NEWPORT, RI (#1021) – As he was about to leave Newport after the Leg 9 VOR start, World on Water TV's Geoff Waller (AUS) emailed your Ed. with an amazing story about a world-exclusive video interview with his long time friend David Witt (AUS), skipper of Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag while in Newport. Not only did Geoff get the first intimate and revealing interview with Mr Witt since the tragic Leg 7 accident, but after showing the video to some of the awe-struck journalists in the VOR Media Center, for some reason Geoff had trouble getting his interview posted to the internet, due, he thinks, to being somehow technically blocked at the Media Center. In the meantime....
Below is a YouTube of the interview, and it is, indeed, an amazing and very personal 24-minutes with the thoughtful, unfiltered and at times outspoken David Witt. Among other things, Mr Witt for the first time covers in some detail the tragic loss of his dear friend and longtime shipmate John Fisher, with first-hand details that conflict in some important respects with reports issued at the time.
David reveals his intense dislike, disdain even, for the VOR 65, and what he recommends as the boat for the next race. He also said that Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag's team owner is "reading books about the America's Cup" and strongly hinted that there may be an AC in the Scallywag team's future (not the current 2021 edition, but the next one).
Finally, he suggests in an almost offhand comment that CEO Richard Brisius and his sports management partner Johan Salén are taking over (we at SI hear "buying") the race from Volvo.
While in Newport this past weekend your Ed. has heard the same report about Volvo from several reliable sources, and we take it at face value. Whether or not Volvo is also out of sponsoring the race is another matter. Mr Witt says Volvo is done, but our sources suggest that may not be the case – just that they will no longer manage the event.
Your Ed. has long since opined that sponsors should not also be running events, so we take this as good news all around.
As promised in an earlier Sailing Illustrated story today, more on all this on tomorrow's Tuesdays with TFE webcast at our regular time (1300 Pacfic, 1600 Eastern, 2200 CET, 0800+1 NZT) over on our SI Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/sailingillustratedblog.
Our thanks to Geoff Waller for providing us with his extraordinary interview with Mr Witt.