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Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’

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AC Breaking

As the world waited for Le Roi Russell to announce his entry list for the LOCATION TBD America’s Cup, we learned that the delay had nothing to do with whatever the AC spin said; our insider tells us that at least one team asked for a delay to shore up their finances and sponsorship scenario.  Meanwhile, the AC has announced this morning that there are indeed five challengers who fronted up several million in nonrefundable deposits and bank pledges for the LOCATION TBD America’s Cup.  While we remain highly doubtful that all five will make it closer than Team Australia did to the starting line of the LOCATION AND TITLE SPONSOR TBD Challenger’s Regatta in three years, we do hope they do; it would be great to see the UK and France do well, perhaps igniting some national fervor for the America’s Cup, and perhaps (as unlikely as it may be) wresting it from Coutts’ control to bring it to real international prominence.

Meanwhile, Sportbusiness.com today writes that Ben Ainslie has lost any chance at getting longtime BAR sponsor JP Morgan to foot the estimated $50-75M title sponsorship spot for his AC bid.

The Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) sailing team will look for a new title sponsor for its inaugural 2017 America’s Cup campaign after the incumbent, financial services company JP Morgan, decided not to continue past 2014.

The BAR team is the UK’s entrant for the next America’s Cup series. It is led by Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history and tactician for Team Oracle USA during its dramatic victory at the 2013 America’s Cup.

It is understood that New York-based JP Morgan, which has been the title sponsor of Ainslie personally since 2007, and the main global partner of BAR since the team’s launch in January 2012, feels an alignment with a British team against American competitors would not match its brand image.

The team is now looking for a title sponsor on a three-year contract, from 2015 to 2017.

A UK South Coast insider sent us another update this morning, possibly explaining the JPM departure from Team Sir Ben.

I wouldn’t take this as a sign of anything other than regime change on the sponsorship front. When the team’s AC effort was launched, one of the things I noticed was there are a couple of people on the Board of the team from Vitol, an oil trading firm (including Ian Taylor, its CEO). Vitol is not quite Torben Torquist’s Gunvor, but that’s mostly in the sense it’s not largely owned, ultimately, by a tiger-petting Russian king.

Vitol is possibly not the most ethical of firms, and was only a few weeks ago exposed in engaging in UK Tax Avoidance on a massive scale, according to the Independent.  With figures like those in the above article, it’s entirely concievable they have 50 million quids kicking around ready to drop on a Cup campaign.  Given some of the other rather, ahem, ’controversial’ transations Vitol has been associated with, it could be that JPM didn’t really want to be sharing signage space with them…..

And in a final piece of AC news, European sailing blog Farevela reported yesterday the completely terrifying news that Juan Kouyamdjian will be one of the designers of the underfunded Team France effort, perhaps built on the strength of Franck Cammas’ relationship with the JuanKer during the successful Groupama 70 VOR program.   We’d humbly suggest our friends on the team get some extra life insurance…

Team France thread is over here.  BAR is here.

 

August 21st, 2014 by admin

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WOAC45With Team Australia flaming out of the America’s Cup with a whimper, the Oatley family needed a new look for the winged AC45 they picked up along the way.  And once they painted it up right, they realized they’d finally gotten a Wild Oats that’s significantly faster than the R/P 100 that’s been winning the Hobart for a decade…and for about 5% of what they’ve spent on the big one!

Pic thanks to SA’er ‘wildboats’ from the 45s launch at the upscale Hamilton Island Race Week.  Not the latest or greatest tech or the fastest cat out there, but it’s certainly got sex appeal…

 

August 15th, 2014 by admin

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As the 35th America’s Cup “Deadline Day” hit us here in the US,  The Royal NZ Yacht Squadron became the first team to formally announce that it ponied up the millions required for a challenge to Golden Gate Yacht Club, and that Emirates Team NZ would be their representatives. “We look forward to working with the other teams to create a great event. [emphasis ours]“.  

The solo Kiwi news release, along with Dalton’s emphasis on ‘working with the other teams’ tells us that Russell and Grant definitely haven’t kissed and made up; you can expect a more coordinated flurry of news today as ‘Russell’s Four” – the teams that pledged their lukewarm support to Coutts and the Cup a couple of weeks ago – are likely to have worked with AC AlphaWhat on a distribution schedule.  In other words, when the Cup is ready to tell you who challenged and who is the new Challenger of Record, they’ll fucking tell you, you impatient twat!

Meanwhile, RadioSport NZ’s D’arcy Waldegrave grabbed Mr. Clean for a morning drive time chat about the challenges the Kiwis face on “The Sauce”, also known as “New Zealand’s Loosest Sports Radio Show“.  Listen to it above.

 

August 8th, 2014 by admin

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It’s another installment of Video Anarchy, brought to you by our foiling friends at The Great Cup.

