"The America's Cup is what it is because it is so difficult to win. It is not a game for armchair admirals. It is not a game for a person who is not prepared to come back. It is not a game for the faint-hearted. It is a game for those who are not scared of pitting themselves against the best that the world has to offer. It's a game where winning is almost impossible, almost, but not impossible. And this is why it is worth fighting for. It is the difficulty that gives any challenge some sense. This is the essence of life itself."
Written by Team New Zealand Sir Peter Blake, CEO, in a letter to the Italian Luna Rossa team after the Kiwis defended in 2000 the America's Cup for the first time in history.
This is the last post for this blogsite. See the latest AC News for 2014.
Here is an interview done in New Zealand where Sir Russell Coutts talks about things done and to do in the America's Cup.
Well worth the 29 minutes of air time it takes.
My own opinion here: As goes Russell Coutts, so goeth the AC.
Click on this to watch a great interview with Sir Russell
Russell speaks about the nationality rule.
Coutts Reveals America’s Cup Plans
Russell Coutts, the CEO of Oracle Team USA, has been working diligently on defining the boundaries for the 35th America's Cup, through meetings with representatives from Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the challenger of record, as well as other potential teams and the city of San Francisco.
Although nothing has been set in stone yet, a shared vision for the next event is emerging, which builds on the success of the 34th America's Cup.
Here, Coutts shares his thoughts about the various elements under consideration:
On costs: "The America's Cup is unique and stands at the pinnacle of our sport but it does need to be more sustainable from a cost point of view. Costs versus potential revenues for teams has been too far out of balance so we're trying to close that gap and eventually reverse the trend of costs exceeding revenues. I would expect the budgets to be reduced to less than two-thirds of what they were last time."
On teams: "In many ways I think we are better to aim at quality rather than quantity. Right now, we have the four teams from AC 34 who appear to be active, plus the Australian challenger of record. So it seems likely we can expect a minimum of five high quality teams. Hopefully that number can be increased. For example, it would be great to have a good team from one of the Asian countries."
On the America's Cup World Series: "We're considering having each of the teams host a World Series event, which would be great in terms of generating excitement in their home countries. We want to get the World Series going as soon as possible, but we also want to do it properly and apply the lessons learned during AC 34 so I don't anticipate it starting before 2015."
For the full feature that includes Coutts' views on the class of boat, the venue and more make sure you get hold of the January 2014 issue of Yachting World.
A decision will be made by Dec. 22 on the location of the next contest.
AC72 foil control secrets
AC72 daggerboard controls on OTUSA Boat 1
Controversy and protest by Team New Zealand
SI.com? At least their comment was cogent. (Count F)
34th America's Cup: Defender and Challenger Debrief
While watching the racing at the 34th America’s Cup told the story of the competition between defender Oracle Team USA and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand, watching the press conference after each of the 15 race days revealed how the sailors were dealing with it.
All of the press conference video is now archived in Scuttlebutt’s Complete Race by Race Replay, with notable remarks transcribed below from the final session after the American team successfully defended the Cup:
Emirates Team New Zealand - Challenger
Grant Dalton, Managing Director, on the progress of both teams...
Dean thought we were in trouble yesterday ( ), but I probably slept better the past couple days than a week ago because I sensed something was going on. The upwind deltas changed about a minute and a half in the past week and a half. That was a huge improvement that they (Oracle) made... We've improved a huge amount as well. What went wrong is we weren't quick enough in the end.
Dean Barker, Skipper, on changes the team attempted...
The obvious difference the Oracle guys were doing better than us was in their ability to foil upwind. We had spent a fair bit of time experimenting with that, partially during the Louis Vuitton Cup Final and in the period between the finish of that and the start of the Cup. We were continuing to trial it as best we could during the Cup itself, as was Oracle. But in some way their systems or boat was better suited, or their technique or whatever it was, was better suited to be able to do it for sustained periods. They were certainly doing a better job at finding that extra gear that we couldn't.
Oracle Team USA - Defender
Jimmy Spithill, Skipper, on the turn around...
We never gave up. You guys (the press) have questioned me about this relentlessly, but it really is about never giving up. We have just been through so much as a team, and faced some tough situations. I really feel that those moments, especially the capsize (in October 2012) and the situation before this event where we were docked two points and lost our wing trimmer, I really felt that brought the team together. They were very tough moments to go through.
