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Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’

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Thanks to SA’er ‘Francis’ in the Saxophone piece below we’ve already heard how much better the AC folks – with help from NY Organizers – have gotten at the overall ACWS atmosphere – at least if you are on the ground.  Unfortunately for the sport and fans of competitive sailboat racing, they seem to have gotten worse at everything else.  Here’s what the world – and the Anarchists – had to say about the actual race viewing in Manhattan.

Manhattan Mixer

Ben Ainslie echoed the sentiments of all sailors in this piece decrying the ridiculous race management necessitated by choosing an idiotic venue, and wondering how much more the AC is going to sacrifice in the name of the almighty dollar, and how far down on his knees Russell Coutts is in search of the almighty dollar.  SailorGirl Nic Douglass caught up with Ben here.

SA’er ‘_____’ brought his family, with a mostly negative review:

We were there on Sunday. The damn buildings…completely wrecked what would have been a puffy enough NWerly.  The course was too short. The boats looked like pinioned ducks trying to fly off the pond.  The crowd cheered to “let’s hear it for team USA”. Which I found bemusing.

I said to my kids, “I’m cheering for the French Team–I bet there are Frenchmen on it!” Apparently there was a french couple near us that heard me. Not sure they appreciated that bit of boorish Yankee humor–I’ll never know (my kid speaks french but didn’t hear anything other than a few words here and there).  There were a lot of foreign languages–I heard French, German, Spanish, possibly Russian. Lots of people there.

I was glad to have seen it, but frustrated by what was obviously a PR spectacle.  The Newport event without hydrofoils was much better in last go around–the boats got up to speed at least.

It feels like these toys are expensive, and the guys paying for them need their exposure, and that that is more important than making a viable set of races. Which is too bad. At least NASCAR builds tracks big enough.  The ferry terminal with the tarpaulin design got in the way of watching. So did the sculpture. And the buildings on far side problem.  Not sure this is such a perfect location. Somewhere else along the river would have been better perhaps. Maybe not really.

’6924′ snarks in:

I was there all day Sunday, great event, plenty of noobs, plenty of brooze, and beaucoup ladies. My group got pleasantly tipsy, watched a little sailing, and tried to behave adult.

Only a killjoy would complain about the corporate vibe, the stupid courses, the dumb Sh”t commentary, and the overbearing security

They should do this every year – maybe have a night race with flaming torches on board the boats or topless dancers on a barge in the river too.

Live: Dead

‘pwormwood’ summed up the wholesale failure of the live racing feed, echoing hundreds of comments on SA and the various social channels.  We searched high and low, in three different languages, and still could not find even a remotely positive review of the broadcast, whether you paid for it on the app or watched it on pay TV.

Unbelievably bad TV programming – they interrupted 11 minute races with 2 minute commercials, completely missing the finish of one race and spoiling the ever changing plot in the other two.  Then they fill the time between races with fluff bullshit rather than get the commercials out of the way.  WTF – the commercials so destroyed the continuity that it was frustrating rather than pleasurable to watch the racing.  With three 11 minute races in an hour of programming, there are 27 other minutes for commercials.  A normal TV show has about 15 minutes of commercials, so there is more than enough time for commercials without interrupting the racing.  It is amazing to me that a good sailor like Russel can watch that hour of programming and think to himself: “I can’t wait for my sailing buds to watch this – they’ll love how we captured & clarified the racing…”.  Frankly, I was embarrassed for having invited a sailing friend over to watch it…and I won’t do that again.  Fortunately, with the M-32′s, the GC 32′s, the TP 52′s, and even the Stars, there’s plenty of performance sailing to watch that allows you to view an entire race, start to finish.  In terms of quality of content, the AC is looking up at ALL of those programs.  I was glad to hear that the on-site experience was much better; but you are not going to develop a sustainable financial model just filling the “stadium”.  If you’re going to completely bastardize the racing to fit a TV program, you ought to at least make it a good TV program.

In an unrelated note, Longtime SA’er and New York Times reporter Chris Museler stayed away from criticism and grabbed a meaty look at how the young guns were displacing veterans in this piece.

People like the fawning Jimmy Spithill and the foreign sailing press can be forgiven for their ignorance of the realities of New York; the ‘huge crowd’ along the water was anything but impressive to folks who know a hundred thousand new yorkers and tourists will turn out to watch paint try if it’s colorful enough.  When we asked a highly respected journalist about the AC’s claim that ’75,000 spectators lined the banks on Saturday’, he gave us a great answer: “If bullshit were music, they’d be the Kings of Jazz!”