Vamos A La Playa

As US772 told you last week in his report from the Dirtboat Worlds, Nevada’s stark desert is one of the most visually impressive places to sail imaginable, and the unique piece of American geography provides a gorgeous backdrop to this video showing just what landsailing is all about.  Shots of the Smith Creek Playa are best in HD on a big screen, and hit this link for some drone aerials during one of the event’s crazy dust storms.  And if you want a look at just how scary Latino music was in 1983 (and the inspiration for the title), hit this link.

RORC To The Rescue

Yeah, there are a lot of idiotic looking blazers.  And yeah, maybe the pole-back, supper-table IRC boats are the antithesis of what Sailing Anarchy is all about.  But we’re stoked to see an American with the quickest boat in the fleet help Team Ireland crush the rest of Europe, and we’re even more glad to see historical events like the Comedy Cup saved from extinction.   With their biggest fleet in a while, it looks like the RORC is on the right track…check out more here.

Skidmarks

While Team Oracle’s management continues to make the team, the country, and the sport look shady, the actual sailors seem to be having a blast.  Have a look at this hilarious short from OTUSA racers during their Moth Camp in Lake Macquarie about a naked Jimmy Spithill’s hygiene during his Sports Illustrated photo shoot.  Thread here, and a slightly more serious Oracle moth training video here.

Back Then, Again

Your wildly approving clicks and comments from the ’83 SORC inspired us to give you more, and thanks to the Aussie RB Sailing Blog, we’ve got it.   The hour-long video comes from the 1982 Hawaii Clipper Cup, and includes not only the historic Americans like Kialoa, but also the big Aussie names in SORC racing.  Enjoy it, and get over to the Video SORC thread to chat with other old bastards who remember it, too.  Big thanks to original SA’er “SPORTSCAR” for the heads-up.

Ashes To Ashes

Some odd decisions and shitty conditions meant that, despite the 2014 Moth Worlds pulling in the biggest fleet in the Class’s history, the event went by somewhat unnoticed by the larger yachting community. We just couldn’t get excited by the two-fleet format, racing peppered with abandonments and postponements and sail measurement issues, or the fact that, with the ’13 World Champ, the majority of the expected ‘AC Mothies’, and nearly every US sailor opting to blow off a trip to the UK South Coast, the competition wasn’t really what we’ve become used to.

Add to that the organizers’ total fuckup with the media; they chose to use a UK sailing publication for all of their media work – something we normally applaud because it usually means good, professional content.  But in this case, that sailing publication branded everything from the Moth Worlds with their own magazine’s logo, virtually guaranteeing the majority of the sailing media would ignore it.  It may be petty, but it’s also the basic common sense: If you depend on the media to maximize exposure for the health of your class and the satisfaction of your sponsors, it’s a good idea not to ostracize them with an exclusive publication partner – unless your media partner is bigger than everyone else, or writes you a huge check…neither of which happened last week in Hayling Island.

Fortunately, the English got their hands handed to them both by Nathan Outteridge, who wins his second Moth World title, and by the Aussies, who took the all-important Ashes trophy in the team competition between Ol’ Blighty and Oz.

We congratulate Nathan, and above is a look at what the Ashes is all about from Beau Outteridge.  And mark your calendars for early 2015, when a massive fleet, including many of the names who sat out the ’14 event, will descend on Sorrento, Australia to battle for perhaps the most important title in performance dinghy sailing.

 

July 30th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.14.00 PMAfter the ass-kissing statement of support released last week by the ‘Euro 4′ AC35 challenger heads (Ainslie, Sirena, Percy, Cammas), we’re unsurprised to learn that, according to AC authority and AP writer Bernie Wilson, Russell Coutts specifically told ETNZ to stay home from a major, confidential Challenger/Defender summit meeting later this week in London.

According to Wilson’s piece, “the event authority is working with the teams “to further define an event based on the published protocol.” Coutts said that after he heard from another team [emphasis ours -ed] the Kiwis didn’t want to want to proceed on that basis, “I rang them up and said, ‘It’s best that you not come.’ We have four other challenging teams and the defender that want to work together to have a great event this time and in the future.”

We’re not quite sure what Coutts’ offered to get formerly logical and critical guys like Sirena on board with whatever failure-doomed plan Coutts is trying, now that his greed and hubris sent Iain Murray and Team Australia into the void previously occupied by Vincenzo Onorato.  Discounted entry fees?  Access to some of OTUSA’s old data archives? It’s gotta be something, because they all know that Australia’s Challengus Interruptus makes Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison look like some of the biggest buffoons in international sport.

