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Posts Tagged ‘America’s Cup’

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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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