And while surely the handbag-sellers, watch-purveryors, and financial product pushers will be overjoyed with the b-to-b and hospitality trips that New York makes so easy, but by any logical metric, the ACWS New York failed to deliver anything of value to the sport or to a meaningful portion of the public.  Friends of Sailing Anarchy at the NYFD estimated around 50,000 people combined over two days, which would be a great number in a small town, but in New York, isn’t much higher than the number that would be through there on a typical weekend.  Remember when 50,000 people for the Volvo Ocean Race Miami was a huge failure?  New York makes Miami look like a country town, and with the joke of a competition put on by the event, there’s not much to build on when and if they return.

Once again, the Bermuda America’s Cup cycle confirms what we’ve said all along; the greater public, the sailing community, and the sport are all just an afterthought, and you should feel lucky that they give you and the rest of the peons even this piddling amount of consideration.  While the in-person experience is worth the trip if the venue allows decent sailing, the rest of the decisions – format, venue, TV and internet, marketing, commentary – are destined for history’s dustbin as soon as someone competent takes over in (hopefully) a year and a half’s time.

Read the ACWS NY thread for the most complete wrapup of the event.

#nevercoutts

May 11th, 2016 by admin

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Kevin Hall’s resumé is Hall of Fame stuff, but what sets him most apart from the usual pro-sailor crowd is his massive, never-slowing brain.  Unfortunately, it’s also his biggest enemy.  Join the JC Worldwide Podcast for an hour plus with this fascinating man, who has more stories from a lifetime of Olympic and America’s Cup than you can shake a spinnaker pole at.  And for anyone whose ever had mental illness touch their life or their family’s, Kevin’s new book Black Sails, White Rabbits is an absolute must-read.  World travelers or daily commuters can get a full list of JC’s ever-growing podcast library here.

 

April 25th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 1.46.20 PMSharp-eyed mothie Joe Turner pulled a screen grab from yesterday’s Oracle capsize, and look what he found: A mystery!

Said Tom Slingsby:  Gotta say I am enjoying reading the different theories, but it really is what I said it is. Below the bottom bearing is what we call the sliding door which keeps a flush surface to the hull throughout our 15 deg Cant range. This day it busted and was causing some drag. However, believe what you want, we get a good kick out of hearing some of the theories.

But we all know Oracle sailors will say whatever the chequebook tells them to… So, is it a super-secret foil fence?  Maybe it’s a supercavitating thingamabob?  Camera pod?  Ride height sensor?  Herbie 2.0? A turd flown over from Rio?

Weigh in.

 

March 3rd, 2016 by admin

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It turns out you don’t need to drop 25 bucks on any more America’s Cup racing, so spend your money on something that’s actually worth it! (Hint: Not the AC World Series!).

France’s Canal + is the only broadcaster publishing the full races online, and here’s some light action ave the rights to broadcast the full replays on their DailyMotion page.  Between snooze-inducing commentary (with a welcome back to Todd ‘squeaky’ Harris) and exceedingly limp racing on Day 1 in Oman we’re not recommending it, but since it won’t cost you anything, ya might as well take a look.  Oman discussion group over here.

 

 

February 27th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.28.28 PMWe could not be more stoked for Seabin founders Andy and Pete nor more impressed with Sir Ben Ainslie’s team after both announced today that the very first Seabin would be installed in Team Land Rover BAR’s headquarters in Portsmouth.  And a hearty thanks from us for some real AC news for a change!  For more about how a world full of Seabins will fix the oceans, listen to the Clean interview with them.

From the presser:

Land Rover BAR are committed not just in their aim of winning the America’s Cup for Britain, but doing so with the least impact on our natural environment. Working with our exclusive Sustainability Partner 11th Hour Racing, the team aim to increase understanding of the oceans, and find solutions to the challenges that are impacting our marine resources.

They were keen to support Seabin as Team Principal and skipper Ben Ainslie explained; “We are in a really unique position to raise awareness and accelerate the adoption of solutions to combat our reliance on unsustainable resources. We are committed to reducing our own environmental footprint and working with our partners to identify new innovative solutions to deliver further positive change, and to communicate this widely. We look forward to seeing the positive effects of the Seabin once installed in Portsmouth this summer.”

Read on.

And in other news of Brits behaving boldly, props to Leslie Greenhalgh and the ACWS Portsmouth organizers for some frank speaking last week about the 2015 ACWS event failing on a few big fronts and struggling to break even. For 2016, they’ll make a number of changes, including cheaper entry fees and bigger free viewing areas.  Less art fair and rock concert and better access to racing, in other words. As reported by Sailweb:

“People’s appetite to know about the racing and who was winning was huge,” said event director Leslie Greenhalgh, “Mistakenly we didn’t think people wanted to be overwhelmed with too much information.

Team Origin operations director Jeremy Troughton said, “We misjudged it. Now we’re just going to focus on the sailing . . . This time we’re not trying to be anything else.”