Coutts’ latest bit of nastiness to his countrymen is just one more folly from a guy who is almost comically bad at the business of sport, and the same question is on every AC watcher in the world’s lips:  Why would one of the world’s best businessmen keep Russell Coutts at the head of the AC organization when he has failed at every single AC-related business decision he’s ever made, including the most costly boondoggle in the history of modern sport?  It ain’t the biggest newspaper in the world, but the Otago Daily Times has one possible answer: They say Coutts’ contract may have a ‘Bertarelli Clause’, guaranteeing Coutts the top job until he gives it up himself.

Golden Gate Yacht Club members are not happy.  Notwithstanding their recent “support”, Challengers are not happy.  Sponsors are not happy (or nonexistent).  And fans are not happy.  Hell, even Obama has a 40% approval rating.  But how long will the notoriously headstrong Larry Ellison continue to allow his reputation and the sport he loves to be screwed over by a piss-poor businessman who’s proven that he is terrible at everything…except for one skill:  Winning the America’s Cup?

Unless this is all part of the plan…screw everyone and you might not come so close to losing the next one?

Is there anyone in the world left that supports Russell Coutts?

 

July 28th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 11.45.27 AMWe took Mich Dej’s presently undefined role in the Team Campos VOR team as an indicator that maybe things are not going all that well for him as one of the trio of leaders of the Team France AC effort, but that take might be very wrong if you believe France’s top sailing journo Loïc LeBras.  LeBras is a good digger though, and his sources told him two days ago that Cammas is about to sign a major agreement with “France’s leading hotel group and Europe’s leading aircraft manufacturer.”   Cammas’ statement in an otherwise fluffy and bullshitty joint statement today seems to support Franck’s optimism that Team France will, at least, be able to enter by the million-dollar deadline on the 8th of August.

Let’s not screw around with implication here; if LeBras is right, we’ll see some serious commercial juice in AC35 from a second non-billionaire backed team. France’s biggest hotel group, by far, is the Paris-based Accor, which owns some 3,600 hotels on five continents.  They hit every budget with their holdings; from Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn right up to the 5 stars of the Sofitel and Pullman lines.  And of course Europe’s biggest airplane manufacturer is Airbus, which has been peripherally involved in sailing (via the C-Class Invictus and several other endeavors) for ages now.  As a branding exercise, Airbus could get huge mileage out of involvement with the AC, especially considering Oracle’s ties to Airbus competitor Boeing.  And while France’s tardiness means they might miss out on the designer raffle and some may dismiss this as a Luna-Rossa-in-AC-34-style ‘learning campaign’ leading to AC36, there are those who thought the same thing about Groupama in the VOR…and we know how that worked out.

Stay on top of the Team France thread in America’s Cup Anarchy for the latest on Cammas and Co, and have a look here at one of the most empty, vapid, useless press releases we’ve seen from a Cup team in years…and that’s saying something.

 

 

July 25th, 2014 by admin

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AC Breaking

dead-kangarooUPDATE: It is indeed official – for the second straight time, The Challenger of Record has pulled out of the contest they helped to create along with Coutts & Co, and with no entries yet approved by GGYC, there is a real question whether the existing protocol will be able to exist in its current form now that the most important of the AC45 Challengers is out.  Here’s what happens when the CoR takes a walk; and we read the official release quote from Ben Ainslie to mean that BAR will be the likely replacement for the Oatleys. Anarchist ‘the truth’ called it last week in America’s Cup Anarchy; share your thoughts there.  

It’s understood the Australian Challenger of record, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, is withdrawing from the 35th edition of the race. The syndicate says the new Protocols set by challengers Oracle are too hard to prepare for when no dates or venue have been confirmed for the event. While prospective challengers continue to wonder what the hell Coutts has been doing for a year, Russell amazingly still says he needs until October to make the final decision.  Really?

Nice work, America’s Cup.

 

July 18th, 2014 by admin

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We love to get nerdy, and few can get nerdier than former Air Force Lt. Col., Boeing military aerospace engineer, Oracle Racing designer, and Sailing Anarchist Tom Speer.  This guy has been foiling since Egyptian Cotton sails – that’s why we can excuse the crappy sound and image quality from The Foiling Week’s video of Speer’s talk on the state-of-the-art in foiling, just last week.  It’s embedded above, and here’s the companion PDF to Speer’s talk.

 

July 15th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 10.30.44 AMOne of Chicago’s top sailors takes his shot at explaining why The Windy City was dropped in favor of The Windless City.  And then, of course, there’s Bermuda…

I have been asked by many people about the AC being in Chicago and I could not ever see how it was ever a real or even potential possibility. I’m guessing by the lack of any real information about the “Chicago Bid,” the team here never saw it as a real possibility either, but they did see a real potential for something. More on that later. Don’t get me wrong: Chicago is an awesome place to sail part of the time, and frankly I saw that as the biggest hurdle.  Here’s my list of ‘issues’ with the Chicago AC:

1) Think about it…In almost every real AC with a Louis Vuitton Series, teams were setting up at the venue site 15+ Months in advance! It has been rumored they want to hold the Cup races in July..Do you really see AC-62’s or whatever they are sailing around Chicago during Strictly Sail Chicago? If you were here this year, you would have noticed one small issue with that…a foot-deep coating of glistening ice on the course.

