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Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’

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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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We’re not quite sure how we missed this one; a really cool rendering of a monohull AC foiler concept that must have been done by a five year old with a really nice computer.  Or not.  From the Trickle Down thread.

December 30th, 2014 by admin

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Our old friend RadioSport NZ talker D’arcy Waldegrave caught up with Mr. Clean after yesterday’s Bermuda AC announcement for his drive time show ‘The Sauce”. As usual, they talked some shit together, and as usual, it’s worth a laugh or two.

 

December 3rd, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.48.41 AMThere’s a huge weight off our shoulders this week, because we’ve finally reached inner peace about the America’s Cup.  Our realization has urged us to share the following note.  Title inspiration from the Specials.

Dear Larry and Ernesto:

We wanted you to know that we are genuinely sorry about the way we’ve treated both of you.  At the times we criticized both of you for your illogical, backwards, seemingly insane decisions about America’s Cup issues, we failed to understand just how poisonous the Cup is.  Worse yet, we failed to realize that we’d been infected, too.

We’ve compared the past two holders of the Cup as infected by ownership of the Cup just as Lord of the Ring’s Gollum was infected by ‘The Precious,’ and little did we know that its effect extends far beyond physical contact.  That same force – let’s call it Dyscuptopia -  that caused otherwise wildly successful entrepreneur/sailors to so perfectly fail in their grandiose goals actually led us to believe that the America’s Cup had some sort of duty to the wider sport in the USA.  When we chased the first wing-sailed Cup boat in history all over San Diego, when we broadcast live talk shows from the BMR Oracle compound in Valencia, and when we snuck onstage to hold the Cup after it was wrestled away from Bertarelli’s willd plans, we became invested.  And more importantly, infected.

Sure, Larry, your and Russell’s very vocal plans to revolutionize the public face of sailing while bringing in millions in revenue helped lead us down this primrose path, where we walked along with sponsorship directors, the governments of several municipalities and various nongovernmental organizations.  But we’re Sailing Anarchy – the site that prides itself on brutal honesty, run by a couple of the most jaded, cynical bastards anyhere.  We should have known better.

Instead, we got mad, and until the other day, we stayed that way.  Mad when the USA got rapidly washed out of the US Team.  Mad when poor recruiting snowballed into a failed media push.  Mad at the secrecy and opacity rife in the event, magnified by the continuing silence more than a year since Bart’s death.  And mostly, mad at the incredible wealth spent on the San Francisco Cup while almost nothing went to the marketing, sustainability or infrastructure of the sport that makes it all possible; a wasted opportunity in a nation that’s lost three quarters of its sailing population over the past 30 years.

When Bernie Wilson broke the Bermuda venue story last week, we started to write a typically scathing editorial and planned a trip to the December 2nd Press Conference.  We’d put Russell’s feet to the fire in front of hundreds of journalists, we would!  And then we thought about it for a second, and wondered why we gave even the tiniest shit.  And that’s when we knew it wasn’t a logical reaction, rather, it was the dreaded Dyscuptopia, which we’ll define as ‘the unshakeable conviction that the afflicted can and must use the America’s Cup for some incredibly grand purpose.’

When the fog cleared, we realized that Larry doesn’t owe anyone a goddamned thing.  It’s his Cup, it’s his regatta, and if his top employee wants to make a sustainable America’s Cup in Bermuda, more power to him.  And to be perfectly frank, it shouldn’t be that fucking hard, as long as everyone cuts their expectations by about 90%.  The Extreme Sailing Series and World Match Race Tour have proved that a combination of venue fees and hospitality/b-to-b sponsorship can fund solid racing series.  All you have to do is make the boats cheap enough and have sponsorship hunters that are slick enough, and repeat as needed.

So with a final sigh, we shrug off our Dyscuptopia, and close the chapter on our criticism and legal analysis of the commercialization, litigation, and Russel-ization of the Oracle America’s Cups.  We will certainly not hide from reporting on the inevitable screwups, boondoggles, or the public’s continued loss of interest, but our anger is gone, and we’ve accepted that the America’s Cup will never be what it could be.

And we’ll be on Bermuda’s beautiful Great Sound to watch some catamaran racing – all thanks to Larry and Russell.  And we’ll be watching tomorrow’s press conference from the warmth of South Beach.