For me personally, I look back to the capsize. I remember straight after it happened, and we didn't get back home until 2 or 3 in the morning, and the next day I turned up at work and the first guy to call me was Larry. And I was expecting a call from Larry, to be honest, but I didn't know which way it was going to go. And straight off the bat I put my hand up and said, "I am sorry, I am fully responsible." And straight away he said, "I don't want to hear that. You're a champion, you have a champion team. It's not the first bit of adversity you've faced, and you will come back from this."
It was one of the key moments in my life; I will never forget it. I am in debt to him, and that is what really drove me this whole time. I felt like I owed it to him because he believed in me, and believed in the team, and together we really believed that we could do this. It was a privilege to be part of this group.
Larry Ellison, Owner, on going forward...
We did get a challenge (for the 35th America's Cup; we have a Challenger of Record. We will be disclosing that some time in the future. We are all going to sit down and talk about what kind of boats we want to use going forward. I think this regatta was the most magnificent spectacle I have ever seen on the water. San Francisco Bay is a great backdrop for a sailboat race. These 40+ knot catamarans are absolutely amazing.
There is more, much more. Click here.
The Cost to Compete in the 34th America’s Cup
By Eric Sorensen
Jim Clark, co-founder of Netscape and Silicon Graphics, was in San Francisco as a spectator of the America's Cup. Clark has been successfully campaigning his J Boat Hanuman, but has no interest in joining the modern era of the event.
I've got enough money," said Clark, whose wealth is estimated at $1.35 billion. "But I'm not going to blow $200 million to get my name put on a trophy. If it was in the 50-75 [million-dollar] range and I could put a good team together I would give it some thought, but at the moment I'm not contemplating anything like that."
With only three challengers willing to compete this summer, Clark was not alone in his contempt for the cost. So what did it cost to compete in the 34th America’s Cup? The following numbers were gathered from the Event Media Center, and while they are only estimates, they are staggering …
Luna Rossa: This Italian challenger spent the least, using a one boat program, with Chris Draper as their helm and Max Sirena as skipper. They purchased the design package from ETNZ from their first boat and in total put out between $80-$90 million for their efforts, advancing to the Louis Vuitton Cup finals before losing to New Zealand. It is estimated that $10-20 million came from Bertarelli personally with the rest from Prada as their main sponsor.
Emirates Team New Zealand: They are the second least expensive program, spending $100 million US on their challenge. The source of funds was divided between private donations, government funding, and sponsors – with Air Emirates and JP Morgan leading the way.
Artemis Racing: Torbjörn Törnqvist personally funded this $140,000,000 program as Challenger of Record. One has to admire the program he attempted, but not much went right for this team, which included the tragic loss of life. They sailed only four races before being eliminated in the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals.
Oracle Team USA: Without a doubt, Larry Ellison’s pocket book was open for this defense. He sought to put on an event that envisioned many boats but the costs spiraled too high. It is estimated that the team spent $250-$300 million for the defense of the Cup and another $200 million for the event, ACTV and other sundry items. With their two-boat program, the 130 member team was both deep in sailing and support talent and the largest in numbers. The source for funds is not clear but it is believed that Ellison self-funded the bulk of the campaign.
Speaking with Bruno Trouble, overseer of the Louis Vuitton Cup, he cited four areas the new defender must consider to improve and secure the future of the event... read on
The 34th America’s Cup will be remembered for the close racing between two immensely talented teams, the riveting performance of the AC72, and the phenomenal broadcast and spectator experience. Here is a timeline showing some of the highs and lows…
September 13, 2010: The Protocol for the 34th America’s Cup was released, detailing plans for the AC72 and AC World Series.
December 31, 2010: The venue of San Francisco was confirmed.
February 16, 2012: Photos posted of defender Oracle Team USA trialing L foils on their AC45.
March 15, 2012: Challenger Artemis Racing is the first to trial their AC72 wing, using a modified Orma 60 as their platform.
May 25, 2012: While training off Valencia, Spain, Artemis Racing’s AC72 wing suffered significant damage.
July 31, 2012: Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand is the first to sail their AC72.
August 29, 2012: Photos posted of Emirates Team New Zealand fully foiling their AC72.
August 31, 2012: Oracle Team USA takes first sail on their AC72, but the session was stopped after two hours due to a daggerboard failure in the starboard hull. Their second sail wasn’t until September 18.
