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Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’

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72-48-45-CIt’s taken less than two years to go from the fantastic AC72 to the ghost of an AC62 to an AC48 – the smallest boat conceived to sail in an America’s Cup in the 165 year-history of the event.  The 48 will clearly be cheaper in every way, but is it the America’s Cup?

One might well doubt it in view of AC48 Rule version 1.0 dated March 31st – this is a one-design rule, and one that the Defender – Oracle Racing – has been thinking about for some time.  Master illustrator and yacht designer François Chevalier and partner/historian/analyst Jacques Taglang analyzed the rule this morning, and their drawings give us a good comparison view of the new AC48 – and surprisingly, it looks like it won’t even be as big visually as the AC45 (and the proportional drawing shows even more that the AC48 looks like a ‘special’ brother to the 45).  Here’s a comment from the team.

What we have is a boat whose wing, sails, hulls, platform/crossbeams are standardised!  Same engine, same body, all engineered by Oracle’s designer.

To reassure the world that the America’s Cup still means something, the Rule throws the engineers and computer scientists a bone; they have a small amount of freedom to design the daggerboard/lifting foils, the rudders, non-structural aero fairings, and some parts of the wing and board control systems.

In other words, history showed us what the America’s Cup is, and we all know of the Little America’s Cup, so then this new AC-1D-48 should probably be called the Medium America’s Cup.  Looking at the design drawings, you will see that the new boat is no longer visually special, and will probably be overlooked amongst the already large and growing number of multihull racing events.  Only the name of the trophy will maintain whatever legend remains.  Hence the Medium Cup!

Little Is Bigger

As a result of AC organisers’ wholesale changes, the Little America’s Cup (now called the Little Cup thanks to trademark claims by the AC organizers) raced with C-Class cats becomes the sole remaining event in which the inventiveness of yacht designers is still free.  The sole constraints in the C-Class: Length, width and sail area.

Let us say straight away: Vive the Little Cup!

 

April 6th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 2.53.13 PMLongtime SA’er and A-Cat, Moth, and 18 footer sailor SimonN begs for it, though the vote is already likely over. Agree or disagree?

I know that members of a number opf teams read this forum, so i address this to them in the hope of avoiding what i believe will be a disaster for the America’s Cup. I would welcome others posting as well, but please don’t let this thread degenerate like the other threads. Well thought out support or rejection of the One Design ideas are welcomed. let’s prove that SA can have a sensible voice that is work listening to.

First, it goes against the very spirit of the Cup which has always been about who can design, build and sail the better boat on a 1 on 1 basis. Changing that turns it into any other match race championship, even if it is in the fastest match race boats.

However, my biggest concern is that this move will drive away followers and reduce the interest in the AC. Each “package” that becomes one design has a significant impact on how the viewers see the boats, If, as suggested, we see a one design platform married to a one design wing but with free development on foils and systems, the general public will see boats that look identical going at different speeds for reasons that are hard to explain. The motor racing analogy would be having everybody driving the same car but that tyre development is free. With AC34, it was easy for people to understand there was a rule and that ETNZ and OTUSA had developed different boats within that rule. The discussion as to which was better was pretty transparent. It will not be if the new rules come in.

If these rules are brought in, the America’s Cup will no longer be at the forefront of cat development. That will go back to the C Class and A Class. While I cannot comment on the C’s, I know that in the next 2-3 years in the A’s, we will see some pretty interesting stuff. Instead of it being trickle down from the AC as it has been from AC34, we will see the AC boats needing to play catch up in AC36. The chances are that by 2017, the AC boats won’t even be the most advanced cats around.

Finally, if costs really are the reason for going down this route, why aren’t we seeing efforts to cut costs in other areas. the boats mustn’t take the full force of the need for economy. They aren’t even the most expensive part of the whole campaign. Of course, we all know the real reason why other costs aren’t being tackled and that is because the biggest single cost, the one that is easiest to regulate, is wages and the very people making these decisions would be the ones who see their wages reduced, even if it is from some highly inflated number that is beyond the wildest dreams of any of them when the were young.

The only reason to support the one design ideas is to preserve the money earning opportunities for the sailors. I appeal to the sailors and decision makers to put aside their personal greed and remember why the America’s Cup was such a dream for them. I believe that every single sailor dreamed of sailing in the AC not for the money, but because it was the ultimate challenge, because of the acknowledgement of the history and traditions. To kill those in order to maintain the viability of teams is simply wrong.

