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Monday, January 19, 2015

America's Cup news of 2016

2016 UPdate
This version of the America's Cup has been changed from previous versions.  It is all new to me so it took a bit to digest how this all will play out.  It could have been me and my lack of interest but now here is how I figure the way this works.

It is important to discern the last name of the LV as each has a different flavor.

LV 'World Series':
6 teams (including the Defender)
Raced in fleet races in multiple venues
Finished now, with BAR on top and OR second, earning 2 bonus points and one bonus point respectively.

LV 'Qualifier':
6 teams (including the Defender)
Race in match racing in Bermuda
Teams are paired now, then round robin format.  Advantage in the racing on the first round to the top two from the LV World Series.(?)
Top four teams go to the next level of competition
Winner gets a 'win' point for the AC.

LV 'Playoffs':
Top four teams from the LV Qualifiers racing. (Excludes Defender)
Match racing in Bermuda
Round robin
Winner allowed to race for AC.

Match racing in Bermuda
Oracle Racing vs winner of LV Playoffs

Best of 9?

2015 America's Cup News 

This blog is just a new year's worth of articles gathered for the history of the AC.  See other articles on the Leisure Log (listed below) for more historical research.

Count Ferrari, as a Yacht Correspondent has been covering the winged AC boats since inception of the innovation of the wing sail and foils.

Here are are a couple of articles of previous coverage.  From most recent to earliest.

2014 AC press articles with 2013 embedded.

AC 72 designs/photos/discussions  (The most popular article by page views)

Boats of the AC

Road trip to watch the ACWS in San Francisco

Nationality of the sailors in the AC in 2012

My first ride on a AC 45

Initial planning on attending the ACWS in San Diego

Most recent news on top:



To return sailing’s pinnacle event to its former glory, the current stakeholders need to bring back a few traditions.

Ben Ainslie Racing has the right idea when it comes to building nationalistic pride behind its America’s Cup challenge: Its skipper and training base are homegrown and the Union Jack is displayed wherever possible.
Several years ago, I was sitting in an audio studio with Walter Cronkite, the legendary news anchor. We were working on a film narration, and he was to speak first according to the script. Cronkite’s first words in his distinct gruff voice were: “The America’s Cup.” As he spoke, with perfect diction and impressive authority, I felt humbled. I wondered how I, with my slightly nasal tone and New Jersey accent, would hold up alongside such an extraordinary narrator. The recording session went fine, but the way he orated those three words left a lasting impression. He made the America’s Cup sound colossal and important.
Over the past few years, however, there have been so many radical changes to this venerable event, to the point that it somehow no longer seems as important today, as if unworthy of Cronkite’s blessing. As I recently pondered this point, I also wondered what the Cup’s current and future stakeholders must do to return the longest-running sporting event to its past glory.
The primary author of the Cup’s original Deed of Gift, George Schuyler, envisioned an international challenge regatta that would be run under the terms of mutual consent. He wanted the competitors to be flexible so they would embrace new designs. Schuyler wrote three versions of the Deed between 1857 and 1887, and there have been modifications to this guiding document over the years to allow smaller boats, such as the 12-Meters, as well as dispensation for yacht clubs hailing from inland waters. The underlying premise, however, was always to encourage innovative yacht design and good competition between nations under the “strictest fair play.”
Schuyler may not have envisioned the use of foiling, wing-sail catamarans racing at high speed, but John Cox Stevens, New York YC’s founding commodore, would surely have endorsed the use of multihulls—his own catamaran was playfully named Double Trouble. Even six-time Cup defender Nathanael Greene Herreshoff designed a series of multihulls. The use of twin and triple-hulled craft are in line with the Cup’s original vision for fast, leading-edge vessels of the day. Big, beautiful, swift, and marvelous boats will attract newcomers to sailing. This was true of the J Class in the 1930s, 12-Meters from 1958 to 1987, and the America’s Cup Class that raced between 1992 and 2007. While it’s heart warming to see many past Cup boats on the water today, I seriously doubt we’ll ever see the AC72s sailing again.
Organizers and competitors of every America’s Cup have a responsibility to use the event to upgrade the sport of sailing. Creative designs of the boats, sails, and equipment should trickle down through the sport. There is a long history of Cup innovations that have helped advance sailing, but for many sailors, the use of gargantuan, high-power multihulls doesn’t relate to the kind of boats most people sail today. Organizers should think hard about the type of boats to race, but ultimately, the competition should foster better skill levels, which eventually help all other sailors.
The Cup has long been a high-visibility contest worthy of front-page real estate. Of late, however, the regatta has lured loyal audiences to television and the Internet. There’s considerable talk of customizing the event specifically for television, but gimmicks are unnecessary to make a good story. The best television of any sporting event is one that keeps the viewer watching until the bitter end. The final result should not be decided until the conclusion of the match. Priorities should focus on close races. Annoying wind delays hurt the sport’s credibility and drives viewers away. To avoid this, the boats must be able to sail in winds from 5 to 35 knots. The racecourse must be designed such that the trailing boat always has an avenue to pass the leader. Too often, the America’s Cup has resembled a parade after the first mark.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Cup is the winner’s ability to take the event to its home waters. Shopping the event to the highest bidder, as was done with the island nation of Bermuda for the 35th America’s Cup, doesn’t feel right. It’s been deemed a commercial venture, which certainly flies in the face of what has been standard practice.
It’s difficult for sailing to stand out in the television landscape. Sports that transcend limited viewership, such as soccer or the Olympics, attract a huge amount of interest. Sailing is a relatively obscure sport, and we seem to get headlines only when there are disasters at sea, or occasionally when something extraordinary happens. A good example would be Australia winning the America’s Cup in 1983, or the San Diego YC successfully challenging 40 months later. These storied moments create tremendous interest and are vitally important for the event in the long term. The current Cup organizers need to embrace the past. The history of the Cup is important: the stories surrounding the triumphs and defeats made great theater, the people playing the game were compelling characters that were available to the press, in an unscripted environment. That’s what also builds a strong fan base.
The 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco was a snoozer until Oracle Team USA made its dramatic comeback. While the boats were intriguing, it really was the human-interest story of the comeback that captured our attention. Even with the high-speed catamarans zipping around San Francisco Bay, in the end, the Cup was far more compelling as a people show, than a boat show. To lift the Cup to the next level, the event would be well served to feature strictly national crews onboard the boats. With the recent change to the AC48, there will be fewer crewmembers required than ever before; surely there is enough talent cast around the world to allow respective nations to fill team rosters.
The design priority for the 35th Defense will focus on computing power, and the use of stored energy to operate hydraulics that control the wing sail and foils. Four of the six crewmembers on the AC48s will spend most of their time grinding winches to power the hydraulic systems. This will require new technology to be developed to store energy to run the boat’s systems. Is this really a good idea? I don’t believe so.
Direct manual power has always been the key to good crew work. In addition, computers will take the guesswork out of strategic decision-making. It seems, therefore, that the event would be more interesting if the sailors had to make the decisions without the use of sophisticated computer assistance.
Before 1970, there was only one challenging yacht club. In contrast, the New York YC always held a Defender Trials to select and train its team. When there were defender and challenger trials, interest in the America’s Cup soared. It was a two-ring circus. The two sides did not race against each other before the Match, which built the intrigue of which team would be stronger. Regrettably, there have been no defense trials since New Zealand successfully challenged in 1995. It’s understandable why the defender wants full control, but this practice limits the number of teams and sailors able to compete. If there are six teams in Bermuda, with six crewmembers per boat, there will only be 36 sailors who get to race (plus a few alternates).
I’m confident the 35th Defense will be an interesting regatta. Bermuda will be a good host. The weather could be challenging at times because frequent squalls blow through the island in early summer. Worldwide interest will be modest, and I predict most fans will be cheering for one of the challengers to take the Cup away from Larry Ellison. Every sport has a hero and a villain to cheer for, and followers will certainly take sides for this one.
I believe the sport of sailing, as well as the America’s Cup, would be well served to feature a race where the crew has a greater impact on the outcome of the race. I suggest dramatically reducing the reliance on computers. I prefer to watch new sails being set, an elegant battle to control the start, and lots of maneuvering throughout the race. The sailors should represent the countries from which they come. The interval between matches should be institutionalized at every three years. Close races that allow frequent lead changes must be implemented. Sponsorship is important, but it should be tasteful. The example set by the Masters Golf Tournament is a good template on how corporate sponsorship should be used. I miss the days when the yachts had bold names like: Intrepid, Courageous, Vim, Valiant, or Stars & Stripes. Technological advancements are important in the America’s Cup, but so too is the tradition of this regatta.
The die is cast for the 35th Defense in Bermuda. Historically, the focus during the current event is what will happen next? At this writing, every team is hopeful they will prevail. It would serve the sport well to consider what boats, format, and rules will help build the sport in the years ahead. And, then Mr. Cronkite’s rich description would once again be accurate.