 

February 23rd, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 9.07.54 AM
PHONE IT IN (definition from Urban Dictionary) - 
1) Perform an act in a perfunctory, uncommitted fashion, as if it didn’t matter.
2) to put in a half-assed effort at something, but complete it. Often pertaining to work which is complete and pretending to have worked a long time on, when in fact little to no effort was put into it.
3) Derived from deciding to not physically attend a meeting in, but rather to be present by phone only.
4) The level of effort put forth by dispirited and deflated marketing, media, sponsorship staff, and executives at America’s Cup Event Authority.
Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 9.07.04 AM
Example 1: Unless Luna Rossa is back in the Cup and Dean Barker is still driving the All Blacks, the Oman ACWS marketing department is really phoning it in.”
Example 2:You’d think “America’s Cup” in a headline on Americascup.com could be spelled right.  Even their spellchecker is phoning it in.”
Example 3: “Dr. Harvey proves with his stammeringly bad level of preparation and knowledge that you can be right there, on stage, in front of the camera, and still phone it in!”
More chatter about ACWS Oman here.

February 20th, 2016 by admin

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masterFrom ‘strange tales of sailing and the law’ comes this nugget; it seems a guy named Richard Smith has defeated the America’s Cup and its legendarily aggressive intellectual property subsidiary, ACPI, and Smith now claims he now owns the trademark on the following words:

“America’s Cup Masters, America’s Cup Legends, AC Masters, AC Legends, Classic America’s Cup, America’s Cup Classics, Historic America’s Cup, America’s Cup Heritage, Heritage America’s Cup, International America’s Cup Class Masters, International America’s Cup Class Legends, IACC Masters, IACC Legends, America’s Cup Class Masters, America’s Cup Class Legends, ACC Masters, ACC Legends, J Class Masters, J Class Legends, 12 Metre Masters, 12 Metre Legends, 12 Meter Masters, 12 Meter Legends, Twelve Metre Masters, Twelve Metre Legends, Twelve Meter Masters, Twelve Meter Legends, Universal Rule Masters, Universal Rule Legends, History of the America’s Cup, America’s Cup History and America’s Cup Hall of Fame.”

ACPI is best known to us as the company that used threats and intimidation to ban the Little America’s Cup from using its own name; a name that had been used for decades before any America’s Cup holder started enforcing it’s claimed rights to the words.  Our analysis showed us that it was likely America’s Cup’s Trademark claims were far weaker than they seemed to believe, and we encouraged someone to stand up to bullying by the AC admins, or alternatively we called for the AC to back down and try to help preserve sailing history and the name of a great event, but they ignored all pleas for logic, in favor of greed and exclusivity.

And at least according to one guy, intellectual property law seems to have caught up with the nasty folks at ACPI, even though it seems to have happened very quietly.  From the ‘news’ section of AmericasCupMasters.com last March:

“Trademark agents instructed by Sam Hollis, legal counsel for America’s Cup and CEO of America’s Cup Properties Incorporated, have conceded that America’s Cup Properties Incorporated and the America’s Cup Event Authority do not own any intellectual property in America’s Cup Masters.  A spokesman for the owners of America’s Cup Masters said today:“We are delighted that the absurdly hostile attempt to take control of the America’s Cup Masters intellectual property by lawyers acting on behalf of America’s Cup Properties and America’s Cup Event Authority has collapsed.”

A quick look at TESS didn’t find any trademarks registered under America’s Cup Masters in the US, but the mere fact that Smith’s site hasn’t been nuked off the internet indicates that the thousand-dollar-an-hour lawyers working for Ellison’s mob didn’t have a case.  More importantly, it indicates that they may not have a case against anyone, especially the Little America’s Cup guys.  The silence in this case further suggests that Mr. Smith may have agreed to keep quiet about it for the time being, perhaps to prevent appeals or other legal-fee churns, or he may just be British…we’re not sure.  But Smith is definitely not going away, using his newfound mastery over the ACPI folks to begin promoting a series of regattas for (we think) 12 metre yachts, or perhaps Tom Ehman’s Super 12s?  It’s hard to say, really, though those interested should browse the Masters site for news here.

The Super 12 link could be very interesting given the intellectual property conversation, especially if the link between Smith and Ehman is something more than coincidence; Ehman worked for ACPI for years enforcing America’s Cup trademark rights against dozens of potential infringers…

 

February 6th, 2016 by admin

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20160115-2016 Winter Anarchy-41352

Clean Report

A YUUUUGE thank you to the more than 300 of you who attended the 9th Winter Anarchy drunk-a-thon at the Bottom Lounge last weekend, and to the dozens of volunteers, sponsors, and of course Morgan Kinney for putting it all together.  We’re proud of the roughly $7000 you all raised for the Skin Cancer Foundation, and we’re even prouder that we found a way to help an important cause a little bit while having a good time with great people and giving away some creative and awesome prizes.  We’ll have important news for the 10th Anniversary of Winter Anarchy in the next few weeks; whether you’re a sponsor or a partygoer, you most definitely will not want to miss it.