 

March 31st, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 8.40.07 AMAs Ferrari finally gives Italy something to cheer for in top level racing, the fanatical Italian fans are on the verge of losing their maritime standard bearer Luna Rossa thanks to the impending vote on the new America’s Cup One-Design 48. That’s right, folks, and you heard it here first, of course: The next AC will be sailed in one-design boats – at least if Tuesday’s Challenger vote goes the way we forecast.  And Emirates Team New Zealand may follow Prada right out the door, making Russell Coutts the most hated man in New Zealand for the second time, and in Italy for the first.

The SA Army has been working overtime since Coutts’ proposal reached the teams on Saturday, and we think we’ve nailed it thanks to some of our less enthusiastic friends inside (otherwise enthusiastic) teams.  So meet the new boat:

-Strict one-design hull/platform, 48 feet long x 30 feet wide,

-Strict one-design wing, similar proportions as Oracle AC45T,

-Strict one-design daggerboard location and case,

-Strict one-design rudder location and case,

-Open main foil design,

-Open rudder design (minimum horizontal area)

-Hulls and wings to be built by teams with strict ACEA controls (weight, dimension certs, etc.)

It may shock you readers who think we are perpetual AC antagonists, but we actually are fully in favor of the move to a smaller boat.  We have never and will never ‘hate’ the America’s Cup – we’re just embarrassed to part of a sport when open, public greed and repetitive incompetence govern the pinnacle event, and that’s why we let them know constantly.  But we love fast boats, and we dig foilers, and we’re stoked to see flying get so much love.

Meanwhile, the boat will be very sexy, but crucially, having the development dollars go exactly where they can be most effective – the foils – is extremely clever.  There should be no barrier to AC48s hitting similar speeds to the AC72s downwind and upwind, and while open-design foiling AC62s would unquestionably be quicker and a great deal more spectacular than the new 48, the majority of the public wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

While we like the new boat, and we like the idea of a fun regatta in beautiful Bermuda, we are quite sure AC35 will be a flop, if only because it’s part of Russell Coutts Flying Circus.  We’ve learned to always bet against Russell when it comes to business and marketing, and never bet against him in sailing.

In addition, we can’t help noticing that ACEA has caught itself in a massive conflict: On one hand, they have an edict from Larry to ‘make the event self-supporting’, in other words, MAXIMUM CASH INTAKE, and hence, Bermuda’s $72M in cash and prizes.  On the other hand, Larry and Russell want to see an event with a long-term future, in other words, maximum public, TV and sponsor interest – which would mean a major population center in a transportation hub with tons of media.  That ain’t Bermuda, and that’s all you need to know about Ellison’s priorities.

Tuesday morning, the five teams of the Challenger Committee will vote on the new design.  If, as we expect, Team France, Ben Ainslie Racing, and Artemis all vote ‘yes’, we should see another team enter – a Japanese entry that will be a partner to the Oracle boys.  Luna Rossa will probably make good on its promise, killing off the team with by far the most time and money in the next Cup and the AC62 design – something we think Russell has been wanting to do since they made him look like an incompetent boob in San Francisco.  It makes us sad, but we have ZERO pity for Luna Rossa – as the second-in-time challenge, they had the right to take over for the embarrassment that was Team Australia and become Challenger of Record and prevent ALL of this.  Instead, the Italians chose to sit on their ass and be part of a committee, and they have no one to blame except themselves.

As for ETNZ, despite Doc Harvey already saying that ACEA would ignore its written contract to bring the qualifiers to Auckland, we think Coutts will use this tremendous leverage to get ETNZ on board with the change.  Dalts can ‘toe the line’ for his Italian friends during the vote and still remain part of the new AC48 Cup, if it will get the qualifiers back in Auckland – and his coffers filled.

Many of the die-hards think this move is the death knell for the America’s Cup, and if public sentiment depends on a real design competition, they’re right.  We think the spirit of the AC died a long time ago, and this move could turn it into something useful, at least.  What do you think?

 

March 30th, 2015 by admin

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size matters

Last week we asked our friends Jacques Taglang and Francois Chevalier if they could put together one of their awesome line drawings comparing the various AC multihulls, and they did us one better – here’s a look at the ‘evolution’ of the fastest inshore racing boats in existence; the BMW/Oracle 90, AC72, stillboard AC62, AC45, and GC32, simply to compare them with a more mortal boat (that still goes 38 knots and only costs $300k or so).

