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Posts Tagged ‘Coutts’

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ImpressionWhile IMOCA figures out what to do with its future, some of its most legendary skippers are moving in another direction.  As first reported here on SA almost half a year ago, Franck Cammas is moving forward with his usual laser-beam focus on a French America’s Cup bid, and an announcement at the Paris “Nautic” boat show may be the first indicator that he could succeed where Les Freres Peyron couldn’t.

Picking up his second-annual French Sailor of the Year award last night, today Cammas pulled together a true ‘who’s who’ in French racing history for this morning’s announcement.  Michel Desjoyeaux will lead the technical team and Franck the sailing team, while Olivier de Kersauson and Stephane Kandler will handle the less exciting parts of the effort.

The team’s “founding members” — in other words, the guys that have funded the initial sponsorship hunt and tried to open some boardroom doors — include big biz bosses Bruno Bich (Bic), Bertrand Méheut (Canal +), Thierry Martel (Groupama), Bruno Luisetti (formerly Kraft Jacobs Suchard) and Erik Maris (Messier Maris & Associés), but crucially no major sponsors were announced.  In other words, there’s enough money to go looking for more, but not enough to start spending.  We also hear from les anarchistes in Paris that some of the veteran grinders are being asked to keep their schedules open for late 2014 and 2015’s AC45 World Series, but no contacts have been signed…

The newly opened Team France thread is bound to be a big one; check it out over here.

Kiwi Kontinuity

While France throws its hat into the ring, Grant Dalton yesterday told 3News NZ that he was back in as well despite earlier question marks from the public and Dalts himself, and the bitter taste of a crushing defeat.  It’s great news for AC35, as Team NZ continues to prove, year in and year out, that it’s the most credible of challengers.  We’re guessing he won’t be on the boat this time, though Glenn Ashby has already re-upped and Dean Barker is a lifer.  Meanwhile, Dalts continues his publicly lukewarm face on the VOR, claiming the $30M he estimates necessary to win might be impossible to find in the current economic climate.  Then again, Dalts might just be pulling the old ‘negotiation by media’ option with VOR CEO Knut Frostad…

Pauly (on the) Shore 

Doing it’s beat to leave the Paul Cayard-led disaster that was Artemis’ AC 34 effort, the team  just announced that Nathan Outteridge and Iain “Goobs” Jensen are continuing with the team, which is currently preparing its bid for the 35th America’s Cup. More. no word which teams are beating down the door to pay way too much for Cayard’s incredible leadership skills.

World Series of Poke Her

The Bay Area Economic Council reported their final America’s Cup economic benefit analysis on Monday, with around $364 million in total economic impact landing in the area over the roughly 3 month period of the event.  This is less than 30% of the original (and insane) $1.4B projection, and less than 40% of the revised $902M projection from March 2013 (and hopefully the City will tell ACEA to get fucked when they tote the same incompetent financial consultants to the table when negotiating the 2017 deal).  With this crap news and the embarrassing ratings for the entire “Summer Of Sailing” and even the incredible AC final (outside of NZ), Coutts is already hedging against big expectations for AC35 in recent softball interviews.

“We’re considering having each of the teams host a World Series event”, Coutts told AC33 and 34 PR staffer Peter Rusch, who’s apparently playing reporter with Yachting World until his AC35 contract comes in.  Coutts says this “would be great in terms of generating excitement in their home countries,” but let’s be serious:  After dropping half the US military budget on incredible ACWS events, Russell is very clearly telling potential teams that they will be responsible for their own regattas in the future.  It’s a shame, because the ACWS is the one part of the AC34 plan that provided awesome racing from beginning to end, and if OTUSA has the kind of massive advantage over AC35 challengers that we would have seen had they not had the big capsize, it might be the only exciting racing of the next Cup – especially if, as we have been hoping, the AC45s race as one-design platforms with unrestricted foils.

Thankfully Coutts cited a coming nationality rule, a welcome change to anyone (like us) who thinks patriotism and sport make great bedfellows.  But he’s already preparing us for a small fleet, presumably because Ellison is shooting to keep the AC72 Class for AC35.  “I think we are better to aim at quality rather than quantity,” he said, despite claiming that new cost reduction measures should cut overall team budgets by around a third.  Call us cynical, but there’s no way in hell another AC72 program will magically cost 25-35 million less than the last time around, even if some one-design elements come into play and there is a joint logistics package.  If there’s one thing that Russell Coutts has proved over and over again, it’s that he always wins, and it always costs a lot more than he says it will.

Legal Beagle

In our final bit of Cupdate news, longtime Kiwi Cup lawyer (and architect of Alinghi’s doomed CNEV challenge) Hamish Ross hit the news today after claiming in a piece in the NZ Law Journal last month that the New York Courts should have no place in deciding how the America’s Cup is run.  Claiming that foreign litigants can’t get a fair shake in the US courts (mostly because he personally can’t seem to win one) Ross says that the Cup should be administered by ISAF instead.  Because of course ISAF is so very impartial, and of course unmotivated by greed or the millions if fees they seek from the AC.  Ross argues that the Deed of Gift and AC Trust are not even valid, and that they could perhaps be overturned by the Court if a strong plaintiff sued the current Trustee; it’s been Ross’s pet argument for a decade, and it’s quite persuasive, until you realize Ross’s theory rests on two centuries of hearsay, dicta, footnotes, quotes from irrelevant politicians, and courts of another country.  It’s no wonder Ross can’t win a case in the US – even after all this time, he still doesn’t understand how precedent works here.

There’s a thread to discuss the legal stuff, and you can download the full NZLJ piece here.

 

December 11th, 2013 by admin

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Dalts and Peter Lester put it best in the linked report below, but anyone who’s ever raced one-design knows that the latest America’s Cup drama is very real, and that Russell Coutts’ “withdrawal” and explanation was both forced by the jury and well, if it smells like crap, it probably is.  Watch the TVNZ report here.

Anyone hear a bus coming?  Any guesses who gets run over by it?

The details, if you haven’t seen them yet, are as follows:  When setting up the AC45s for the RedBull Youth AC, measurers discovered lead hidden inside the kingpost – the dolphin-striker-like post that extends downward from the forward beam – of the BAR boat.  Oracle did their own investigation and found that two of their boats were similarly modded.  The Jury protested the boats, and Oracle and BAR withdrew from the regattas in question.  Coutts says that management knew nothing about it, and while many one-design sailors will question the dodging of responsibility, there is a plausible explanation:  Murray raised the minimum weight on the AC45s a couple of times in response to the gradual fattening of boats due to repairs.  Teams were supposed to add weight in specific locations, and it seems that OTUSA’s boatbuilding team, possibly in conjunction with some of the sailing team, decided to put the weight in a position more advantageous to performance than inside the dotted lines they were given.

What really happened?  We may never know; what we do know is that heads are going to roll thanks to an ISAF Rule 69 hearing…stay tuned.

From Dean Barker’s Blog: Well yet another bizarre twist today when Oracle withdrew from four AC45 events over the lat 12 months because they had been caught cheating. I do not know the exact details but supposedly lead ballast was discovered in the king posts of both the Oracle boats and also the BAR boat which was also prepared by the Oracle Team. It is incredibly disappointing to say the least to find out your competitors have been straight out cheating. It is an insult to the other competitors, particularly in an event that they have been running. The AC45 is a strict one design class and this was one of the great appeals of this type of racing. To deliberately break the class rules is hard to understand.”

You can read all the outrage and comment here.  And props to Tool for the tune that captures Oracle’s AC45 campaign.  Thanks to WetHog for the photo.

 

August 9th, 2013 by admin

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