October 17, 2012: Oracle Team Racing’s AC72 pitchpoled and capsized, causing severe damage to the yacht. The wingsail was completely destroyed while being swept under the Golden Gate Bridge by a strong ebb tide. The team wasn’t able to resume sailing their AC72 until February 5, 2013.
November 14, 2012: Artemis Racing takes first sail on their AC72, which was delayed when damage was incurred to the front beam onwhen load testing.
February 2013: Testing against Oracle Team USA confirms that Artemis Racing is off the pace. Their non-fully foiling package is scrapped, requiring modifications to their second boat before it can be launched.
May 9, 2013: Artemis Racing pitchpoled and broke apart, resulting in the death of crew Andrew Simpson and the complete destruction of their first boat.
July 25, 2013: Artemis Racing takes first sail on their second AC72.
The Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series on Click here for the Complete Race by Race Relay of the 34th America’s Cup on Sept. 7-25.included Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, and Luna Rossa Challenge.
Replay any race, courtesy of Sailing Scuttlebutt
|Anacortes Yacht Club watching the finish of Race 19 wherein Oracle successfully defends the America's Cup!|
|Anacortes Yacht Club watching the finish of Race 19 wherein Oracle successfully defends the America's Cup!|
If you have a desire to bet on the race,
Emirates Team New Zealand: 8
Oracle Team USA: 6*
* Began series with -2 points due to International Jury penalty from AC World Series.
Tuesday, Sept. 24: Race 17 ( ), Race 18* ( )
: Race 19* ( )
America’s Cup is thrilling spectators
This edition is guaranteed to be the longest. Emirates Team New Zealand could conclude this seemingly never-ending regatta at 17 days (Sept 23) with a win but, the way the last few days have gone, don’t bet on it. A combination of high winds, low winds and misdirected winds – along with a pesky opposition – has seen the 34th America’s Cup stretch into the record books.
New Zealand were also involved in the previous longest regatta, one in which the interminable duration came with an equally-draining result. With winds on the Hauraki Gulf even more baffling than the Bay Area, Russell Coutts and Alinghi overcome nine straight days without racing to triumph 5-0 and wrest away the Cup.
Historic for more than its length, the 25th America’s Cup marked the first time in the 132-year competition that the New York Yacht Club ceded possession of the Auld Mug. Dennis Conner’s Liberty held a handsome 3-1 lead over Australia II before the challenger won three straight races – the final by 41 seconds – to take home the trophy.
For those complaining about the current edition’s continual delays and pining for a return of racing in Auckland, it is noteworthy that Team New Zealand’s two defences both feature on this list. The winds on the Hauraki Gulf were at their fickle best in 2000 and the hosts’ 5-0 sweep over Prada was marred by a pair of three-day lay-offs.
After three straight sweeps, the 32nd America’s Cup finally saw the challenger take a couple of races from the defender. Unfortunately for Team New Zealand, their early 2-1 advantage was undone when Alinghi won four consecutive races, claiming a regatta that mercifully featured just one day abandoned due to unstable winds.
Oracle keeps New Zealand at bay in America's Cup
A bit of history on the foils...
Pete Melvin spoke with CupInfo in December of 2011, not long after the Morrelli & Melvin designer/partner had written the AC72 Class Rule and rumors were swirling that he would sign on to create one of the radical new boats for a certain America’s Cup challenger. Melvin looks back on his early expectations for the new boats, the cat-and-mouse of testing secret weapons in public, and making 72’ fully-foiling catamarans a reality:
When Pete Melvin co-wrote the design rule for the AC72 catamaran, he knew there were two distinct areas of development that could determine the winner of the 34th America’s Cup; the hard wing, an aspect of Oracle Team USA’s Cup-winning monster cat brought forward to this new era of Cup technology; and the foils. As it turns out, the 130’ wingsail, initially regarded as the radical innovation of this America’s Cup cycle, was overshadowed by the realization that these giant catamarans could not only foil downwind but upwind.
From the beginning of Melvin’s role on the AC72 design team of Emirates Team New Zealand, the watchword was “stable flight.” The team learned pretty early on that getting as much of the huge cat out of the water as possible was the key to speed. Consequently, the foils underwent a tremendous amount of development, from early models tested on the team’s SL33s to the “V” shaped version that led ETNZ to win the Louis Vuitton Cup, and may carry the America’s Cup back to Auckland.