We’ll have an update on Russell Coutts’ Flying Circus tomorrow; use the time to troll Stingray in AC Anarchy.  For the more cultured, read up on Jacques and Francois’ awesome project “The Impressionists and Yachting On The Seine” here.

 

March 29th, 2015 by admin

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As Bernie explained well an hour ago, Luna Rossa threatened to pull out of the Cup this morning if AC Commercial Director Doctor Harvey doesn’t respect ‘the principle of unanimity of all challengers required to change the Class Rule’, and he immediately issues a clarification regarding the proposed shrinking of the AC to a regatta for foiling forty-fives.  This is huge news, and the SA Legal Department has been burning the midday oil and wearing out their swivel chairs researching why.

1) The existing Protocol, on its face, seems to require only a simple majority of challengers to shitcan the AC62, and SA’er ‘porthos’ unravels the mystery of how it works.

Paragraph 1.1.(p-bis) establishes the Challenger Committee. That same paragraph establishes that the CC may act via a simple majority unless some provision says otherwise: “Unless otherwise provided, a simple majority vote of all of the Challengers in the Challenger Committee shall be required for the Challenger Committee to make a decision and/or take an action.”

Article 20 addresses amendments to the Protocol. Paragraph 20.2 indicates that the Protocol “may only be amended with the agreement of GGYC and the Challenger Committee.” There is nothing Article 20 indicating that the agreement by the CC must be had by anything more than the simple majority set forth in Paragraph 1.1. In fact, I wasn’t able to find any provision in the Protocol that requires more than a majority vote by the CC to make a decision or take an action. 

Paragraph 1.1 (p-bis) does indicate that the CC may make its own “organizational rules.” I suppose it is possible that the internal rules of the CC may have something to say about this (i.e., that the internal rules of the CC would require more than a simple majority), but I doubt that. “Organizational rules” implies logistics and not substance.

Paragraph 29.1.(g) requires the Match be raced in yachts that conform to the AC62 rule. That is the operative provision that has to be changed in the Protocol. There would certainly be more references in the Protocol that would have to be amended, but that is the provision that dictates what boat is used. As that is a Protocol amendment, the simple majority CC rules set forth in 1.1.(p-bis) would apply. [Contrast to the AC62 Rule, where amendments require unanimous consent of all teams -Ed]

As long as a majority of the CC and GGYC agree to a change — such as ditching the 62′s — then it can happen.

2) We’re not sure what it took just yet but Coutts and the Doc have enlisted that simple majority (including Artemis, the only team that stands to lose almost as much progress as LR), and if the AC press office is to be believed, a vote is a foregone conclusion.

3) Luna Rossa’s reference to ‘principle’ in their release and their signalling that they won’t sue is a clear sign the team is aware of the shortcomings of their legal position.

 

March 26th, 2015 by admin

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To no one’s surprise, Luna Rossa Challenge just said ‘fuck you’ to Coutts and Doc Harvey’s plan to cut down the America’s Cup to 40-footers, and judging by the silence coming from Bermuda’s media, it appears they were blindsided as well.  Is this one of those changes that requires unanimous consent from all parties?  ETNZ seem to think it does.

What do you think?  Join the discussion raging in America’s Cup Anarchy right here.

 

March 26th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 7.58.50 PMNow that the big money is locked in for Bermuda’s contract, it appears the America’s Cup is looking to cut their expenses massively by getting rid of the entire AC62 concept, sticking instead with modified AC45 foilers for all teams.  And no, this is not April 1; AC PR released this bit of news today: “The existing operational costs of teams is much too high with a boat like the AC62.”

Let’s revisit the timing on all this; it has been 19 months since Oracle won AC34, and almost a year since the AC62 rule was announced.  And apparently, the folks at ACEA are just now figuring out how much it’s gonna cost.  We honestly had to check the date when we first saw this release, because it seems like a joke.  Then again, this joke is brought to you by the same folks who’ve been delivering great ones for the past two years, though we have to think that Bermuda ain’t laughing.

While it could be negotiation-by-press-release, it seems real enough, but we can’t believe anyone thinks the AC45 will make a successful America’s Cup. Running an AC in the visually much smaller (compared to an AC62) AC45s will absolutely destroy whatever spectacle the Bermudians and Cup lovers were hoping for; the thousands of you who’ve seen an Extreme 40 event know what kind of impact a 40-foot cat makes, and it just ain’t much unless you’re a couple hundred feet away or less.  On TV, the AC45 foilers will look great, but for sailors and AC enthusiasts – and let’s face it, AC34 view counts and ratings proved that’s the audience now – a 45-footer will simply be too close to what’s already out there to generate real interest.   The Extreme 40 has a bigger fleet, and Alinghi, still one of the best-known teams in professional sailing – just joined the foiling GC32 show. The M32 is growing as well.  And a 45 foot cat is really America’s Cup-worthy?

