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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1213 - December 5, 2002

Powered by www.boats.com, 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 PRESIDENT SPEAKS
The major problem, which is again causing concern, is that the ISAF Rules and Regulations that impact the Olympic Classes are being interpreted as affecting the average sailor. They should not. The Olympics have become very rarified and has become dominated by National Teams, coaches and dollars. That is reality and all aspects will escalate.

It is essential that the non-Olympic sailors realize that their autonomy is not being challenged nor are their local events or organizers. I ask that when they read the new Olympic regulations that they do not overreact unless they choose to sail an Olympic Class which by definition incurs very intrusive constraints because of the intensity of the competition which is very nationalistic.

The answer is not to withdraw sailing from the Olympics because many sailors do not want to cope with these pressures, but to allow those who do to fulfill their dreams. Fortunately there are other sailing mountains to climb, which are available. I guess it is analogous to Golf where "Tiger" plays from the back tees and shoots 65 and I play from the front tees and shoot 100, but it most likely more fun for me than it is for him. Enjoy the broad spectrum of sailing at whatever level and in whatever area you choose. - Paul Henderson, ISAF President, full article: http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=3501

THE IACC RULE
(Following is an excerpt from a comprehensive story did for the Louis Vuitton Cup website.)
A blue-ribbon panel of Cup designers was convened prior to the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup Quarter Finals Repechage Round. And there was no shortage of opinions about the (America's Cup) rule's practicality and life expectancy.

- Victory Challenge's German "Mani" Frers, Jr., thinks the rule is doing a good job and that the Protocol should be looked at for change before the AC Rule.

- Laurie Davidson, a two-time Cup winning designer with Team New Zealand who now works with OneWorld, feels the Rule has reached a plateau.

- Bruce Nelson, also with OneWorld, and Bruce Farr, working with Oracle BMW Racing, agree that the rule should be changed to reduce maximum displacement.

- Doug Peterson, Prada's exiled two-time America's Cup winning designer, feels that the type-forming the restrictions encourage is good for the event and match-racing.

- Alinghi's Rolf Vrolijk and Team New Zealand's Tom Schnackenberg caution that it's not up to the designers to decide whether to change the rule. The interests of sponsors, supporters and sailors must also be considered.

- Although not present at the conference, Jim Pugh of Reichel /Pugh Yacht Design, designers of Team Dennis Conner's two boats, would throw the rule out and start all over. Pugh advocates a purely development class. - Sean McNeill, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1188.html

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NEWS BRIEFS
* Le Défi Areva is planning to get back to sailing in Lorient this coming Spring despite a disappointing quarter-final elimination by Victory Challenge in the challenger series. "We are taking all our equipment back to Lorient, the base is waiting for us there with all the infrastructure necessary to get the boats operational again", said Pierre Mas, the Sports Director. Pierre Mas insisted this campaign had laid solid foundations for future success and he was determined to take le Défi to the next America's Cup. "There's still plenty to learn from these boats before we start designing any new ones", he said. - Hauraki News website, full story: www.hauraki-news.com/LatestNews/LeDefi-LN9.htm

* Challenge Business has announced it's last call for skippers for the next Global Challenge round-the-world yacht race, which sets sail in September 2004 and pits 12 identical 72' yachts against one another made ever more challenging by its route, east to west, against prevailing winds and currents. In total more than 200 interested men and wowem skippers have requested the application forms, but the closing date for submitting those application is 14th December. The Crew Volunteers, have already been selected along with a healthy reserve list holds names of eager hopefuls keen to join the race. - www.challengebusiness.com

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (leweck@earthlink.net)
(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 E. Eric Johnson: It is with some amusement that I read the varying opinions on the Prada/TDC vs. One World protest with TNZ allegedly slipping papers under the door. The railing on about "settle it on the water" versus "throw out the cheaters" with the undercurrent of doing unmentionable things to the attorneys involved seems to play out every America's Cup cycle for as long as I can remember. Is this the way that the majority of sailing is run and done? Of course not.

Just as the World Cup Finals or the Super Bowl are not representative of how their sports usually run either. Each of these events are the most visible of their respective sports and the limelight attracts all sorts of talent, money, ego and hooligans. Eventually it will get back to the game once all the commercials/protests are run. While we wait, please remember one of the Curmudgeon's Comments, "The cream rises to the top...so does the scum."

* From Terry Bischoff: With the pathetic legal battles in Auckland, and the controversy of what classes will sail in future Olympic games, who won the Mac Race, is it any wonder that those of us who work our tails off at Community Sailing Centers such as Stuart, Fl, have trouble convincing prospects that this is a worthwhile lifetime sport?

