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Posts Tagged ‘Cammas’

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AC Breaking

As the world waited for Le Roi Russell to announce his entry list for the LOCATION TBD America’s Cup, we learned that the delay had nothing to do with whatever the AC spin said; our insider tells us that at least one team asked for a delay to shore up their finances and sponsorship scenario.  Meanwhile, the AC has announced this morning that there are indeed five challengers who fronted up several million in nonrefundable deposits and bank pledges for the LOCATION TBD America’s Cup.  While we remain highly doubtful that all five will make it closer than Team Australia did to the starting line of the LOCATION AND TITLE SPONSOR TBD Challenger’s Regatta in three years, we do hope they do; it would be great to see the UK and France do well, perhaps igniting some national fervor for the America’s Cup, and perhaps (as unlikely as it may be) wresting it from Coutts’ control to bring it to real international prominence.

Meanwhile, Sportbusiness.com today writes that Ben Ainslie has lost any chance at getting longtime BAR sponsor JP Morgan to foot the estimated $50-75M title sponsorship spot for his AC bid.

The Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) sailing team will look for a new title sponsor for its inaugural 2017 America’s Cup campaign after the incumbent, financial services company JP Morgan, decided not to continue past 2014.

The BAR team is the UK’s entrant for the next America’s Cup series. It is led by Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history and tactician for Team Oracle USA during its dramatic victory at the 2013 America’s Cup.

It is understood that New York-based JP Morgan, which has been the title sponsor of Ainslie personally since 2007, and the main global partner of BAR since the team’s launch in January 2012, feels an alignment with a British team against American competitors would not match its brand image.

The team is now looking for a title sponsor on a three-year contract, from 2015 to 2017.

A UK South Coast insider sent us another update this morning, possibly explaining the JPM departure from Team Sir Ben.

I wouldn’t take this as a sign of anything other than regime change on the sponsorship front. When the team’s AC effort was launched, one of the things I noticed was there are a couple of people on the Board of the team from Vitol, an oil trading firm (including Ian Taylor, its CEO). Vitol is not quite Torben Torquist’s Gunvor, but that’s mostly in the sense it’s not largely owned, ultimately, by a tiger-petting Russian king.

Vitol is possibly not the most ethical of firms, and was only a few weeks ago exposed in engaging in UK Tax Avoidance on a massive scale, according to the Independent.  With figures like those in the above article, it’s entirely concievable they have 50 million quids kicking around ready to drop on a Cup campaign.  Given some of the other rather, ahem, ’controversial’ transations Vitol has been associated with, it could be that JPM didn’t really want to be sharing signage space with them…..

And in a final piece of AC news, European sailing blog Farevela reported yesterday the completely terrifying news that Juan Kouyamdjian will be one of the designers of the underfunded Team France effort, perhaps built on the strength of Franck Cammas’ relationship with the JuanKer during the successful Groupama 70 VOR program.   We’d humbly suggest our friends on the team get some extra life insurance…

Team France thread is over here.  BAR is here.

 

August 21st, 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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We are both stoked and scared about the just-round-the-corner 2015 Little America’s Cup; stoked to see ultra-enthusiast Jeremie Lagarrigue (Hydros.CH) making so much happen in advance of next summer’s event on Lake Geneva – a sexy new logo, sweet promo videos like this one above, an ultra-organized committee pulling in sponsorship and working to encourage competitors, and plenty of behind-the-scenes work to make the event as interesting as Jeremie and his team.  But we’re very afraid after seeing that this morning’s Press Conference – the first thrown by the Organizers for next year’s event – was almost entirely in French.

By this time, all SA readers will know that your Editors are avowed Francophiles.  Thanks to Mr. Clean, Ryan Breymaier, Ronnie Simpson, and dozens of other contributors, no English-speaking website has done more in-depth coverage of major French races than we have over the past 5 years, and more than 100,000 Frenchmen click on SA every month whether they can speak English or not.  And of course, no culture has done more for the advancement of high-performance multihull development than the Franco-Suisse; they are responsible for more big racing multihulls than any other; without them, we’d never have the ORMA 60, the MOD-70, the BOR-90, the Alinghi 90, the America’s Cup 72, or dozens of other world-leading and groundbreaking boats.  But there’s a real danger in letting things “turn Franco-Suisse,” especially in the context of one of sailing’s most historic classes.  With all due respect to the original slogan so enjoyed by the urban aware, “once you go French, very few come back.”