Worse even than the loss of the spectacle is the fact that the shrinking of the boat will mark the final admission that the America’s Cup will never again be the pinnacle of yacht racing.  They tried, and for a few short years, the Cup truly had some of the world’s fastest inshore sailboats.  But the AC45s won’t be the fastest at anything, because in sailing, size matters. The reason a Formula 1 car is tiny is because small is fast.  In sailing, it’s the opposite. Doc Harvey pretending the speed of the 45-footer ‘is expected to be similar to what was achieved in the last America’s Cup’ is just plain silly, and yet another example of an AC promise that will fail to materialize.  The AC45 foilers are very cool boats.  They’re slower, cheaper, easier to handle, and safer than AC62s.  But here’s the thing: If you’re gonna do it in slower, cheaper, easier, safer boats, why not just do it in GC32s?  If you follow Doc Harvey’s logic, there’s no reason to sail the 45 when you can sail the ‘similarly fast’ smaller boat.

Interestingly, the announcement says the deal ain’t done yet, and Luna Rossa is missing from the list of team quotes giving half-hearted support for the change.  Maybe Patrizio Bertelli feels the millions they’ve spent to design their AC62 already (and millions more on salaries for dozens of sailors working toward that goal) shouldn’t be thrown away to let in teams without the resources to compete?  As far as we can tell, the entire advantage LR has been working so hard for these past two years will be wiped away the moment this change is agreed to during next week’s meetings.

Also missing from the endorsing quotes is anyone from Bermuda, where the change to AC45s will probably be rationalized by the fact that the AC eventually has their way with every municipality.  Someone might want to bring the island a bandage; we see a little blood dripping from its ass…

As we said a couple of months ago, we’ve given up our expectations, and we’ve quit criticizing the AC for their move to Bermuda; we’re just looking forward to a fun regatta for fast boats.  It might be a little tougher to see them, if the GGYC has their way…

 

March 25th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 10.10.45 AMThose of you who still think the ‘second coming’ story is real will probably not get this one either; instead, you might call your realtor to put in an offer…We promise we’re not kidding when we tell you that this $2 million Bermuda America’s Cup special ‘fixer-upper’ is actually named “Uppity”.  Great views of the AC course top off this beauty – and according to the video walkthrough, she’s selling at a discount.  Loaded African-Americans might want to look further afield…or at least change the name.

In other Cup news, Sailing Anarchy’s new favorite is now Ben Ainslie Racing.  Not necessarily because we think they’re going to win, but because BAR is the only team that’s really thinking long term.  And with ETNZ’s constant media shit show, they’re now the most ‘national’ team – something that we find absolutely necessary if anyone is to turn around years of media, TV, and business model fails from Larry and Russell.  Ben would be a far better steward of the Cup and the competition than a confused old Ellison or the self-concerned Coutts.  Equally important is Ben’s support – Portsmouth believes in him so much that they’ve given the BAR Portsmouth center 10 years of free rent Remember what San Francisco was prepared to give Larry after AC34?  A kick in the ass and a bill for $11M.

 

March 20th, 2015 by admin

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Oracle just launched their test bed AC45 last week, and in just 5 days their maneuvers and boatspeed already look to have far surpassed the very similar Artemis 45 foiler.  They also look a hell of a lot smoother, more stable, and faster than what we’ve seen from the Luna Rossa testers months after their launch in Sardinia.  Meanwhile, Franck Cammas is playing with his C-Cat, and there’s a whole lot of silence in the AC45 action from Sir Ben and ETNZ (at least on sailing issues) while Slingsby notches nearly 46 knots of boatspeed on San Fran Bay.  We sort of hate to say it, but it looks like Oracle are on their way to a 3-peat dynasty in Bermuda, assuming they don’t turn any AC boats into matchsticks again a few months before the AC.

Kudos to San Fran videographer John Navas for the first 4K Ultra HD video we’ve ever posted here; we hope the 68 people in the world with 4K televisions love it!  More chat about the Bay in the thread.