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by Ellen Hoke
Portsmouth, UK (July 25, 2015) – To simply say that today the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series started would be an understatement. The bigger picture is that it is now game on for the 35th America’s Cup and sailing fans have been showing up in Portsmouth in massive numbers for the last several days to show their support.
Hotels and restaurants are booked. Signage about the event is everywhere in town. And even yesterday in the pouring rain, crowds of fans have shown up to catch a glimpse of the foiling AC45s.
Today, with the first official day of racing, the shores were filled almost to capacity and on the water the race course was lined on both sides by what radio announcers described as a spectator fleet they had not seen since the days of the Whitbread Race. It was impressive to see so many boats on the water for this event.
I had the great honor be in the midst of the biggest home team fans as I was invited on board the Land Rover BAR Friends and Family boat. I couldn’t imagine a better place to be in Portsmouth for the first day of racing for the 35th America’s Cup.
During race one the cheers on board erupted when Land Rover BAR took the lead over ETNZ. These cheers became deafening as Land Rover BAR was the first boat to cross the finish line of the first race of the series that will ultimately determine who will take on Oracle Team USA in the 35th America’s Cup. Everyone on board the boat I was on must believe that Sir Ben Ainslie plans to be true to his word with his goal to bring the Cup “home” to the United Kingdom.
During race two the mood was a little more subdued, but still incredibly energetic with Land Rover BAR taking second in race two, but first overall after the first day of racing.
The city of Portsmouth has done a tremendous job in creating a wonderful festival on shore with food, beverages (like Gosling’s Dark & Stormies, Guinness trucks), activities and multiple bands performing tonight on the main stage with Sp Ballet as the headliner for tonight’s concert.
If you are in Portsmouth, it is difficult to not join in the fun and festivities of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.
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Popular: Not only did Ben Ainslie win the first America's Cup World Series event, he also won the first America's Cup popularity event too. When asked to choose between Ben and the skipper of America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA, Jimmy Spithill, two-thirds of the planet chose the Brit. Full report.

Watching: The time difference between England and Scuttlebutt World Headquarters found us insufficiently caffeinated when sorting through the details of the AC+ app to watch the America's Cup World Series live broadcast. Thinking we could watch on the computer, we paid our $7.99 on the America's Cup website without reading the details in how the AC+ app only worked on iOS and Android devices. Once we opened the app on the iPhone, and refreshed a couple times, all was good again. Details.
Schedule: The 2015 America's Cup World Series schedule continues on to Sweden in August (details) and Bermuda in October (details). After losing a day at the Portsmouth event, it highlights the problem with the two-day race schedule that has been adapted for cost-cutting. But whereas the previous ACWS were exhibition races, these events are supposed to mean something, and a two race event is not much of a test.
Partners: In an agreement between the America’s Cup Event Authority and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the entire sanction fee for the 35th America’s Cup will be split equally between ISAF’s international youth sailing charity and the America’s Cup youth sailing program in Bermuda. This allows the fee to be wholly re-invested in youth development initiatives, while ensuring that ISAF will administer the anti-doping program as well as approving the race officers, the umpires and the racing rules. Full report.

For the online audience that likes the raw language that comes from men in battle, the opening races on Saturday (July 25) at the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, UK provided both performance and profanity as the six cup teams got their first test of foiling races in the AC45fs.
Land Rover BAR skipper Ben Ainslie and his team of wing trimmer Paul Campbell-James, runner David ‘Freddie’ Carr, trimmer Nick Hutton and bow/tactician Giles Scot, appeared well-practiced in the 10-14 knot winds, posting a 1-2 to lead after the first day.

“You couldn’t ask for anything better,” Ainslie said. “Fantastic conditions, so many people coming out to support the teams. I’m so happy for Portsmouth and for our team. We have so many people on shore working on our behalf and cheering us on. For them to see this level of support is brilliant.”
Trailing by a point, Emirates Team New Zealand rookie helmsman Peter Burling was pleased with the result.
“It was a great day for us to be able to put together a good start and a run in both races and be in the lead at the bottom mark in both races,” he said. “We’re pretty green in these foiling boats so we’re happy to come out of the day in the shape we’re in.”
The shocker of the day had to be Artemis Racing, which along with Oracle Team USA, has had a relatively seamless transition from the last America’s Cup. After posting a 6-5, their hopes of erasing the memory were quashed when the event was cancelled on Sunday when winds of over 40 knots were deemed unsafe to sail.
“As a competitor I love the breezy conditions, but I 100% agree with race committee’s decision," noted Kiwi skipper Glenn Ashby. "The safety concerns were definitely there, we have a 25 knot wind limit for a reason, and fully respect that, and I think all the other competitors do too, we don’t want to get anyone hurt.”
As only two days of racing was planned, the results from Saturday stand, meaning Land Rover BAR is the winner of the first event of the 35th America’s Cup cycle.
It is estimated that 52,000 people attended yesterday during the day, with over 2,000 boats on the water to watch the racing. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg from August 28-30 is the home event for Sweden’s Artemis Racing.
Final Standings (after two races):
1. Land Rover BAR (GBR), Ben Ainslie (GBR), 1-2, 19 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Peter Burling (NZL), 3-2, 18 points
3. Oracle Team USA (USA), Jimmy Spithill (AUS), 2-3, 16 points
4. Groupama Team France (FRA), Franck Cammas (FRA), 6-4, 13 points
5. SoftBank Team Japan (JPN), Dean Barker (NZL), 4-5, 13 points
6. Artemis Racing (SWE), Nathan Outteridge (AUS), 6-5, 11 points
Note: Scoring awards 10 points for first, 9 points for second, 8 points for third, etc.
Background: The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) racing circuit forms part of the 35th America’s Cup programme, with scoring contributing to the selection of the 2017 America’s Cup Challenger. The ACWS will take place during 2015 and 2016 and will feature the one design foiling AC45F catamarans at a number of event locations around the world over the two years.


Royal congratulations for winner Ben Ainslie at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series

Portsmouth, UK, 07/26/2015

© ACEA / Rick TomlinsonDownload
© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
Extreme winds forced the cancellation of racing at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth on Sunday, but didn’t dampen enthusiasm for a Royal visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

With no racing to close out the weekend, the results from Saturday stand, meaning Land Rover BAR is the winner of the first event of the 35th America’s Cup cycle.

Ainslie and his team were congratulated on their win at the official prize giving by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were on site all day on Sunday and met with all of the teams, presenting the awards for the regatta. Michael Burke, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, was on hand to present each of the skippers with a gift.

