As promised last week, this week's column will include photos from the Manhasset Bay YC Fall Series.
The Thomson Family: three generations of sailors. John B., Jr. and his wife Adrienne (back row), and seated in front of them is their son, John and his wife, Jennifer, who is holding Caroline, who sailed with her parents at Block Island Race Week this year. The inspiration for the Fall Series came from John, Jr. who wanted to bring a premier regatta with big boats to Manhasset Bay.
The Frostbite Yacht Club held its first day of frostbiting on Sunday, Nov. 4. Nine teams of dinghy sailors competed in 63 degree weather with winds of 8-10 knots out of the west. The results of the race: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Mimi Berry, 2. #514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, and 3. #121, Fee Mitropoulos/Amelia Amon. Mimi Berry won the crew race.
Local sailors will be pleased to know that Block Island will have a Race Week next year. It will be in the third week of June, the week that Block Island businesses prefer. Teed Zuse, of Guilford, CT said he and partner Guy deBoer have received "really good input" from sponsors, and he is contacting key island people to begin planning the arrangements. Premiere Racing announced last month that after running the last three even-year Race Weeks it was backing out, because of competing events and declining interest among sponsors. It had started with 85 boats and grown the event to 136 boats but did not see a prospect of continued growth, it said. Storm Trysail Club has managed the very successful odd-year regattas since 1965, and last year had 214 boats registered to race.
Interesting developments on the America's Cup challenge: According to a complaint filed in the King County Superior Court in Seattle, WA, members of the Oracle Racing Team were contacted by a former employee (or contractor) of the One World Challenge (OWC) syndicate, offering to sell "confidential proprietary design, trade secrets, and other data regarding One World's America's Cup challenge. Oracle told One World that when it determined that the offered information had been improperly obtained, it refused to purchase the information and promptly notified One World. On July 30, OWC sent a letter to all other syndicates stating, in part: "The information concerned is clearly the property of OWC and any use or attempted use of the information by any other party would be a clear breach of Articles 13, 15 of Protocol Governing AC XXXI and OWC's proprietary rights. OWC is, however, confident that neither the Defender nor any other Challengers would seek to use or take advantage of the information. One World puts a value of over $6 million on the data, stating that it includes, among other things, "hull design, crew training, team member eligibility and construction data."
The New Zealander accused of offering veteran yachtie Chris Dickson secret America's Cup design plans says his motive for calling Dickson was to lure him to a proposed new syndicate being backed by a British millionaire. The Herald revealed that 40-year-old Devonport lawyer Sean Reeves is the man at the center of the latest America's Cup espionage scandal, having been named by the One World syndicate in a civil action lodged in the King County Superior Court in Seattle. Reeves, who helped lure a clutch of top New Zealand sailors to the One World team last year, is accused of turning double agent by trying to sell design and technical plans to Dickson's rival Oracle racing team. The case comes down to Dickson's word against Reeves' and an international telephone conversation in which Dickson alleges his old sailing partner told him he got less than he hoped for when he parted company with One World this year and wanted to recover his losses. Reeves denies offering information to anyone and says he will sue One World for defamation.
Some more intrigue: Billionaire Larry Ellison, of Oracle Racing fame, who is spending $80 to challenge for the America's Cup, has demoted Paul Cayard from Sailing Manager of his team, one of three United States groups challenging for the upcoming Cup. Cayard remains on the Oracle Racing payroll, but will not accompany the team to Auckland for this winter's trials. Earlier this year, Ellison fired his skipper, Chris Dickson, who didn't get along with the rest of the crew, and thus Cayard became skipper by default. Word has it that Ellison, who survived a very rough Hobart-Sidney Race and had second thoughts about sailing boats, has had a change of heart and wants to sail his own boat. He is believed to have come to the conclusion that "spending money to promote the fame of another is totally intolerable." Cayard, who by contract cannot join another team challenging for the Cup, may join Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The Cup is not the only sailing venue that has had some interesting developments. There have been two protests against the German entry illbruck, who won the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The first protest centered around Internet access to non-public sites that supposedly gave illbruck a weather advantage on the racecourse. The protest was lodged by a competitor, Assa Abloy, who stated that direct access to one of illbruck's nominated websites required the addition of a three-letter suffix that was not "publicly known." Consequently, they felt that the site, and its weather information, was not publicly available to all competitors. illbruck's use of it, they say, infringed RRS 41 (Outside Help). The Volvo Race Committee lodged a second protest based on a technical issue. On the protest form James Dadd, V.O.60 class measurer wrote: "It has come to my attention, that illbruck challenge have carried out modifications to their Volvo Penta supplied S-Drive. A weed-cutting device has been attached to the leading edge over the full exposed length of the S-Drive, and filler compound has been added and faired between the blade edge and the S-Drive body. Volvo Ocean 60 Rule 5.4.2 states only modifications to specified machinery approved by the chief measurer are permitted. The chief measurer may only approve modification in exceptional circumstances. As these modifications had not been approved by the chief measurer, "the illbruck challenge no longer complies with the Volvo Ocean 60 Rule." Assa Abloy, upon additional information, accepted that the website was publicly available and asked for the protest to be withdrawn, which the jury permitted. On the second protest, the jury concluded that "Contrary to illbruck's claim, issuing the measurement certificate did not constitute approval for a modification as envisaged by Class Rule 5.4.2. By not receiving specific approval of the modification, illbruck broke the Class Rule." The jury, satisfied that no place was gained by the infringement, the jury imposed a monetary fine, the amount of £1,000 being the maximum allowed under SSI 1.7.2(a), and declared that the modifications were to be removed prior to the start of Leg 2. The financial assessment, considering illbruck's budget for this and the parallel America's Cup campaign exceeds £50 million, represents 0.00002 per cent of their budget. The competition in the other boats are distressed at the whitewash which they argue has been applied following this protest and feel cheating has been condoned. ESPN@ will air highlights of the Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 2 on Sunday, November 18, at 3:30 pm.