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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1212 - December 4, 2002

Powered by, 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 question was raised in the letters to Scuttlebutt about OneWorld trying to prevent Sean Reeves from testifying at the weekends Arbitration Panel hearings. OneWorld has never stood in the way of Reeves testimony, in fact we believe it will be enlightening for many and a way to clear the names of fine gentlemen and sportsmen whose reputations he has wrongly called into question. We have been trying to assure that he is able to testify and at the same time allow us to maintain some level of security over the intellectual property we paid dearly for and he has given out liberally.

People need to realize one other thing. We did an exhaustive investigation when Reeves left and found areas where we felt we might be in violations of the protocol. We asked for a ruling and every other team was given ample opportunity to provide testimony. None did. The Panel gave us their ruling and penalty. We have paid it.

There is nothing new in Reeves pages of fiction. Remember this ... the transgressions that did occur are the things that your lawyer and rules advisor are paid to keep you from tripping up on. They are the people responsible to make sure everyone is knowledgeable on the nuances of the proper procedures. Our lawyer and rules advisor during this time, was none other than Sean Reeves. Now he tries to cover up for a job done poorly.

Most of the violations were also caused by Reeves. For instance, he is the man who brought Laurie Davidson the TNZ measurement certificates and he in fact told Laurie he had the right to have them. Davidson had no need for them as his job was to design a faster boat than NZL 57 and 60 - lets just hope he did!

One other thing - we have tremendous respect for the fine institution of the NYYC and apologize if we implied that a few peoples actions reflected the feelings of the entire membership. - Bob Ratliffe, Executive Director, OneWorld Challenge

In the case against OneWorld Challenge re-opened jointly by Prada and Team Dennis Conner, Team New Zealand's role in the whole saga has been a matter of some curiosity. The America's Cup defenders have made it clear that they are not an applicant in the new case, but they are inevitably involved in it.

In bringing the latest action against OneWorld, Prada and Team Dennis Conner have relied heavily on the detailed affidavits prepared by Sean Reeves, a former rules adviser to Team New Zealand who was involved in recruiting personnel and setting up the OneWorld Challenge in 2000. Those affidavits were originally given to Team New Zealand by Reeves, after his falling out with OneWorld and the legal battles that ensued.

As the five-man Arbitration Panel prepares to travel to Auckland for a special weekend hearing of the Prada / Team Dennis Conner case, the parties involved are closeted in their various compounds with teams of lawyers and rules advisers working on their submissions.

Team New Zealand has also prepared a submission, which outlines its position and gives some insight into why the Cup defenders, who, on the face of it, were the biggest victims of lost secrets, did not initiate a case themselves. - Ivor Wilkins, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

If you really want to know the issues that will be placed before the arbitration panel, you simply must read this story by Tim Jeffery on Yachting World's America's Cup website:

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(Rich Roberts summarized the current proceedings before AC arbitration Panel in a story for the Los Angeles Times. Here are a few brief excerpts.)

Has Seattle's OneWorld Challenge been sailing with design secrets stolen from America's Cup defender Team New Zealand? Is Sean Reeves a hero or a villain? Who stole the Italian lawyer's laptop?

Perhaps all will be revealed over the weekend and the remaining challengers can get on with the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger trials at Auckland to determine who gets a chance to take the Cup away from the Kiwis in February. Or, perhaps not.

* There is an assumption that if OneWorld is kicked out, Team Dennis Conner will take its place. Not necessarily. Sweden's Victory Challenge, a 4-0 loser to Prada in the repechage, had a better won-lost record than Team DC, 7-9 to 6-10, through the two round-robins that determined quarterfinal matchups.

But Monday the Swedes announced they were packing up to go home. Even the Swedes' departure, however, won't guarantee Team DC a spot. If OneWorld is dumped, the arbitration panel could order a sail-off among the remaining quarterfinalists -- Team DC, Britain's GBR and France's Le Defi Areva -- or, in the most expeditious solution, have a three-boat semifinal.

There is doubt whether Reeves will testify or if the arbitration panel will have to rule on the face value of his affidavit. NYYC Commodore David Elwell said, "We do believe that Sean Reeves will be there to testify." - Rich Roberts, LA Times, full story:

(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 Ed du Moulin: From the earliest challenge (1870) to the present , with too few exceptions, controversy has surrounded the America's Cup. To a great extent such controversies have contributed to the excitement, the uniqueness of the Cup, and its longevity.

I can understand the emotional reactions of many of your subscribers. However, emotions aside, we should await the facts and the Jury's decision. If new evidence has come forth that may prove serious violations of the Protocol, it should be heard. I am confident the McCaw group would want to see that justice is done, just as I would. Come what may.