“We’re absolutely delighted to win the first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event here in Portsmouth. This is a great start for us in our America’s Cup journey,” said Ben Ainslie, skipper of Land Rover BAR.

“With the conditions that we saw yesterday and the standard these teams are sailing at, it’s absolutely amazing racing and looks wonderful on TV. In my sailing career, I’ve never seen anything like it - the amount of people who came out on the water, on the shoreline, supporting the event, supporting us as the home team…

“It’s a real shame we couldn’t race today considering all the effort that’s gone into the event and the support we’ve had from the local fans here in Portsmouth. But that is the weather and we can’t control it.”

Emirates Team New Zealand claimed second place with rookie Peter Burling on the helm at his first America’s Cup regatta.

"For a 24 year old, what a great opportunity for him to come through as a young guy. His skill level is really, really, high. This fast-paced, quick action, quick decision making really suits him,” said his skipper, Glenn Ashby.

ORACLE TEAM USA rounded out the podium in third place.

“The racing was great. We had some good sailing out there. Lots of lead changes, six competitive teams, the level is really, really high,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “We’re disappointed we couldn’t get out there again today.”

Fourth place belongs to Groupama Team France whose skipper, Franck Cammas, was philosophical about not being able to race.

“The sailing world depends on wind. Too much, not enough, there is no race. It’s normal for us as sailors. Today was clearly too windy to race without a big risk. It was the right decision,” Cammas said.

“But I’m happy about what happened here. There were so many people watching and it was well organized for the first event on the circuit. I’m very confident for the future as we look ahead.

“It was great to be able to race against the others,” Cammas continued. “At home, we train alone and when you sail alone you are always the world champion! So we found the level here is very high. Not a surprise, but good to see, and very motivating for us to improve.”

Dean Barker’s new SoftBank Team Japan squad finished on equal points with the French, but fell to fifth place in the tie-breaker.

“We wanted to get into it again today, but it would have been impossible to race in these conditions,” Barker said. 

“The foiling AC45 race boats are great. But for us, we know we have a lot of work to do. This is just the first step in a long two-year program. Gothenburg next month will be a great opportunity to get back out there and get into the racing. That will have different challenges in terms of the race course, so more to adapt to there as well. We’re excited we get to race again in a month’s time.”

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg from August 28-30 is the home event for Artemis Racing. The Swedish challenger will be looking to improve on a last place finish here in Portsmouth.

“We’re excited to get there and see the support for Artemis Racing. We’ve had great enthusiasm for the team at home in Sweden over the last couple of years and we’re really looking forward to racing there,” said skipper Nathan Outteridge.

Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth Results:

1. Land Rover BAR - 19 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand - 18 points
3. ORACLE TEAM USA - 16 points
4. Groupama Team France - 13 points
5. SoftBank Team Japan - 13 points
6. Artemis Racing - 11 points

Next event: Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Gothenburg - August 28-30


Ainslie jumps out ahead at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth

Portsmouth, UK, 07/25/2015

© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA / Gary WilliamsDownload
Ben Ainslie, the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, and the man who is leading the British challenge for the America’s Cup, holds a narrow lead after the first day of racing at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth.

Ainslie led his team to a win and a second place finish in the two races held on Saturday afternoon on the waters off Portsmouth.

Nearly 50,000 fans were cheering him on from the venue ashore (with many more stacked along the waterfront outside the ticketed venue). Over 15,000 fans were on some 2,000 boats ringed around the race course area.

“You couldn’t ask for anything better,” Ainslie said. “Fantastic conditions, so many people coming out to support the teams. I’m so happy for Portsmouth and for our team. We have so many people on shore working on our behalf and cheering us on. For them to see this level of support is brilliant.”

Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team leads Emirates Team New Zealand by a single point, the Kiwis posting a win and a third place finish. Rookie helmsman Peter Burling was pleased with the result.

“It was a great day for us to be able to put together a good start and a run in both races and be in the lead at the bottom mark in both races,” he said. “We’re pretty green in these foiling boats so we’re happy to come out of the day in the shape we’re in.”

The man he replaced at Team New Zealand, Dean Barker, is now the CEO and skipper of SoftBank Team Japan. Barker says the new team, sailing together for the first time in Portsmouth, is undergoing a learning process. Today saw the team finish on equal points for fourth place with Groupama Team France.

“We’re working hard to improve but it takes a certain amount of time,” Barker said. “These other teams have been doing a lot of sailing together in different boats, so we have to work hard on making improvement and eliminating mistakes to get closer to the front of the fleet.”

ORACLE TEAM USA, the defending champion, had a challenging day, ending the afternoon in third position, with second and fourth place scores on the day. Artemis Racing struggled to a fifth and sixth place

Saturday delivered glamour conditions on the Solent, to mark the return of America’s Cup racing for the first time in nearly 165-years. Sunshine returned after a day of heavy rains. Wind conditions of 10 to 14 knots allowed the teams to demonstrate their skill on the new foiling class of catamaran, the one-design AC45.

Racing continues on Sunday, with double points on offer for the two races. First start is 1340 local time in Portsmouth.

Provisional Standings (after two races):
1. Land Rover BAR - 19 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand - 18 points
3. ORACLE TEAM USA - 16 points
4. Groupama Team France - 13 points
5. SoftBank Team Japan - 13 points
6. Artemis Racing - 11 points

Ready to race at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth

Portsmouth, UK, 07/24/2015

© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA / Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA / Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA / Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
Racing for the 35th America’s Cup is set to begin.

Saturday marks the start of the race to Bermuda, as the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series gets underway in Portsmouth. Six teams will begin to accumulate points toward the ultimate goal - winning the America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017.

“Everyone is going to have their ‘race-face’ on,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby. “It’s going to be game on. The forecast is quite good so the speeds will be much higher and the action much greater than what we had today for the practice racing.”

On Friday, two practice races were held under heavy rains and in light, variable conditions. Ashby’s Kiwi team won the second contest, while the home town hero Ben Ainslie took the first race.

“We made a good sail choice for the conditions today,” Ainslie said. But the skipper of Land Rover BAR was also firmly looking forward to getting his campaign for the Cup underway.

“It’s so exciting to be getting into racing that counts towards the America’s Cup. We have this Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series over the next two years, we’re thrilled to be starting out in Portsmouth and we can’t wait to get out of the starting blocks.”

Racing starts in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon at 1340 local time. Two fleet races scheduled each day. Following racing on Sunday afternoon, the first winner of a Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series will be crowned.


