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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Ehman’

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The_WorldsTom Ehman’s Golden Gate Yacht Club Challenge already made its first political change – it’s now known as the SF Yacht Racing Challenge to keep from pissing off the rest of the Bay Area clubs.  One sneaky anarchist attended an Ehman presentation about this ‘outside the box’ event for the age-advanced, and here are the details we’ve scooped up:

+ The new class will be known as Super 12s, and will be more of a ‘Spirit of Tradition’ version of a 12 rather than a real one.  A Grand Prix (post-1983) 12 above the waterline, a modern fin-keel yacht below. Carbon-composite hull, deck and rig.

+ Strict OD including deck hardware and sails (lesson learned from Volvo) for the obvious cost savings, as well as to make it a crew contest, not a design/budget battle. Draft will be under 10′ – they’re shooting for 9’5″ – both for access to area clubs and to commercial yards.

+ Boats are expected to be convertible to a charter life after their competitive lifespan ends.

+ Crews will have a strict nationality requirement (passports?) as well as an interesting diversity requirement: each crew will need to include a minimum of two women and two men as well as two aged 22 or younger, and one aged 62 or older.  College sailors should be eligible through their senior year, and the total crew size will be 12.

+Teams will have to work with local YCs/marinas/yards to create a base in an existing facility – no building out of own piers for a team base that is separate from existing local sailing community

+ Fleet racing and match racing finals will take place on the San Francisco city front for 2 weeks in July, when average afternoon (1300-1800) wind speed on the Bay is 13kts or more virtually 100% of the time (13-30kts). There will be no upper wind limit; lower wind limit of 5 knots or so, though stats say it ain’t gonna happen much, if at all.  “Hell or high water” is what we were told.

+An East Coast venue will likely come into play within the first couple of years, and our guess is an obvious one: Newport.  We can see Annapolis trying to regain some of the luster they’ve lost as one of America’s real sailing cities…other than that pesky problem with having breeze.

+The boats should cost somewhere between 2 and 3 million, and the campaign another 500k to 1M.

Several Italians are apparently quite keen; we’d hope to see Vincenzo and Patrizio back in the kind of racing they both enjoy.  Here’s an Italian take on it.


May 24th, 2015 by admin

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Oracle Team USA Director of External Affairs and America’s Cup ‘fixer’ Tom Ehman celebrated the five-year anniversary of Dogzilla’s defeat of Alinghi 90 with a long-secret telling of just what happened on the Race Committee boat during the second race of the 2010 Match.  It’s great reading, and a reminder of just how fucked up it is at the very top end of ISAF-derived race management.  The full story – with some interesting comments – is on TFE’s Facebook Page here.

In the past five years I’ve said very little — publicly or privately — about the incident that took place on the RC boat before the start of AC33′s second and final race on Valentines Day 2010, five years ago yesterday. For the best-of-three-race Match, I was designated by Larry Ellison to serve as our “race committee boat representative,” which meant going afloat each race day on the RC boat to observe. Before the first race Alinghi tried to keep me off the boat, but I politely persisted; the internationally- and highly-respected Harold Bennett (Auckland, NZL), who had been agreed by both teams as the independent Principal Race Officer, came to my rescue and insisted that, per the mutually-agreed rules, I was permitted onboard. Not the most fun job, especially to be apart from the rest of our support team watching from other boats or at the team base, but one Larry and Russell both thought important. Turned out to be, especially at the start of Race Two….

surpriseIn addition to Harold, the RC was largely staffed by officials from Alinghi’s yacht club (SNG, Geneva, Switzerland) and led by their Vice Commodore. Race One went off without incident; many of you will recognize the image to the left is a portion of the larger photo of Jimmy Spithill’s famous Race One flying pre-start entry that caught Alinghi flat-footed — seconds after this photo was taken — and resulted in a port-starboard penalty to Alinghi.

Race Day Two dawned light and a bit lumpy. The races were subject to previously-agreed (between the teams) wind and sea limits. We were under postponement for most of the day as the wind was below the limit. Just before the afternoon cutoff time of (if memory serves) 1600, the breeze came up just enough. Accordingly, and properly “H”, as Harold Bennett is known in international sailing circles, tried to get a start sequence underway. However, Alinghi apparently thought the conditions were not favorable to them, so by radio the team ordered the SNG members of the race committee (flag-pullers, timers, etc.) to do whatever they could to stop H from starting the race. Quiet, then quite heated discussions failed to convince Harold to ignore the rules and call racing off for the day, so the SNG personnel went on strike. No joke. They went below and and started having drinks in the cabin of the RC boat.

Not deterred H carried on, and pressed his Spanish boat driver, navigator and communicator into action handling signals on the bow of the RC boat. But he was short one set of hands in the back deck to take down the postponement signal. “Sh*t, f*ck, sh*t, we’ll never get this started,” H famously said. And it was caught on TV tape — yes, I have a copy of the tape — by the on-board television crew. That’s when the GGYC Observer, sitting quietly near H on the upper deck and never one to be shy, suggested he could take down the postponement flag. H shouted (also caught on the TV tape), “Tom, take down that (expletive) postponement flag.” Of course I did, the race got underway just before the 1600 cut-off, and the rest is history. Weeks after the Match it was a pleasant surprise to receive a 4×3 photo of Jimmy’s famous Race One start, signed by Harold and commemorating the Race Two pre-start “strike” and the “scab-labor” that swung into action…



February 16th, 2015 by admin

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We know Southern California sailors hate to leave town, and for those of you Cup fans who won’t get to San Francisco,  GGYC are putting on another Cupdate especially for Sailing Anarchy readers  - this one at Shelter Island’s Bali Hai resort.  Highlights?  Exclusive video, ask your questions of Tom Ehman and Norbert Bajurin, win AC swag for answering easy questions, and most importantly, meet and greet very sexy author Julian Guthrie, who wrote the very entertaining The Billionaire and the Mechanic about Ellison’s long quest to win an America’s Cup.

You can buy a copy at the Cupdate and she’ll sign it – maybe even with a lipstick kiss on the inside cover like we get. Also, some of the nippers on the US Red Bull Youth AC team will be there; great kids with plenty to say.

This will be perhaps the last Cupdate of the cycle, and we can’t emphasize enough how much access these things give you to the guys at the top.  If you’re a fan of the Cup, a fan of the book cited above, or a fan of sailing, come check it out this Monday evening.  And thanks to Da-Woody for helping to get it all set up. Questions?  ASK ->

July 12th, 2013 by admin

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