* From Richard Hazelton (Edited to our 250-word limit): Sailors are always clamoring for more coverage and exposure to their sport, and when we do get it what does it show? As editor of a sailing magazine, we try and show the power, grace, athleticism and smarts it takes to complete in these world-class events. Sure, we can put that in the magazine, but try and get it on the sports page in the newspaper with that. They could care less about the competition, but a good scandal with big names and billions of dollars, that's news. And as someone who loves sailing, it's hard to write that kind of story, knowing you're just feeding into the negative stereotype of the America's Cup competition.

I know many of the people involved in the Louis Vuitton. They're good people and fantastic sailors, and to see mud thrown on what should be a shining moment in their sailing lives is sad.

I guess what bothers me the most is not that there's all this litigation, it's that those perpetrating it don't care what it is doing to the sport. There's a bigger picture. It's the ultimate example of buying the trophy. Everyone knows of a small fleet that's been destroyed because one person has to carry everything to the limit and beyond. The fun leaves and the people shortly after. Well, the America's Cup boats are a small fleet that is destroying themselves and taking any interest the public may have had, sailors and non-sailors alike, down with them.

* From Chris Princing: Peoples reaction to the protest filed by Prada and TDC dumbfounds me. This is the way our sport is set up to handle differences. People should remember this: TDC and Prada are in possession of enough evidence that they believe the arbitration should look into the allegations that One World cheated! Could OneWorld have cheated to gain a better boat? That possibility, to me at least, is far more appalling and damaging to the LVC then any protest having been filed. I am not saying OWC are cheaters, but that is why this process must take place.

Put this to your own personnel test: If you lost a regatta, and found out your competitor cheated to beat you, you would be upset and would lose all respect for your competitor! This is about making sure the rules of the game are followed and no one team takes advantage of the others. Fair play.

* From Adrian Morgan: My two-pennyworth, as a journalist who covered the America's Cup from 1980 onwards, is this. Call me cynical, but I can't wait to see how the arbitration panelists, great and good though they may be, wriggle out of this one. Mark my words: even if OneWorld is guilty some formula will be found to allow the team to continue. DSQ would throw the whole America's Cup into chaos, the financial consequences (not to mention legal) unthinkable in such a corporate driven event. Are we about to see the event implode? Not if the panel, however impartial, can prevent it. And if they can't, then let slip the dogs of law. Lawyers will be the winners either way. Cynical? Come on, this is the sport of gentlemen and as the old saying goes 'you can't be too careful with gentlemen'.

* From Carl Schellbach: While I find the legal maneuverings negatively affecting my interest in the maneuverings on the water, I have to agree with Ken Guyer ('Butt 1211) in that if there is information to be had, it should be aired. If new evidence was found, it should most certainly be heard.

Why is Dennis getting all the heat? Prada's involved too. Both are involved for reasons explained - Prada as the Challenger of Record and the NYYC as holder of the Deed of Gift. If anything about the allegations is remotely rooted in fact, these seem to be the two natural parties to pose the questions.

Yes, TDC lost on the water, and I'll bet that Dennis himself is pretty sure that no matter what, he's not likely to win any reprieve he might get. But finding out if all the campers are playing fair is at least as important as who wins, isn't it? If ya don't like the rules, either don't play at all, or seek to change 'em. But if you're going to play, you've got to play by the rules, and there's no reason not to give this a full airing.

* From David Bishop: Team DC & Prada lodged their protest with new information supplied by Team New Zealand. Is anyone naive enough to believe that, if OneWorld won the Louis Vuitton Cup, Team NZ would not have used the same information to lodge their own protest? Isn't it better to get this settled now rather than at the start of the America's Cup? If OneWorld did in fact break the rules, they don't belong in the race. If they didn't, then they can finish the LVC series without looking over their shoulders.

* From Doug Wardrop: Is it just me or does everyone else except the protestors think this has got to be the most lame protest since Charlie Barr was a cabin boy? All the accusations aside and the fuzzy line on what constitutes a breach of the rules when it comes to intellectual properties and development that is just drawn on past experience. Who in their right minds thinks that people with the reputations of a Laurie Davidson, Bruce Nelson, Phil Kaiko etc. would need, or risk those reputations to intentionally break the rules - please put up your hands!

Not only that but who can see a class act like the McKees and others on OWC knowingly be involved in a "cheater" syndicate - me thinks not. Perhaps I will be proven wrong and the protest will not go in OWC's favour, but it's going to take a lot of clear, hard evidence to make me, and a whole mess of others, believers that this whole thing isn't completely contrived.