 

December 1st, 2014 by admin

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We’re not sure how long the webcam will hold up, but for the moment we have the rare luxury of watching a hurricane as it rolls into Bermuda.  Our thoughts are with all the Anarchists on island – stay safe.  Click the pic to see the live camera, and now for the PSA from SA Weather Bureau Chief (and tech shirt guru) Mark Michaelson.

Now would be the time to move you and your family to a three story or elevated steel reinforced concrete structure. This one is for real.

My hunch is that the island could be without power for up to a month so make sure you have plenty of cash on hand. Let me know if you have any questions.Winds will be Tropical Storm force this morning becoming Storm and then quickly becoming hurricane force this afternoon. Seas will rapidly build to 35-40 feet. Heavy surge will accompany high tide around 5PM. Structurally this is on the large side for a Category 3 storm. It is moving NNE @15 so there is not a lot of time left to get to a safe shelter before movement will not be possible without risk of severe injury or death from flying debris. I expect the next advisory will maintain the intensity (Roughly) but change the trajectory to more NE. Bermuda lies in the NE quadrant of the storm which is the worst place to be. Good luck to all on the island. You are always welcomed to call or text me to get eyes on the storm from the outside for as long as you have the ability to communicate.

 

October 17th, 2014 by admin

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GONZALO9Cat 4 Hurricane Gonzalo visited many of our favorite sailing destinations yesterday, and Antigua, Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Barths are all reeling.  Despite accurate forecasts days ago, dozens of yachts were tossed onto land in SXM and sunk in its lagoon.  It wasn’t just boats damaged, either – the 120 knot winds tore roofs off homes and sent shanties toppling, one person lost his life in the lagoon and at least two people are missing…thus far…and there’s still no power and therefore not a ton of information.  There are some decent damage reports, pics, and video on local Yana Gibbs’ Facebook Page and keep an eye on the thread for more.  And if you have some info, please post it - because Gonzalo ain’t finished by a long shot.

The NHC’s warning map makes the tiny island nation of Bermuda look like a slow pitch down the middle for Gonzalo’s 140 knot bat, and he’s taking aim tomorrow with no real weakening in the forecast.  If you’re visiting or living in Bermuda, don’t take the laissez faire attitude many did in the French caribbean; get your shit tucked away, be sure you have potable water and food, and get to high ground long in advance.

And if you’re a fan of the America’s Cup, now’s the time to figure out what to do when a hurricane comes straight at your fleet of AC62s, cruise ship hotels, and super yachts.  Our suggestion: Ask Russell.

 

October 16th, 2014 by admin

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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Americas Cup It’s not like Larry Ellison’s job as CEO of Oracle Software has had a negative impact on his quality of life over the past decade, but as of yesterday, the ultra-fit 70 year old and world’s highest-paid executive is going to have a bunch more free time to engage in his hobbies: Basketball, tennis, motorboats, yacht racing, botox, marriages, and of course crushing his enemies, seeing them driven before him, and hearing the lamentation of their women…  Ellison leaves longtime executives Safra Catz and Mark Hurd as co-CEOs, while Larry will stay on top of things as Chief Technology Officer.

Big thanks to the 80s for the extremely appropriate title.

 

September 19th, 2014 by admin

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bush_rolex_replicaWe’ll be the first to tell you that we think the BBS is kinda bullshit; a whole lotta people running around at the helm of what was once one of the world’s major regattas who are absolutely sure that vanilla ice cream oozes out of their anal openings.  Is there anything about it that is even ‘big’ besides the egos of the folks at the helm?  Or besides the 6 figures in cash and prizes that Rolex spends to flog their watches to a few hundred rich white boys?  How can the town that should have been transformed by the America’s Cup fail to draw even 100 boats to their marquis regatta…during its 50th anniversary bonanza?  

Anyone expecting a change doesn’t understand San Francisco very well, we fear.  Example:  Have a look at what 20 grand in movie money buys you for your overall highlights at your club’s premier regatta: It’s an 11-minute video from probably the world’s worst sailing video producer and it looks and sounds like it is straight out of 1998.  How are you StFYC members not embarrassed that this is the best your club can do?

As such, we love this post in our world famous forums. Consider this our one and only article on the BBS.