2) Also, they have mentioned that Chicago has the facilities for teams and boats? I would like to know where that was going to be.  The lakefront is pretty jammed up with harbors, beaches and Navy Pier, and I can’t see how there is room for these big beasts and their wings on the pier…go down there and check it out if you don’t believe me.  Northerly Island? Well good luck with that…Either place would essentially have to be shut down and wow, would you need some very radical political support from the City, Mayor, Alderman, every tenant and business at Navy Pier etc…If someone was paying Chicago to host it would probably cost as much to fund both team NZL and Prada – and then some.

3) And what about the Race Area; is a 1.2 mile leg long enough for an AC62?  For a 45 sure, but for the new AC boat that sails at 45 knots…I doubt it. What if the breeze is out of the west or out of the east as it has been for so much of this summer? Anyone feel like watching 300 yard upwind legs?  Frankly, Oak Street Beach would be better.

4) $$$$$$….Where the hell is Chicago going to get the $ to host the Cup? We are maybe doing ok, but just barely…Frankly the money would have to come from the State and private backers and we know how that went in San Francisco.  Not well.

5) No matter what they say about Chicago being a very serious consideration, I’m guessing that was all lip service and never was for the actual Cup. They released the three candidate Cities’ names and eliminated one pretty quickly – the ink had barely dried from the San Francisco elimination press release to the Chicago one.   If you asked was Chicago a serious consideration for an AC-45 event…for sure!  And in fact that would be a perfect fit without doubt, and I’m sure that is why Russell was here.

6) It makes perfect sense is for Chicago to host a AC-45 Event…Every reason above would not apply and frankly the 45, regatta is about a perfect fit, and that is not only doable, it would be simple and not cause too much disruption. It’s a two to three week deal. I have always said an AC-45 will be the consolation prize and frankly one that makes good and frankly the best commercial sense for all involved.

Going forward to Bermuda vs SD….Well for sure, SD will get it. Bermuda will get an AC45 event. The one thing Bermuda has going for it is government backing (they can do that since they are Bermuda), and no doubt it would be great boost for the economy, but logistically for the teams it will be a nightmare! The only local draw will be that of the locals.

The thing with SD is its “local to the rest of CA” and easy to get to from the rest of the US, and world for that matter, though Europe becomes a bit more problematic.. If it did go to Bermuda it would be a real first and make for a very different Cup that is for sure…Would that be bad? It’s a pretty nice place.

But if you think Coutts doesn’t know exactly where the next AC will be held, you’re crazy.  It’s called ‘getting a jump on the design game’…SD and Bermuda…Think they have similar conditions? Not liklely.

It’s the same game that has been played for decades now. Not selecting a venue causes teams difficulty in raising money, putting challengers on their back foot…They now have another 5 months to keep people and syndicates guessing and losing time they need to study the conditions of the venue, to design and build the new boat. The guys at OR are not stupid, and they undoubtedly have confidentiality agreements with both locations to not leak anything.

Its all just logic…lets see how it all turns out, but not expecting any surprises nor should anybody else. The AC-45 is the real marketing deal from a global level, as the AC is a ‘one and done’ event rather than something that endures on an annual basis.

 

July 9th, 2014 by admin

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AC Breaking

UPDATE: We were clearly dead wrong about San Diego losing their AC bid.  It was in fact Chicago that went down.  Our apologies for getting it wrong, and y’all can read the full press release here; it says that San Diego and Bermuda remain as the possible targets for Coutts and Ellison’s “goal of hosting an exciting and successful America’s Cup built on a strong commercial foundation.”  We’ll leave the text below as a lesson to ourselves…

Rest assured, San Diegans: You won’t have to deal with any America’s Cup crowds in 2017! Or is it?

With Anarchists reporting Russell Coutts traipsing around Navy Pier last weekend and an independent confirmation from Vsail’s Pierre O, we can safely report that San Diego looks to be knocked out of the running to host the next America’s Cup, and we expect a press release on Wednesday announcing just that.

Remaining will be Bermuda and Chicago, though we are nearly certain that Coutts is only keeping Bermuda on the hook as a negotiating tool.  At the end of the day, the months of national and international outrage that will erupt if  Coutts and Ellison carpetbag the Cup offshore will make Kingpost-gate look like a Sunday cartoon, creating the kind of unpredictable obstacle that can be near-impossible to overcome.  In other words, if Coutts wants to guarantee his vision fails and his wallet swells, he will choose Bermuda. If he wants a remote chance at commercial success, longevity, and a positive impact for sailing, Chicago’s the only place left.