When the America’s Cup evolved toward multihulls, the impact extended beyond the race course. Where before the team owner had the option of joining the crew, that option is now eliminated.
Among the people now watching from the owner’s box is the man funding the Artemis Racing America’s Cup challenger, Torbjörn Törnqvist, who spoke candidly to Matthew Sheahan of Yachting World. Here are some excerpts…
On his position with the team.
My main contribution is in the management. Management is about making the best of the people who work for you, and you will only be remembered for what has been achieved.
I’ve seen many examples of things going wrong in business because people are insecure and need to have control. This doesn’t bring out the best in teams and often means people just keep quiet and are afraid to speak out; conflicts are then created. There are many America’s Cup campaigns that have ended in this way. But Iain (team manager Iain Percy) and I share the same philosophy in that you need to let people flourish.
I’m delighted if someone in my organisation does the job better than I can. When I was younger I probably would have minded. But that’s how you achieve things, particularly now when Cup sailing is changing so rapidly. You cannot fall back on history. People carry too much history with them in this sport, we made that mistake (in 2013) and that’s why we failed.
On the future of the America’s Cup.
Obviously I’d like to win the Cup and am spending huge amounts of money to do so. But is it really justifiable to spend this type of money? It’s not. In some ways it’s a bit of an ego trip and it’s not in keeping with the times. I feel a moral responsibility to fight to make this Cup accessible. Although I can afford it, such high costs are not good for the sport.
With such complex and high-performance boats, skills would still be required and the Cup would still be extremely difficult to win. But with the current high costs, sponsors are not coming forward. They don’t want to be seen splashing out money on what they think are the wrong kind of people. It is also a little ridiculous when you have some of the richest people asking for sponsorship.
The costs need to come down and the teams run on a more commercial basis for the event to go forward. I don’t think the Cup will be fully commercial and you will still have individual sponsors. But today it is simply too expensive and it’s not taking the Cup forward.
On Larry Ellison, owner the defender Oracle Team USA.
I now understand a bit more about what drives Larry Ellison and I honestly believe that he truly wants to make the Cup sustainable, affordable and special. Of course, he’s a winner and doesn’t want to give up. But the Cup is his legacy now, he wants to show that the Cup can be special.
He thinks more about the future of the Cup rather than what it takes to win it. He could outspend anybody if he wants to, but it’s not as simple as that. He’s behind this new move, I’m sure of that and in doing so he’s reducing his own chances. But he’s doing it for the future of the Cup.
Much more to this interview… click here.

Ainslie pushed to the fore at Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth

Portsmouth, UK, 07/23/2015

© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© ACEA 2015 / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
Ben Ainslie, the hometown hero at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, is finding his rivals are keen on naming him the favourite ahead of this weekend’s racing.

“I think Ben is clearly faster than everyone,” ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill said, to the applause of a home crowd eager to support the local team.

“Honestly, I think he does have a bit of an edge. But every day I think the rest of us have been getting faster. And I think you’ll see that in the racing that is coming up.”

Spithill wasn’t alone in pushing Ainslie forward, although each skipper felt the new foiling versions of the AC45 catamarans would prove to be a leveller.

“Each team has only had their boat for about two weeks,” said Nathan Outteridge of Artemis Racing. “It’s been tough to learn how to sail these foiling boats - the foiling aspect changes how we race. I think it’s going to be close. If you’ve been watching closely there was never the same boat in front… but Ben was in front more than the rest of us.”

Dean Barker is one of the skippers who will be racing with a new crew in Portsmouth as his SoftBank Team Japan is coming to grips with the foiling 45s and learning to sail together - not an easy task as he says mistakes will be punished in this fleet.

“The race course is going to be quite challenging so there’s going to be plenty of opportunities. We've seen that it doesn’t take much to go from the front to the back,” he noted.

Skipper Franck Cammas, from Groupama Team France, agreed.

“We’ve had more boats in front of us than behind us, so we have to change that. But it’s a one-design class so everybody can be fast at one time or another.”

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby traded gentle barbs with Spithill before talking about what it would take to win this weekend - and his focus is on crew work.

“Get off the starting line well and get around mark one in good shape… (And then you have to) take care of the boat-handling to have an opportunity to win races.”

For all the pressure being put upon him, Ben Ainslie of Land Rover BAR was quick to deflect the attention, noting that every team on the stage was more than capable of winning races.

“All of the teams are going really well. ORACLE TEAM USA and Artemis Racing are the two teams that have progressed from the last Cup with similar personnel, and that shows,” he said. “The rest of us are all new groups trying to come together, but with very talented squads, and I think the racing will be very close.”

Today’s public press conference followed an afternoon Parade of Sail, with the Opening Ceremony of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth scheduled for Thursday evening.

Official practice races are scheduled on Friday before the point-scoring races on Saturday andSunday. Two races are scheduled each day this weekend, with start times of 13:40 and 14:25 local time in Portsmouth.

Will we be able to find YouTube events again?

CCTVSE acquires exclusive rights for China in groundbreaking America’s Cup agreement

Bermuda, 07/20/2015

© Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
© CCTVDownload
CCTV Sports & Entertainment Co., Ltd. (CCTVSE), the only one wholly-owned subsidiary company under CCTV Sports Channel, has acquired the exclusive rights to the 35th America’s Cup in a groundbreaking agreement.

CCTV, the flagship broadcaster in China will show racing from all stages of the event.

Beginning with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, UK this week, CCTV will broadcast all Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events in 2015 and 2016 as well as the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs and the America’s Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton from Bermuda in June 2017.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the America’s Cup, our partners and our teams, to demonstrate the excitement of America’s Cup racing to the largest national television audience in the world,” said Harvey Schiller, Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup.

The racing will be broadcast on CCTV5+, which is China’s free to air sports channel, to a mainland audience.

The 2015 America’s Cup World Series is the opening stage of the competition for the America’s Cup, and includes racing in Portsmouth, UK (July 2015); Gothenburg, Sweden (August 2015) and Bermuda, the host venue of the America’s Cup (October 2015).

As the sole sports business operator of under CCTV, CCTVSE has pooled together the top event resources of the State General Administration of Sports, relevant the related sports associations and various international individual sport federations.

CCTVSE is committed to promoting the standard formats of international sports and has formed a service system covering sports marketing, events (program) production and broadcasting, events management and industrial research.


Rivalries heat up one week ahead of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth

Portsmouth, UK, 07/16/2015

© America's CupDownload
© America's CupDownload
Former team mates turned rivals look ahead to the competition; new faces and new teams

Rivalries are being stoked one week ahead of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series which begins next week with a Parade of Sail in front of the Waterfront and Fanzone areas in Portsmouth onThursday July 23.

The first competition of the 35th America’s Cup will be marked by massive local support for the host team, Land Rover BAR, which is led by Ben Ainslie. This is the Olympic hero’s first opportunity to lead his team into battle in America’s Cup competition.

Ainslie has been clear in stating his goal is to bring the Cup back to Britain.

“The America’s Cup started here in 1851,” Ainslie said. “We’ve had a few shots over the past 164 years but we’ve never come that close to winning. It’s important to us to get that job done now.”

But to do that, he’ll have to beat the defending champions, Jimmy Spithill and ORACLE TEAM USA - a team he helped to victory in 2013.

“Ben is a really good guy. You meet him on the shore and he’s very courteous, well mannered,” Spithill says. “On the water though, you flick a switch. He becomes very, very aggressive and he gets the results.”

Watch the video here

While the respect is mutual, a strong determination to win runs through both men.

“I sailed with him in the last Cup and I was incredibly impressed with how he dealt with being on the back foot, never dropping his head, always believing he could win,” Ainslie said. “We want to beat ORACLE TEAM USA. No doubt they’re going to be right up there and very, very tough to beat. But we think we have a good shot at it and we’ll have a bit of home crowd advantage.”

Of course these former team mates aren’t the only sailors in the competition.

Emirates Team New Zealand has turned over its race crew to a younger generation, with Peter Burling taking the helm. The first winner of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is on fire with an unprecedented string of victories in the 49er class as he simultaneously campaigns for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The man he replaced, Dean Barker, didn’t sit on the sidelines for long. Barker bounced back as the CEO and skipper of SoftBank Team Japan, making its America’s Cup debut in Portsmouth.

Artemis Racing will be led by Nathan Outteridge, who turned heads in the last America’s Cup for his ability to coolly step into his first America’s Cup campaign and assume a leadership role. An Olympic gold medalist, Outteridge is far from unique on an Artemis Racing team stocked with medal-winning sailors.

And Groupama Team France will be flying with Franck Cammas, the French multihull veteran who has seemingly won every race, and broken every record, he has set his mind to. Will the America’s Cup be next?

Racing starts at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup in Portsmouth with practice racing on Friday, July 24.

The competition consists of four fleet races - two each on Saturday and Sunday.

