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SCUTTLEBUTT #448 - November 24, 1999

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 class:

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 and Jonathan.

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:

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:

* 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 syndicates."

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 say that."

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,

* 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 regarding USA-58.

"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:

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 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

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. "Columbia."
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 "too heavy."
8. 1876 The "Countess of Dufferin" (challenger) is protested because her design is " nothing more the American sailing innovations built in Canada.

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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:

- The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
- 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 eat.
- 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 can hear.
- 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 I'm alive.
- 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.

If marriage was outlawed, only outlaws would have in-laws.