Susie Spanos, Tanya Snyder, And NFL Support "A Crucial Catch"

The National Football League and NFL Players Association will support October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their fourth-annual national breast cancer screening initiative and fundraising campaign. In collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the initiative, called "A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives," reminds women 40 and older about the importance of having an annual mammogram. Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, Susie Spanos, wife of Chargers president Dean Spanos, and players including Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and running back DeAngelo Williams have all embraced A Crucial Catch-each has been touched by breast cancer. In addition, Saints quarterback Drew Brees recently filmed a breast cancer awareness PSA with the American Cancer Society to show his support for A Crucial Catch.

To date, the partnership has raised more than $3 million for the American Cancer Society, with the majority of the donation coming from the sale of pink items at retail and on NFL Auction. Beginning this year, money raised through A Crucial Catch will support the American Cancer Society's Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE) program. This program provides outreach and breast cancer screenings to women who need them. The NFL markets being supported in the first year of the program are Atlanta, Baltimore, New England, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

In 2011 alone, the NFL's A Crucial Catch campaign reached more than 151 million viewers, including 58 million women age 18 and older. The campaign's message is making a real impact-64% of NFL female fans and 61% of all NFL fans identify the importance of annual screenings, especially for women over 40, as the key message of the A Crucial Catch campaign.

Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC72 Unveiled

Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC72 was unveiled at Auckland on Saturday night. More than 6000 people braved a cold winter’s evening for the show. On a cool winter’s evening at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, an audience of more than 6000 watched skipper Dean Barker’s wife Mandy splashed the yacht with champagne.

Simultaneously, flames erupted from gas lines around the yacht and fireworks lit the sky as 18 months of work by the design and build teams were revealed for all to see.

Mandy Barker named the cat “New Zealand” – team member’s acknowledgment of their gratitude for the country’s support through the difficult times since Valencia in 2007.

Team managing director Grant Dalton said the night could not have happened without the support of the Government and sponsors who backed the team with such enthusiasm.

“New Zealanders should be proud that their team attracts the support of these major international companies,” Dalton said.

“The same can be said for the international designers, engineers and analysts who augmented our design team.

“We are proud of what we have achieved so far, working in a tin shed in Auckland.

“We carry the New Zealand flag sponsors’ brands proudly and pledge that the mission of every member of this team is to bring the America’s Cup back to New Zealand.”

As the countdown to the big moment got underway Prime Minster John Key, Auckland Mayor Len Brown and sponsor representatives were led to the yacht by a Maori warrior.

With the yacht in the background, 1000 people pulled on a hemp rope to “load” the catapult which smashed the champagne bottle and sprayed the boat.

It was a proud moment for the team and signalled the beginning of the next stage of preparations for the 2013 America’s Cup.


Larry Ellison's Oracle AC72 Wing Reaches Pier 80

The 12-story-tall wingsail and hull crossbeams for the first of Oracle Team USA’s two AC72 yachts aimed at the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco were delivered to the team today. The components arrived in Oakland from New Zealand on the Cap Vilano by shipping partner Hamburg Sud before being delivered to the team’s base at Pier 80 on the west side of San Francisco Bay.

“It’s a major step in the course of our campaign to win the America’s Cup again,” said Jimmy Spithill, the youngest skipper to have won the America’s Cup.

Due to the length and height of the load, the top and bottom halves of the 130-foot (40m) long wingsail were trucked through Oakland to Interstate 880 southwards to San Jose. A northerly route on the I-280 followed before arriving at Pier 80 in South San Francisco.

The smaller crossbeams, which will link the two hulls of the AC72 catamaran, were trucked on a more direct route across the Bay Bridge to Pier 80. They will be assembled with the two hulls currently under construction at Pier 80.

The wing and crossbeams were constructed by Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, New Zealand. Under competition rules, the hulls must be built in the country a team represents.

When joined together, the wingsail-powered AC72 will have a speed potential of 40 knots (46mph/74kph). “I guarantee it will stop the traffic,” predicted Spithill when the boat goes testing on the Bay.

Under America’s Cup cost-capping rules, teams can’t launch their AC72s before July 1, and Oracle Team USA will have its boat sailing in August to start more than two months of testing on San Francisco Bay.

“After the hundreds of hours of design and thousands of man-hours of construction, it’s a significant milestone to see these components become reality,” said design team member Dirk Kramers, who observed the arrival of the components with other members of the design team.

Men with Odd Shaped Balls.

It is snowing in Queenstown. I'm wondering if I can sneak in one more run on the slopes before my flight back to Auckland. Stumbled up this online today. New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team have released a trick-shot video for the Rugby Channel TV network. Just a bit of fun.

The Boating Brilliance of Family Focused Fathers

Few things thrill me quite like sailing home into the sunset with a constant SE 18knot breeze on New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf, and one of my twin daughters telling me, "You're the 'bestest' daddy in the whole wide world"! ... "I love you daddy". My daughters are seven. Oh how I hope and 'pray' my girls feel similarly when they're seventeen, or even Eleven!

I have a plan of sorts, and currently my darling wife seems in on the 'idea'.  When my daughters are teenagers dancing around in their 'string' bikinis, my dream is that they are on a boat, loving life as only young girls can... And here's the thing, I know where they are, who they're with, and what they're doing! So far my girls love to be on Sirocco. Just love it. So, perhaps naively, I feel like my plan is working!

I thought this idea was to some extent original to me, until I remembered a quote about one Fabulous Father, Rich DeVos, by one of his sons; "To Dad, the boat is not a luxury. He uses the boat to build family relationships. The close quarters of a boat force a family to spend time together. On a boat, the teachable moments are more frequent and longer lasting."

