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Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’

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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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