The Donald Trumpification of America has seen the value of the truth drop faster than the price of oil over the past few years, but Petey Crawford is holding the line against tale-tellers in our sport. He takes on Gary Jobson for his misremembering issues surrounding the crash earlier this summer between the 12 metre Courageous and a J/88 and C&C 30 in Newport. Above is a screenshot of some video; if you have crash vids from this incident, please let Petey know.)
I just found a copy of the latest Sailing World laying around the yacht club, and after reading a column, I’ve never been so certain about the need to write a rebuttal like this one. On multiple occasions in the past, one particular person has been involved in situations that have made me strongly consider writing a story. I’ve often started writing, only to sit back, reassess, take the higher ground, and let it pass. However, after reading what I read this morning, no amount of reconsideration will keep me from posting this. The time has come for this guy to hang up his Sebago Dock-siders.
I have bitten my tongue for several months about this incident, but I’ve also watched this guy line his pockets with exorbitant production fees while making terrible videos under the guise of “promoting the sport of sailing” (in one instance, something in the ballpark of 50 grand for a lame movie no one saw about a regional three-day event). He’s also been known to demand contract stipulation from events he’s “covering” that restricts organizers from promoting other media content about the event. How does this help the sport of sailing? Simply put, it doesn’t. It only helps him. Otherwise why limit the amount of content available to help promote a class, the event, the sponsors and sailing in general? I’m all ears…
Don’t even get me started at how bad this person is at commentary – an absolutely imperative job if we’re going to get a wider audience for this sport. Reading from a prepared script, he performs marginally, but when asked to fill dead air he is downright awful. He may have been really good at this when it was relevant to his knowledge base – 30 years ago, calling races where 40 dudes smuggle plums while sitting on a rail. But his recent Olympic commentary was an outright embarrassment; never mind the five days where they couldn’t even figure out how to patch in any of his audio feed at all to the North American feed. When he finally did get it going, we all realized it was better with dead air.
But I digress from the matter at hand, which is, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Gary Jobson. The article in reference is the latest Jobson Report about the “NYYC Round The Island Race,” in which poor Gary and his team on the 12M Courageous ended the day on the bricks. The article immediately started with an incessant amount of whining, which was enough to make me wish I hadn’t started reading. Hey – it could be worse: Gary could be reading it aloud, in which case I definitely would have given up before I got to the meat. You see, I wanted to know what he was going to write about the end of the race, his version of the last moments before the Courageous took a nasty bite out of the rocks along the shore of Fort Adams. Surely such a famous, well-respected, world class sailor, television commentator and author would give a proper accounting of what took place that fateful day. Well, so much for that!
The article for the most part, although boring and whiney, gave a fairly accurate description of the race conditions and how all the entire fleet ended up trying to finish at the same time. And then, the story turns into a stroll through fantasyland and launches Jobo’s arrogance and delusion into full effect. I’ve broken it down to address his imagination-filled description (and no, quoting an article to beat on it is not copyright infringement –ed):
He starts out with some lecturing: “It is important to note that the fundamental purpose of The Racing Rules of Sailing is to prevent boats from having collisions. To force a collision to prove a point is bad practice and downright irresponsible. In the interest of safety and good seamanship, common sense must prevail.”
Then Gary starts storytelling: As we neared a known cluster of submerged rocks just off Fort Adams’ western shoreline, we tried to find an avenue to jibe back toward the finish line, which was only a few hundred yards away. But before we could we hit bottom, and the boat came to a near stop. The jolt shocked the crew.”
This is where the delusion really kicks in: “Next a group of 30 footers flying asymmetric spinnakers and sailing a higher course started yelling for us to get out of their way. Our response was to call for water, under RRS 19. Their response was to ignore our repeated request for room to avoid an obstruction. The foul language and actions of one hyper-aggressive sailor on the leeward boat were awful…Simultaneously, a 28-foot boat ahead of us gybed onto port. This boat had a draft of about 6.5 feet. The turned hard to port in an attempt to pass our bow, and unfortunately ran into our spinnaker. Our boat stopped, and then the leeward boat rammed us from the side, their mast piercing our mainsail. As if this were not enough, our need for water was proven correct: We went aground again…So here we are, a two time America’s Cup Defender, Courageous, sitting hard aground with our bow against the rocks onshore, with a 28 foot boat ensnared in our spinnaker and another boats mast sticking through our mainsail. The crew of the 28-footer was as shocked as we were and never said a word. The crew of the leeward boat continued yelling until we finally pushed off.
