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US Sailing v. AmericaOne, Inc., Cayard, Ruh and Spina

In March 2021 Paul Cayard became the Executive Director of US Olympic Sailing. In February 2023 we wrote of Cayard’s resignation from the role along with other key people from the Olympic program, including United States Foundation Chairman Bill Ruh and Performance Director Leandro Spina.

The relationship between US Sailing, AmericaOne and Cayard, Ruh and Spina has now turned into a lawsuit where US Sailing is suing the group through the US District Court in Rhode Island for financial damages to US Sailing and its Olympic athletes. AmericaOne was the St. Francis Yacht Club challenger for the 2000 America’s Cup. Following the Cup challenge, AmericaOne became a foundation to support US competitive sailing and was renamed Project Pipeline in 2014.

US Sailing issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

“US Sailing, the sport’s National Governing Body and the organization responsible for the US Olympic Sailing Team, in its continued commitment to its athletes, has acted in response to the recently completed independent review by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), and filed a lawsuit against America One and three of its principals and employees for actions that have harmed, and continue to harm, athletes, the US Sailing Team, and US Sailing.

“US Sailing’s priority is to support its athletes to the fullest extent possible. Many positive steps have been taken since US Sailing made changes to its Olympic team leadership and operations and the USOPC issued its independent report on its investigation and assessment of US Sailing’s Olympic operations, including:

  • US Sailing provided several million dollars in performance support to its athletes for successful training and competition.

  • Athletes participating in the process that led to the hiring of an incredibly talented new High Performance Director with significant experiences in successful Olympic teams.

  • US Sailing continues to work with the athletes and the USOPC to prioritize athlete safety measures, including as recommended in the USOPC report.

  • US Sailing conducted its successful first round of Olympic Trials in Miami January 6-13, with 61 athletes participating, which continues the second week of February.

“We remain committed to supporting athletes’ physical and mental preparation as we select our team for the Paris 2024 Games.

“In further response to the USOPC’s report, and to recover for the athletes what was lost as indicated in the USOPC’s report, US Sailing has filed a lawsuit against America One and three of its principals and employees for actions that have harmed athletes, the US Sailing Team, and US Sailing’s business and reputation with donors, sponsors, competitive sailors, and the larger sailing community and Olympic movement. The lawsuit seeks financial damages to replace lost funding and remedy the harm done, and the cessation of wrongful conduct. Damages recovered will support the athletes as intended. US Sailing’s Complaint (filed in the United States District Court in Rhode Island) is publicly available and can be found here.

“Regrettably, the defendants in the lawsuit have harmed our athletes, Team, and organization, and US Sailing, as the National Governing Body, is compelled to respond and take all reasonable and appropriate steps to redress that harm, obtain the monetary remedies for the benefit of our athletes and their continued competitive endeavors, and enable the US Sailing Team to best move forward.

“US Sailing reaffirms its ongoing commitment to support our athletes, move forward, and improve our Olympic operations and the performance of our athletes in Paris and beyond.”

You can read the entire 75-page complaint here.

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3 Comments

  1. John C. Dukat 6 months ago

    Let’s work on the positive

    How do you support our Olympic sailing ahtletes?
    Odd as it may seem send them money DIRECTLY.
    e.g. There is a fundraiser at RYC for David Liebenberg and Sarah Moore at RYC end of this month.
    I am sure other potential Olympians could use the same support.

    • Jonathan Livingston 6 months ago

      I agree with Mr Dukat. In stead of Lawyers getting paid, the athletes get those funds.

  2. Scott Gordon 5 months ago

    Cayard, one of the great sailors, was just elected President of the Star Class in a small bit of recognition from his very high level peers, who have known him for decades.

    The overpaid non-sailor CEO of (so called, quote unquote) “U.S. Sailing” elects to sue Cayard, after a cup of coffee in the job. The lack of understanding here is epic.

    “U.S. Sailing” today is more concerned with licensing power boat drivers than encouraging Olympians. That’s where the money is!

    The so-called “U.S. Sailing” org has named many Directors, each of whom need to look at this closely. Continued association with this travesty constitutes endorsement.

    I agree with Dukat. Support Olympians directly!

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