you will see that the photos are of past 12 meters and IACC yachts which were successors to the 12’s in the America’s Cup.
INTERNATIONAL TWELVE METRE ASSOCIATION 7 Warner St.
Newport RI 02840
20 January 2016 By Email
Mr. Thomas F. Ehman
San Francisco Yacht Racing Cup
We have followed with interest your efforts to establish a new racing class in San Francisco conceptually modelled on the International Twelve Metre.
While we have no issue with the formation of such a class, the International Twelve Metre Class does object to your continued use of the heritage and history of our class in the promotion of your new one.
As I have mentioned to you before, our Class is active and healthy, especially in the North American Fleet based in Newport, and the in the Northern European Fleet based in the Baltic where the newest Twelve was launched in 2015. This is in addition to the recent refurbishment or restoration of several Twelves such as VICTORY ’83, DEFENDER, BLUE MARLIN, ITALIA II, and VIM.
Further, we have registered with authorities our objection to your use of the International Twelve Metre Class Insignia. Such use is completely at odds with the mutual respect for each other that has existed between sailboat classes since the adoption of such insignia at national and international levels.
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As you are well aware, the current 12 Metre Class Insignia has been in continuous use since the adoption of the Second International Rule. Further, the addition of an “S” was used by the Scandinavian 12’s built to the Second Rule but prior to the effective date of universal implementation of the Second Rule. Subsequently, as you also are aware, the “S” has been used by yachts built to the Universal Rule at 17’ rating, specifically the Herreshoff “S” Boat one-design first launched in 1919, and still an active racing class.
Since you have decided not to affiliate your new concept with the Twelve Metre Class, we demand that you and your agents immediately cease using the Twelve Metre in promoting your effort, and cease using the International Twelve Metre Class Insignia.
As I have written to you before, ITMA, our owners, and our sponsors do not wish to see our class, legacy, or brand diluted by your efforts. If your effort is worthwhile it should be able to stand on its own, not on the Twelve Metre Class.
Tom Ehman’s San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge is a great idea. The proposed boats are NOT 12 meters. The International rule is like a sonnet; it sets particular parameters that allow latitude. These boats as I see them and as described do not fit the rule.
These boats will be more lively and quicker on their feet, but they are not 12 meters.
There is no reason the 2 meter class could not do a regatta on the same format using 12 meters, not, not 12 meters.
Time and distance tend to impart a rosy glow, so before you guys turn the recently departed Alan Bond into some kind of sailing saint, please pause to learn some of the more pertinent realities of the man who headed Australia’s successful challenge for the America’s Cup in 1983. Here goes:
Bond was not Australian born. He emigrated here from the UK aged 11. He had a criminal record as a 14-year-old in Perth for petty theft, and fell foul of the law again at 18 for attempted burglary. Throughout his life he lied about his school record and achievements. From his early 20s he had set a pattern of not paying his business debts and borrowing beyond his capacity to pay.
Bond is still the biggest corporate criminal in Australian history. When his empire collapsed in 1991 he left the banks, financiers and shareholders around $6 billion out of pocket. He ruined thousands of lives through deliberate bankruptcies that left his mum & dad shareholders with nothing.
Bond was convicted three times for different frauds. In 1997 he was sentenced to seven years in prison for siphoning off $1.2 billion in shareholder funds for his own use. In an attempt to avoid a jail term Bond feigned mental illness. His daughter died of a suspected drug overdose and his second wife committed suicide.
As for his contribution to sailing, his America’s Cup campaigns were principally exercises in self promotion and largely financed by borrowed money. Bond was a notoriously hopeless yachtsman himself, and did little to encourage or support sailing in Australia beyond the very narrow and exclusive circle of the 12 metre scene.
Alan Bond, the controversial business tycoon who backed Australia’s ultimately successful bid for the America’s Cup yacht race, has died aged 77. He was just 12 years old when he stepped ashore in Australia for the first time. His parents, Frank and Kathleen, like many thousands of Britons in the aftermath of the second world war, had taken the momentous decision to emigrate from the grey austerity of northern Europe to the sun-kissed southern hemisphere.
Young Alan, born in Hammersmith, west London, was plucked from Perivale school in Ealing and on arrival in Australia attended Fremantle boys’ school near Perth. He took a job as a signwriter on leaving school, but quickly realised that his future lay in business. Such was his talent and determination that before he reached his 40s, his name was known throughout Australia and beyond. In 1978 he was named Australian of the year.
His fortune was derived initially from property development, an activity which he started soon after leaving school. In 1959 he set up Bond Corporation, one of the first true “conglomerates” (corporate entities which own other, quite disparate, businesses), a form of entrepreneurship that came to dominate the stock markets internationally during the 1970s and continues to this day.
