[Public-List] Not so funny...

Mike Lehman mlehman at gmail.com
Sat Oct 6 06:49:11 PDT 2018

Maybe his name should be changed to Voltemort from Harry Potter fame.

On Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 9:13 AM Michael Connolly via Public-List <
public-list at lists.alberg30.org> wrote:

> Gord,
> Thanks for Relaying this story.
> Volkmar, among other things does not understand the rules. SURPRISE filled
> a valid protest did you not?
> Your Racing Committee Chairman who is also an accredited rules judge would
> be an obvious choice to chair the protest hearing.
> At that hearing all four boats in the vicinity and their full crews should
> be invited if not to participate to at least observe. If the statute of
> limitations has passed and the hearing has not been held then suggest that
> the racing chair hold an informational presentation to the same group.
> Proceed as though it were an actual protest hearing but with no binding
> consequences. My thought is to turn this into a learning/teaching event for
> all those involved.  You wish to inform in a very sanctioned way that this
> is not how yacht racing is conducted, especially to those new crew who
> don't know any better.
> Someone like the female crew who have a boat of their own must not be
> poisoned by the crazy activities of someone who is ignorant of the rules
> and sportsmanship. Can this be turned into a positive for the club?
> In dealing with Volkmar the club would be helped by setting up a very
> precise schedule of what Volkmar must do or behaviour he must present or be
> ejected from the club forever.  Your lawyer/chairman
> certainly can advise.
> My three cents…………………. inflation you know.
> Michael #133
> > On October 5, 2018 at 11:59 AM Gordon Laco via Public-List <
> public-list at lists.alberg30.org> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Good day friends,
> >
> > Our club went through a bit of an ordeal in the past month, the sort
> which every sailing club is afflicted by from time to time.  I’d decided
> not to write about it until things were resolved and I had the issue
> settled somewhat in my own mind.
> >
> > We have an overly aggressive member in our club who has made himself a
> nuisance and worse in our races for all the years he has been a member.  He
> is an ex-Olympic runner up from the early 1970’s, and sails a fast boat
> which I’ve mentioned in several of my more humorous race reports.  In the
> last Wednesday night race of the season, we took our turn being attacked by
> this fellow…I and cosquently the club decided not to ignore the issue.
> Here’s what happened.
> >
> > We were approaching the weather mark on the second beat.  SURPRISE was
> on starboard tack and just laying the mark.  Another B Fleet boat, a
> Niagara 26, was close ahead of us, also beating.  There was a third yacht
> on our starboard quarter who had over stood and was coming down to the
> mark.  The wind was moderate, so all of us were doing about 5 knots, we
> were creeping up on the boat ahead of us.  The mark was very close ahead of
> him, less than three boat lengths.
> >
> > Down to port, we all saw our overly aggressive member In CANADIAN
> EXPRESS, an Express 30R in A fleet, coming up to the mark on port tack and
> on a collision course with the Niagara 26 ahead of us. When it was apparent
> CE was not altering course, the Niagara ahead of us shouted STARBOARD! loud
> and clearly.   Without answering, CE bore off, which put her on a collision
> course with us.
> >
> > I shouted STARBOARD!, but instead of bearing off again, CE bore up.  I
> realized he was going to try to cut between us and the boat ahead of us,
> where there was now less than a boat length.  I shouted ‘Volkmar there’s no
> room there, you can’t do it!’ but he carried on until he was 3/4 of his
> length across our bow, at which point he then tried to tack onto
> starboard.  I remember shouting ‘OH SHIT-SHIT-SHIT!'
> >
> > His starboard stern quarter slammed into our port bow making SURPRISE
> ring like a drum.   CE’s skipper then looked back at me over his shoulder
> and shouted ‘GET OUT OF MY WAY, YOU HAVE TO KEEP CLEAR!’  Then, after he
> looked forward and saw he was about to overrun the Niagara 26 ahead of him,
> swerved to weather, swiping his extended outboard across our bow. He swiped
> it across our bow again as he turn off to round the mark. The motor and its
> mount were torn off his stern, hanging by a single bent bolt that didn’t
> fracture.