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series continues in this year in Gothenburg, Sweden fromAugust 27-30, and Bermuda from October 16-18


When the six teams meet for the very first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) event on July 25-26 in Portsmouth, UK, curiosity will extend toward the latest entrant – SoftBank Team Japan. The curiosity will be amplified by its crew, with two of the helms from the 2013 America’s Cup now seeking to blend their talents on this newly launched challenge campaign.
Dean Barker, now starting fresh after departing from Team New Zealand, leads the team as CEO and Skipper. Joining Barker is Chris Draper, whose availability followed the withdrawal of his Luna Rossa team for which he was its helmsman. Here Chris comments on the new program…
Fitting into the new team
I’m the sailing director, so I deal with the everyday function of the sailing activities on the water, working closely with Dean along with the other team members. And on the water my function will be tactician.
I joined GAC Pindar last month for the Extreme Sailing Series, as it was a good opportunity for me to get 30+ races under my belt. The event got me to think about tactics a lot more, as I haven’t done a huge heap of racing in the last couple of years, since the Cup, as most of the time had been practicing with Luna Rossa.
I was on the helm for the Extreme 40, which given the short courses, pretty much calls the shots, which helped to accelerate my thinking as we won’t have much training time before the Portsmouth World Series event. Anything we can do to speed up on learning and our sharpness is always going to be useful.
Changing boats from the AC72 to the AC48.
The new boats are going to be very different for everybody, because the control systems have been opened up a lot more and are now vastly improved. Instead of seeing boats that would occasionally foil upwind, we now have boats that will foil everywhere they go.
What’s great too is the changes to the boat should improve the racing, as these new boats are going to be a lot more controllable. The AC72 in the last America’s Cup was like driving a formula one car with an overpowering engine and crappy tires. Where the AC72 rule sought to make foiling very hard, the new rule is about making the boats super-good to sail, and a lot more controllable. It’s not about trying to inhibit foiling, it’s about encouraging it.
I fully expect what the spectator will see is much more spectacular sailing, to be quite honest. The AC48 will be even more maneuverable, just because it’s a little bit smaller, and we will be able to maximize its capability. With the AC72, we were trying to make it work as well as we could. Now we’ve got everything we need at our fingertips.
Much more, read on


After taking part in the successful defense during the 34th America's Cup, Sir Ben Ainslie is now among the five challengers that seek to wrest away the Auld Mug from his former employer's grasp. As the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, what with four gold medals (five total), Ainslie now leads his new team for the 35th America's Cup - Land Rover BAR (GBR).
This will be Ainslie's fifth America's Cup team, though some of his stints didn't go the distance.
He made an exit from One World Challenge (USA) before AC31 while Team Origin (GBR) got blocked from AC33 and vetoed AC34. But as the 'B' boat helm for Team New Zealand, he nearly saw the starters win AC32. As for Oracle Team USA in AC34, he joined the team late as back-up tactician, but thrust onto the boat when they were down 1-8, and helped to inspire one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time to win 9-8.
And now Ainslie is eager to see the America's Cup return home.
The trophy was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was won by the schooner America. The trophy was then renamed the America's Cup where it now operates under the terms of the Deed of Gift, with 34 challengers since 1870, none of which have brought it back to Britain.
Here Ainslie shares an update with the British publication, Express:
On bringing the trophy back to Britain
It's the only major sporting event that we have never won. It is about being the best of British, to right that wrong and bring the cup home. If I didn't think it was possible, trust me, I would not be doing it. You get some teams where guys are being quite mercenary, they are being paid to go out there and win something for an individual. Our team, it's about trying to do it for your country.
On being married
Marriage has helped because it's now clear what my path is. I'm not worrying about my private life or my future. I really do enjoy that feeling of being settled - especially with all of this going on around me. It's really important to me to have someone I trust and respect at home to come back to after a really tough day. I try not to take work home too much but it's brilliant to talk things through with her.
Why all his boats are called Rita
When I was a boy I was racing in Tenerife and my mum went off to a church and she came across Saint Rita. I ended up winning and my mum decided this would be my lucky charm. I was about 10 years old. Since then every boat has been called Rita. It's a nice thing.
Read on... click here


The 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco seems like a lifetime ago, what with all the changes and uncertainty about the venue, boat, and teams that will compete in 2017. But after nearly two years from the storybook ending of Oracle Team USA’s successful defense, the America’s Cup activity will soon return to the water in the form of the America’s Cup World Series on July 25-26 in Portsmouth, UK.
The format has been revised, now a two day format with solely fleet racing. Points collected in the America’s Cup World Series in 2015 and 2016 will count towards the format to determine the challenger for the America’s Cup in 2017.
Emirates Team New Zealand, the challenger that came so close in 2013 to winning the America’s Cup, finds themselves in a new position for the 35th America’s Cup … an underdog.
After months of restructuring and resignations, they have finally taken to the water, but they are doing so with rookie Peter Burling, the 24-year-old who is in the deep end as helmsman for the first America’s Cup World Series regatta.
“We know these other guys have been sailing foiling 45s for a long time, and this is my first day ever sailing one of these boats last week,” says Burling to 3 News. “Our learning curve’s going to be really steep over this next little bit, but it’s something that we really kind of back our chances to be able to out-learn the other guys.”
Mastering the boat is one thing, gelling as a group is another considering only three of the crew who raced at the last America’s Cup are still with the team. Is the team’s chief executive Grant Dalton concerned the team might lose crew to Dean Barker’s new Japanese syndicate?
“We haven’t yet that I’m aware of… it’s possible for sure,” says Dalton. “If it’s a case of people we didn’t re-sign then I can’t have a grumble with that.”
Some contracts at Team New Zealand will prevent crew from joining other syndicates, but late resignations may have a damning impact on the upcoming regatta in Portsmouth.
The team have limited time to train with the AC45 – they have five days in England, then some of the team have commitments to other regattas throughout Europe, and then back to Portsmouth this time next month.


Olympic medalist Chris Draper joins SoftBank Team Japan

Bermuda, 06/08/2015

© ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
Chris Draper, an Olympic medalist, multiple European and World champion, and America’s Cup helmsman, is joining SoftBank Team Japan.

In addition to his sailing duties, Draper will take up the role of Sailing Director and will race with SoftBank Team Japan CEO and skipper Dean Barker as well as General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku at the first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, UK next month.

“The opportunity to join a new team and build it from scratch is very exciting,” Draper said. “I think we’re going to have a fantastic team.

“Dean and I spent a lot of time racing against each other in New Zealand during the build up to the last America’s Cup and developed a mutual respect for each other. When Dean approached me with an offer to join this team it was clear this was a unique opportunity to build something new.”

Draper is a world champion in the Olympic 49er class and won a Bronze Medal at the 2004 Olympic Games.

He was recruited to join Team Korea during the America’s Cup World Series in 2011 and made an immediate impact, driving the rookie team to solid results against experienced Cup crews. Before long he had been pulled across to Luna Rossa Challenge, who he led to the challenger finals, before falling to Barker’s New Zealand team.

“We learned a lot about each other during our time together during the last campaign when we trained with Luna Rossa in Auckland,” Barker said. “Chris is a very skilled sailor brings a lot to our team. We’re fortunate to have him.”

Draper says Barker will be on the helm when racing starts at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth. Draper will be in a tactics/wing trimmer role.

“Getting the team off the ground so quickly has been a whirlwind,” Draper said. “I think we’re all looking forward to getting on the water and lining up against the other teams for the first time and just thinking about sailing for a few days.

“The team has huge aspirations. With a competitive boat, we have as good a chance going in to the Cup in 2017 as anyone else and that’s all you can ask for.”