Does it make one hill of beans who wins these events 20 years from now? Sometime, all those involved will have to find a way to make a real living, or better yet, put on a real uniform and defend their right to litigate every situation they feel they have a right to. Maybe then, they'll see that they are only playing a game.

* From Stephen Wells: It my opinion the reason we are having the current disputes in the AC is that the rules are unenforceable in any fair way. I feel that confidentially should start when the challenger is accepted for the AC. Any information from previous challenges should be fair game. Currently the royals - the designers and skippers can get away with transferring designs and strategies while the grunts get sued for the same thing.

* Bruce McPherson: The letters from most of your readers expressing opinions regarding the OneWorld trial seem to indicate they haven't done enough of the background reading available through the links you provide in Scuttlebutt! Clearly Dennis knows better sailors beat him. He has been quoted saying he "couldn't blame the boat." He must therefore, be working to sanctify the "Cup," feeling that it is vital to play by the rules existing for this event as drawn up by the syndicates themselves early in the process. My guess: Look for some surprises! TDC and Prada may turn out to be the good guys after all. Their efforts may save the IACC from some serious problems in the future!

* From Paul Murphy: Why are people getting so up tight? The Arbitration Panel and International Jury are there to hear evidence and make decisions. If a competitor considers that another competitor has breached the rules, at any regatta or sailing event, they have a right to protest. That's how we run our sport. If there appears to be a breach of the RRS, the Class Rules, the Notice of Race or the Sailing Instructions, even at a club regatta for 10 year olds, then we deal with it through the protest mechanism. Nobody calls it sour grapes.Why should the America's Cup be any different?

The Deed of Gift, the Protocol, the Conditions, the ACC Rules etc., are simply other ways of describing the rules of this event. If a competitor considers any or all of them have been breached by another competitor, than he has a perfect right to seek a decision from the Arbitration Panel and International Jury. He gets every chance to present his evidence and, crucially, his opponents have every chance to defend their position. Looking at the composition of both bodies, I think they can be trusted to do what is right, whatever they decide. And they are unlikely to be swayed by all of the public relations hype coming from the various camps, just by the plain facts.

* From Zachie J de Beer: My take on the latest legal battle in the AC is simply that there is too much at stake not to use every possible route to get the cup. The economy of a fairly large city can be influenced substantially by winning and hosting the cup. Does the nation with the most Gold Medals decide where to hold the Olympic Games ? Should they?

* From Hal Smith: It is fortunate that none of the people writing about the TDC and Prada protest against One World are on the jury or arbitration panel. In the current style of the US media, casual observers have weighed in with decisions drawn but with a remarkable lack of facts and evidence.

If One World did indeed use design information in violation of the rules, then it does the sport more good to catch them and punish them than to ignore it. Being "polite" and overlooking the possible serious breach of trust invites more abuse of the rules in the future (similar to the kinetics debate). If One World is not guilty, then no proof will be found and the accusers will have egg on their faces. By prematurely convicting the accusers or accused you join the eventual egg wearers.

* From: John Sweeney (in response to David Elwell's quote about OneWorld's campaign efforts, "Then they can go home with a wonderful feeling that they've done a great job"): I say, whatever the result of the hearing, that the crew (including shore team) most certainly should feel they have done a great job. So too should the crew of Stars and Stripes, there is no shame in loosing a sailboat race. At worst they're egos are a bit bruised. It's those who seek to be spoilers of the event that deservedly leave N.Z. in shame.

* From Jay Cross: It may be entertaining but it's still pathetic to follow this America's Cup. This doesn't happen in properly managed sports, - professional sports teams don't sue each other. It's time sailing got their heads out of the cockpit and followed the lead of other sports, and developed a Commissioner (with real authority) and a Board of Governors (with owners, not designers, players and officials) just like the NBA or the NFL. And let's not get started on the obscene cost to compete. The America's Cup has long since ceased being national or amateur and it's obviously in need of a complete overall.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: ISAF President Paul Henderson wrote to remind the curmudgeon who Jay Cross is: "Canadian Olympic 470 sailor 1980 (Boycott), Silver Worlds. World Champion Int. 14. Designer of Int. 14's. Built new Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Arena. President Miami Heat NBA and built new arena. Now President New York Jets NFL Team Member NYYC and Royal Canadian YC. All this at age 45. Wake up and listen to a guy who knows Pro Sport and loves sailing."

* From Brooks Magruder, Singapore: I love everything about the A-Cup-- in no order: the egos, the outrage, the lawyers, the fickle weather, the skill, the rookie mistakes, the technology, the delays, the arrogance, the crew that don't know starboard from port, the protests, the history, the intrigue-- I'll stop there-- I could easily go past the 250-word limit.