Note the Open 60 and its governing body IMOCA; founded by an American, a Swiss man, a French woman, an Italian, and an Englishman, it was originally intended to be a truly international group to govern the sport’s premier solo racing class.  Within 8 years, it had been almost entirely taken over by French-speakers, with a tiny handful of non Franco-Suisse ever getting to the table – a problem so grave it forced IMOCA to bring in Sir Keith Mills’ OSM organization last year to try to internationalize and invigorate the stagnating class. Note the MOD-70; a brilliant idea and a spectacular boat at a surprisingly low price, killed almost before it began by it’s developer and the Franco-Suisse organizing body’s overreliance on French marketing and sponsorship infrastructure during trying times. Note the ORMA-60; a perfect example of too many eggs in one basket, with a fleet almost entirely destroyed in one race along with a dozen sponsors’ goodwill and interest in ever sponsoring big oceanic multihulls again.  ORMA’s death led to the new prominence of the record-breakers, because there weren’t enough good sponsors left to build another big multihull circuit.

With Jeremie and team putting major effort into winning the next Little Cup, Cammas joining the Lake Geneva fleet to defend his title, and few credible non-French challengers waiting in the wings, we’re definitely afraid of the Little Cup becoming Le Petite Coupe forever.  Selfishly for our Senior Editor, it would mean a few nice trips to France or Switzerland every few summers to cover some great racing in one of the world’s most interesting boats.  Democratically, it would mean a major loss to the world of the truly ‘international’ competition that’s marked the Little AC for more than half a century.  If you want to bone up on that history, have a look at the Team Invictus page here.  And if you’d like to skip ahead to Steve Clark and the English-language portion of this morning’s press conference, go here.

Confused by the title?  Damned kids these days don’t know shit.

 

April 30th, 2014 by admin

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Offshore Rules

For a decade, Alex Thomson has distinguished himself as the one non-French solo racer who can truly battle with the big boys both on the course and in the boardroom.  Second in the inaugural Barcelona World Race and then an incredible third place in the last Vendee against far quicker designs, Hugo Boss has become synonymous with Alex and his Open 60, and they are clearly happy about it.  That’s why the fashion house pulled the trigger last week on yet another 4-year deal with Thomson and management company 5West; they used the occasion to announce Thomson’s participation in the next Barcelona World Race with long time SA favorite Pepe Ribes, and the team also committed to next summer’s Ocean Masters NY-BCN race; a bit of a stunt to try to get US interest up in IMOCA action prior to what should be a well-funded, well-attended, and brilliant 2015 BWR.  Congrats to Alex and his entire extended team; they are keeping IMOCA relevant for a hell of a lot of English-speakers.

Inshore Fuel

Thanks in part to some of the same great supporters of Alex’s campaigns, we can confidently report that Sir Ben Ainslie – the first British member of a winning America’s Cup team in 110 years – is most of the way to meeting initial funding pledges and goals for the next America’s Cup and an all (or mostly) British team.  While Sir Ben wouldn’t confirm or deny this when we spoke to him, other Pommie friends tell us that Ben’s been making great inroads, and probably has around 80% of the necessary funding pledged by a syndicate of UK businessman and long-time commercial sponsors.  This all assumes a satisfactory protocol coming to light sometime before Judgment Day, and it’s spectacular news for the Cup and great news for fans of arguably the world’s best (and best-known) sailor, and we wish him all the luck in the world.

World Championship of the World

We’re also hearing that the AC45s may be done and dusted, and that 2014 will not be a year of ACWS racing of any kind.  Meanwhile, Ben, Cammas, Luna Rossa, and ETNZ are likely to jump into the Extreme Sailing Series tout de suite, and some of the younger potential Cup B-teamers may get some starting and match racing practice in a resurgent World Match Racing Tour.  Add in some cross training with the Flying Phantom foilers and you’ve got plenty of AC action for the next year, even with no AC.  Good times (on tight budgets)…

 

December 19th, 2013 by admin

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