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Artemis Racing skipper Nathan Outerridge could have been one slip-and-fall away from turning the tide on the quick Kiwis and moving on to an Oracle that he clearly feels would have been an easier test, but he’s good natured and honest about it in this 10 minute long interview with Mr. Clean on the pierside in Bermuda.  Clean finally brought some good questions to an island that’s seen weeks of fluff from the vast majority of reporters on the ground, and his subject – also the guy commentating if you watched NBC or the NBCSN app in the states – is one of the brightest and most accomplished sailors in the sport.  Learn about Nath’s feelings on his loss, whether Artemis will challenge again, Nath’s opinion on the speed difference between the two AC boats, and Burling’s mental toughness as the young Kiwi goes into tomorrow with a 4-1 lead. That and more in this 10 minutes with the flying Aussie from Lake Macquarie.

June 24th, 2017

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Mr. Clean his the New Zealand radio shows as the end gets closer.  One piece on venue selection and the obstacles to an Auckland event, and the other on potential shenanigans from the OTUSA bunch.

 

June 24th, 2017

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Bermuda internet may not be quick enough for a live show down on the docks at the AC Village, but Mr. Clean’s loaded up 18 minutes of pre-race analysis (in two parts, above), including some seriously interesting rumors about Oracle’s case of the slows and the interesting Challenger possibilities opening up if ETNZ can close it out this weekend.  With 8-12 knots on call today and less tomorrow when Race Director Ian Murray can add a third race if it’s match point, most are expecting this to be over by Sunday night.

Keep an eye on Facebook for interviews and analysis all day long.

June 24th, 2017

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Dee Caffari is quite possibly the hardest woman in the history of sailing.  We don’t need to list her accomplishments here, other than to tell you she was the first – and only – woman to solo circumnavigate in both directions, including an Eastabout trip in a monster steel boat.

Dee’s new challenge may be her toughest yet, and we salute the folks at the Volvo Ocean Race for signing her up for Boat 6 – an environmental and education platform that’s more about PR and outreach than it is about assembling a world-beating team.  That’s not to say she has no chance; with a free hand as skipper and without the big-sponsor politics that came along with Team SCA, Dee may finally be able to show what her project management and teaching skills can do.

But it won’t be easy, and at this late date, it might be a shit show.  No matter: She’s the consummate seaman (seaperson?) and her inclusion in the race means the pro-youth, pro-environmental message will have a hell of a communicator to deliver it.  Listen to The Sailing Show podcast for 22 solid minutes with Dee about the upcoming Team Dee, and as always, hit the VOR forum for the latest chatter.

June 24th, 2017

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Clean Report

For the longest time, I was boycotting the America’s Cup.  Despite Bermuda’s proximity to the US and kind invitations for us from a number of teams and sponsors, I didn’t want to lend any legitimacy to a venue that, in my opinion, represented a betrayal to America and all those fans who’d supported Ellison in Oracle’s huge legal and then design battle against Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi team.  If you’re balls deep in the Cup like we are, you’ll remember that SA was extremely hard on Bertarelli for his proposed changes to the AC, which we saw as sabotage of the history and legacy of the AC.  So hard, in fact, that we became embedded inside Oracle Team in Valencia, running daily talk shows from their base and helping in the effort to demoralize Alinghi. And when asked why Larry Ellison’s plan was any different than the “Ernievision” plan for the Cup, my answer was simple and became rote: “If he shows that he’s not, we’ll be just as hard on him as we were on Ernesto.”

I missed the incredible excitement of San Francisco in 2013 thanks to a conflict with the Little America’s Cup, which my small crew streamed live from Falmouth, England during the day before watching the AC matches late in the night with the entire C-Class fleet – all at the club where Ben Ainslie learned to sail.  While a great experience – and still the coolest boats ever – I’ll never forgive myself for not being on the ground during the most fascinating and compelling competition in yachting history.

A year later, when Ellison removed the Cup competition from the USA and still later when the so-called ‘Framework’ was signed by all the teams but one, we realized that Larry – or henchman Russell Coutts –  in fact had quite similar ideas to Bertarelli: Profit to come from shopping the venue out to gullible governments, and sponsor VIP fulfillment thanks to an annual perpetual league of racing.  Neither idea is a bad idea, but neither idea comes close to the Deed’s intent, and neither idea is the America’s Cup.

Fast forward to just before the LV Qualifiers last month; I was riveted to my computer and the SA forums watching incredible racing in the kind of boats that SA has been begging for since something like 2005.  Finally, there really was something in sailing that captures some of what I love about Formula 1, and I wasn’t there!  With no decision made, I sent a little feeler e-mail out to the AC folks via their Media Accreditation Application.  I made it clear I wasn’t looking for Media Center access, didn’t need a Media Boat, and wasn’t interested in parties, accommodations, press kits, swag bags, or any of the other bullshit that most events use to try to convince reporters to be nice.  In fact, I didn’t need anything at all other than attendance at the press conferences.

Imagine my surprise when I received this e-mail, even before deciding whether to head over to the island.

Dear Alan Block,

Thank you for your media accreditation request for the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda.

Your accreditation request has been received and considered. Unfortunately it has not been accepted which means you will not be issued with a media pass and access to the 35th America’s Cup Media Centre.

Please be aware that entry to the public facilities at the 35th America’s Cup does not require a media accreditation pass. Our website, www.americascup.com/tickets will provide you with all information regarding the range of ticket packages that are available.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Ferrando, Media Centre Manager

Immediately after the shock wore off from what is my first-ever media accreditation denial, I booked my ticket to Bermuda.