CURMUDGEON COMMENT: That's the final word. We will print no more letters about the issues before the arbitration panel until something more definitive is learned.

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THE HEARING
* In an opening statement to the panel Wednesday, OneWorld denied and detailed its defense of allegations it is guilty of "multiple gross violations" of the America's Cup Protocol. It offered with its submission affidavits or affirmations from McCaw, designers Laurie Davidson, Bruce Nelson and Phil Kaiko, chief executive Gary Wright and skipper Peter Gilmour, among others.

While Team Dennis Conner and Prada's submissions suggest an unspecific number of charges against OneWorld, based on evidence from the team's former operations manager Sean Reeves, OneWorld says there are five prime charges. It is alleged that it used hull mold geometry drawings belonging to Team New Zealand; that it had and used Team New Zealand deckplan drawings and that it duplicated "mechanical fittings and devices" belonging to the Cup defenders. It is also alleged to have obtained from Davidson, the designer of Team New Zealand's Cup-winning yachts in 2000, plans which copied specifics of those boats. OneWorld is also alleged to have used sail, batten and mast information belonging to Prada, who challenged Team New Zealand for the Cup two years ago.

OneWorld's statement said the substantive evidence put forward by Prada and Team Dennis Conner comprised two affidavits from Reeves, sworn in June and August, and an e-mail from OneWorld mast designer Scott Vogel. It said its own evidence established it did not have the Team New Zealand drawings, did not breach the Protocol in its rig designs, did not use Prada's sail information and only used original designs by Davidson.

"The evidence put forward by Prada and Team Dennis Conner does not discharge the high onus required given the nature of their allegations," OneWorld said. "OneWorld did not breach the Protocol as alleged by Prada and Team Dennis Conner in this current application. The application should be dismissed." -Fox Sports website, full story: foxsports.lycos.com/content/view?contentId=786586

* OneWorld Challenge has agreed to allow Sean Reeves to testify at the special hearing of the America's Cup Arbitration Panel being convened in Auckland this weekend, despite a restraining order from the US courts. Syndicate spokesman Bob Ratliffe confirmed today that an undertaking had been given that Reeves could participate at the Panel hearings without fear of being pursued in the courts by OneWorld Challenge. OneWorld made the undertaking to lawyers acting for Prada and Team Dennis Conner, which have jointly initiated the action before the Arbitration Panel. "In fact, we want Reeves to testify at the hearing," Ratliffe said today. "We want to give him the freedom for those two days to answer questions and give testimony, but obviously that has to be within the proper scope of the enquiry."

According to a New Zealand Press Association report, Reeves today said he would give evidence at the hearing if required, but had so far not been asked. He told the news agency he was relieved to see OneWorld had signed an undertaking, saying they would not take any action against him if he appeared before the Panel. - Ivor Wilkins, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1269.html

TEAM SPIRIT
In every corner of the country, New Zealanders are chipping in to help Team New Zealand successfully defend the America's Cup. In Masterton, a farming community deep in the south of the North Island, they're lining up to support Team New Zealand. It's the same story in Blenheim, a region renowned for its wine making in the South Island, and in Whakatane, a coastal settlement 300km away from the Hauraki Gulf. All across the country, New Zealanders are chipping in to help Team New Zealand successfully defend the America's Cup through the Support Crew campaign.

Over 20,000 people have either made a donation to the defenders' cause or joined the Support Crew club. The programme is managed for Team New Zealand by The Warehouse chain of 78 stores, where supporters can either buy $1, $2 and $5 donation cards or a Support Crew membership card carrying a magnetic strip, offered in three categories - bronze ($9.99), silver ($14.99) and gold ($19.99). - xtramsn website, full story: xtramsn.co.nz/news/0,,3882-1935048,00.html

AROUND ALONE
Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi sailed his Open 40 'Spirit of yukoh' across the finish line in Cape Town at 22:05:51 local time (20:05:51 GMT) on December 3rd to take fourth place in Class 2 of Around Alone 2002-03 Leg 2. - Mary Ambler, www.aroundalone.com

TOUR DE FRANCE A LA VOILE
The 26th Tour de France a la Voile will stick to its tradition and cover the whole French coastline, from the Belgian border to the Riviera. Once again, the contenders will have a chance to race in the Channel, the Atlantic as well as the tricky Med. Like last year, the Mumm 30s will gather in Dunkerque on the last week of June for the start. The 2003 course will be about 1000 miles long and includes 13 stopovers. In 2002, the Tour de France a la Voile hit a participation record with 40 boats lining up. It should be even better as 45 teams are expected to compete in 2003. Marion Lorber, www.tourvoile.fr

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Shakespeare said it best: The first thing we do let's kill all the lawyers. --II Henry VI, IV:2