> >
> > All three boats rounded the mark, well four, including the guy coming
> down on our quarter.   We heard much shouting between crew members aboard
> CE, whose skipper also screamed curses at us for not keeping clear of him,
> and about his outboard and its mount.  I raised the red protest flag...
> >
> > Down near the end of the running leg, CE did a 720 turn, fouling another
> yacht while he did so, which was accompanied by his screaming that they had
> to keep out of his way.
> >
> > At the club an hour later, we were putting SURPRISE’s gear away and I
> heard angry shouting over at CE’s jetty.  I told my crew I’d better get
> over there rather than let others fight my battles for me, and left them
> furling up the main.
> >
> > As I walked down CE’s jetty I found her skipper in a confrontation with
> the skipper and crew of the Niagara 26.  When I walked up, CE’s skipper saw
> me and literally charged at me with clenched fists shouting ‘I know what
> sort of man you are!  You rammed me on purpose! (livened with foul cursing)
> >
> > Well I used to be an officer of the RCN; and one is taught how to deal
> with confrontations.  I am not naturally a confrontational person but
> without thinking something clicked in my mind.  (thank you Petty Officer
> 1st Class Earl Allen.  You were a demon instructor in Officer's Basic, but
> you taught me lessons I’m still rediscovering)  I did not back up.  I
> raised my right hand flat, fingers together in the vertical plane and made
> the proscribed chopping motion toward Volkmar.   I said in a low voice
> “Volkmar, you made an error out there, you are making it worse now by
> making a fool of yourself. You do know what sort of man I am, I’m the guy
> who took the trouble to try to help you get along here.  Go away’.
> Volkmar’s mouth snapped shut, then he shouted ‘you all hate me because I’m
> German!’   At that point the club’s commodore came up (he had been crewing
> in the Niagara) and pulled Volkmar back to his boat.
> >
> > Later in the clubhouse, Volkmar apologized to me for the collision, then
> began boasting that he’d won the series regardless of being thrown out of
> the race, and at blamed his crew for the accident.
> >
> > That evening I thought about the atmosphere in our declining racing
> fleet… about the several good sailors who had quit racing in the past few
> years after confrontations with CANADIAN EXPRESS, and the many new sailors
> who said they’d never race because of what they’d heard about how savage
> the confrontations on the course are.
> >
> > I decided that for the good of the sport I needed to ask the club to
> look into the issue again - CANADIAN EXPRESS had been suspended from racing
> for various periods of time three times in the past four years.  I thought
> it no good that we had to put up with repeated transgressions of clear and
> basic rules of sportsmanship and seamanship… and that the constant issues
> caused by this member are not really washed away by his apologies when he
> always does it again, and again.
> >
> > The Midland Bay Sailing Club had already decided on it’s own to convene
> a hearing on a charge of Rule 69 and the club’s code of behaviour against
> this member, triggered by this most recent collision.  A general invitation
> of all boats who in the past three years had had confrontations with
> CANADIAN EXPRESS were invited to a hearing.  In the invitation I received,
> I was asked not to limit my testimony to the collisions in the last race…
> rather to be more general.
> >
> > The skippers of nine boats plus various race committee officials
> attended the meeting which was chaired by our racing committee chairman, a
> retired lawyer/founding member of the club, and an accredited rule judge.
> >
> > Volkmar had canvassed the club himself to find people who would speak
> for him… but they all declined.  Two of the people he thought might stand
> with him appeared as witnesses against him.  He was there alone, with only
> his wife sitting back in the room watching.
> >
> > The committee described Rule 69 (google it).  Then they read the club’s
> code of behaviour.  Witnesses began describing collisions, near misses,
> foul language. etc.   Volkmar had the opportunity to question and comment
> after each testimony.   It was ugly and sad seeing him struggle, sometimes
> begging for another chance, sometimes attacking.  Then they came to me.