First of all, if you want to listen to the full story from my mouth, go to the 1:17:50 mark to hear it as I told Clean and Blazer during the SA Podcast here. For those of you still reading, I apologize for making you read Gary’s fun little story, but it was so outrageously bad and out of touch with anything resembling reality that I had reality that I had to put it in perspective. Now, let’s look at what really happened:
1) To force a collision to prove a point is bad practice and downright irresponsible. In the interest of safety and good seamanship, common sense must prevail.
We never forced a collision, Courageous slammed into the side of our boat then immediately T boned the J-88. Both collisions could and should have been avoided if “common sense” prevailed.
2) But before we could we hit bottom, and the boat came to a near stop. The jolt shocked the crew.” “Next a group of 30 footers flying asymmetric spinnakers and sailing a higher course started yelling for us to get out of their way.”
Reading this, one would assume that Courageous was “near stopped”. We all know that these old dinosaurs don’t exactly accelerate at neck snapping speeds. So what is it …are you stopped or not? One might assume that the wild pack of 30 footers came racing in from behind with their newfangled asymmetrical spinnakers and started yelling at the poor Courageous who was on the rocks. But what Gary fails to mention here is that all the boats in Gary’s crosshairs were WELL ahead of Courageous at this time. And we (Extreme 2) were calling for water from the boats outside of us before Courageous busted in and tried to thread the needle between our pack of small, shallow-draft boats and the rocks. Again, shouldn’t common sense prevail? Practice what you preach here, Jobo. You never ever should have put that boat in that position. That’s all on you, Chachi.
3) Their response was to ignore our repeated request for room to avoid an obstruction. The foul language and actions of one hyperagressive sailor on the leeward boat were awful. Simultaneously, a 28-foot boat ahead of us gybed onto port. This boat had a draft of about 6.5 feet. The turned hard to port in an attempt to pass our bow, and unfortunately ran into our spinnaker.
Here’s yet another problem. While we were trying to avoid the rocks (still on starboard, asking for room from the pack of boats rafted up on our port side) we were already noticing that the J88 had gybed onto port to get away from the rocks themselves. It was only then that Jobson’s Courageous came bombing in (relatively speaking, mind you) from clear astern under full kite, pole back, and main eased to the shrouds (Wait, weren’t they dead stopped?). Their boom smoked our skipper Dan Cheresh in the head, knocking him to the cockpit floor, and then continued to batter our boat, breaking all our main battens. Their bow hit the J/88 in the port quarter (no, the J/88 didn’t ‘turn hard to port to attempt to pass your bow’), they gybed well before your band of merry men were even on our radar, again you approached from CLEAR ASTERN. Luckily the spoon bow of Courageous is so high it went above the hull and pushed it down. A plumb bow or a lower one would probably have sunk the J/boat. BTW, a certain member of the Courageous afterguard was allegedly heard onshore commenting, “they were on port, so it was their fault…” So much for that whole collision avoidance thing…
4) Our boat stopped, and then the leeward boat rammed us from the side, their mast piercing our mainsail. As if this were not enough, our need for water was proven correct: We went aground again.”
We did not ram you; Dan’s head did not seek out your boom. You were not stopped; you hit us, and then almost annihilated that J-88. Then, you ended up on the bricks. This clearly states your boat was stopped, we somehow hit you from the side, and then you hit ground? Sorry Gary, this doesn’t pass the smell test.
We were well on our way towards the finish line when Courageous ended up with the bow on the rocks. But to me, it seems a 2 time Americas Cup Defender should know better than to attempt to squeeze a 50-ton dinosaur between a bunch of little sportboats and Fort Adams. One would also think that a professional writer and noble yachtsman/tactician would have spent at least a small fraction of the time Gary put into this Sailing World piece to RESPOND TO OUR PROTEST? If, indeed, you were stopped and were rammed by several other reckless boats, that surely would be a winnable protest scenario, right? Oh, wait – you didn’t even show up at the protest hearing, did you? Not even when the jury made all sorts of extra effort to make sure your team was informed about the properly filed protest. Somehow, that didn’t stop you from having Courageous lawyers try to re-open the protest 45 days later on some ridiculous basis – thank god the NYYC’s jury is above board – they gave you a big fat denial to you as a birthday present…
5) “So here we are, a two time America’s Cup Defender, Courageous, sitting hard aground with our bow against the rocks onshore, with a 28 foot boat ensnared in our spinnaker and another boats mast sticking through our mainsail. The crew of the 28-footer was as shocked as we were and never said a word. The crew of the leeward boat continued yelling until we finally pushed off.”
So here we are; you printed and published a silly, fact-challenged, Trumpian version of a big crash to try to escape the blame and shame you are owed, and any racer will easily be able to see your version doesn’t add up.
But there’s a silver lining in it for Gary Jobson; he has proved that when he finally lets someone younger and better than you take over the microphone, he has a hell of a career ahead of him writing fiction.