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Posts Tagged ‘ben ainslie’

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Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.14.00 PMAfter the ass-kissing statement of support released last week by the ‘Euro 4′ AC35 challenger heads (Ainslie, Sirena, Percy, Cammas), we’re unsurprised to learn that, according to AC authority and AP writer Bernie Wilson, Russell Coutts specifically told ETNZ to stay home from a major, confidential Challenger/Defender summit meeting later this week in London.

According to Wilson’s piece, “the event authority is working with the teams “to further define an event based on the published protocol.” Coutts said that after he heard from another team [emphasis ours -ed] the Kiwis didn’t want to want to proceed on that basis, “I rang them up and said, ‘It’s best that you not come.’ We have four other challenging teams and the defender that want to work together to have a great event this time and in the future.”

We’re not quite sure what Coutts’ offered to get formerly logical and critical guys like Sirena on board with whatever failure-doomed plan Coutts is trying, now that his greed and hubris sent Iain Murray and Team Australia into the void previously occupied by Vincenzo Onorato.  Discounted entry fees?  Access to some of OTUSA’s old data archives? It’s gotta be something, because they all know that Australia’s Challengus Interruptus makes Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison look like some of the biggest buffoons in international sport.

Coutts’ latest bit of nastiness to his countrymen is just one more folly from a guy who is almost comically bad at the business of sport, and the same question is on every AC watcher in the world’s lips:  Why would one of the world’s best businessmen keep Russell Coutts at the head of the AC organization when he has failed at every single AC-related business decision he’s ever made, including the most costly boondoggle in the history of modern sport?  It ain’t the biggest newspaper in the world, but the Otago Daily Times has one possible answer: They say Coutts’ contract may have a ‘Bertarelli Clause’, guaranteeing Coutts the top job until he gives it up himself.

Golden Gate Yacht Club members are not happy.  Notwithstanding their recent “support”, Challengers are not happy.  Sponsors are not happy (or nonexistent).  And fans are not happy.  Hell, even Obama has a 40% approval rating.  But how long will the notoriously headstrong Larry Ellison continue to allow his reputation and the sport he loves to be screwed over by a piss-poor businessman who’s proven that he is terrible at everything…except for one skill:  Winning the America’s Cup?

Unless this is all part of the plan…screw everyone and you might not come so close to losing the next one?

Is there anyone in the world left that supports Russell Coutts?

 

July 28th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 11.45.27 AMWe took Mich Dej’s presently undefined role in the Team Campos VOR team as an indicator that maybe things are not going all that well for him as one of the trio of leaders of the Team France AC effort, but that take might be very wrong if you believe France’s top sailing journo Loïc LeBras.  LeBras is a good digger though, and his sources told him two days ago that Cammas is about to sign a major agreement with “France’s leading hotel group and Europe’s leading aircraft manufacturer.”   Cammas’ statement in an otherwise fluffy and bullshitty joint statement today seems to support Franck’s optimism that Team France will, at least, be able to enter by the million-dollar deadline on the 8th of August.

Let’s not screw around with implication here; if LeBras is right, we’ll see some serious commercial juice in AC35 from a second non-billionaire backed team. France’s biggest hotel group, by far, is the Paris-based Accor, which owns some 3,600 hotels on five continents.  They hit every budget with their holdings; from Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn right up to the 5 stars of the Sofitel and Pullman lines.  And of course Europe’s biggest airplane manufacturer is Airbus, which has been peripherally involved in sailing (via the C-Class Invictus and several other endeavors) for ages now.  As a branding exercise, Airbus could get huge mileage out of involvement with the AC, especially considering Oracle’s ties to Airbus competitor Boeing.  And while France’s tardiness means they might miss out on the designer raffle and some may dismiss this as a Luna-Rossa-in-AC-34-style ‘learning campaign’ leading to AC36, there are those who thought the same thing about Groupama in the VOR…and we know how that worked out.

Stay on top of the Team France thread in America’s Cup Anarchy for the latest on Cammas and Co, and have a look here at one of the most empty, vapid, useless press releases we’ve seen from a Cup team in years…and that’s saying something.

 

 

July 25th, 2014 by admin

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dpl1410my021Straight out of the box, we expect Ben Ainslie Racing to have possibly the best shot at beating the Larry and Russell show for America’s Cup 35.  Ben’s played this one pretty close to the bone, though it isn’t a stretch to tell you that long time big boat bowman and BAR Extreme Sailing Series crewmate Nick Hutton will be on the boat, as will, we expect, Paul Goodison and Mattie Cornwall.  Will Big Ben bring along sailor chick Pippa Wilson?  While size and strength will be at a premium for the AC62, Pippa’s proven in the X40 that she can do good things for a 40 footer and perhaps the ACWS; it’s been a goddamned long time since we saw a woman in the sport’s premier competition and Ben could make some serious PR points if she came along for the ride.

But his crew isn’t the reason we expect Ben to shine this time around, and the biggest news of the day isn’t about sailing teams; it’s about designers, and we understand that Ben has or is close to signing up Adrian Newey OBE – the 4-time Formula One winning aerodynamicist responsible for the dominant Red Bull Racing cars for the past three seasons of F-1.  Red Bull announced last week that Newey had signed on for a contract extension with the team, but not a typical one; Newey will design the 2015 cars and then expand his job to oversee the new Red Bull Technology program, and we believe that Sir Adrian’s first big project is to help Sir Ben bring the Cup home to Britain for the first time in more than a century and a half.  It makes sense that Red Bull will come along as a major sponsor of Ainslie as well, especially as we’ve heard from several Red Bull insiders that they were less-than-enamored with their Oracle partnership in 2013.  If you’re not an F-1 fan, trust us – this is the biggest threat to Ellison on the horizon; well, that, and the fact that Detroit’s favorite sailing son is now in Cagliari wearing a shiny helmet and robot armor…

We’ll have the press conference for you as soon as it is available; watch this space and www.benainslie.com.  And stay tuned for a detailed analysis of the Protocol and AC62 rule later in the week – the kind of thing you’ll only see here on SA.

UPDATE:  Apparently, streaming a press conference on the web is simply too difficult to handle for the world’s most decorated sailor, his media team, and a 100 million dollar budget, so you’re shit out of luck if you want to watch it here, or frankly anywhere that isn’t BBC on a television set.  Welcome to 2014.

UPDATE 2: Oracle Team USA lead designer Dirk Kramers has jumped ship; the American will be with Team Ben for the next AC.  If you don’t remember Dirk, we caught up with him at the Little AC last fall.   

 

June 10th, 2014 by admin

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