 

July 8th, 2014 by admin

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The Bermuda Sun didn’t take kindly to our analysis of potential AC35 venues last week, devoting half a page of text to Sailing Anarchy’s ‘naiveté’ in criticizing the tiny island as an America’s Cup venue.  The Sun’s confidence comes in part thanks to a single source they cite; a retired sailing coach named Paul Doughty, the Bermuda media’s go-to guy for quotes.  ”Sailing Anarchy…have no idea what this tiny island gave the sailing world,” said Doughty.

173316We do, in fact, know what Bermuda gave the sailing world, Mr. Doughty.  But your island’s 17th century contribution to upwind sailing has precisely fuck-all to do with the logic of holding an AC in Bermuda, especially one held by a US-based team.  Doughty says “I think it would be a tremendous shot in the arm for Bermuda…In terms of world exposure, it’s massive. Every single yacht club in Europe would see us and the incredible place that we sail in.”

You know what, coach?  It would be incredible for the economy of, say, Haiti, if FIA decided to hold a Formula One race there.  The whole world would see how pretty it is – imagine the world exposure!  But it’s still a stupid fucking idea.

So listen up, all you dicks in those stupid shorts and socks: Sailing Anarchy likes Bermuda just fine.  It’s a pretty island with good sailing conditions (once you get there, at least!) and a great lagoon.  But it’s also got a British culinary culture, some of the most over-priced goods anywhere, and is right in Hurricane Alley.  And with just 60,000 inhabitants, a Bermuda AC would be a luxurious but very, very quiet affair – perfect for Louis Vuitton to get back on the scene, anyway.

More importantly, if Bermuda is picked as a Cup venue, it will be an outright admission by the folks running the AC of something that we already know, and an indicator of something far worse: Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts’ stated mission before AC34 – transforming the Cup into a worldwide brand with sustainable commercial appeal to a worldwide audience – has failed.  Choosing a major US city might mean Coutts is giving it another try, but a Bermuda Cup would mean that they’ve all given up, and that the AC is, indeed, solely for the super rich.  And of course, for 60,000 Bermudans.  For everyone else, there’s Youtube.

What were we saying about Chicago again?

Argue venue over here.

 

June 25th, 2014 by admin

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Former San Francisco politician and now barkeep was one of the city’s biggest naysayers in the negotiations for AC34, and with the City being ‘pumped and dumped’ as a possible AC35 venue, Peskin is clearly feeling vindicated, and, well, a bit punchy.  And yesterday, he penned the “Top Ten Reasons AC Banners Are Still Flying Over SF”  that gave us a little chuckle.  From SFGate’s blog:

peskin

10. Larry Ellison demanding taxpayers give him $11.5 million more just to make him go away.
9.  Cup Banners hiding sacks of lead weights Team Oracle used to “speed things up a bit”
8.  Port likes to pretend things it doesn’t like never happened – see secret plans to revive 8 Washington
7.  First C.W. Nevius has to write another bizarre column blaming NIMBYs for everything
6. Ed Lee hoping “America’s Cup Success” banner is his version of “Mission Accomplished”
5.  Top Port officials don’t even live in SF so they never noticed banners still there
4.  David Chiu hoping banner maintenance can fulfill his mayoral campaign promises that “America’s Cup has already created thousands of local jobs right here!”
3.  Just a few more layers of car exhaust and dirty banners will blend in perfectly with piers
2.  Larry Ellison cemented banners on with his super-fancy “billionaire yacht glue”
1.  Ed still waiting for the ok sign from Willie and Rose.

In other America’s Cup news, Coutts was seen at the Chicago Yacht Club yesterday; ostensibly scouting out his new office space…We’re going to throw our endorsement behind the Windy City as our top choice for the Cup, and we encourage you to do the same.  Why?  How about our own serious Top Ten list?

SA’s Top Ten Reasons For Oracle To Hold An America’s Cup in Chicago:

10. Bermuda’s costume is possibly the stupidest national dress in the universe.  Worse than Burkhas.  No one can take a year of those shorts.

9. Bermuda’s sharks and big reef fish would play havoc with AC62 foils.

8. The Editor would be angry for two years if SD got taken over by Coutts and his minions.

7. SD Kelp + foiling = uh-oh.

6. No more mammal slaughter; AC34 killed literally tons of seals, sea lions, and dolphins.

5. Chicago’s hipster population is minimal.

4. Chicago is way closer to Clean’s house, meaning SA might actually cover the 35th AC.

3. Don Wilson is smarter than the entire San Francisco City Board of Supervisors, and should be able to drive a good bargain.

2. 2 of the 4 Americans currently sailing for Cup teams are (more or less) local.