 

February 26th, 2015 by admin

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We’ve expected Barker to get eased off the helm of ETNZ for quite some time now, and the only nasty or surprising part of the affair was the shitty way he found out.  Kiwi’s biggest radio station RadioTalkZB gave our Senior Editor a call to discuss the controversy over Barker’s axing this morning; listen to the six minutes with host Rachel Smalley by clicking the player above.

 

February 26th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 4.26.14 PMNext time you prepare a regatta budget, just remember this one…and thank your lucky stars you aren’t on the hook.  According to the Bermuda government, the 77 million dollar cost of hosting the regatta can be broken down into two categories: The $37M bill is all Bermuda’s, while the second depends on ‘private sponsors’ and totals another 40 million.

  • Investment in Bermuda infrastructure and services over the next three years, which is estimated at $37 million, and

Sponsorship of the event over three years as part of Bermuda’s bid package, which includes $15 million in direct sponsorship and a $25 million sponsorship guarantee. For clarity, this sponsorship guarantee is not money spent by the government, but rather an underwriting of private sponsors. That underwriting will be reduced as additional commercial sponsorships facilitated by Bermuda come on line and by a proportion of admissions revenues earned up until August 2017

Finance Minister Bob Richards stressed that the claim that the America’s Cup will cost the Bermuda government $77 million is false. That statement assumes that the America’s Cup in Bermuda will be an abysmal failure with no sponsors. 

Read his full breakdown of the costs here.

 

February 23rd, 2015 by admin

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Just as Emirates Team New Zealand’s funding looks assured, the shitstorm about Dean’s departure is casting a long black cloud over the team.  Barker threatening to ‘tell all’, according to a herald source, if he gets the boot?  Lawyers on retainer?  Shit’s getting serious in Kiwi if the NZ sports media are to be believed.

Meanwhile, in the best-named radio segment since the call-in ‘Do You Know Where Your Mom’s Vibrator Is?’, two sporty dudes debate whether Team New Zealand is ‘Penis Or Genius.’  Hilarious.

 

February 21st, 2015 by admin

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AC45_4racingAdd Joe Spooner to the pro sailors calling shenanigans on the already-embattled Oracle Team USA’s hiring and firing practices.  From our friends at www.BoatingLaw.com, who do NOT represent the Plaintiff.  You can read the full complaint here.

The America’s Cup AC45 “4 Oracle Team USA” may soon be arrested by the U.S. Marshals at its berth in San Francisco, pursuant to a lawsuit filed in Federal Court by a former crew member against Oracle Racing and the AC45 itself.   Joe Spooner, Oracle Racing’s former grinder and crew for two America’s Cup titles and three Fastnet Race wins, is claiming a seaman’s lien against the vessel for approximately $725,000 in unpaid wages, plus punitive damages, for an alleged wrongful discharge by Team Oracle.

Under maritime law of the United States, the vessel itself can be sued in Federal Court and be arrested by the U.S. Marshals pending the outcome of the suit. 

The AC45 foiling multihull is raced in the America’s Cup World Series and used for America’s Cup training It is a smaller version of the AC72 raced in the 2013 America’s Cup.  

For more information on admiralty and maritime law, click here.   We will keep you updated as this case develops.

 

February 19th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 1.24.40 PMWhile the world’s sailing media is reporting an Antipodean battle between Sydney and Auckland for the right to host the “America’s Cup Qualifiers”, it emerged this morning that Sydney has most likely lost it to the Kiwis, meaning ETNZ should have the funding soon to get their challenge really rolling.  Did the Harbour ever have a real shot, or do they join Rome, Newport, and San Diego as yet another pawn in Coutts’ repeat-as-needed negotiating program?

Premier Mike Baird’s events team has been slammed for “wasting everyone’s time” after it let the opportunity to stage prestigious America’s Cup races on Sydney Harbour slip away to Auckland.

The America’s Cup organisers are set to award the qualifier races to New Zealand after Sydney’s events tsar, Destination NSW chief executive Sandra Chipchase, told them she needed another eight weeks to make a decision on whether to lodge a formal bid.

It is believed Auckland secured the event — which organisers estimated could have attracted 40,000 international visitors and 15,000 domestic tourists to Sydney — for less than $10 million.

“For this opportunity not to be treated seriously is just a massive waste of everyone’ time and a missed chance,’’ said veteran promoter Tony Cochrane, who was trying to generate interest from Sydney.  “This is not how world-class event organisations operate when it comes to securing what is clearly a world-class event.”  Opposition Leader Luke Foley said he feared the government had been “asleep at the wheel”. “We have to show we are hungry for these lucrative money spinners otherwise you miss the boat,’’ Mr Foley said.