Next, I set about trying to figure out how a modern sporting event, sponsored to the tune of $77M by an island nation – one that relies nearly entirely on American tourism – could reject the single most-read publisher of sailing content in America.  The handwriting was on the wall already as far as the commercial success of the event; the interest among Americans was at an all-time low, the early ratings on MSNBCSN were dismal, and the event must be desperate for american eyeballs.  And yet even after sending over proof of the million-plus American readers of this site, I got another rejection – this time, after the thing had been kicked uphill to their Comms Director.

Dear Alan,
Your email below has been forwarded to me so I can reply.
We judge each application for media accreditation to the 35th America’s Cup on its own merits, bearing in mind the resources we have available in the Media Centre.
As with various others, we have decided to exercise our right to decline your application. 
Sincerely,
Tom Webb

In the media world, that’s called a non-answer, and I correctly guessed that Tom Webb – a real media professional whose worked with much tougher reporters than me in his F1 days – had nothing to do at all with this decision. I wrote back:

Thanks for the personal response Tom. Can you please explain what those criteria are, and whether or not non-accredited individuals are permitted in the press conferences?  To be frank I couldn’t care less about the media center, media boats, or any other trappings of entitled reporters. I do however know that our readers want to have their questions represented…
By this point, I knew that nothing I wrote would change things, because this was personal.  I had pissed off Sir Russell, and this was his revenge.  Petty? Maybe.  Showing a total lack of the most basic understanding of the media and concern for the event’s sponsor?  Absolutely.  The expected response showed up shortly thereafter:
Hi Alan,
Non-accredited personnel are not allowed in the press conferences.
Tom
I let it end there – the last thing I’d ever do is beg the America’s Cup for accreditation, preferring to use my anger to fight back in the best way I know – by reporting on it.
I remain hopeful that it was really all just a minor screwup and that I’ll get an invitation to this afternoon’s presser, but you won’t find me holding my breath!
Keep watching this page for more AC coverage until the end.

June 24th, 2017

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From one of thousands of America’s Cup crazed Kiwis in the forums. Be sure to check back here before racing begins on Saturday for all the latest insider info from the AC Village, where Mr. Clean has been turning over rocks for the last day and a half.

Saturday am.

Less than 24 hours to go. A sleepless and tortured night has just past behind me. I have read local and international news from all manner of formal and blogo-dicks, scanned through twitter, facebook, youtube, scab-butt, sailworld and all the other sail-shit news sites regurgitating the same quotes, theories and speculation. When mashed together with a little salt and milk, they all amount to fuck-all but a tidied up and glued together concoction of posts here on SA with the shits, fucks and cunts edited out.

SA AC Forum is still the best source for the skinny on opinion and links to meaningful tidbits.

Today I have to pretend to the wife that she matters and is the center of my world. It’ll be ok, I think I can fool her for at least the next 60 hours or so. I’ll get back to marriage next week or the week after. The lawn is long, the garden unattended. The sailboat sits down at the marina growing green shit on the toe-rails and no doubt the dock lines have worn half way through. I don’t give a fuck. It doesn’t affect the outcome of the AC.

This is my world. A world of loathing and obsession. Don’t distract me, I’m dangerous and capable clawing through broken glass to stay alert, supportive and up to date on the only thing that matters in my pathetic little world. Fuck ISIS, Trump, Brexit, elections, Syria, hunger and the fucktards that keep blowing shit up in Belgium.

AC lives matter.

June 23rd, 2017

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Racing in Rio may have been completely overshadowed by mass protests, a wave of murders, the Zika epidemic, and a government in shambles, but if you missed the story of Santi Lange and his crew Ceci, it’s one you want to catch up with.  From losing part of lung to cancer to winning Olympic Gold after two-plus decades of attempts, Santi is a legend – and this piece from The Olympic Channel is a well-produced look at his battle.  Above is just a trailer – the full 10 minute mini-doc is over here.

 

June 23rd, 2017

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It’s hard not to be a fan of NatGeo’s world-leading nature photographers, and today they published a gorgeous gallery of the water-related submissions to their Nature Photo of the Year contest.  Click here to see 33 of the most beautiful water shots you’ve ever seen.

 

June 23rd, 2017

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Part 2 of out in the wilderness series of abandoned boats, and all of them contributed by Anarchists. Today’s gem is a Valicelli 50 -Trinity ex-Pioneer, Lying in Toledo, OH. Submitted by family member Ryan Knight, he gives us the backstory:

“It has been in the back of our building for 15 years.  Dad bought it in 1989 and raced it on the Great Lakes until 2002.” As to why they stopped racing her; “Dad got older, I had a young family and crew started having families, etc.  He always wanted to get it back in the water but now the boat is in bad shape, however it is an aluminum hull, no fiberglass.  Would sell it if we could find a buyer.  Was a hell of a time, racing against FUJIMO, Leading Edge, American Eagle, Margret Rintool, many others in the IOR 50 fleet.”

How awesome to know the story! Got a story? Send it in!

 

June 22nd, 2017

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Wednesday, 7th of June a huge storm hit the whole of the western province, causing all schools to be closed for the day. We usually train up to four times a week, but the wind was too strong and no one wanted to go sailing in the overcast weather. So while the rest of Cape Town was running to shelter, I was crazy enough to go sailing.

We measured winds between 32-46 knots at Imperial Yacht Club. My home club is Zeekoeivlei Yacht Club and I am training to go to my second world championship in Thailand. As a sailor grown up in Cape Town, strong winds are common for us.

But there has never been anything so strong to make me look forward to the same ways I did to this one! I went out and sailed for about an hour, and then came back exhausted! With footage from my GoPro, I have put this video together from “The Mother of Cape Storms.” – Anarchist Alex.

 

June 22nd, 2017

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