“When we were working on the rule, we knew you wanted to get as much lift as possible when you were going fast downwind,” Melvin says. “For instance, in the 2010 America’s Cup, sailed on giant multihulls, the maximum amount of lift we thought we could get was about 50% of the weight of the boat. At that time, we were still relying on the hull to provide pitch control, so what’s come out of this is the boats all now have elevators (the horizontal foils on the rudders).
“At Team New Zealand, we developed a new type of foil that allows you to keep your height above the water more or less steady. No one had been able to do that before, at least not on a course-racing boat that was not going downwind. We developed that mostly on our SL33 test boats – they came with the stock constant curvature ‘C’ foils and with those kinds of foils, you can generate 50% boat weight lift before they get unstable.
“But we noticed that when we could get one boat up fully foiling for a few seconds it would really accelerate away from the other boat – and that got the wheels turning. How, with such a huge potential benefit, can we achieve stable flight downwind? So our design team came up with the ‘up-tip’ type of boards. We refined those on the 33s and our 72 is designed to do that and fortunately it worked right of the box.” – Read on
34th America's Cup: Defender Finds Speed, Wins Two Of Three Races
San Francisco, CA (September 15, 2013) - With four races on the weekend schedule of the 34th America's Cup, and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand only three wins away from winning the match, it was widely suspected the Kiwi freight train would be cruising into the station for a wild celebration Sunday night.
What the weekend provided instead was a resurgent defender, with Oracle Team USA showing upwind speed and maneuverability that at times exceeded the high standard the Kiwis had demonstrated in the first seven races. There was also the near Kiwi capsize, and the unbelievably close racing . As Kiwi helm Dean Barker said, "If you didn't enjoy today's racing out there, then you probably should watch another sport."
Here is a race by race summation, with each report link including a full race description, sailor quotes, photo, and liveline speed data...
Race 8 (Sept. 14): After postponing the second race last Thursday, the defender quickly showed their efforts to improve the boat paid off. The Kiwis held the lead, but were pushed hard on the upwind, forcing the Kiwis into a quick tack near the windward mark. What followed was as close to an AC72 capsize as is possible (video). American team wins by 52 seconds. Full report
Race 9 (Sept. 14): After the Kiwis cleaned their shorts from the near disaster in Race 8, they went back to business and led the defender through the leeward mark gate. But that would be all she wrote as the race was abandoned when the wind limit of 22.6 knots was exceeded. Despite the independent race management, Kiwi sponsor Camper lobbed this comment from Twitter: “Race 2 abandoned due to wind while we are leading. We’ll leave the comments to you!” Full report
Race 9 (Sept. 15): It was the dawn of a new day for the defender as they smoked the challenger in every facet of the game. Better start, extend on every leg, and exhibit the upwind foiling fundamentals that only the challenger previously held. If this was the first race of the series, the Kiwi nation would be crucifying the politicians that funded this effort. American team wins by 46 seconds. Full report
Race 10 (Sept. 15): This race may now have everyone forgetting about the 1983 America's Cup. After a comfortable Kiwi lead around the leeward gate was swallowed whole by the defender, the two teams were even as they rounded opposite windward gates. At downwind speeds of 40 knots, defense skipper Jimmy Spithill needed a perfect crossing maneuver and came up just short. Kiwis win by 16 seconds. Full report
Ten Completed Races - First team to 9 Points Wins
Emirates Team New Zealand: 7
Oracle Team USA: 1*
* Began series with -2 points due to International Jury penalty from AC World Series.
America’s Cup Final schedule
Monday, Sept. 16: Off Day
: Final Race 11 ( ), Final Race 12* ( )
: Final Race 13* ( ), Final Race 14* ( )
: Final Race 15* ( ), Final Race 16* ( )
: Reserve Day
: Final Race 17* ( )
: Reserve Day
: Reserve Day
Change: While no formal announcement from Artemis Racing has been made, team owner Torbjorn Tornqvist let it slip in an interview with Bloomberg that two-time Olympic gold medalist Iain Percy (GBR) will take over the lead of the Artemis Racing team as it gets organized for the 35th America’s Cup. Percy, who led the on-water crew as skipper during this year’s Cup campaign, will take the title of team manager and succeed Paul Cayard (USA), the team’s chief executive officer, after the current Cup ends. - Full story
Denied: A veiled accusation of cheating was made against the New Zealand team by Tom Ehman, vice commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, in regard to the challenger's system of radio communication. Ehman's complaint was determined to be wrong. - Full story
Race 8 photo
Here are a couple of shots of a tough way to make a tack done by ETNZ. Dean said in the press conference after, "another 1/2 of a degree and we might have gone over". They had 3 guys on the top hull with the other 8 near the water on the bottom.