Reporting live from San Francisco Bay, we are entering the final day here at St. Francis Yacht Club. Big drama unfolding in the HPR fleet as Hamachi (J125) was reinstated from a previous OCS after they filed for redress. Truth be known and it IS CLEAR AS DAY on the video, they were over the line at the start by a boat and a half. Every boat under her went back and re-started. Yesterday, TP52 Becom being sailed by Norman Devant, campaigned to the race committee to go jib reaching around the bay (4 jib reaches) so they can pull a horizon job on the rest of the fleet. Well that worked out well for them securing a slimy win and putting them in podium position.

The racing in this fleet thus far has had 3 bay tours already and very little true racing. It appears though, that the race committee at St. Francis clearly has their head buried elsewhere. Coming live from San Francisco. .. over and out.  Jump in if you wish.

 

September 15th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 4.53.24 AMWe’re fortunate to have made some very intelligent friends over the decade or so we’ve been working for Sailing Anarchy, and when they ask us serious questions about our reporting, we listen.  So when we  got an email a couple of months ago about the tone of some of our America’s Cup editorials from one of the top people at a highly respected team, our ears perked up – partly because this dude is almost frighteningly smart and extremely respectful, and partly because his questions were reasonable and not defensive.  He agreed that much of our criticism of the ridiculous delays and the lack of transparency in the AC was accurate, but asked me if ‘killing the event with negativity is really a step forward?’  He also challenged me to ‘explain what changes in the AC would encourage us that things are changing?’

With the full competitor lineup about to be released during today’s dog-and-pony in London, it’s time for me to answer his questions.

Q) Is negative criticism or ‘killing the event with negativity’ a step forward?

A) Whether criticism is a ‘step forward’ is irrelevant; we don’t work for the America’s Cup and we have no duty to ‘move the AC forward’; this is similar to the criticism we’ve gotten for writing about regattas that allow littering in the sea and for writing about classes that are being run into the ground, and our answer is always the same:  We are firm believers in transparency, and to us, letting the sailing public know what is really going on behind the scenes is always a step forward, especially over the long term, and even more especially when reality is shrouded in secrecy and bullshit.

We advocated for and applauded the move to catamarans when the majority of the world’s sailing publications were shrieking tradition and sacrilege – actually, we’ve been asking for it since about 2003.  We approved of the format for AC34 and prayed for a great venue like San Francisco.  And we lauded the beautifully sorted and widely available coverage for the most exciting regatta in sailing history.  But we could not remain quiet in the face of the mounting fuckups while ACAlphabet paraded their stunning incompetence in front of the world.  That’s what the other publications did, and if no one questions the bullshit, it will always be repeated.  We’d prefer not to see an AC35 with the same problems as AC34: Woefully low North American ratings and broadcast pickup, failure to meet any of the in-person audience/SF occupancy/ACOC sponsorship raising goals,  a fatal accident whose cause has – until today – still not been properly reported on, safety rules that changed the outcome of the event, and a venue that feels lied to and abused by the sport of sailing.

What my friend was really asking was “do we understand that our negativism is actually hurting the America’s Cup?”  My answer is very simple: That’s not our problem.  We didn’t cheat.  We didn’t fuck up the broadcast deal.  We didn’t cut the promotional budget to pieces halfway through the cycle.  We didn’t make up a bunch of ridiculous projections for the SF government and fail to get close to them..  And we certainly didn’t cover up the cause of death of a famous sailor.  So quit blaming us.

Q) What moves would encourage you that things are changing?

A) As we’ve said ten million times, lack of transparency is one of the sport’s biggest problems.  It’s got its own language, complicated and esoteric rules, centuries of history and tradition, and is mostly run – at least in America – by a cultish bunch of odd rich people in archaic clothing.  AC33 had the potential to change all that in huge ways, yet it failed spectacularly, and somehow, the guy responsible has never even acknowledged his abject failure or explained how he will prevent the exact same failures from happening again.  That’s what we would need to see in order to think about getting behind the next AC – a little openness and honesty instead of the same old back room deals that have governed the America’s Cup for a century.  So when you are watching the press conference today, consider the following questions that we’d like answered; get us that, and we’ll believe that times are changing.  And consider the fact that, for four years, Russell Coutts has consistently refused to sit down for an interview with the world’s most widely read sailing website.  There’s only one explanation for that: Fear.