A little while ago, Donnell and I were warmly welcomed aboard what was possibly the largest sailing yacht in Monaco, by dear friends. I have worked for the family and their delightful children on many boats, but never this one. Yet this was a totally family oriented 'super yacht'!. The couple and their children shared with us many exciting memories and stories of good times enjoyed as a family and as an extended family. Once aboard, immediately board games came out. The boat became an animated family play-ground!

Yes, there's time to play on a boat! Time to share! Time to listen! Time to love . . . even quiet time to read... on a boat!

When the sails are up, the lines are tight, the boats heeling over nicely into the wind and the engines cut... Suddenly there's quiet! There's peace and there's time to talk, to joke about, to love being together as a family.

And then of course our children can't wait to find remote places to go on 'adventures' and explore... unforgettable cherished memories to 'bottle' forever with a camera! Pictures that become 'buoy's' in our minds to tie our family memories to... few things give me such peace and joy and satisfaction as a Dad than taking my family sailing!


Max Nikias, Pat Haden, Ron Tutor, Tamara Gustavson and Ed Roski Break Ground on USC's John McKay Center

In front of a festive crowd of more than 400 people, USC officially broke ground today on the new John McKay Center, a $70 million, 110,000-square foot facility on the west side of Heritage Hall that will house meeting rooms, coaches offices and a locker room for the football program, as well as an academic center, weight room, athletic training room and state-of-the-art digital media production facility for all of USC's 21 sports. USC president Max Nikias and Trojan athletic director Pat Haden presided over the ceremony in front of a crowd that included members of the USC Board of Trustees, university deans and administrators, athletic department staff, coaches, student-athletes, donors and fans.

The Trojan Marching Band and USC Song Girls performed. After brief speeches, Nikias and Haden were joined in hardhats by USC Board of Trustee members Ron Tutor, Tamara Gustavson and Ed Roski and the group placed commemorative shovels into the ground.

Construction of the 2-story (plus basement) building is expected to take 18 months.

Donald T. Sterling To Sponsor Summer Clinics

Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald T. Sterling, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation, will again conduct the Clippers Summer Clinic Program, tipping off with 10 free clinics in the Los Angeles area this summer. From July 12-16 and August 9-13, Sterling and the Clippers will provide 2,500 children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of basketball. The Summer Clinic program, now in its fourth year, was initiated by Sterling in 2006 and has thus far accommodated a total of 7,200 southern California youths.

USET Foundation Celebrates Olympic Success at Signe Ostby and Scott Cook's Home

Signe Ostby and her husband Scott Cook, parents of successful junior/young rider show jumping athletes Karl and Annie Laurie Cook, graciously hosted approximately 50 guests at their Northern California home on September 9 to hear about the USET Foundation's role in helping this country's high-performance programs and to celebrate the success of the United States equestrian team at the 2008 Olympic Games. Upon entering the beautiful Woodside, CA, home, guests stopped along the winding hallway to the terrace to take in the stunning Olympic photography displayed with honor. At the end of this virtual Olympic journey, surrounded by vineyards, gardens, and stables, West Coast owners, riders, breeders, and equestrian supporters gathered on the stone terrace with USET Foundation President and CEO Jane Forbes Clark, USET Foundation Executive Director Bonnie Jenkins, and five Olympic stars—Beezie Madden, Gina Miles, George Morris, Steffen Peters and Will Simpson. The spectacular mountain views were a fitting backdrop for the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals inlaid with jade that the athletes proudly shared with each of the guests. The patriotism quotient was high.

Ostby welcomed the guests and noted how proud everyone was of the athletes' for delivering outstanding performances and for bringing home Team Gold and Individual Silver and Bronze medals.

Ostby pointed out that three of the Olympians had close ties to California—Gina Miles, Silver medalist in three-day eventing, trains, shows and coaches Pony Clubbers at the Horse Park in Woodside; Steffen Peters, who placed fourth individually in dressage aboard Ravel, who is owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang of Woodside; and Will Simpson, a member of the show jumping Gold-medal team, is also a California resident.

Ostby praised the leadership of Show Jumping Chef d' Equipe George H. Morris, who has been on quite a roll lately, with the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team Gold and the recent Nations Cup win at Spruce Meadows.

Guests then made their way out to the courtyard and were seated at tables draped in gold damask and identified with Olympic equine partners' names on the placards—Authentic, Carlsson Vom Dach, Ravel, McKinlaigh and Sinjon. With an Olympic athlete and a member of the USET Foundation seated at each table, the intimate setting was an opportunity for guests to engage in conversations that will not soon be forgotten.

As the evening fog rolled in over the mountains, Jane Forbes Clark took to the podium to address the gathering. Clark recognized the stars present from Hong Kong—Madden, Simpson, Peters, Miles and Morris, and their contributions as "incredible athletes, and amazing ambassadors." Clark went on to say, "watching them ride, watching them coach, reminds all of us why we are here tonight, why we support the Foundation, and why the United States Equestrian Team is a force in the international equestrian world."

Clark thanked guests Lou and Eva Gonda, owners of Will Simpson's Olympic mount Carlsson vom Dach, and Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang, owners of Steffen Peter's mount Ravel, noting, "Without the owners of these horses, the medals would not be possible."

Clark explained the role of the USET Foundation in supporting the competition, the training, the coaching, and the travel of America's elite and developing international high-performance horses and athletes in conjunction with the United States Equestrian Federation. Clark pointed out that each year the Foundation provides the Federation with a grant that covers approximately 60% of all high-performance program support. Unlike many other countries, the United States Equestrian Team does not receive any government funding. Funding for the athletes to be competitive and stay at the top level comes primarily from individuals.