Outside the business world, however, Bond achieved fame and honour for his dedicated pursuit of the America’s Cup, the world’s most prestigious yacht racing trophy. He financed the first America’s Cup challenge in 1974, but it took a further three attempts before, in 1983, the 12-metre yacht Australia II brought the Auld Mug to the Royal Perth Yacht Club. It was the first time the trophy had been wrested from the New York Yacht Club since the competition was set up in 1851. Bond had bankrolled all four attempts, and his status as a national hero was confirmed.
Bond was big of build and charismatic of nature, and his status and personality undoubtedly contributed to an extraordinary run of successes in business. His Bond Corporation expanded from property into brewing, oil and gas, television, mineral exploitation and even airships. His personal fortune mounted up until he could be counted as one of the richest men in Australia, worth billions of dollars.
He was courted and feted by politicians anxious for his patronage, and bankers and brokers wanting his business. In an interview many years later, Bond admitted that all this had gone to his head. He confessed that he believed that if he had won the America’s Cup, was there nothing he could not do?
“Bondy”, as he was universally known, and his first wife, Eileen (nee Hughes), were seldom out of the society columns. He moved between Australia and London, where his business interests were also developing. Four years after the America’s Cup triumph, Bond paid US$53.9m for Van Gogh’s Irises, at the time the largest sum ever paid for a single painting.
Earlier in 1987, Bond purchased the Australian television network Channel Nine from Kerry Packer, a fellow Australian tycoon, for A$1.2bn, a deal that was to be the high-water mark of Bond’s success. In October that year, stock markets around the world crashed, an event that proved catastrophic for Bond and many other entrepreneurs.
As he struggled to keep his empire afloat, his personal life also suffered. In 1990, his marriage of 35 years was dissolved. Under pressure from the banks, that year he stepped down as chairman of Bond Corporation, which was collapsing under a mountain of debt. He began to believe that those who once feted him had been working to bring him down.
A year later, Bond Corporation finally went under, with Bond’s personal and corporate businesses inextricably entwined. He always insisted, however, that there was “no dishonesty” in the group or in the interlocking finances.
In 1992, he was declared personally bankrupt over a loan guarantee. He was accused of secreting away money and real assets such as diamonds and art treasures in overseas locations, places where neither the authorities nor his creditors could touch them. He claimed to have personally lost A$900m.
Nevertheless, he was jailed for dishonesty in relation to an Australian merchant bank, Rothwells, that had collapsed. He spent three months in prison but was later released and acquitted. Meanwhile, despite having other charges hanging over him, which led to two more convictions and prison sentences in 1995 and 1997, Bond was already beginning to lay down the foundations of a second life and a second career. He spent a total of four years in jail.
In 1995, he was released from bankruptcy. He married for the second time, and once again Bond and his new wife, Diana Bliss, began to appear in society. She was a former Qantas flight attendant whom Bond had met when she was working in public relations. Banned from holding directorships in Australia, Bond moved his centre of business overseas. He acquired interests in diamonds and oil, mostly in Africa. He lived in London but based his business interests elsewhere.
While his wealth steadily accumulated, much to the chagrin of investors who had lost money in the earlier Bond ventures, his personal life was more difficult. One of his daughters, Susanne, an equestrian show jumper, died in 2000 from a suspected accidental overdose of prescription medicine. Diana, who had carved a successful career as a theatre director, took her own life in 2012.
Bond was knocked back by these tragedies but found solace in Farm Street, the Jesuit church in Mayfair, London. His own health, however, was deteriorating. He had undergone open heart surgery in the 1990s, and in the week of his death returned to Perth for further surgery. His first wife, Eileen, travelled to Australia to be by his side.
He is survived by her, and by his sons, John and Craig, and daughter Jody.
• Alan Bond, businessman, born 22 April 1938; died 5 June 2015
• This article was amended on 5 June. A reference to Alan Bond’s second wife, Diana, being given the nickname “Big Red” by gossip columnists was deleted: it was his first wife, Eileen, whom they had given the nickname to.
Tom Ehman’s Golden Gate Yacht Club Challenge already made its first political change – it’s now known as the SF Yacht Racing Challenge to keep from pissing off the rest of the Bay Area clubs. One sneaky anarchist attended an Ehman presentation about this ‘outside the box’ event for the age-advanced, and here are the details we’ve scooped up:
+ The new class will be known as Super 12s, and will be more of a ‘Spirit of Tradition’ version of a 12 rather than a real one. A Grand Prix (post-1983) 12 above the waterline, a modern fin-keel yacht below. Carbon-composite hull, deck and rig.
+ Strict OD including deck hardware and sails (lesson learned from Volvo) for the obvious cost savings, as well as to make it a crew contest, not a design/budget battle. Draft will be under 10? – they’re shooting for 9’5? – both for access to area clubs and to commercial yards.
+ Boats are expected to be convertible to a charter life after their competitive lifespan ends.
+ Crews will have a strict nationality requirement (passports?) as well as an interesting diversity requirement: each crew will need to include a minimum of two women and two men as well as two aged 22 or younger, and one aged 62 or older. College sailors should be eligible through their senior year, and the total crew size will be 12.
