Sitting at your desk drinking your second coffee and already procrastinating, you look up , "dream job" on Google. We’ll bet you neither Naval Architect nor Sailing Anarchy correspondent will be in the top 1000 results. Our good friend Doug Schickler of Schickler Tagliapietra Yacht Engineering has been the former for over 15 years, and joined the ranks of the latter a week ago during the Amsterdam edition of the iShares Cup. While we didn’t get a chance to promote Doug’s coverage of the event beforehand, we asked Doug to sum up the experience. You can see Doug’s excellent event coverage in the Multihull Anarchy Forum, including dozens of videos and pics, and here’s his OTW Anarchy report:
The iShares Cup was held over four days directly in the center of Amsterdam. Thursday’s practice racing was not scored and doubled as a VIP and press day. I couldn’t see much from the Monaco Yacht Show, where I was on Thursday, so I had a Czech transocean/multi pro fill in for me. As luck would have it, it was by far the best breeze of the event! The OTWA coverage was in the Multihull forum. In summary, the Amsterdam stop of the iShares Cup fills the role of spectacle more than top flight racing. This is short track yacht racing, to draw a parallel to the Dutch national pastime of speed skating. The boats are just as fast, but the race course is oh, so tiny, with endless potential for trading paint – or worse. Both ECOVER and Oman Sail’s Masirah had to have some hefty body work done (overnight, consecutively, by one man – Ian "Mucky" McCabe). Believe it or not, not all the teams have a shore crew! Mucky clearly has mad skills, able to repair nearly meter wide openings in autoclave cured carbon-nomex hulls overnight, working from a container. End result is 5 kg less corrector weight on the front beam the next day! I could go on and on about the hows and whys of the kit, but it would probably bore you – unless you’re a naval architect too.
The coolest part of covering the event for Sailing Anarchy was the chance to chat, face-to-face, with some big fish about the bigger picture. Strolling past the catered buffet was a virtual buffet of sailing talent: Franck Cammas, Loick Peyron, Mike Golding, Ellen MacArther, Mitch Booth, Herbert Dercksen etc. etc. Then there is the business side of things. I spoke with Mark Turner and Gilles Chiorri from Ocean Challenges, about the iShares Cup itself, at Clean’s behest. They assured me that the series, in its third year, is in a good place. The title sponsor remains happy, and the key goals continue to be met, each season topping the last. At the top of the list is something essential to a successful pro event – a vibrant business-to-business VIP scene. Second in line is the chance to market directly to the sailing public.
The ‘why’ is also interesting. Chiorri made it clear, “the concept is quite cheap, it is not completely crazy”. He stated that a season costs a boat sponsor just about 350k Euro average, for boat, wages, and organization/logistics fees. Given the talent on hand, this seems a really low number. But with only 4 crew, plus maybe an alternate and/or a shore person, and a very easily transported boat, it makes more sense. The racing is reaching a lot of eyes with great visuals, in seven European cities, and all the sailing press worldwide. The future holds some combination of the Extreme 40’s with the Arabian 100’s in Asian and Middle Eastern venues, too. Amsterdam, home of iShares, and once the final venue, may lose its spot altogether in a year or two, for lack of city involvement and promotion.
The multihull America’s Cup was also a topic of discussion. I cornered both Loick Peyron who is with Alinghi and Franck Cammas, who tuned up the BOR 90 in San Diego. These interviews are in the forums here.
All in all, the organization of iShares Amsterdam by OC was fantastic this year. They really pegged the right balance of competition, budget, big names, public viewing. Almost makes me want to change careers, to join their team.
But when I type "dream job" into Google and pick the "I’m feeling lucky" button, I wind up right here. And I’ll share more about my day job with the Anarchists soon enough.