Jimmy and friends had to do a crash tack to keep from getting under ETNZ when she finally came down. The wind on the bottom really held her up for a long held breath!
Cost of the America's Cup
The following numbers came from within the Media Center during the America's Cup Finals in San Francisco. They are estimates only but will give most folks the idea of where the money came from.
Luna Rossa: This challenger spent the least, using a one boat program, with Chris Draper as their helm and Max Sirena as skipper. They purchased the design package from ETNZ from their first boat and in total put out between $80-$90 million for their efforts and came in 2nd in the Louis Vuitton Challenger series. It is estimated that $10-20 million came from Bertarelli personally with the rest from Prada as their main sponsor.
Emirates Team New Zealand: They are the second least expensive program and spent between $90-$100 million dollars. Their sources include $10 million from the folks in NZ in small donations, with $26 million from the NZ Government. Add to that $10-15 million from JP Morgan sponsor and another $40 million from Air Emirates.
Artemis, Challenger of Record: Spent $140,000,000 to come in last and all out of owner Torbjörn Törnqvist
Oracle, Defender: Without a doubt, Larry Ellison's pocket book was open. He really did try to put on an event that envisioned many boats but the costs just spiraled and left the four programs noted here as the only one's to build and field a 72' foiling catamaran that would go more than 50 MPH! It is estimated that Oracle spent between $250-$300 million for the defense of the Cup and another $200 million for the event, ACTV and other sundry items. A grand total of nearly $500 million dollars. It is unclear how much came from which source to put this all together but thanks to the deep pockets of Oracle's owner this event had the fastest boats to ever vie for this trophy.
In a related conversation with Bruno Trouble, overseer of the Louis Vuitton Cup (LVC), he sited four things that he thought would improve the Cup. He thought many other syndicats would be entered in the LVC if the cost could be controlled. Possibly even other teams would try and defend and give some competition to the Defense, which has been missing for the last 3 America's Cups.
1. Bring back friendship amongst the competitors.
Whatever the outcome of the 34th AC something will occur to make the next one different. It is all ice cream but the flavor is yet to be determined.
Some fun about Larry Ellison's history with the AC cup.
CHALLENGER: The team was created by purchasing the assets of Paul Cayard’s AmericaOne syndicate which was the losing finalist against Luna Rossa in the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup. The syndicate got off to a rocky start with changes in the skipper position, alternating between Cayard and Chris Dickson, to Dickson alone, to Peter Holmberg, and then back to Dickson. Oracle reached the finals of the 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup, losing to Alinghi 5-1.
CHALLENGER: Chris Dickson took on the roles of CEO, skipper, and helmsman, which carried them into the Louis Vuitton Semifinals. After trailing 1-4 against Luna Rossa’s James Spithill, Dickson was removed from the boat, with Sten Mohr taking the helm and Gavin Brady assuming the role of tactician and skipper. BMW Oracle Racing lost to Luna Rossa Challenge 5 to 1.
CHALLENGER: Larry Ellison launched a new regime with CEO Russell Coutts, skipper Jimmy Spithill and tactician John Kostecki. While the lawyers fought a long and acrimonious legal battle in the New York courts (with a few lawyers replaced along the way) , the designers and sailors developed their 90-foot trimaran that would face off against the Alinghi catamaran in the best of three Deed of Gift match. The rigid wing sail of the challenging trimaran USA-17 provided a decisive advantage, and it won the 2010 America’s Cup 2-0.
DEFENDER: With the sailing team intact, they were a formidable competitor on the AC World Series circuit. But disaster struck in October 2012 when their AC72 capsized, suffering significant damage. More trouble came in August 2013 when it was learned the team illegally altered their AC45s during the ACWS, resulting in a loss of a key crew (Dirk DeRidder) and a 2 point penalty to be applied to the America’s Cup. After winning only one of the first five races, tactician John Kostecki was replaced by Ben Ainslie.