And the number one reason to have AC35 in Chicago:

1. Late night lead ‘modifications’ to Oracle’s boats will weigh more in fresh water.

 

 

June 19th, 2014 by admin

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Our favorite blonde bombshell hits the airwaves with another edition of Adventures of a Sailor Girl; for this weekend’s edition, Nic Douglass mixes rock and funk songs with some of Australia’s biggest sailing talents.

At 7:05 – She’s got one of the winningest one-design pros in history on the line and a longtime friend to SA; Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones, a show regular called in from the farm, ahead of going to the Farr 40 Worlds.

At 18:52 – She spoke with Josh Chant, the founder of 33 South Racingabout the scholarship program and where the program is headed (including an Extreme 40).

At 39:18 – Nic got ‘the big get’ with ‘the Big Fella’ – Australian AC Team CEO Iain Murray who took some time out of his busy schedule to chat about the sails, foiling cats, and the America’s Cup.

At 53:05 – Nic gets into the CYCA winter series with her own report from sailing on the Harbour.

Enjoy, and if you dig Nic like we dig Nic, go give her some Facebook love over here.

 

June 16th, 2014 by admin

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coneySan Francisco’s demands to host the 35th America’s Cup proved too much for Russell Coutts, who sent a letter to Mayor Ed Lee this morning.

“”Given the tight timeline and demands from prospective teams to confirm the final venue, it has been necessary to continue reducing the shortlist of candidate cities,” Coutts wrote. “We have therefore taken the difficult decision to no longer consider San Francisco as a possible candidate to host AC35.”

Union wages, NIMBY bitching, and the lack of concessions on fire/police services and pier restoration money don’t work with Coutts’ mission to make the Cup sustainable – a mission that depends on 8-figure venue hosting fees, tax breaks, and long term subsidies from places that see the value in offering them, and we’ve learned that Bermuda is currently throwing the biggest pot of gold at Coutts & Co as of today.

Far be it for us to criticize the business acumen of a guy who just threw spent more money on a per-spectator/per-viewer basis than anyone in the history of sport with almost nothing to show for it, but is an island nation that has lost more than a third of its hotel rooms since 1990 and that, according to most sources, has less than 10,000 beds and 4,000 rooms, a good choice to host what they called a couple of years ago, the ‘third most economically valuable sporting event in the world?’  Remember, this is an island where literally everything needs to be flown in from elsewhere, and it has one of the highest costs of living on Earth.

Maybe Russell is on to something here; after all, the only Bermudian industry bigger than tourism is tax avoidance and international banking; specifically, Bermuda is one of the world’s top tax havens for businesses, and a great place to register your multi-million dollar yacht or plane.  Did Coutts finally come to the decision that millions of poor, downtrodden masses will never make the Cup pay?  Can the Cup reach commercial nirvana by catering only to the kind of ultra-rich folks who own super yachts and can write off million-dollar trips to schmooze in VIP tents in Bermuda?  It worked for Louis Vouitton – well, at least until Coutts’ last big plan chased them out of the game…

Or is Coutts just completely out of his mind?

 

June 11th, 2014 by admin

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As Russell Coutts continues his efforts to become the Bernie Ecclestone of the America’s Cup, another Bernie learned yesterday that San Francisco is most likely OUT of consideration for AC35.  You’d think the new buzzwords of sustainability and commercial viability might argue for Northern California staying part of the AC, but apparently, they’re just too big a pain in the ass for Coutts; in a truly bizarre twist, an island in the middle of the Atlantic is now thought to be at the head of the list, thanks to government subsidies, tax breaks, and time zones, while San Diego and Chicago remain in the hunt, with the SoCal gem a marginal, haven’t-we-been-here-before option, thanks to the kelp, light air, and the fact that the racing will either be so far south offshore that it will be in Mexico or so far west that it might as well be in Hawaii, except it isn’t. It is equally retarded to think that the Midwest option is probably the best possible one, all things considered.

A Bermuda choice would be a major admission that huge crowds aren’t that important to the ‘commercial cup’, nor does any connection to America matter beyond the 25% nationality requirement or the name of the defending team or the competition itself.  More irony in an AC35 that’s overflowing with the stuff.

 

June 10th, 2014 by admin

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dpl1410my021Straight out of the box, we expect Ben Ainslie Racing to have possibly the best shot at beating the Larry and Russell show for America’s Cup 35.  Ben’s played this one pretty close to the bone, though it isn’t a stretch to tell you that long time big boat bowman and BAR Extreme Sailing Series crewmate Nick Hutton will be on the boat, as will, we expect, Paul Goodison and Mattie Cornwall.  Will Big Ben bring along sailor chick Pippa Wilson?  While size and strength will be at a premium for the AC62, Pippa’s proven in the X40 that she can do good things for a 40 footer and perhaps the ACWS; it’s been a goddamned long time since we saw a woman in the sport’s premier competition and Ben could make some serious PR points if she came along for the ride.

