pissin’ in the wind

pissin’ in the wind

Reports surfaced last week that top yachting photog Tim Wilkes and his J/24 skipper Scott Snyder were seen on the dock, pissing on a donated charter J/24 at Bermuda International Invitational Race Week after clinching victory with two races to spare.  Wilkes and Snyder were apparently brought before the protest committee on a Rule 69 hearing, and of course a classically nasty SA forum thread on the topic exploded with the usual shitfight.  Wilkes read the thread and answered our request for comments.  Here’s Tim’s response:

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

I find it fascinating how much time and words can be absorbed by hearsay and speculation. Furthermore, I think it reckless for some of your forum participants to draw conclusions and offer their suggestions on punishment without knowing anything about a given situation. I certainly would not want to live in a society they were governing.

So let’s clarify a few things: First of all, if we were found guilty of what we were accused of, sanctions would have been taken and those found guilty may have been banned from participating in events governed by the sailing organizations related to the jury.

We were not found guilty. There was no evidence, while witnesses to the hearing showed that the accusations were wrong. A warning was given to let all involved know that the jury takes these matters seriously and if anyone is caught doing such things at a sailing event, they plan to take action. On a side note to anyone who plans to use a rule 69 accusation as a means for revenge: You stand a high chance of being sued for defamation of character in a real court. Take that statement very seriously.

About the accusers, they were four members of a J24 crew who violated class rules on a previous day by carrying two spinnakers and offering outside assistance to another J24 on the race course [Trevor Boyce, who finished second in the event even after taking two RAFs -ed]. These people were asked by us and another boat to "do the right thing" and withdraw from those races. They did not. We told them, as well as the crew they assisted (by giving them their second spinnaker between races) that we would not protest this but felt they should make the right decision themselves. The other boat which received the outside assistance; whom I have a high regard for; who is a great sailor and our toughest competition on the course, withdrew from the race. I’m looking forward to sailing with him or against him in the future.

So what does all this mean? Remember we are all sailors and most of you can attest to the fact that incidents considered to be "Gross Misconduct" take place many times at many regattas. I have certainly attended enough regattas in my time to have witnessed this first hand. In most cases these are not even malicious acts. Just sailors having fun in a "less than tasteful" manner. Be careful people, you ARE "Sailing Anarchists". Keep the sport fun. I’ve certainly enjoyed your (SA) parties and hope to see you at one of them again soon.

Best regards,
Tim Wilkes