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Tiger gets his apology and (perhaps) $1.6M

Tiger Woods has reached a settlement with Christensen Shipyards Ltd. of Vancouver, Wash., in a suit alleging the boatbuilder broke an agreement not to use the golf star’s name to promote itself or the $23 million motoryacht it built for him.

In announcing the settlement May 8, Woods’ attorneys, Venable LLP of Washington, D.C., released a short statement from Christensen president Joe Foggia: “We made a mistake and truly regret the company’s conduct.”

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, according to John Garger, spokesman for the law firm. However, the Associated Press reported that on May 4 Christensen’s insurer, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. of Minnesota, sued in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., challenging a $1.6 million insurance payout to Woods in the rights-of-publicity suit, claiming it hadn’t OK’d the Woods/Christensen settlement.

Foggia says as far as Christensen knows, the suit is settled. “We believe it is,” he says. Regarding St. Paul’s court filings, he says he only knew what the Associated Press had reported. “We haven’t been served with anything yet,” he says.

Foggia was hoping to put the matter behind him. He says Christensen has plenty to do: The builder’s order book is backlogged to 2012 (www.christensenyachts.com).

Woods sued Christensen in October 2004, claiming the megayacht builder had displayed Woods’ name and photographs of his 155-foot yacht, Privacy, together at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Describing Woods as “the most recognized athlete in the world,” the suit alleged that in addition to using his name at the show, the builder had distributed photos of Privacy to “numerous publications” and linked the photos to Woods. It said clauses in the sales contract, while permitting Christensen to show Privacy and use photographs ofit, prohibited the builder from disclosing the buyer. The suit maintained that Woods’ name is such a pricey commodity that Christensen could owe the golfer $50 million for unauthorized use of his celebrity.

Woods’ name slipped out in a story in Power & Motoryacht magazine, as well as Sports Illustrated and other magazines.

Woods’ then-new wife, Elin Nordegren Woods, voiced concern about the intrusion on the couple’s privacy. In a deposition detailing how she had seen photos of Privacy and information linking the boat to her husband at the Christensen booth in Lauderdale, she said, “As its name implies, Privacy was intended to be a private respite for our family to relax and escape the rigors of my husband’s celebrity.”

Woods, who lives in Windemere, Fla., bought the 155-foot trideck motoryacht in February 2004. The fiberglass composite vessel has five staterooms and quarters for nine crewmembers. Powered by twin 1,800-hp MTU 12V 4000s, the megayacht has a cruising range of 4,000 nautical miles and a top speed of 19 knots.

— Jim Flannery

It ain’t Bogart’s Maltese Falcon

A 286-foot three-masted steel-hulled clipper yacht with four decks has been dubbed the largest personal sailboat in the world by its builder. Launched in April in Istanbul, Turkey, Maltese Falcon was designed by the British Ken Freivokh Design firm and built by the Italian Perini Navi yacht yard. She has a 42-foot beam, draws nearly 20 feet (36 feet with the daggerboard), measures 256 feet on the waterline and displaces 1,366 tons.

The masts and rigging are what make the yacht unique. The so-called DynaRig was conceived in Germany 30 years ago but has never been built into a boat. Designers from Doyle Sailmakers and Gerard Dijkstra & Partners developed the rig for Maltese Falcon, which includes yards with arced cross sections resembling an airplane wing. An automated system rotates the freestanding carbon fiber masts — which stretch 191 feet above the design waterline — and raises or lowers the yacht’s 25,791 square feet of sail. The system is designed to enable the yacht to be sailed by one person, according to its owner, California venture capitalist Tom Perkins.

Plans are for the yacht to be sailed in the Mediterranean this summer. Its price wasn’t disclosed. www.freivokh.com

Tasmanian boaters balk at DUI checks

Recreational boaters on the Australian island state Tasmania are miffed about proposed legislation that would give marine police the discretionary authority to randomly test skippers for alcohol and drugs. If passed, police will be allowed to conduct random tests on boat operators, and analyze blood samples of people involved in boating accidents or suspected of having consumed alcohol, according to a report in The Mercury newspaper. The legislation also would make it illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol level that exceeds .05 percent.

“To me, this is just another nail in the coffin,” says Scott Price, vice commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, in the report. “Too many rules and regulations — and if they are policing it to the letter — will really take the fun out of boating.”

— Jason Fell