Read on, and shout about it in America’s Cup Anarchy here.  Tip o’ the hat to previously self-exiled but recently returned AC Anarchy addict “Stingray”.

 

February 16th, 2015 by admin

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Oracle Team USA Director of External Affairs and America’s Cup ‘fixer’ Tom Ehman celebrated the five-year anniversary of Dogzilla’s defeat of Alinghi 90 with a long-secret telling of just what happened on the Race Committee boat during the second race of the 2010 Match.  It’s great reading, and a reminder of just how fucked up it is at the very top end of ISAF-derived race management.  The full story – with some interesting comments – is on TFE’s Facebook Page here.

In the past five years I’ve said very little — publicly or privately — about the incident that took place on the RC boat before the start of AC33′s second and final race on Valentines Day 2010, five years ago yesterday. For the best-of-three-race Match, I was designated by Larry Ellison to serve as our “race committee boat representative,” which meant going afloat each race day on the RC boat to observe. Before the first race Alinghi tried to keep me off the boat, but I politely persisted; the internationally- and highly-respected Harold Bennett (Auckland, NZL), who had been agreed by both teams as the independent Principal Race Officer, came to my rescue and insisted that, per the mutually-agreed rules, I was permitted onboard. Not the most fun job, especially to be apart from the rest of our support team watching from other boats or at the team base, but one Larry and Russell both thought important. Turned out to be, especially at the start of Race Two….

surpriseIn addition to Harold, the RC was largely staffed by officials from Alinghi’s yacht club (SNG, Geneva, Switzerland) and led by their Vice Commodore. Race One went off without incident; many of you will recognize the image to the left is a portion of the larger photo of Jimmy Spithill’s famous Race One flying pre-start entry that caught Alinghi flat-footed — seconds after this photo was taken — and resulted in a port-starboard penalty to Alinghi.

Race Day Two dawned light and a bit lumpy. The races were subject to previously-agreed (between the teams) wind and sea limits. We were under postponement for most of the day as the wind was below the limit. Just before the afternoon cutoff time of (if memory serves) 1600, the breeze came up just enough. Accordingly, and properly “H”, as Harold Bennett is known in international sailing circles, tried to get a start sequence underway. However, Alinghi apparently thought the conditions were not favorable to them, so by radio the team ordered the SNG members of the race committee (flag-pullers, timers, etc.) to do whatever they could to stop H from starting the race. Quiet, then quite heated discussions failed to convince Harold to ignore the rules and call racing off for the day, so the SNG personnel went on strike. No joke. They went below and and started having drinks in the cabin of the RC boat.

Not deterred H carried on, and pressed his Spanish boat driver, navigator and communicator into action handling signals on the bow of the RC boat. But he was short one set of hands in the back deck to take down the postponement signal. “Sh*t, f*ck, sh*t, we’ll never get this started,” H famously said. And it was caught on TV tape — yes, I have a copy of the tape — by the on-board television crew. That’s when the GGYC Observer, sitting quietly near H on the upper deck and never one to be shy, suggested he could take down the postponement flag. H shouted (also caught on the TV tape), “Tom, take down that (expletive) postponement flag.” Of course I did, the race got underway just before the 1600 cut-off, and the rest is history. Weeks after the Match it was a pleasant surprise to receive a 4×3 photo of Jimmy’s famous Race One start, signed by Harold and commemorating the Race Two pre-start “strike” and the “scab-labor” that swung into action…

-TFE

 

February 16th, 2015 by admin

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Extinct.  Ancient.  Deadly. From pre-historic times.  Once-feared, but presumed dead.  Defeated by modern technology.    Whatever we’re talking about, it’s back, and it’s already in Bermuda, the next America’s Cup venue.

Are we talking about the return of the measles, last seen in BDA more than 25 years ago?

Or is it something  far more frightening?

 

February 12th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 12.28.21 PMWe promised Larry back in December that we’d closed the chapter on our excessive whinging and criticism of the America’s Cup.  And in that new light, we analyze yesterday’s big TV announcement from Cup Commercial Commissioner Dr. Harvey Schiller.

The America’s Cup has selected NBC Sports Group as its partner for the upcoming edition of the America’s Cup – including the America’s Cup World Series events (2015-16), and the America’s Cup Qualifiers, Playoffs and America’s Cup Finals (2017).