+Teams will have to work with local YCs/marinas/yards to create a base in an existing facility – no building out of own piers for a team base that is separate from existing local sailing community
+ Fleet racing and match racing finals will take place on the San Francisco city front for 2 weeks in July, when average afternoon (1300-1800) wind speed on the Bay is 13kts or more virtually 100% of the time (13-30kts). There will be no upper wind limit; lower wind limit of 5 knots or so, though stats say it ain’t gonna happen much, if at all. “Hell or high water” is what we were told.
+An East Coast venue will likely come into play within the first couple of years, and our guess is an obvious one: Newport. We can see Annapolis trying to regain some of the luster they’ve lost as one of America’s real sailing cities…other than that pesky problem with having breeze.
+The boats should cost somewhere between 2 and 3 million, and the campaign another 500k to 1M.
Several Italians are apparently quite keen; we’d hope to see Vincenzo and Patrizio back in the kind of racing they both enjoy. Here’s an Italian take on it.
There will be smiles around San Francisco Bay with the announcement that America’s Cup style racing is set to return to the venue of the 34th America’s Cup.
A bold plan by Tom Ehman, whose experience with the Cup dates back to 1977, will see racing resume on an annual basis in updated 12 Metre yachts – which were the preferred Cup class from 1956 to 1987.
The new event will reflect the true spirity of the America’s Cup Deed of Gift, with competition being between yacht club teams comprised only of nationals from that club’s country.
The new event is being masterminded by Tom Ehman who is currently the Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the body charged under the 19th century Deed of Gift, which governs the conduct of the America’s Cup, with the organisation of the 35th America’s Cup.
The America’s Cup Events Authority is the body responsible under the Protocol for the organisation of the next Match, but it created a great deal of angst amongst the San Francisco sailing fraternity when it decided not to Defend in its home waters, and took the Cup Defence to Bermuda.
That frustration has spawned the new event, coupled with the desire of San Francisco sailors to maintain their place on the international sailing vista.
Unlike the America’s Cup the new San Francisco event will carry half a million dollars in prizemoney, and will be a lot lower costs of entry, with a figure of $1million being touted as the annual cost to run a team.
The benefit for sponsors is that they will get annual exposure for their outlay, as opposed to the once every three/four years with the current Cup plus what can be obtained from the America’s Cup World Series – a three day event which will be sailed three times this year, and with only three venues announced for 2016
Speaking with Associated Press, Ehman said he envisions the Golden Gate Challenge as the Wimbledon of yacht racing in that it will be held every year at the same venue. Unlike the America’s Cup, all teams will be challengers, meaning they’ll start on equal footing each year.
To be named the Golden Gate Yacht Racing Challenge, the new event is being launched at a time when many in the sailing world have questioned the vision for the 35th America’s Cup of Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts, which has so far lost two of its Challengers of Record in the first 18 months of the 35th America’s Cup cycle.
Ehman said he hopes to attract team owners who have been priced out of the America’s Cup or turned off by recent turmoil.
‘This is an opportunity to do something for the sport and the former cup community,’ Ehman said from San Francisco.
Ehman told Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press that he’s working to secure event sponsors and teams.
‘I think this is the best venue in the world for showcasing yacht racing and that was shown in the last cup,’ he said. ‘There’s a crying need in the world of yacht racing for such an event, especially in monohulls and especially in a lot of breeze. We’re seeing that because of what’s happening or not happening in other parts of the sport and in other parts of the world.’
The move is sure to raise the hackles of the America’s Cup Events Authority, a privately owned company charged by the Golden Gate Yacht Club with the commercial and event management activities surrounding the 35th America’s Cup, now removed to Bermuda.
Technically Ehman is part of a management structure to which ACEA reports, however his position is also understood to be voluntary, and ACEA would have few options open to shut down this new initiative or Ehman’s involvement in promoting a new sailing event in a venue deserted by ACEA.
Ehman remains vice commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which is the America’s Cup trustee. He said his regatta is not affiliated with the GGYC and won’t compete with the America’s Cup. It is believed the new event will be hosted by all Bay area yacht clubs, and existing facilities will be used for team bases
‘I think the America’s Cup is off on its own and always has been,’ Ehman said. ‘The America’s Cup will survive the current situation. There is obviously strong interest in monohull racing with strong teams, in boats everyone has heard of and loves. There is a nostalgia and romance with the 12-meters, and to have those boats racing in a lot of breeze on San Francisco Bay where people can watch it, it will remind people of how great the America’s Cup was in Fremantle in 1987 in windy conditions in 12s.’
Ehman told AP that he’s having designers look at modernizing the 12s and hopes to keep the cost below $3 million per boat. All boats would have the same hull shape, which would make the regatta a test of sailing skill rather than a design competition, helping to hold down costs.
I am working on a book of photographs of the Newport Waterfront from the 60’s and 70’s. Today I walked the waterfront to the extent I could and took photographs from as close as I could to the spot where I had taken images all those years ago.