SoftBank Team Japan is led by skipper and CEO Dean Barker along with General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku and Sailing Director Chris Draper. They are building a team to challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda. 


Dean Barker named CEO and skipper of SoftBank Team Japan

Bermuda, 05/21/2015

© SoftBank Team Japan
SoftBank Team Japan will be led by Dean Barker, who has been appointed skipper and CEO of the Japanese challenger.

Barker brings over 15 years of America’s Cup experience to the Japanese team, including having sailed in four America’s Cup Matches.

“This is an incredible opportunity to build a new team from the ground up,” Barker said from Bermuda where he and team general manager Kazuhiko “Fuku” Sofuku have been meeting with America’s Cup officials.

“It’s an honour to take on the responsibility of both CEO and skipper of SoftBank Team Japan.

“We’re filling the key roles on the team as quickly as we can. I think we’re pulling together a very strong team. We want to compete at the head of the fleet and we’re assembling a team that is capable of doing that. Our goal is to win the America’s Cup.”

SoftBank Team Japan was confirmed as a challenger earlier this month. The team has a big job list ahead as it prepares to race at the first America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth in July.

“In the short term, our job is to be ready to compete in Portsmouth,” said Fuku. “Then, our focus will shift to trialling more Japanese sailors as we continue to build and develop our team.”


Dean Barker in the America’s Cup

1995 - trains with Team New Zealand
2000 - America’s Cup winner with Team New Zealand, helming the deciding race
2003 - skipper, unsuccessful defence of America’s Cup with Team New Zealand
2007 - skipper, winner, Louis Vuitton Cup
2013 - skipper, winner, Louis Vuitton Cup

(May 12, 2015) – Emirates airline announced its continued support of Emirates Team New Zealand, which is among the challengers for the 35th America’s Cup, to be decided in June 2017. President of Emirates airline, Sir Tim Clark, said the airline’s decision was recognition of the success of the team in helping build the Emirates brand globally, as well as signaling further commitment to New Zealand. Click headline for full story.

Loïck Peyron competed in the very first Vendée Globe, skippered the fastest boat around the world and won the last singlehanded Route du Rhum. Loick knows ‘fast’, and in this interview with Yacht Racing Forum, shares some opinions about the America’s Cup from his role on the design team with challenger Artemis Racing…
How did you welcome the news of the boat changing from 62-feet to 48-feet?
It has a been a bit brutal, although we were kind of expecting it. We had done a lot of work on our 62’, which will, hopefully, not be useless… Under the leadership of Iain Percy, we were working on our systems, in order to manage our appendages and our wing, and we’ll keep doing this, just at a smaller scale.

Will this Cup be only accessible to a new generation of sailors?
Almost. Most of the guys who were sailing the previous Cups on ACC’s are now pre-retired on J-Class or super-yachts in Antigua. We’ve definitely lost the big-sailing-team aspect of the Cup. All you need now is a helmsman, a wing-trimmer and a group of hamsters to pump your hydraulics…maybe it’s gone a bit too far. Too much muscle and not enough brain, we’ll see. But luckily for the white hairs, this game, like many others, needs experience.

Are you personally in favor of those changes?
I guess it will be a transition, and I hope it will favor participation. I would personally prefer bigger boats, where the choreography and other unique skills are really important. Hopefully foiling boat speed and “spectacle quality” are not linked to the size. These changes in the Cup had to be done, even if some of them seem painful. We want to offer the best sport show ever, and it will be the case again.

America’s Cup challenge from SoftBank Team Japan is accepted

Bermuda, 05/07/2015

© SoftBank Team JapanDownload

© SoftBank Team JapanDownload
SoftBank Team Japan will compete for the America’s Cup after its challenge through the Kansai Yacht Club was accepted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, represented by the defending champion, ORACLE TEAM USA.

“We are very pleased to welcome a Japanese challenge back to the America’s Cup after a 15 year absence,” said Norbert Bajurin, the Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club. “All of the formalities have been completed and we can’t wait to see the team racing this summer.”

SoftBank Team Japan general manager Kazuhiko Sofuku, known as “Fuku”, says the team is already focused on preparing for the opening event of 2015, the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, UK, from July 23-26.

“We have a lot to do to be on the start line with a competitive crew,” Fuku said. “My task for the next few weeks will be to assemble a team that can compete in Portsmouth and that we can then build through the 2015 season and beyond.

“I will travel to Bermuda in the middle of the month to meet with ORACLE TEAM USA and we are likely to need a few of their sailors for these first AC World Series events until we can develop and train our own crew, including the Japanese sailors.

“For that evaluation and training, we are looking at options to test our homegrown sailors on multihulls in Japan and also in Bermuda after our permanent base is established there. We are aiming to have our team fully independent and operational by the end of 2015.”

“I know SoftBank Team Japan is starting late compared to some of the other teams, but I wouldn't underestimate how competitive they are going to be,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill.

“All of the teams are limited in the amount of practise time they can do on the one-design AC45 boats that we’ll be racing in Portsmouth. So I’m expecting Fuku and the guys on his boat to be racing hard and pushing us as well as the other teams.”

SoftBank Team Japan will join the other teams Artemis Racing, Ben Ainslie Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Team France and ORACLE TEAM USA on the start line for the first race of the 35th America’s Cup in Portsmouth on July 25th.

“Adding SoftBank Team Japan to the challenger line-up opens up a new audience in Asia for the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller. “Not only will Team Japan be a plus for the competition on the water, but this challenge will benefit all of the teams as well as the event by bringing a new audience back to the America’s Cup.”

May 7, 2015

The 35th America’s Cup doesn’t start for another two years, but defender Oracle Team USA and challenger Artemis Racing will soon be seen on their turbo-charged AC45S catamarans in the Great Sound of Bermuda. While the defender began training on Monday (May 4), The Royal Gazette reports that Artemis Racing hopes to be sailing next week. The teams are quite familiar with each other, having conducted similar trials earlier this year in San Francisco Bay before moving their operations to Bermuda.

April 24, 2015  A BIG deal!

(April 23, 2015) – The long-heralded announcement that Japan is to challenge again for the America’s Cup is expected finally to be made by the end of next week and will see not only a Japanese skipper but the appearance of former Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker in the lineup.
Barker was controversially dumped as helmsman by Team New Zealand who have placed their faith in Australian Glenn Ashby and rising Kiwi talent Peter Burling to take the wheel. Barker’s experience in the foiling catamarans and 20 years in the America’s Cup game would be a huge boost to any new syndicate.
With several one-design elements featuring on the new 48-foot catamarans, a lot of the technology advantages have been evened out, bringing the racing more into the hands of the sailors.
The team will be sponsored by Softbank for the Kansai Yacht Club and is expected, like the French team, to be offered some support by the cup holder and defender Oracle, which represents the Golden Gate Yacht Club.
It is expected that Oracle boss Larry Ellison and his sailing team boss Sir Russell Coutts will attend the signing ceremony along with Masoyashi San. Earlier this week Coutts, the America’s Cup Event Authority boss, suggested the current lineup of five teams, including Team New Zealand, were set to be boosted by late entries.
It is not known whether the late entry will compete at the warm-up regatta being staged in Portsmouth in May and organized by an associate company of the British challenger, Sir Ben Ainslie’s BAR.
The June regatta in Cagliari, Sardinia, has been cancelled after Prada boss Patrizio Bertelli withdrew his Luna Rossa challenge in protest at midstream changes to the rules for the next cup, due to be staged in Bermuda in 2017.
Team New Zealand, which recently had a publicly messy parting of the ways with Barker, is still expected to race in Portsmouth but, it seems, without the financial support of the Kiwi government. Its future remains precarious and, despite the French being offered by Coutts a design package of what will be a smaller, 48-foot foiling catamaran, French skipper Franck Gammas has yet to announce full funding. He is competing at the opening ISAF World Cup event in Hyeres as part of his Olympic bid.
Japan have contested three America’s Cups, in 1992, 1995 and 2000, with strong New Zealand connections. Kiwi Chris Dickson skippered their 1992 challenge in San Diego where they reached the semifinals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. At the 1995 regatta in San Diego, New Zealander John Cutler was at the helm of the Japanese challenge that also ended at the semifinal stage.
(April 23, 2015) – Oracle Team USA made its debut on Great Sound in Bermuda Wednesdaywith the team training on two foiling Phantom catamarans. Kyle Langford, Graeme Spence, Joey Newton and Andrew Campbell were the first to test the local conditions. “It was a great day today,” said Kyle Langford, “our first day out there so it was good to see the race course area from a sailing perspective. Oracle Team USA is training at its base at Dockyard, Bermuda, leading up to the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, UK in July. Click headline for full story.
April 22, 2015

