Kiwi in jail after sea clash

By Amanda Snow

McCormick arrested in San Francisco. Photo / ABC7 News
McCormick arrested in San Francisco. Photo / ABC7 News

A Kiwi sailor is in jail in San Francisco after a protest against the America's Cup ended violently at sea.

David John McCormick, 47, was charged with assault on a federal officer, failure to heave to and making false distress calls.

The drama unfolded last Sunday morning when the United States Coastguard responded to a distress call from McCormick who claimed to have lost his best friend Spot overboard.

Sausalito Yacht Club member Jeff Zarwell said McCormick had deliberately left the oars from his dinghy on the pier and paddled by hand out a fair distance to his wooden yacht.

"He'd said something about an America's Cup protest - and soon after boarding his boat started throwing about five of his own sail bags overboard," Zarwell said.

Patrons of the club watched, finding the spectacle "light-heartedly entertaining", said Zarwell.

Zarwell called police who alerted the Coast Guard, but when armed officers arrived McCormick refused to allow them on board, apparently saying: "This is a peace ship, any attempt to board my vessel is an act of war."

Some hours later McCormick is alleged to have punched a coastguard officer.

McCormick, who also holds an Irish passport, is being held in custody and will appear in court in San Francisco next month. His father and a brother, both from Auckland, declined to comment.

- Herald on Sunday

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