By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
Picture this… you just lost the fifth race in the America’s Cup by a huge margin. You were leading, heck, you were in control. You had a great start, you looked fast downwind, but then fumbled the ball. Big time.
Your team made a tactical mistake that all the commentators pointed out, and you have a boat speed deficit that $100+ million and all the experts from the 90-foot ‘Dogzilla’ campaign can’t solve. Worse yet, you use the “we need to regroup” card and postpone the next race.
All you want to do is go back to the base, look at your 130 member team, and say ‘WTF’. But no, you are required to go to the press conference. You are confronted by a room of people that somehow got media credentials, and despite others being on the dais, nearly every question is for you.
“Jimmy Spithill, THIS Is Your Life”
To his credit, Jimmy survived the grilling, but he was clearly taking bullets meant for other targets. Strategic missteps, compounded by meager upwind boat performance, are holding back the American team. After five races, here are the key moments:
Race 1: After NZL led at mark one, USA stayed close on the run to trail by 4 seconds at the leeward gate. USA gained the lead on the first cross, and for the first half of the upwind leg, USA managed the course well to remain in control. However, on the second half of the beat, USA gave NZL too much leverage and paid for it. NZL win by 36 seconds.
Race 2: An aggressive move by USA at the start put them behind, but they stayed close on the run to trail by 6 seconds at the leeward gate. Good course management by NZL, aided by conservative upwind tactics by USA, kept NZL ahead to win by 52 seconds.
Race 3: USA leads at mark one, extends on downwind leg to be ahead by 17 seconds at leeward gate. NZL rounds opposite gate, and with USA loose covering, made small gains in the first half of beat with better tidal strategy, and then outsmarted USA along the City Front boundary to pass and win by 28 seconds.
Race 4: USA lead at mark one, and after a solid run, give nearly all of it away by a poor approach to the leeward gate. NZL rounded 5 seconds behind at same gate, but USA sailed masterful beat to extend for good and win by 7 seconds.
Race 5: USA leads at mark one, and sailed a flawless and fast downwind leg to lead by 8 seconds at leeward inshore gate. USA tacks to port around mark to seek tidal relief under Alcatraz island, but loses most of their lead in the maneuver. NZL carries speed around mark, gaining leverage before tacking on USA hip. NZL masters the upwind leg better to pass and win byseconds.
Despite the American team leading in four of the five races, the Kiwis now hold four wins to only one for USA. “There have been lead changes on a course where I don’t think there necessarily should be that many lead changes,” noted Iain Percy, 2-time Olympic medalist and skipper of the challenger Artemis Racing. “It is a tough place to be behind here in San Francisco Bay, especially in a flood tide. Your strategy is quite defined by the venue due to the tidal streams.”
The American team strategically used their “postponement card”to delay race six and make changes before . Will changes include the afterguard? Look for 5-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie (GBR), who trained with the team , to take over as tactician from John Kostecki (USA).
With questions about the tactical decisions onboard Oracle Team USA contributing to their four losses, broadcast commentator Gary Jobson has empathy for the challenges faced by the American team’s signal caller.
“(Tactician) John Kostecki is one of the most successful sailors in the world, with an around the world race victory, an America’s Cup win, and an Olympic medal,” noted Jobson. “He grew up sailing on San Francisco Bay and is very familiar in these waters. Throughout the race, Kostecki constantly grinds one of the winches to power the hydraulics, and helps trim the sails. It is hard, exhausting work.
“Over on the New Zealand boat, the tactician Ray Davies, does not have grinding duties. He looks around and studies the wind, the current and his boat’s performance vs. the USA. As a former America’s Cup tactician, I like to listen to them and watch their performance. Of course, it is easy for me as a television commentator to critique their moves, but I think the physical work for Kostecki (who is 49) might be hurting his ability to look around.
“The New Zealand boat is set up so the tactician does not grind a winch.”
So how did the Kiwis free up their tactician from grinding duties? Look no further than their self-tacking jib, allowing the Kiwis to essentially free up one of their crew to power a grinder while his Oracle opposite is busy manually working the jib.
”Our jib system is a lot better than theirs,” said Kiwi tactician Ray Davies. ”The self-tacking jib is a huge advantage and I’d say they’d be kicking themselves for not having a self-tacking jib in these conditions.