By Colin Thompson, Sailing Correspondent, The Royal Gazette
America’s Cup regatta director Iain Murray is impressed by the Island’s clear waters and good sailing conditions, Bermuda meet Iain Murray, the regatta director for the 35th America’s Cup to be contested for on these shores in June 2017.
Mr. Murray is serving a second successive stint in the key role and has been tasked with collaborating with all of the teams as well as with Harvey Schiller, the commercial commissioner, in setting the competitive parameters for the event.
The Australian comes highly recommended for the job given his wealth of inshore and offshore sailing experience and expertise in boat design.  He won a record six consecutive 18ft skiff world titles between 1977 and 1982, and in 1984 won the Etchells World Championship.  However, Mr. Murray is most noted for his appearances at the America’s Cup in 1983 and 1987, racing in the old 12-Metre Class Yachts.
During the 1983 America’s Cup challenge in Newport, Rhode Island, he sailed on Syd Fischer’s Advance.  Australia II went on to win the Cup to bring America’s 132 years of dominance in the event to a grinding halt.  After Australia II’s historic victory, Mr Murray joined Kevin Parry’s Taskforce ’87 syndicate and co-designed and skippered their Kookaburra yachts.
Kookaburra III won the defender elimination trials against three other Australian syndicates off Fremantle, but lost to Dennis Conner and Stars & Stripes 87 in the America’s Cup Match.  Mr. Murray was also on board One Australia when it sank during the 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup.
The Australian, who celebrated his 57th birthday last week, has also carved out a name for himself as a boat designer.  The modern version of the 18ft skiff was designed by Mr, Murray, who also conceived the Nippa 2.65 metres dinghy for sailors at youth level.
Mr. Murray was reappointed as America’s Cup regatta director by the America’s Cup Event Authority competitor forum, then comprised of six teams, last December. He is in Bermuda for the first time since his reappointment, assisting with preparations for the America’s Cup World Series event here from October 16  - 18, and the bigger races to follow.
“It looks like a nice place to go yachting,” Mr. Murray told The Royal Gazette. “Nice breeze and beautiful, clear water.”  The technological advances in boat design will make for exciting racing, which could potentially surpass the spectacular drama witnessed in San Francisco in 2013.
Mr. Murray agrees. “Leading into the last America’s Cup, there were so many major changes and collectively we learned so much about how to design, build and race these foiling multihulls,” he said.
“Now we have the chance to fine-tune and make adjustments to make it even better.  Read on.

April 21, 2015

Auckland, New Zealand (April 20, 2015) - The future of Team New Zealand is looking grim after the announcement today that there will be no America's Cup pre-regatta for Auckland.  All racing for the 2017 regatta will take place off Bermuda. The announcement was made on the Cup's official website, which stated, "The America's Cup event format was agreed by competitors and that all racing will take place in Bermuda."
Team New Zealand say they have not agreed on that format.
"Emirates Team New Zealand would like to clarify we did not agree on the format or location of the qualifier because we have still have our case for the previously agreed qualifier in Auckland pending arbitration," the syndicate said on their Facebook page.
With Team NZ's bid for Government funding hinging on securing hosting rights to the qualifying regatta, there has been suggestion the Kiwi syndicate may be forced to close their doors without a top-up from the taxpayer.
Prime Minister John Key hinted at that this morning when asked whether the Government would fund the team now that there's no Auckland regatta. "I think we're at the end of the road really," the Prime Minister said.  "Of course Steven Joyce will continue to have discussions with Grant Dalton, but the Government's position has been pretty clear.
"With the event being held 100 per cent in Bermuda, that becomes a really challenging issue to go beyond the $5 million we've already put in."
Likewise, Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast show the chance of the competition gaining Government funding was "significantly reduced" if there was no pre-regatta for Auckland.
There would be no promotion of New Zealand if the race was held overseas, he said.  "It's going to be very difficult to get the public on side that they think it's a good idea to put more money in."
Responding to the reported comments of the Prime Minister, Taxpayers' Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams said taxpayers have done enough to fund Team New Zealand.
"Taxpayers have already stumped up significant amounts of money in order to support what is a rich sport. The return to taxpayers of propping up a team to go and sail on the other side of the world was always questionable," Williams said.
"While it is unfortunate that Auckland is unlikely to see Louis Vuitton racing, taxpayers will welcome the Government drawing a line in the sand on this one."
The Government was expected to put in $5 million-$10 million into the next America's Cup campaign if Auckland had been awarded qualifying hosting rights, meaning a loss of Government funding is not necessarily terminal for Team New Zealand.
However, they would need to be based in Bermuda for longer now, with qualifiers being there, so costs will increase.  Team New Zealand are challenging a decision by the America's Cup Events Authority to ditch Auckland.  Earlier this month chief executive Grant Dalton said regardless of the outcome of any hearing, "This is not the end of Emirates Team New Zealand."
The original decision to hold a pre-regatta in Auckland was strongly opposed by the European challengers, who indicated a preference that all of the racing in 2017 be conducted at a single venue, Bermuda.
The decision was subject to a legal process after the ACEA back-tracked on its decision to hold an Auckland event, he said.  Team NZ board chair Keith Turner said signed documents between Team New Zealand and ACEA confirmed the Auckland event earlier this year.  It was also announced at a meeting with teams last month, he said.
"We are not at the end of the road," he said. "They can't do this, they can't sign us up to a qualifier and then change their minds suddenly.  Read on.
Sir Russell Coutts is confident Team New Zealand will contest the 2017 America’s Cup but has said if they don’t front in Bermuda, another New Zealand syndicate would fill their place. The America’s Cup official website announced that the entire event will take place off Bermuda, taking away initial plans of Auckland host a pre-regatta, and with it the likelihood of Team New Zealand getting government funding.
Coutts, a five time winner of the America’s Cup, told the New York Times that he still hoped to have six challengers in Bermuda and said it was unlikely Team New Zealand would withdrawal. But if they did he said another team from New Zealand would most likely replace them. “Others would put a New Zealand team together because frankly they have the components of a very competitive team, more so under this rule,” the Oracle Team USA chief executive said. “They have a great sailing team, and this rule favors a great sailing team.”
Team New Zealand and Italian syndicate Luna Rossa have both protested the format change with Luna Rossa withdrawing from the 2017 event. Coutts told the New York Times he is keen for Luna Rossa to change their mind but is confident they’ll find other teams to replace them.
“Ideally, no question you’d keep Luna Rossa in the game,” Coutts said. “But I think we will definitely see other teams coming in because of the boat change, and I can tell you there’s a Japanese team coming in, and when you see who the owner of that team is, you would debate whether it’s bigger or smaller than Luna Rossa.”
With Team NZ’s bid for Government funding hinging on securing hosting rights to the qualifying regatta, there has been suggestion the Kiwi syndicate may be forced to close their doors without a top-up from the taxpayer.

