Drama op het J/70 wereldkampioenschap: Team Mascalzone Latino uitgesloten

  • Author: Ice
    Date: wo, 13/09/2017 - 19:21
Team Mascalzone Latino

Een te veel aan wind op de eerste dag van het wereldkampioenschap J/70 zorgde ervoor dat de deelnemers andere kunsten moesten uithalen om zich te amuseren. Van de 173 boten die ingeschreven waren voor deelname werden zeven boten uitgesloten omdat ze niet in overeenstemming waren met de J/70 klasse reglementen. Ook de boot van Team Mascalzone Latino, voormalig America's Cup uitdager, werd uitgesloten.

Vincenzo Onorato, eigenaar van het zeilteam Team Mascalzone Latino en eerder nog uitdager in de 34ste America's Cup, is de vader van één van de uitgesloten J/70 deelnemers. De man doet er ondertussen alles aan om zijn zoon alsnog in de race te krijgen.

Alle zeven boten werden uitgesloten door het technisch comité dat in haar rapport melding maakt van gemodificeerde kielen, wat verboden is volgens de J/70 klasse reglementen in sectie C en E (C8) en (E2.1a)

Hieronder publiceerden wij de brief die de man deze ochtend verzond naar Riccardo Bonadeo, de voorzitter van de Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. In het begin wordt netjes op de bal gespeeld maar uiteindelijk wordt de voorzitter op zijn zachtst gezegd op hilarische wijze gekielhaald door Vincenzo Onorato. Leest u even mee.

Vincenzo Onorato

Vincenzo Onorato

We ontvingen op de valreep ook een reactie van J/70 Worlds organisatie, die vind je helemaal onderaan.


Porto Cervo (OT), 13rd settembre 2017

The J70 Worlds is undoubtedly the finest event in the world sailing season. After a long family discussion, I managed to convince my son Achille, who usually races on Melges 20s, to race on a J70 as well so we could have some fun together and maybe in the evening take the mickey out of each other over a good glass of wine (red, of course).

Achille has never raced in the J70 class, he bought a brand-new boat and sent it to one of the yards of reference to fix some problems with the keel, as the class rules (C.8.1.C) stipulate. Then the boat, which I repeat had never been in the water before, was taken for its first rating which, as agreed between the seller and the international class, would be assigned during the initial checks. During these measurements a nonconformity was found in the keel, but the rating officer said that for him all that was needed to obtain the rating was to re-present the yacht with a new, conforming keel. Once we had the go-ahead from the rating officer, we purchased from an Italian supplier the keel of a new boat that was regularly certified by its French builder.
At this point the yacht was again brought before the rating officer within the time laid down by the Notice of Race, passed all the controls and obtained all the rating documents which made no mention of problems. All this happened, and the yacht was awarded its rating, at midday on

Sunday, September 10. The timing too is important, but I’ll come back to that later.

On September 11, after the skippers’ briefing, well after the rating formalities were over and the fleet split into groups, my sons boat was in the Red group. The organising committee, at 7 PM, posted a notice that rejected the entries of seven boats because the Technical Committee had reported that these yachts had modified their keels, breaking class rule C.8.1. This is what happened. Incidentally, it’s right and proper that appendages cannot be modified, but apparently last year at the San Francisco Worlds some participants were allowed to do work on keels that had been found not to conform, thus making it possible for them to race. I could also add that rating controls were rightly scrupulous for some boats but rather less zealous for others, but as Andreotti said, “you apply the law to your enemies but interpret it for your friends...”
I spoke of timing earlier, and it is to say the least singular that the organising committee, in other words the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, took such a grave decision and announced it only hours before the first race.

Several weeks ago the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda had already refused an entry from my friend Pietro Manunta from Olbia, one of the founders of Mascalzone Latino, because it arrived after July 3, the final date, although the Yacht Club had the option of accepting it on payment of a penalty.
What was singular was that they persisted in their refusal even when we were told by friends taking part that they had withdrawn from the race leaving room for us.