“It’s a decision we made right at the beginning,” said skipper Dean Barker. “You only have 11 guys on the boat, you have to throw a huge amount of resource at hydraulics and sheets and things to keep the wing under control. We just figured it’s too hard to have a conventional tacking jib like Oracle has gone for and it has proven itself to be a good decision based on this course.”
America's Cup: It's On Like Donkey Kong
After over three years of planning, and two months of challenger trials, the 34th America’s Cup finally began between defender Oracle Team USA and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. And for any of the naysayers who doubted that multihulls could provide a riveting spectacle, that was quickly put to rest during the first four races held this past weekend.
These were races, real match races. It was a full on test of man and machine.
Sailing on the five leg course in winds that ranged from mid teens to mid twenties, each race had its must-see moments. Here is a summation, with each report link including a full race description, sailor quotes, and lveline data ...
Race 1 (Sept. 7): The nerves were on the protest button with numerous requests, but the umpires remained cool and waived them all off. The upwind leg included a pass and a passback, and the first indication that the Kiwis might have a tacking edge. Kiwis win by 36 seconds. - Full report
Race 2 (Sept. 7): After the Americans sorted out minor wing damage from race one, they found themselves dominated in race two. The Americans claimed foul before the start, but when the umpires waived it off, they were head to wind and unable to accelerate. Game, set, match. Kiwis win by 52 seconds. - Full report
Race 3 (Sept. 8): The Americans came out swinging, holding the inside position at mark one and getting a foul on the Kiwis. However, the Americans lead on the second beat was consumed by the Kiwis, demonstrating faster tacks and strategic use of the boundary. Once the Kiwis got ahead, they stayed ahead to win by 28 seconds. - Full report
Race 4: (Sept. 8): The Americans got it nearly all right in this race, nailing the start and leading the Kiwis to the downwind gate. Kiwi attempts to engage in a tacking duel on the upwind leg were ignored by the Americans, preferring to play the shifts rather than succumb to the Kiwi's tacking advantage. Americans win by 7 seconds. - Full report
Tags: All the race reports from the 34th America's Cup are connected by the AC34 Matchtag
Click on the links below for video race replay and post race press conference:
Here we go again: Following the decision by the America’s Cup international jury on September 3 to ban Oracle Team USA wingsail trimmer Dirk DeRidder from the regatta, a result of the penalty the team incurred due to infractions during the AC World Series, there is now an initiative seeking to reinstate the crewman. It is the contention that Mr. DeRidder, who has retained legal counsel, was not afforded procedural due process by the Jury, and that the Jury decision should be overturned. - Full report
Scoreboard: Following the jury penalty where they docked 2 points from the Americans, there has been confusion regarding what it takes to win the 34th America's Cup. The event has always stated that the first team to gain 9 points will win. While this has been called the best of 17 races, it can no longer be called that. The Americans must win 11 races while the Kiwi team needs 9 wins. It is conceivable that if it is a close series, more than 17 races will be needed. Current score: Kiwis: 3, Americans: -1
Broadcast: Aside from untimely commercial breaks, it would be hard not to applaud the two-hour televised show this past weekend. Thankfully, they held the commercial break late in race four, but certainly the producers need to integrate commercials into the broadcast like they do in car racing to avoid missing any key moment. Kudos for the streaming broadcast (without commercials) on the America's Cup app. The next race day is race schedule and broadcast information.. Here is the
Jimmy Spithill (AUS), skipper, Oracle Team USA
John Kostecki (USA), tactician, Oracle Team USA
Dean Barker (NZL), skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand
Glenn Ashby (AUS), wing trimmer, Emirates Team New Zealand
Regarding the jury decision…
Spithill: I am shocked by the jury decision (docking team 2 points and suspending crew members), but I’ve moved on from it. There’s nothing I can do about it today to change it. We have one thing to focus on, and that’s the racing this weekend. And I can tell you, speaking for the entire team, the only thing we are thinking about is getting out there and racing these guys (Emirates Team New Zealand). But I have to look at where we are today. We only found out four days out from the start of the first race of the America’s Cup who our race team could be. We lost one of our key guys, and we are starting two races behind. So I don’t think we are the favorite when you think about that. I think we are now the underdog.