WHY DID BART DIE?

As we’ve said over and over, we’re not at all happy that there still has not been a single official comment on the cause of the accident that led to Andrew Simpson’s death, and we frankly don’t understand it.  We remember Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna’s death all too well, and while the public investigation process was not an easy one, it’s amazing to us that AC organizers did not insist on even the most basic investigation or transparency for Andrew Simpson’s cause of death.  The Senna case resulted in a finding against Williams co-founder Patrick Head after a massive investigation that included a 600-page analysis of the crash; while Head would never go to jail for his ‘omitted control’ culpability, at least the Italian courts provided closure for hundreds of millions of Senna fans around the world.

We know that Artemis Racing conducted their own investigation into Simpson’s death, yet no one we’ve met will admit to seeing it.  We know the Coast Guard had a think about it too.  And we know that the San Francisco police are required to investigate any death.  Yet when we asked the America’s Cup where those documents were, they had no answer, and that’s ridiculous.  These reports should have been required by ACRM to be released to the public, and an open inquiry into the design, build, and management of Big Red – and the responsibility for her failure – should have been undergone immediately after the accident.  We don’t blame Artemis for the silence – they have good reason to be quiet.  But the event’s organizers have a duty to do more if they want to be considered anything but a failure and a joke.

We hate that we’ve had to, but we’ve done a pile of sleuthing ourselves, and thanks to Johntommy Rosas and the America’s Cup Trust, we finally got our hands on the SFPD’s official 86-page investigation into the Artemis accident, and for the first time today, we’re sharing it with the world. We’ll leave the conclusions to you guys, but it’s not brain surgery; as we all knew when he loudly acted like he never said it, Nathan Outteridge’s words to his dad were pretty accurate –  the boat ‘folded like a taco’ when it dug the hull in during a bearaway.  There wasn’t a pitchpole – according to Artemis design coordinator Adam May’s witness statement, the hull failed.  Why did it fail?  Is anyone responsible, as they were for Senna, or was it just a non-racing ‘racing incident’?  We don’t know, but if the America’s Cup is to be the ‘tier 1 sport’ that Coutts, Ellison, and new AC Commercial Commissioner Dr. Harvey have repeatedly claimed is their goal, it’s time to act like a tier 1 sport, where you investigate deaths and hold people accountable for them.

Until then, the only place in the world you can find the investigation report is right here.  Warning: It’s not for the faint of heart.

Why Did AC34 Miss Every Media/Comms/Audience Target?

We’re not going to re-hash this one – we’ve done it too many times.  The dismal ratings are public knowledge, as was NBC’s refusal to pick up the final races for a national broadcast audience – even when the comeback was in full swing.  But Russell Coutts has somehow not been called to the carpet to explain this abject failure.  Were they the wrong targets?  Is it impossible to make sailing a mainstream sport in America?  We’d all like to know.

What Happened To Continuity?

Coutts told us a dozen times that one of the AC’s big issues is continuity; that it’s incredibly tough to run a commercially viable sports league when it isn’t owned by a reliable group.  This is surely true, and Coutts’ solution the last time around was a financial windfall of several million dollars for the winner of the AC if they maintained some part of the AC event management structure he planned in AC34.

Yet when Oracle won, there was no continuity.  Near as we can tell, there was no management; just Russell and a couple of trusted advisors secretly shopping venues around and trying to create a bit of a bidding war.  The incredible action we saw in San Francisco?  Forgotten.  The ‘reliable pro-sports league’?  Gone.  Instead we have a year of silence while all the excitement fades into the background, and we’re right back on the same old Coutts train.  And we’d like to get off it.

If you would too, start asking the AC folks the same questions we have, and don’t let up. Hit them over here and over here.  If Russell Coutts or his new commercial chief are serious about what they claim, they’ll answer.

But if all the talk is bullshit and smokescreen, designed to cover up the fact that Coutts’ job is really to win the Cup and neither he nor Larry gives a shit about the rest of it, they’ll continue to say nothing, admit nothing, and accomplish nothing – besides retaining the Cup, of course.

 

September 9th, 2014 by admin

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