cook. Let's get on
with the racing, because this thread is now officially dead.
-- From Paul Lombardi -- I have to hand to ESPN the total sports network
they have demonstrated that again with a major sporting event with the
United States being represented that they only show Americas cup updates at
the wee hours of the morning when a majority of the sailing community is in
bed .We have five yachts racing in New Zealand there are four European
yachts in this event and on sports stations all over Europe every day it is
televised i have worked and raced in Europe the last 16 years sailing is
second in France only to Soccer .We are a maritime nation and it is a shame
that long standing Maritime event makes headlines when a yacht breaks up
and almost sinks so everyone can laugh at the sailing community during
sports center maybe Fox sports can do better
AMERICA'S CUP TRIVIA-- Chris Shining
With all of the griping about disposable boats and protests I thought I
would throw you a little trivia: Can any of you guess what year the
following "issues" first raised their respective heads? (I'll give you a
hint it wasn't this year!) There are probably multiple answers to each of
these questions, but I thought you might find it interesting how history
has a tendency to repeat itself.
1. faulty sailing instructions concerning mark roundings
2. top mast rig failure
3. a challenger winning a race due to the defender's steering failure
4. defender expatriates recruited to sail with a challenger
5. men aloft to help the sails across
6. protest over an illegal centerboard
7. racing instructions written in order to avoid sailing in too much wind.
8. yacht design country of origin issues
Here are the answers: (Source "The Winning Moment: Paintings of The
America's Cup 1851-1987)
1. 1851 "America" rounding the Nab Light ship and 1871 "Livonia" v.
2. 1870 "Cambria" (challenger) loses her top mast after a port shroud is
broken when "Tarolinta" doesn't duck properly while on port.
3. 1871 Challenger "Columbia" breaks her steering mechanism and "Livonia"
becomes the first challenger to win a race.
4. 1876 The Canadian challenger "Countess of Dufferin" is so off the pace
that New York sailors are recruited to help her get around the track
5. 1871 Most yachts of the era require men aloft in order to get the sails
to gybe through the convoluted rigs. Of interest here is when "Livonia"
gybed around the mark vessel in her race against "Columbia" the man aloft
was knocked "silly" when the sails came across
6. 1870 Challenger Sir Richard Ashbury protests the NYYC for defending with
"Cambria." The defender carried a centreboard. (Outlawed by his club the
Royal Yacht Squadron)
7. 1903 When "Reliance", the largest yacht to ever compete in the America's
Cup was found to be tender in heavy breeze, the NYYC rewrote the Sailing
Instructions to give the PRO the discretion to halt sailing if the wind has
8. 1876 The "Countess of Dufferin" (challenger) is protested because her
design is " nothing more the American sailing innovations built in Canada.
So what are you going to give to your hardworking and loyal crewmembers for
Christmas this year? They busted their tail for you this season -- now you
have a chance to show how much you appreciate them with quality crew attire
from Pacific Yacht Embroidery. Give Frank Whitton a call to find out how
affordable it is to be good guy during the holiday season,
Pacyacht@aol.com / 619-226-8033
Again a long and hot day on the water in Malaysia. The finals of the first
elimination were sailed inside the breakwaters which finally produced the
spectacle so many had hoped for. And the competing teams fairly enjoyed and
supported the racing which was sailed so close to the shore that a natural
arena was created. The more aggressive way of competing gave all a change
to explore what match racing can give. The strong current gave an extra
dimension to today's racing. Despite the success of the inside racing the
Race Committee had to decide to run the afternoon racing outside as the
wind had nearly died.
The Umpires had an interesting day again. A lot of incidents occurred with
some controversial decisions. From the 32 calls, 17 were dismissed, 12
penalties were given and three were umpire initiated protests. The umpires
had two B-flag protests which they both dismissed. -- Henri G C van der Aat
Provisional results after two eliminations before the final race of
elimination two: 1. Andy Beadsworth 19/20, 2. Roy Heiner 17/18, 3. Magnus
Holmberg 16/17, 4. Seastien Destremau 14/15, 5. Tomislav Basic 12/13, 6.
Phillippe Presti 11/12, 7. Sten Mohr 10/11, 8. Markus Wieser 9/10, 9. Maxim
Taranov 4, 10. Hamdan Yahya 2.
For more information: http://www.malaysiachallenge.com.my
THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR:
- The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded
- The taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.
- The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to
- My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
- A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that
need fixing because it means I have a home.
- All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have
freedom of speech.
- The space I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am
capable of walking.
- My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
- The lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I
- The piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
- Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I
have been productive.
- The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that
- Getting too much email bogs me down but at least I know I have friends
who are thinking of me.
Thanks Camille. And now, like most American's, the curmudgeon will take a
four day weekend and 'Butt will return on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
If marriage was outlawed, only outlaws would have in-laws.