At this point I presented to the organisation a formal request to allow my son to replace me at the helm of my boat, whose entry had been accepted. I did this because I wanted my son Achille to race in this magnificent class, where I will never withdraw my modest logistical support in transport. My request was rejected by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the organisation, without giving any reason whatever.

It’s a wonderful World Championship, but it started badly on dry land with seven competitive teams excluded, five of whom had put their boats in order (San Francisco docet), and arbitrarily excluding others who would have liked to take part: what’s the point of writing in the Notice of Race that entries can be accepted after July 3 if you pay an extra €250? Perhaps because there would have been a third Mascalzone Latino racing?

It was organised dangerously badly on the water as well, with the ridiculous idea of having just one course for 180 yachts. It was certainly a decision taken with an eye to saving money, since it’s well known that the Yacht Club is short of cash.

So we packed up our boats and left, even mine which could have taken part, but sailing is about fun, not just passion, and what happened was politics, only politics and nothing but politics. I have the honour to have been a member of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda for some decades, and the great honour of being awarded the Club’s golden pennant. But those were different times with different men. The Club was governed by the sadly missed Commodore Gianfranco
Alberini, a true seaman and a true Commander. I left the club after his unfortunate death when he was replaced by a Milanese accountant whose only contact with the sea was the blue of the sealing wax blazer that he always wore like the shell of a snail. He very rarely went out on the water, but his outings were memorable for those who had the delight of seeing him in action.

Once he tried helming a Farr40, succeeding masterfully in broaching her every time he tacked – and notice I say when he tacked, I didn’t say gybed.

It would be amusing if Riccardo Bonadeo, to dispel all this climate of tension and conspiracy, delighted us by taking the helm of a J70. I’ll lend you mine, laddie, she’s properly entered, you only need to wear your blazer!

Well, we threw away a load of money not to take part. The story will be continued in actions for damages in the civil and sporting courts. Isn’t that what lawyers and accountants are for? To stop you sailing, and not the contrary.

Vincenzo Onorato



Porto Cervo (OT), September 13, 2017. Edoardo Recchi, Sports Director of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and organizer of YCCS regattas.

Ever since Commodore Gianfranco Alberini hired me seventeen years ago to organize regattas at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, I have done my best to make sure that all participants in sporting events at our Club receive the same impartial treatment, so that they can compete fairly under the same rules and conditions.

The YCCS has always respected and held Team Mascalzone Latino in high regard over the years that they have competed in many events and across various Classes at our Club. There has never been any cause for contention between us.

In the occasion of an exclusion and subsequent withdrawal from the Audi J/70 World Championship, I choose not to comment on the words directed by Team Mascalzone Latino and its owner, Mr. V. Onorato, towards our Commodore R. Bonadeo, who has nothing to do with this affair and who is considering whether or not to take action on a personal level. My job is to answer the criticism directed publicly at the YCCS.

The Audi J/70 World Championship is without a doubt the largest World Championship event of 2017. With 172 teams registered, it is the largest World Championship for sportboats ever organized, and we are very happy with the enthusiasm that the teams have shown.

As always, all teams- in this case 172 boats and crews- underwent J/70 Class Rules controls. It took the International Rating Committee, eight people of whom three from the Italian J/70 Class team and five from the International team, four days to check and measure all the 172 teams registered. This Rating Committee is separate and independent from the YCCS that is the Organising Authority for this important event.

After checking, weighing and measuring hulls, appendages, weight, safety equipment and sails on all of the boats participating, the Rating Committee found that seven boats had obvious deformities in their keels. These deformities were signalled to the O.A. and to the National and International J /70 Class representatives.