> >
> > I read the invitation I had received, and said that I’d answer any
> questions put to me about the recent collisions, but said that I had four
> points to discuss first.  I have my note pad beside me now.
> >
> > 1. Repeated demonstrations of pointless aggression on the race course.
> > 2. Repeated demonstrations of poor boat handling, and poor situational
> awareness in traffic
> > 3. Repeated demonstrations of very poor sportsmanship
> > 4. Repeated demonstrations by the club that no serious consequences
> result from these patterns of behaviour.
> >
> > Each point was discussed in detail…. Volkmar again alternately
> apologizing, then attacking.   At one point he began insulting each the
> three people  on the hearing committee.  At another point he shouted ‘I’ve
> got you all on Rule 17!’   One of the committee members said quietly ‘I’m
> glad you brought that up - one of the issues in your pattern of behaviour
> is that you clearly do not understand the rules.  You continually invoke as
> your defence rules that are non-existent, obsolete or not understood.
>  Let’s look at Rule 17.’  Alas that rule had nothing to do with what he
> hoped it did. Volkmar then said to me ‘why did you drag me in here, why did
> you never come to me personally?’  I replied that I had on several
> occasions, most recently earlier this season in a phone call.  Volkmar
> shouted ‘my wife heard that call - you called to call me a fool!’  I
> replied that he was mistaken, I had called as a friend to try to help him
> understand why he was in trouble again.  I saw his wife had her face in her
> hands.
> >
> > Finally after three hours everyone had spoken.  The chairman turned to
> Volkmar and asked him if he had anything to add.   Clearly realizing that
> this was the time to play his last card, Volkmar made an impassioned and
> calm appeal that he not be suspended from racing.  (suspension had not been
> mentioned but I expect he knew what might be at stake, having been
> suspended before)   He pointed to each of us who described problems and
> apologized.  He said to me ‘Gord, I will NEVER do that to you again!’.  He
> described that he’d been a racing sailor at a high level most of his life.
> He said that in his retirement years, racing is his life again, it ‘gets me
> off the couch every week’.  He said he loves yacht racing… and asked not to
> be suspended.  One of the members present asked Volkmar if he would like to
> see the list of people who he had driven out of our races… but the chairman
> said this was Volkmar’s turn to speak.
> >
> > I was feeling badly for him.  But then the chairman of the committee
> said quietly “Volkmar, we have been here before with you.  What assurance
> can you offer us that we will not be here again?’
> >
> > At that he exploded with rage.  He gathered his papers into a ball and
> stood up to leave, shouting ‘YOU ALL HATE ME BECAUSE I’M GERMAN I HAVE NO
> commodore and skipper of the Niagara 26 ahead of us in the recent
> collision, said ‘Volkmar, I’m German too, I get on fine. It’s your
> behaviour, not your ethnicity.’
> >
> > Volkmar sat down again, smoothed out his papers and started renewed
> apologizing, But the committee said they’d heard enough and adjourned the
> meeting.
> >
> > Three days later the results were published.  Volkmar is suspended from
> Wednesday night racing for the whole of the upcoming 2019 season.  However
> he will be allowed to race in the much less heavily populated Saturday
> races.   He was warned that a transgression in a Saturday race might result
> in a blanket life-time prohibition .
> >
> > I am well satisfied with the result of the hearing.  There has finally
> been significant consequences applied; but he has a chance to change his
> behaviour, and rejoin the sport he says he loves if he manages to
> demonstrate a season without committing new issues of this type.
> >
> > ======
> >
> > Pointless aggression has no place in our sport.   Cheating has no place
> in our sport.  Both behaviours are corrosive and intolerable.    If any of
> you are dealing with a problem competitor like ours, and are interested in
> how we dealt with him, I can send you the official judgment document
> off-list.   Part of the heavy consequences of the penalty are that under
> the rules a suspension of this length is public and world-wide.  The
> document is public.
> >
> > Gordon Laco
> > SURPRISE 426
> >
> >
> >
> >
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