But his crew isn’t the reason we expect Ben to shine this time around, and the biggest news of the day isn’t about sailing teams; it’s about designers, and we understand that Ben has or is close to signing up Adrian Newey OBE – the 4-time Formula One winning aerodynamicist responsible for the dominant Red Bull Racing cars for the past three seasons of F-1.  Red Bull announced last week that Newey had signed on for a contract extension with the team, but not a typical one; Newey will design the 2015 cars and then expand his job to oversee the new Red Bull Technology program, and we believe that Sir Adrian’s first big project is to help Sir Ben bring the Cup home to Britain for the first time in more than a century and a half.  It makes sense that Red Bull will come along as a major sponsor of Ainslie as well, especially as we’ve heard from several Red Bull insiders that they were less-than-enamored with their Oracle partnership in 2013.  If you’re not an F-1 fan, trust us – this is the biggest threat to Ellison on the horizon; well, that, and the fact that Detroit’s favorite sailing son is now in Cagliari wearing a shiny helmet and robot armor…

We’ll have the press conference for you as soon as it is available; watch this space and www.benainslie.com.  And stay tuned for a detailed analysis of the Protocol and AC62 rule later in the week – the kind of thing you’ll only see here on SA.

UPDATE:  Apparently, streaming a press conference on the web is simply too difficult to handle for the world’s most decorated sailor, his media team, and a 100 million dollar budget, so you’re shit out of luck if you want to watch it here, or frankly anywhere that isn’t BBC on a television set.  Welcome to 2014.

UPDATE 2: Oracle Team USA lead designer Dirk Kramers has jumped ship; the American will be with Team Ben for the next AC.  If you don’t remember Dirk, we caught up with him at the Little AC last fall.   

 

June 10th, 2014 by admin

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Formerly ESP-65 Desafio Espanol and before that, USA-65 One World, this IACC boat has definitely seen better days.  Unfortunate situation or an allegory for the sorry state of Spanish sailing these days?  Pierre Orphanidis at Vsail has the story, and he took this excellent shot.

May 30th, 2014 by admin

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big pimpin’

Our pals at Gunboat continue to work on the super-sexy coastal racer/cruising G4, but with a twist:  Now, you can get them with J-foils.  Flight of fancy or flight for real?  We grabbed team member and design dude Rudo Enserink for a quick update.

SA: With the J-boards and T-rudders, this is looking like a full foiler.  Is that really possible on a boat with bunks and a kitchen?

RE: Yes and no. We’re first going to build high-lift C-foils for safe but very fast foil-assisted sailing.  The mildly asymmetric C-boards can be raked from -1 to +7 degrees and will be set at the factory for safe cruising.   The lift of these foils maxes out at 80% of displacement, and advanced owners can play with the rake adjustment to optimize for purpose and conditions.  One of the great things about C-foils is that you can leave the windward daggerboard deployed in all tacks.
The hull and daggerboard casing structure is prepared for full foiling, as are daggerboard bearings and rudder bearings.

If there’s enough interest from the market we’ll develop an electronically stabilized full foiling package that will be available as aftermarket upgrade. The current concept for this is an L-foil and auto-leveling T-rudders.

SA: Who is building/designing the foils?

RE:  Foils are designed jointly by Doug Schickler from Schickler Tagliapietra, with Davide Tagliapietra, Pieter Jan Dwarshuis, Mischa Heemskerk and Rudo Enserink.  They will be built in by Holland Composites (also builder of DNA A-cats), in their autoclave, and you can see some progress at their Facebook page.

SA:   That’s a pretty serious VPP chart.  Is that with the C-foils or with the new J/L foils?

RE: This VPP is with the C-foils.

For more info on the very hot Gunboat G4, check out the full details here or ask questions in the thread here.  Title shout to the best cartoon of the 80s.

 

May 14th, 2014 by admin

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andrew_bart_simpson_050913It’s the one-year anniversary of Andrew “Bart” Simpson’s death aboard the JuanK AC72 known as Big Red, and also Bart’s wife Leah’s birthday, and no one can say that Bart’s friends – guys like Iain Percy, Nathan Outerridge, Paul Goodison, and Ben Ainslie – have let the memory of the man fade away, even for a few moments.  They’ve spread his name all over the UK in countless ways, with major time and money going into the creation of the record-attempting Bart’s Bash and todays ‘s dedication of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre in Weymouth.

It all seems so uplifting until you realize that there still hasn’t been a single word of the investigation into Bart’s death released by anyone, anywhere, at any time – if one was ever completed at all. We asked the San Francisco PD whether their investigation was ever completed, and they said, “what investigation?”  We asked last year for the results of Artemis’ investigation, and never heard a word.  Not a single federal or state agency has said a word about culpability for Bart’s death, and we don’t expect them to.

