Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’
Oracle, Softbank, and Big Ben have now all splashed their AC50s this week, but it’s the throwback bicycle grinders that has set the mainstream’s tongues wagging all over the world. Will bicycle power make the difference to help ETNZ overcome the obstacles they face in just a few months’ time, and if so, will Oracle or another team have time to catch up to a system the Kiwis have been working on for more than a year? And will Franck Cammas – well experienced with leg-powered racing yachts - uncover his own spinning class on Groupama Team France?
As the unveilings begin, we’re finding ourselves interested again. Watch the excellent launch video above for a look at New Zealand, head over here to listen to Glenn Ashby discuss the new systems with RAdioSportNZ’s D’arcy Waldegrave, and click the player below for Mr. Clean’s take on what is finally an interesting week in AC land, also with RadioSport’s Waldegrave.
The America’s Cup Anarchy forum is heating up as well…chat about any of your favorite teams right over here.
- Tags: America's Cup, america's cup world series, bermuda, cycles, ETNZ, new zealand, Oracle, softbank
February 17th, 2017 by admin
There’s a very basic reason the oldest trophy in international sport continues to attract the attention of the press, the public, and the billionaires who contest it; is the unique nature of the Deed of Gift that controls it and the immensity of the challenge that creates. A perpetual ‘Challenge Cup’, the AC Deed provides an absolute prohibition against ‘considering other challenges’ until the pending event has been decided. Combined with the clause allowing the winner to set most of the rules of the competition, the anti-consideration clause is the document’s most powerful tool preventing the whoring out of the Cup to predictable commercialized interests. When you reconcile the clause with Schuyler’s stated intent of the Cup to recognize and reward advances in sailing technology and boat design, it all makes sense – the America’s Cup is not supposed to be just another sport.
Unfortunately for Louis Vuitton, Panerai, and Russell Coutts’ bank account, these clauses mean the AC will never become a reliable, consistent sporting property, and it’s a struggle that rich sailors and their lawyers have been fighting for a century. That’s why Ernesto Bertarelli tried to change the rules – to make the Cup reliable for sponsors and the public – an idea that may have originally come from Coutts in his Alinghi days – the same Coutts who has launched the latest attempt to circumvent the Deed’s language and George Schuyler’s intent.
Along with the incredibly cheesy photo from posh Garrod’s above (where the only one who looks right is the same one with decades of multi-milllion dollar sponsorship success), AC organizers released the news yesterday of a new ‘Framework’ for the next two cycles of the America’s Cup. Said framework provides schedules, boat types, and most of the important rules for any reliable competitive sporting league, and five of the six current AC teams signed the document, presumably in the room above, and likely with a ruby-and-diamond encrusted pen. Emirates Team New Zealand notably abstained, writing on Facebook that “Emirates Team New Zealand believe the future America’s Cup format should be decided by the Defender and Challenger of Record as it has historically been.”
The ‘Framework’ is eminently sensible for a two-year-cycle sports property, allowing the ACWS to immediately start up at the end of 2017 with a 2019 and 2021 AC competition. It freezes boat designs and calls for a $30-$40M budget for competitive teams. But there is one problem with it: It is invalid and unenforceable under the terms of the Deed.
The Deed of Gift provides that “…when a challenge from a Club fulfilling all the conditions required by this instrument has been received, no other challenge can be considered until the pending event has been decided…AND the said party of the second part hereby accepts the said Cup subject to the said trust, terms and conditions, and hereby covenants and agrees to…faithfully and fully see that the foregoing conditions are fully observed and complied with…”
Under laws of the State of New York (which has jurisdiction over any AC rules interpretation and enforcement) any agreement made for a future cup would likely be invalid under the Deed’s prohibition against other challenge considerations. Remember, though, that the Deed is only enforced if someone complains, so practically, this may not mean much.
Say that LRBAR beats Oracle in Bermuda. They have two choices: They can accept a ‘hip pocket challenge’ from, say, Groupama, that perfectly reflects the Framework’s guidelines, and as long as nobody cares, they’re good. Or they could accept a completely unrelated challenge with no relationship to the Guidelines from, say, Luna Rossa. In the first instance, an outsider like Luna Rossa could sue Ben for contract breach just like Larry sued Ernesto, and under settled New York Law, the court would probably invalidate any agreement made prior to the end of the current AC. Whether they would invalidate the entire challenge is another question, but typically Courts are not sympathetic to Trustees who look to benefit from violating the terms of their Deeds of Trust. If the Challenge was invalidated, all Challenges with provisions from the Framework would be similarly invalidated, leaving whoever sued the winner as the next legitimate challenger. Bring on the 130-foot ketch super-trimarans!
Alternatively, LRBAR could make a deal with Bertelli or Dalton for a completely unrelated challenge, let’s say in big monohulls. Coutts would be pissed, but if he sued to enforce the terms of the Framework Agreement, they’d laugh him right out of the courtroom – there’s simply no way to enforce an agreement that violates the terms of the Deed on its face.
Legally, this means that the Framework is useless, so why would Coutts & Co turn it into a major item of news and publicity when Oracle’s lawyers surely know all this?
We believe the Framework came about because of the difficulty the America’s Cup has been having in getting people to pay for their series. Major TV networks have laughed at Coutts’ idea of what broadcast rights are worth, major sponsors are unwilling to step up to multi-year deals, and major venues are not going to commit to anything without some reliable information about the future of the event, and Russell and Larry have been unwilling or unable to accept that their never-ending PR and organizational screw-ups have anything to do with it. Never mind the seemingly endless stream of sponsors burned by the AC. Never mind the cash flow horror stories of venue after venue. Never mind the non-existent home audience. Never mind the fact that the ACWS has been an expensive disaster of windless venues and weak competition. Nope. To Coutts and Co, all the failures are 100% because of that damned George Schuyler and his obsolete Deed.