There are still a few Special Edition 2016 Winter Anarchy tees left; if you pick one up before Monday, Morgan will throw in a new SA alloy buckle belt with it.  All profits go to Skin Cancer Foundation.

Show Off

Key West and Chicago’s Strictly Sail show were the industry’s ‘must attend’ winter events for years.  The boat show, though, wishes it only contracted by the third that Race Week did over the same period of time.  Plagued by America’s general move away from boat shows and an expensive show at logistically difficult Navy Pier, Chicago’s big event moved last year away from downtown, becoming the tiny third wheel in the ironically named ‘Chicago Boat, RV, and Strictly Sail Show‘ at the huge McCormick Place convention center.

The sailboat industry was, quite literally, a side show, and few vendors had any optimism at all about making any kind of money there.  It remains a convenient spot for many industry workers to work out deals and check in with far-flung friends, but with fewer exhibitors than ever, there aren’t many out-of-towners coming in anymore.

For locals, it’s another story; a great excuse to break up the coldest part of the winter with a few drinks and a peek at the few interesting things there; the full J line up, relatively new dinghies from Melges and RS, and a few bits of hardware and software scattered around.  Area Yacht Clubs were looking for members and promoting their races, while a few MCSA university teams showed up to find supporters and recruit sailors.  But the show was dominated by the ACWS Chicago booth that was loaded with the baubles and trinkets to suck almost any sailor in.  VR goggles with the full AC45 onboard experience loaded in, a one-on-one match race game complete with carbon wheels, and even a long line to take your selfie with the real America’s Cup, which somehow managed to look gaudy even against the backdrop of a tiki bar set on a fake beach under a plastic palm tree to the sound of a live Jimmy Buffet impersonator.

Don Wilson’s ACWS organizing group included a diverse mix of volunteers doing their best to spread the message, and heavily discounted tickets seemed to be selling at a brisk pace.  It’s a very different place from Newport, but the pride amongst many local sailors that an America’s Cup(ish) event was coming to town reminded me of Rhode Islanders just before the Volvo.  Will the windy city turn out 130,000 fans for the ACWS like Newport did for Brad Read’s Volvo?  Not a chance.  But if the weather doesn’t make a complete mockery of the silly two-day format again, the event could easily hit her smaller targets and be considered a home run by AC teams, hospitality sponsors, and the City.  There’s also another reason to go: It could be the last time anything like it sees freshwater.  Alternatively, it could be the pioneer event that opened Chicago to inshore racing’s upper echelons.  It’s no secret that Wilson has big aspirations in the sport, and both his passion for racing and his bank balance are both off the charts.  That’s a potent combination that’s brought the billionaire commodities trading genius plenty of success on Melges 24s, Farr 40s, and match racing boats, and last week Wilson helmed his M32 cat to victory in Bermuda against three pro helmsmen.  Could we see a Chicago America’s Cup team some time in the next decade?  Sure.  And you can say you knew them way back in 2016.

My trademark Mr. Clean shaky cam footage of the boat show is below.

Spreader-level overview of the show

Lightning Round look at new stuff

Should you make plans for the ACWS-Chicago?

 

January 22nd, 2016 by admin

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If one crash video replay is great, it’s logical that a dozen of them are spectacular.  Here’s a little montage of all the possible angles of the Artemis vs. clueless umpire boat crash in Bermuda, set, of course, to German house music.  Just because.

 

November 2nd, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 10.51.55 AMAs any visitor to these pages knows well, the sailing community has almost universally shared a sense of betrayal over the ‘appropriation’ of the America’s Cup to another country by the American defender.  At the same time, San Francisco’s multi-million dollar AC shortfall and the bad taste left in San Diego and Newport’s mouths from ACEA’s negotiating sleaziness mean that sailing events in America have a tough road ahead if they’re going to try to repair some of the damage caused by Russell’s flying circus.

Thanks to the hard work of the Volvo Ocean Race, Sail Newport, and thousands of volunteers and cheerleaders, that job just got a hell of a lot easier; that’s because the numbers are in, and the Newport stopover for the VOR added some $32M in direct spending to the RI economy and nearly $50M in overall economic impact, with the government laying out only a tiny fraction of that amount to supply the stopover with services.

So even though we don’t know who will be running the next VOR or what teams we’ll see on the starting line, we’re pleased to share with you the news that the stopover voted ‘best’ by nearly every sailor, spectator, and reporter in the 2014-15 race has been confirmed to be BACK in May 2018, the only North American stop for the world’s most-watched sailboat race.  We congratulate everyone involved, and applaud Volvo and SailNewport management for doing smart business while also acting as custodians for the good name of the sport.

Imagine if Russell and the ACEA folks would learn that these are not mutually exclusive goals.

October 30th, 2015 by admin

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