On September 11th at 7:00 PM the Ratings Committee posted the results of their measurements on the J/70 Class event's bulletin board, as per the norm before a regatta gets underway. These results were posted before the event and not late as Mr. Onorato has affirmed. The ratings checks were completed just four hours earlier, at 3:00 PM. Mr. Onorato claims that the ratings checks were done in a different way than at other events, but this has nothing to do with the YCCS. The ratings checks were done by Class rules just as the ratings for any One Design regatta we organise are done. The O.A.'s notice that the seven non-conforming teams would be excluded from competition was met with protests on the part of most of those teams who asked the eight judges from the International Jury, none of whom are Italian but all of whom have been selected by the Federazione Vela, for a re-check. They confirmed the decision to not allow the seven teams to compete saying that the O.A.'s decision was correct and fair. I got a call from Pietro Manunta asking if he could register after the deadline after we had already turned down tens of other tardy teams. To stay fair to the other tardy teams I said no, that I could not apply the conditions for tardy registrations (after July 3) that were in the Regatta Rules and conditions for tardy registrations because we already had a record fleet that strained our logistical capacity to the max.

The request to substitute the entire team sailing aboard Mascalzone Latino with the team that sails aboard Mascalzone Junior was turned down by the Regatta Committee, headed by the International Regatta Judges and nominated by the Federazione Vela, because Class Rules state that as single members of a team can be substituted for valid reasons, there must be valid reasons for changing an entire team. These valid reasons were not presented. In formulating that decision it was asserted that the team in question had not been allowed to compete because there were irregularities in their boat, and these irregularities are always the boat owner's responsibility.

All the teams racing, 172 total from 25 different nations, had made significant investments to come to Porto Cervo. We reserve the same fair treatment for all, be they four friends camping out to top professional teams with AC sailors and budgets. Our sport is one that rewards go to the best performer on the water. Not to those who spend the most money. Fairness is fundamental and a fundamental, J/70 Class rule states, that appendages that cannot be modified. If, after a J/70 Class ratings check, it becomes clear that those appendages have been modified, whomsoever has authorised and paid for those modifications becomes responsible for them. Otherwise the other teams racing could not compete in fair conditions in their World Championship.

The seven teams that have been excluded from completion have been found to have boats and/or teams that do not conform to J/70 Class rules. We hope that the other teams can sail in fair and safe conditions along the trapezoid and 2 parallel windward-leeward courses that we have planned to handle such a large fleet. At the end of the event the teams participating in it can best answer Mr. Onorato and say if they found that the event was indeed, "dangerously and poorly organised both on land and on the water by a Club that is poor both in monetary and in human resources."

The documents that motivated the above decisions are available to all on line and the YCCS's decision as O.A. has the full support of both the Italian and the International J/70 Classes. The International Jury is also in accord with our decision. It would be extremely difficult that Classes and Jury on this level would "have it in" for Team Mascalzone Latino.

On our part, we are working hard and stretching our operative capacity to accommodate such a large event. We are very pleased to have terminated the measurements and ratings of the largest fleet of sportboats in the history of our sport to date. The reasons that led to the withdrawal of Team Mascalzone Latino are personal reasons of the owner, Mr. Onorato. His words on Commodore Bonadeo will be taken into consideration at a later date. I have sailed with our Commodore on his Farr 40 and other boats of his, and even if we didn't always win we never felt we had to publish press releases to vent our spleen. As the saying goes, it isn't if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

Edoardo Recchi

Notice to competitors J/70 World Championship

Notice to competitors J/70 World Championship



  • Ice

    Eddy Lekens (BEL) zeilt sinds 1979 wedstrijden met zeegaande zeiljachten, is stichter van ClubRacer en begeleidt als Digital Manager bedrijven met hun omnichannel E-commerce strategie en Marketing automatisatie. Is schipper/stuurman voor vele Verbondsbezem winnaars, werd 2x Nederlands kampioen, won 2x de Antwerp Race (IRC en Sportboten) en werd in 2004 met het ClubRacer zeilteam door het Watersportverbond verkozen tot de beste zeezeiler van Nederland.


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