Will this Framework assuage the fears of the few big sponsors interested in the AC for multiple cycles? Will it entice new teams to begin preparing for the next cycle? Will it gin up the very weak support that exists for the “America’s Cup Lite” that Coutts has been gradually transforming the AC into since 2010?
It could, but only for those who don’t look into what it really means – which is precisely nothing.
January 26th, 2017 by admin
With the America’s Cup struggling to get anyone, anywhere to pay attention to it, former Oracle Racing Exec and former GGYC Vice Commodore Tom Ehman continues to stir the shit in the AC bowl. Ehman’s post, reprinted to the left, points out yet another in a long line of sponsors to be burned out of the AC by Russell and friends. We note that while the AC has indeed scrubbed Bremont from their site, there is still quite a lot of active AC content on the Bremont site (see here, and here, ironically including a countdown timer to the event). More ironically, we note that Ehman is still listed on the GGYC website with his old job, so clearly web maintenance ain’t high on either Bremont or the Golden Gate priority list.
January 17th, 2017 by admin
There’s a lot going on in this Emirates Team New Zealand video of the start of the Auckland-Russell Coastal Classic, and whether you’re into analyzing AC50 designs, love watching ‘old vs. new’ shots, or you just want to see one of the world’s ultimate sailing destinations in glorious HD drone shots, this short is not to be missed. And maybe there’s fodder for the “Which is better, Auckland or Newport debate” over here?
October 30th, 2016 by admin
Once again our ever-reliable rumor mill was right, and Dr. Harvey Schiller’s exodus from the top spot at ACEA came just before the AC organizers got smacked down by an arbitrator for breaking their contractual agreement to hold the AC Qualifiers in Auckland this coming February.
As we reported in August, Schiller and Coutts had been at odds for the better part of a year over Coutts’ screwing his fellow kiwis over, and according to the NZ Herald, ACEA may have to pay Team New Zealand up to $5 million for breaking their contract.
Of course Coutts and pals are fundamental enemies of transparency and literally no one is allowed to say anything about anything.
Look for an announcement about this sometime right after…never.
October 11th, 2016 by admin
The ACWS Toulon provided yet another opportunity to watch the world’s fastest boats drift around for two hours this past weekend. In fact the Med was so bad that the only foiling came courtesy of Groupama’s tender and a long tow rope. When this is the only thing worthy of a highlight reel for your title sponsors, you know it’s pretty awful.
The black cloud of shitty breeze and shrinking audiences continues to follow the ACWS around everywhere it goes, and with the Auckland vs. ACEA arbitration decision argued back in July and a decision expected soon, it may be about to get a whole lot darker. Here’s a CNN report on the actual racing.
September 13th, 2016 by admin
We’d prefer not to support Oracle Team USA until they either drop the USA or add some American sailors, but we can’t pass up this very well-done clip of sexy A-list superstar skier Lindsay Vonn and her day of sailing an AC45 in Bermuda. Brilliant work from the always brilliant Sam Greenfield (working for the big O).
September 3rd, 2016 by admin
They may or may not be the first AC team to nail a proper foiling tack on camera, but they’re definitely the first to provide a ‘how-to’ guide to it! Great work from Chris Draper and the SoftBank Team Japan ‘media team’ (ahem…Matty…ahem) on provide compelling content for their fans and the public – something we’ve seen precious little of over the past year. Chat about SBTJ here, or learn more about Softbank’s “flack” here.
August 25th, 2016 by admin
Like the vast majority of you we have not watched much AC World Series action for a host of reasons we’ve documented many times before, but we’re always happy to share it with you when we find it for free! Thanks to Canal + for continuing to post full race videos like one of the Portsmouth days above; now let’s see if Russell’s minions allow it to stay online…
Don’t hold your breath if you’re looking for foiling…looking at past numbers, it appears the ACWS has seen foiling conditions on less than 40% of all official race days. If someone at the America’s Cup doesn’t sacrifice a virgin to the wind gods before next summer and somehow fix their awful weather karma, a low-riding straight-foiled AC50 might just win the whole shebang in 5 knots of Bermuda High zephyrs. Now THAT would be interesting!
July 29th, 2016 by admin
If the America’s Cup were a one-design battle, we’d likely see the awesomely talented Pete Burling and his ETNZ boys run away with it, just as Pete has done against largely the same competitors in the past few years of Moth and 49er racing. But even the highly restricted AC50 box rule allows enough design differences to likely take the ultimate prize out of the hands of the skippers, and the likeliest winner will be the team that can figure out how to get the most out of their foils, aero, and wing controls.
With variable ride control (à la the Moth) and changing foil shapes banned, designers tell us that variable foil bend characteristics may prove the key to the top speed puzzle. You can see just how much bend the Oracle Team USA trial horse is putting into their foils, as seen above and shot the other day in Bermuda. There’s plenty of carbon bending knowledge inside the sport – see Moth, Finn masts, for example – but could the importance of flexi-foils mean the F-1 connected design team at BAR have a real head start? After all, Formula One has been playing around with variable bend issues for a long time, most recently earlier this year.
Iron pumpers will recognize from whence comes our story title. For the rest of you, clicky.
June 20th, 2016 by admin