So far, so good.  As long as you don’t claim you were shot down by RPG fire in a Chinook, there’s nothing wrong with NBC at all! Given the network’s recent efforts to move to a more international audience with a focus on Premier League Football and Formula 1 , it’s probably the best mainstream choice for American sailing. For context, and in case you don’t remember, NBC and its regional cable stepchild the NBC Sports Network showed the Cup the last time around, drawing a million or so viewers during the first weekend on the national network, and then around 100-200,000 viewers when it moved to the cable channel.  You might also remember that the main network NBC chose not exercise their option to broadcast the final two races of the biggest comeback in the history of sport – apparently, there was some regional golf tournament that was far more important to all of the US – and relegated the comeback to cable.

“We are delighted to announce this agreement with NBC Sports Group,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. “This is a great deal for the America’s Cup, our teams and our partners. NBC Sports Group’s continued interest reflects the growing popularity, as well as potential additional growth, of the America’s Cup as a major television sport.”

It’s really, really early for anyone to be talking about ‘growing popularity’ of the America’s Cup, and we’re hoping Dr. Harvey steps well back from the same overpromising cliff that shat out former ACEA boss Richard Worth and made Russell Coutts’ name synonymous with ‘sports media failure’.

NBC and NBCSN were the US television home for the last America’s Cup, in which ORACLE TEAM USA staged one of the greatest comebacks in sport to retain the trophy for the United States. The television coverage was widely acclaimed and saw the development of the Emmy Award-winning on screen graphics package, AC LiveLine, which enhanced the viewing experience by making the sport more engaging and more easily understood, especially for new fans.

Damned straight – Stan Honey’s Liveline was awesome.  It’s unfortunate that it was not enough to turn AC34 into an audience success, as the costs of developing Liveline helped transform AC34 into one of the most expensive sporting events in the history of the world, on a per-viewer basis.

“We are excited to once again showcase the best sailing in the world to a national audience,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC and NBCSN. “The 2013 America’s Cup served as the setting for one of the greatest comebacks in recent sports history, and we will again leverage the full collection of broadcast, cable and online platforms of the NBC Sports Group to present the race for the oldest trophy in international sports.”

We told you we’d closed the chapter on our unnecessary critiques of the America’s Cup, but we can’t let this corporate douchebag get away with this one: Does Miller not know that NBC turned down the opportunity to broadcast that that ‘greatest comeback’ to a real American audience?  Apparently, he thinks that NBC ‘leveraged the full collection of…’ oh, forget it – reading these quotes is like going to the dentist.  Mark our words: Whether it’s by pre-empting Youtube, failing to promote, or relegating the sailing to cable, NBC will almost assuredly fuck the sailing public.

Highlights of the agreement between NBC Sports Group and the America’s Cup include:
  * Live coverage on NBC on both weekends of the America’s Cup Finals 2017
  * Extensive live coverage of the America’s Cup Playoffs (and additional America’s Cup Finals racing) on NBC and NBCSN
  * Coverage of all America’s Cup World Series events in 2015 and 2016 on NBCSN
  * Live-streaming of all NBC and NBCSN telecasts on NBC Sports Live Extra

What about the qualifiers?  We understand they are to be held in Auckland, but why aren’t they listed here?  Oversight?

“It’s encouraging to have a partner like NBC who is highly motivated to return and help build and promote the event and increase the profile of our athletes and our teams. I have no doubt that over the next three years we will touch more viewers, in more ways, through the reach of NBC Sports Group’s platforms.” Schiller concluded.

Doctor H may have no doubts, but we sure do.  Still, he has a point in welcoming NBC back to the fold.  You probably remember that the AC actually paid NBC a massive fee just to get the US network to broadcast the last Cup (not to mention the tens of millions that AC spent to actually produce the broadcast), and a little bit of morning research tells us that this time is indeed quite different.  Schiller told Sportcal that he “received other offers, but we really appreciated NBC’s support,” which he wouldn’t quantify other than to call it “financially a very pleasing deal.”  Knowing how little American networks care about yachting, we translate that as follows: “Last time, we spent 8 figures to get NBC to run the shows we provided to them at our cost.  This time, other network’s asked us for money, but not NBC, who we are not paying at all.  In other words, I’m financially very pleased!”