Kostecki: If the boats end up being slightly equal in speed, it will come down to the sailors. It will come down to the tactics and crew maneuvers that will make the difference. But most likely, as we have seen in past Cups, the boats are oriented a little bit in one direction wind-wise, and have their strengths and weaknesses, so that may play a factor depending on the differences between the two boats
Spithill I am expecting next week to be the most difficult working week of my life. But that’s what motivates me, and that’s what motivates the guys onboard. It is tough, it is hard. To win this trophy is one of the hardest things you do in your life, but it is so rewarding. When you coordinate such a big team together and get it to work, it’s hard to put words to it. But we don’t shy away from a challenge. There is a real hunger now, a real purpose given what has transpired this week. Something has clicked, and this team cannot wait to get out there .
The “September Showdown” for the 34th America’s Cup begins this weekend. ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill has cast his team as the underdog. Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker says nothing less than victory will do. Such are the storylines for the defender and challenger with the biggest race of their lives set to begin .
“Anytime you’re the defender, there’s a target on your back,” said the 34-year-old Spithill. “The challengers get together and their goal is simple: They want to come out, knock you out and take the America’s Cup off you. No matter what games transpire on shore, to take the trophy you have to win on the water. That’s what we’re looking for, to get on the water and go racing.”
“I think both teams are ramping up to rip into it ,” said the 41-year-old Barker. “We’re very keen to get racing and I’m sure they are as well. It’s going to be a very, very interesting first weekend to try to get a feel for how the two boats shape up. Whether there are differences upwind, downwind, maneuvering, starting; all the different aspects we try to evaluate in house, that’ll all become reasonably apparent after the first four races.”
Spithill and Barker are familiar foes, having raced against each other for many years. And the two teams have long tenures in the America’s Cup arena: Emirates Team New Zealand can trace its genesis to the 1987 Cup off Fremantle, Western Australia. ORACLE TEAM USA has been racing since the 2003 Cup in Auckland, New Zealand. Collectively they’ve won the America’s Cup three times with ORACLE TEAM USA winning most recently in 2010 and Emirates Team New Zealand winning in 1995 and 2000.
The first race is scheduled to start at . It’s always a special day, one that’s eagerly anticipated by the fans, who are keen to see the two crews line up against each other. It’s also a day filled with anxiety for the teams. “Are we fast enough?” is the common thought for the racing sailors on the way to the start line. Each team, of course, has an idea, an inkling of what lies in store, but neither really knows what the other has up its sleeve.
That unknown is amplified in this Cup because of the new class of boat, the AC72. A development class, the AC72 features wing sails and hydrofoils that enable it to reach speeds in excess of 45 knots (52 mph/83 kph). Those speeds are previously unheard of in America’s Cup racing. Reliability has been an issue in the challengers’ racing, but that’s because it is a very complex boat. It shouldn’t be an issue for these teams. ORACLE TEAM USA has logged more than 110 days on the water and today is the Kiwis’ 100th day sailing.
“I think the development of both teams’ boats has effectively come to the pointy end of the spear,” said Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby. “We’ve come from one direction, they’ve come from another, but foil wise, aerodynamically, both boats are quite evenly matched, and I think the sailing teams are evenly matched as well.”
ORACLE TEAM USA may or may not be an underdog, but Spithill does have in his crew one of the most experienced sailors to ever race on San Francisco Bay, tactician John Kostecki. Kostecki estimates he’s raced on the Bay for more than 45 years, and labels it one of the best sailing venues in the world.
“It’s fantastic to have the America’s Cup here on the waters where I grew up sailing,” said Kostecki. “It’s an incredible venue – great seabreezes, tricky course conditions with currents changing every day, the winds change every day, and you can view the course from all over the Bay area. So for me personally, it’s one of the best venues in the world for this type of event.”
In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on NBC and NBC Sports Network. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel. Saturday’s and Sunday’s racing will be broadcast live nationally on NBC, from .
Internationally, the America’s Cup Final can be viewed in more than 170 territories. All racing is also live on America’s Cup YouTube channel. (subject to territorial restrictions).
You can also follow racing with America’s Cup App for android and iOS devices.
The winner of the 34th America’s Cup will be the first to win 9 points. For the Kiwis that means nine race wins and for ORACLE TEAM USA it means 11, due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Racing is scheduled for Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with two races per day scheduled to start at. Let the showdown begin.
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