* From Skip Allan: The smell of rot in Auckland is not only palpable through my computer screen, but to my non-sailing friends as well. As the lawyers pick over the carcass of fair sailing, and spoiled billionaires snipe at each other, I suggest the RC hoist code flag N, signifying "abandonment" of racing. Retire the Cup to alternate year's display at the America's Cup Museum in Bristol and at Auckland's Maritime Museum. Then in a move that is likely to gain favorable attention world wide, turn the AC fleet over to the junior sailing programs of New Zealand. With Coutts, Conner, Gilmore, acting as onboard "coaches," institute a fleet race out around Great Barrier Island, to start and finish off downtown Auckland. Award a new trophy, the Peter Blake Cup, to the winning junior team to commemorate that racing at the highest level can be fair, fun, and sailed without lawyers.

* From John Lombard: As far as I'm concerned, (as it relates to the World Championship proposal) ISAF is demonstrating complete disregard for the Star Class and its constitution. The day that we completely re-write the International Star Class World qualifying criteria, and severely limit participation at the World's, is the day that we, the Star Class, have completely lost sight of why we are sailing in this class.

We have the best sailing in the world. Our World Championship is the crown of our sport. Being a part of the Olympics is a great honor for our class. However, including the Star Class in the games is also a great honor for the Olympics. It is because we put the best sailors in the world on the starting line at the Olympic Games.

Our class has an 80-year tradition of excellence. We have the best class organization in the world. We cannot allow our class to drastically change (for the worse) because folks at ISAF or any other governing body, wish to push their selfish agenda without respecting our class, our constitution and our class member voting procedures.

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One outcome of the November 2 meetings of ISAF has been a settlement of its role in offshore and ocean racing after several years of uncertainty. All was set for the Offshore Racing Council (ORC), which has long controlled the IMS (International Measurement System) and ORC Club rating rules, to become a committee of ISAF and take a responsibility for rating rules in general, but President Paul Henderson stepped in to declare that ISAF was not in the business of managing and owning handicap rules. So the ORC is back to square one, albeit with some administrative and financial ends tied up and an agreed and friendly relationship with ISAF.

ISAF lays down that the task of ORC is to run IMS and ORC Club, its simplified offshoot, current certificates of which number 8566 boats worldwide. But immediately there has been announced an exception to this task: the setting up of 'a feasibility study to verify the need and/or desire for development and selection of the best Grand Prix Rule (GPR) for constituencies now struggling with competing rules around the world'.

Where this will lead is anyone's guess, but as one of the nominated participants is John Bourke, ex-chairman of ORC, it could be an exact repeat of his 1992 exercise when he proclaimed that there would soon be a new GPR, but in the event this turned out to be existing IMS - so expect the solution, after one or two years, to be 'polished' IMS. Current improvements to IMS include nine VPP changes for 2003 and seventeen topics (changes / tuning) for ITC (International Technical Committee) to work at over the next year. - Sir Peter Johnson, full story:

The enticing prospect of Tracy Edwards and Ellen MacArthur going head to head in giant 110ft catamarans in an attempt to set a fastest circumnavigation and claim the Trophee Jules Verne has been thwarted.

Edwards announced yesterday that her campaign with Maiden 2 (formerly Club Med) has been put back due to financial considerations. MacArthur, meantime, has slipped seamlessly from her Route du Rhum victory to readying Kingfisher 2 (formerly Innovation Explorer) for training in the Mediterranean ahead of a proposed Jules Verne launch date from mid-January onwards.

"It's a shame we won't be on the water at the same time as Ellen MacArthur but the Jules Verne is not about beating other boats, it's about beating the clock," Edwards said. "The key to the Jules Verne is making your attempt when you are fully prepared."

Maiden 2 has set four records in the past six months, but the new sails required for the attempt are not yet on firm order. Edwards' prime objectives are now further record attempts next year and starting The Race in February 2004. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK, full story:

Why do America's boats have double chins? Matthew Sheahan explains why and a whole lot more about AC design tradeoffs in an interesting story on the Louis Vuitton Cup website:

The body of a dead British sailor was adrift in a liferaft in the mid-Atlantic after his brother decided to cut him loose from his yacht. David Hitchcock tried to save his brother Phillip when he fell overboard on Saturday as they sailed in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

* "We believe that as part of a rescue attempt, he tried to use a sling recovery system, but we believe it broke or the attempt at recovery failed," said Jeremy Wyatt of rally organisers World Cruising Club. "David hove to and got the sails down. When the boat was under control and he got him alongside he found that his brother was dead. We do not know the cause of death," Wyatt said. David alerted the marine radio control centre at Falmouth, U.K. by satellite phone. The control centre advised David to consider his own safety and, after a family phone conference, he decided to cut the line attaching his brother's body to the boat.

David tied his brother's body to a liferaft, in which he had placed an emergency locator beacon, and set it adrift. The liferaft was being tracked by centre. Their father, Eric, said it was a "dreadful" choice for David. - sailing website, full story:

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