Is every one of Bart’s friends willing to just say ‘shit happens’ instead of finding a shred of responsibility or accountability for the fuckups in design, construction, and/or sailing that killed their teammate?  We  expected it from disgraced team CEO Paul Cayard, who said next to nothing and basically became invisible after Bart’s death until being booted from the team after Artemis’ ignominious exit from the LV Cup.  But to get the same silence from real leaders; guys like Ainslie and Percy and Goodi who’ve never been bashful about speaking their mind, we expect better.

If this was Formula One, someone would be in court or jail right now, or at the very minimum, hauled before a governmental investigation panel.  But this is sailing, something no one in public office cares about for more than 12 seconds, and if Bart’s friends inside the sport don’t make noise, no one will.  While we think it’s awesome they are raising all this money – much of it going to Bart’s widow – we also wonder if maybe, the best way to remember Bart would be to find out exactly why his boat killed him after folding itself into little pieces on a typical day in San Francisco. You don’t hold people accountable out of vengeance, or anger – you do it so history doesn’t repeat itself.

CLARIFICATION: There’s been a lot of discussion about our editorial above, and we’d like to clarify a bit:  We are not questioning the integrity of any of Bart’s friends or family.  We are questioning why a death on an AC72 is any different than a motor sports, air racing, or traffic accident, or for that matter, any of the numerous life-ending sailing tragedies we’ve seen over the past couple of years, and we are questioning why people close to Bart haven’t demanded more.  Low Speed Chase went up on the rocks just a few miles from San Francisco last year in a crewed race, killing 5 crew of the 8 aboard.  An extensive, expensive, nearly year-long investigation took place thanks to US Sailing, with a lot of important lessons learned by the hundreds of thousands around the world following the tragedy, and some closure for the families and friends of the deceased sailors.

Meanwhile, there’s been no such response by US Sailing, ISAF, the USCG, the State, or anyone else for Simpson; rather, there have been a few open-and-shut inquiries by police departments with no apparent interest in delving into an area that’s totally unfamiliar to them, with every move watched over by legal counsel to billionaire businessmen.  There has been an internal investigation by Artemis without a single page released to anyone outside a tiny circle of Artemisians.  What about the tens of thousands of fans Bart had?  What about an English public that cheered he and Percy on so strongly during the Games?  Do they not deserve more than silence?

CORRECTION: Richard Butcher is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, the charity formed in memory of Bart, and he wanted to correct our piece.  Over to him.

The purpose of the charity is principally educational, via the sport of sailing. This will partly be met by encouraging into the sport those youngsters who would not otherwise have that opportunity. One of our aims is to help find marine related apprenticeships for some of these youngsters.  Yesterday, we achieved a historic milestone in the charity’s short period of existence by opening the sailing centre in Weymouth. This enables us to have a focus at a world class facility.  Every bit of the amount raised is destined to help fulfil our objectives, and we have every ambition of this becoming a world-wide charity once funding permits.

There was a serious inaccuracy in the item you published yesterday. None of the monies raised for the charity will go to Leah, Bart’s widow. It will only go towards the fulfilment of our objectives. Leah is one of our Trustees and it would not, in any event, be permissible for her to benefit from the charity.   It is most important that those making donations to the charity, whether it be by Bart’s Bash or otherwise, are not in any way misled as to what will become of their donations.

Yours sincerely,
Richard Butcher

 

May 9th, 2014 by admin

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overview of Sunset Beach line up, north shore, Oahu, HawaiiSome of us were extremely excited at the possibility for a Hawaii America’s Cup.  Hot bodies, perfect weather, great weed, and locals that hate everyone – it would have been the ultimate ‘fuck you’ to the mainstream spectator so desperately sought out during AC34 and like San Francisco, the distance helps keep those pesky Euro-riffraff out.

Unfortunately for lovers of the Rainbow State, a strangely worded piece with a missing story link from the Maui News appears to put ‘paid’ to the idea, with blogger Robert Collias telling the tale of GGYC bigwig Norbert “The Mechanic” Bajurin and his speaking junket in Hawaii last week.  Bajurin confirmed to at least one Hawaiian journalist that, between the lack of infrastructure and lack of a protected sailing venue, it wasn’t going to happen, and that ‘Perhaps, we’ll have a training thing.”

The smart money says San Francisco’s leaders need to hold the line against GGYC’s now-familiar venue-shopping charade.  No one on the team wants to move again, especially not to light air San Diego or Chicago.  What does Grant Dalton think?  Get those answers in this great interview with RadioTalkNZ’s Tony Veitch.

The Protocol Watch continues…join in here.

 

May 5th, 2014 by admin

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