We’re pleased too, and other than the fact that another NBC deal probably means we’ll still have to listen to Gary Jobson drone on for another two years like a deranged granddad about his 1776 AC victory, this is about as good a TV deal as sailing in America could get right now.  It means a few more million people will be exposed to the Bermuda Cup (and NZ qualifiers) than would be otherwise, and there remains an almost infinitesimally but real chance that NBC will actually put in the kind of effort and marketing to make AC35 a real TV success in the US.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the smart money says the Bermuda AC will draw even smaller US television numbers than San Francisco did, and NBC’s deal – specifically the presumably exclusive ‘NBC Sports Live Extra” online portion of it – may mean that overall online distribution and viewership suffer.

Either way, we won’t mind, because we’ve found the key to satisfaction in the America’s Cup world: Low expectations.  It’s liberating!

 

February 10th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.03.27 PMAt this point, former Oracle Team USA grinder and 5-time AC sailor Matty Mitchell’s allegations against the AC34 jury and fellow competitor Simeon Tienpont are all he said/she said at the moment, but take a few minutes and listen to what the Kiwi has to offer in this excellent interview with NZ Channel 3.  He’s believable as hell, and his story is frightening.  Railroaded by ISAF, burned at the altar by his team, and stabbed in the back by a lying crew mate – and now he’s fighting back.  Collusion, blackmail, all sorts of nasty shit – given the way ISAF has been conducting itself lately, anyone surprised out there?  And then there’s the part Oracle played…but that’s another story.

It’s great to see an honest discussion rather than the media-trained corporate speak we’ve gotten used to from Cuppers; we’re hoping to speak to Matty soon, but we’re not sure we need to after this comprehensive chat! Want to know more or share your view?  Hit the thread in America’s Cup Anarchy.

 

February 6th, 2015 by admin

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Stern-steerers, litigation (not ours, thankfully!), luscious Hannah, the slickest metal in the world, the boys in Orange coming on, and the boys in Bermuda flying high.  Another edition of Video Anarchy is all yours.

Magic Carpet Ride

Yacht designers and racers have been searching for some breakthrough in hull coating technology for as long as boats have raced; so much so that the  fluid-emitting system on the BMW/Oracle 90 is illegal in every other type of racing.  But what if the perfect hydrophobic hull was a single sheet of metal?  And what if you could etch metal foils so the water literally ran away from them?  We don’t know what the long term outlook would be, but we sure are interested, and we know the AC guys are, too.  Check this incredible video above, and you will be too.

All Hannah, All The Time

We were going to post an interesting kiteboarding movie here by the awesome Broken Head Film guys, but then we noticed one of their stars (and an avowed SA reader) Hannah Whiteley – had a new video up herself. And since we’re head-over-heels in love with her, we’ll feature that one.  Follow Hannah here.

Big Ben’s Bermuda Base

Is this just an easy winter vacation for a team whose backers probably all have winter mansions in Bermuda, or are Ben & Friends the most serious Cup team of all right now?   Time is the one thing that matters most for the AC, and here’s a slickly produced video showing Ben and the team getting feet wet in Bermuda with Nacra F20C foilers.  UK 1, everyone else: 0.

Orange Is The New Bronze

If you’re like us, you’re proud of Charlie and Mark and the youngest VOR team for their hard-fought podium finish in Sanya.  But if you’re like us, you didn’t pay much attention to this long, light-air leg, and you don’t understand how they got there.  Watch this video and catch up.

 Section 68

Former OTUSA sailor Mattie Mitchell is taking Larry and Russell to court for being thrown headfirst under the bus during the 2013 AC’s Kingpostgate (and hung out to dry for $68K),  and now that it’s in court, all the OTUSA/ACEA/ISAF secret meetings, back room deals, and ‘confidential’ submissions are finally going to see the light of day. Mattie sat down for a 10-minute interview with NZ’s  Good Chaps the other day, and it’s definitely a good listen for anyone who likes a good AC dustup.

We’re excited for the discovery process to begin, and we think the world will get to see just what kind of folks were running the show over in San Fran and at ISAF headquarters for the past few years.  Stay tuned for more developments coming soon, and let’s all hope Mattie doesn’t settle!

Lords Of The Deuce

54 feet. 104 MPH. 6 crazy dudes.
Total Anarchy.

January 29th, 2015 by admin

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You saw it all if you watched some of our 4-hour live feed yesterday from the Moth Worlds, but you didn’t see it like this.  Hear from the runaway leader and watch 7 high-intensity minutes of the single most epic dinghy racing we’ve ever seen – from the visual stylings of Petey Crawford…

 

January 11th, 2015 by admin

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