By Christopher Clarey
The America’s Cup appeared to have regained momentum in San Francisco Bay in September 2013, but 19 months later; it looks in need of a gust of wind.
The last Cup ended with one of the most remarkable comebacks in any sport as Oracle Team USA, only one race from defeat, rose from the depths of an 8-1 deficit against Emirates Team New Zealand to defend the Cup with eight straight victories.
It was thrilling as well as spectacular because it was contested in 72-foot foiling catamarans with wing sails that often looked more like flying machines than yachts. Yet for all the risks, the outcome seemed to create a solid platform for a venerable sailing event that had been badly rattled by legal disputes, declining interest from challengers and, worst of all, the death of the British sailor Andrew Simpson in a training accident a few months earlier.
Instead, the Cup, which dates to 1851, has returned to too-familiar waters with more squabbles, money worries, challenger withdrawals and controversial changes. There are also concerns about the Cup’s relevance and appeal in a global sports marketplace full of sharp elbows and much easier sells.
Luna Rossa, the Italian team that has been one of the pillars of the modern Cup, withdrew this month. Its owner, Patrizio Bertelli, who runs the Italian company Prada, disapproved of the challengers’ vote to downsize to 48-foot catamarans for the next Cup, in Bermuda in 2017. (The rules for 2017 had previously provided for 62-foot catamarans.)
Team New Zealand, another pillar, is also not yet a sure thing.
Team Alinghi, led by the Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, had been a mainstay of the competition but has not returned since it lost the Cup to Oracle in 2010, after a long legal battle with the Oracle team owner Larry Ellison.
“I hope the world gets to understand that when I’m not racing, and when Bertelli pulls the plug, when Team New Zealand is struggling, it is all because these people do not behave like sportsmen,” Bertarelli said in a telephone interview. “Sports is about setting rules, having an independent referee and going at each other fairly.”
Some Oracle officials and sailors, including the skipper James Spithill, argued that to the contrary, the goal was a more equitable Cup in which more teams would have a chance to take part and be competitive.
With Alinghi as defender, the full-scale Cup in 2007 in Valencia, Spain, had 11 challengers. There were three in 2013, and for now, there are only four for 2017.
“It’s a real shame; I consider Patrizio Bertelli a friend, a good friend,” said Spithill, formerly the helmsman for Luna Rossa. “But I truly believe we have to think about the future of the event. And the bigger boats, we’ve kind of proven the last couple of Cups that while sure, they are pretty spectacular, it just really is unsustainable. We need to attract new teams, and we want to have a boat now that is locked in for the next Cup after this one.”
It should be noted, in the litigious context of the Cup, that no formal agreement yet exists to contest the next edition after 2017 in the same 48-foot catamarans.
Bertarelli and Bertelli maintained that the problem for this round was not the smaller boat, which most viewers will have difficulty distinguishing from a 62-footer on television, but changing the rules midstream. Bertelli, who has now officially withdrawn and is dismantling his team’s base in Cagliari, Italy, believed he had a design advantage with the 62-foot boat, called the AC62, before the switch.  Read On.

(April 17, 2015) – The America’s Cup competitors agreed the format for racing in 2017 will entirely take place on the waters of the Great Sound in Bermuda, the home of the 2017 America’s Cup.
All teams will compete in a double round robin format for the America’s Cup Qualifiers, which will be sailed in the new America’s Cup Class foiling catamaran.
The America’s Cup Qualifiers were initially to be held at a separate location, with plans for it to be in Auckland, New Zealand, but that scheme was voted down by a majority of the challengers as being too costly in time and money.
The top four challengers from the Qualifiers will advance to the Challenger Playoffs which consist of a match racing semifinal and finals. The winner of the Playoffs will meet the defending champion, ORACLE TEAM USA, in the America’s Cup Match.

April 18, 2015

While the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda won’t see action until 2017, defender Oracle Team USA is already calling the island their home for the next two years.
Tactician/helmsman and sailing team manager Tom Slingsby has assembled the crew in Bermuda this week as the team continues to build its base at Dockyard and prepare for sailing at the beginning of May.
“Pretty much all of the guys on the sailing team are here now,” Slingsby says. “At the moment we’re helping the shore crew to get things set up, unloading containers, getting our offices set up and next week we’ll start putting the boats together. We’re still targeting May 1 for the first sail in the AC45S.
“We also have some sailing team meetings scheduled to plan our sessions next month. We’re hitting the gym – and the beach – in the mornings and we might get the Foiling Phantoms (18-foot, foiling catamarans) out next week to get out on the water here for a little sail before the AC45S is ready.”
Slingsby says it’s good to have the crew working together again even if one face is noticeably absent from some of the heavy work.
“Jimmy’s rehab has happened to come at quite the perfect time,” Slingsby said, laughing. “He tells us he can’t move his arm just as we’ve been put to work packing up San Francisco and setting up in Bermuda. It’s funny how he arranged that schedule!”
The team is still adjusting to the new America’s Cup Class rule voted in by the teams recently. But Slingsby says that while there are implications for the design process, the impact on the sailing team is minimal.
“It doesn’t change too much for the crew,” he says. “We’re very happy with the guys we have. Our sailors are very dynamic and everyone can step into different roles on board, so the new America’s Cup Class won’t make us adjust too much as a sailing team. The way we sail the boat will be different, but in terms of the people we have, we’re confident in our sailors.”
And he says the transition to Bermuda has been an easy one for the team to make as well.
“It’s been unbelievable how friendly and helpful everyone is. We’re surrounded by crystal-clear waters, we have beautiful weather. We wake up, we go to the gym, we run on the beach, we go swimming, we head to the base and get to work. It’s amazing. We’re very happy to be here and very fortunate this will be our home for the next two years.”

April 13, 2015

Bob Fisher is one of the most knowledgeable yachting correspondents still alive.  He knows all.  Read this!

Bob Fisher knows the America’s Cup, perhaps better than anyone. His books and articles have covered the event since 1851, and he considers the event unmatched in its history and intrigue. But what Bob sees now occurring for the 2017 edition gives him grave concern. Here are his words to the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), which manages the event for the current trustee Golden Gate Yacht Club…
I cannot escape notice of what you are doing to the America’s Cup – it has been nothing short of a disgrace to the premier event in the sport of Sailing. You have abused it, misused it and reduced it to no more than an average regatta, losing on the way its prestige and at the same time driven away the most serious competitors.
In the last America’s Cup event, held on the waters of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, for whom you act in a management role, the two challengers that came up to the mark were those from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Circolo della Vela Sicilia – Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and Luna Rossa. In the course of the past week you have made it virtually impossible for ETNZ to raise the necessary funds to continue by removing any chance of a major regatta in Auckland, and, by a huge change in the size of boat, caused the Italian team to withdraw. Is this what you really want?
Gone is all semblance of stability and adherence to rules unanimously agreed at the outset and in their place an undercurrent of commercial misunderstanding and constantly changing rules without the unanimity of the challengers as initially agreed. Both of these are a disgrace to the Cup and to yourselves.
It was brought to my notice by you, in Auckland, that it was important for a part of the Challenger Final Selection Series to be held in the City of Sails in order to generate publicity for the America’s Cup in Asia and the reason for that was a Japanese team would shortly emerge, and that this would encourage television networks to purchase the rights.
Subsequently ACEA has made it clear that ALL Challenger Selection races will be held in Bermuda, effectively slapping ETNZ in the face and reducing the Kiwis’ chances of Government sponsorship (which hung on a major AC regatta in Auckland), possibly even eliminating this team from AC35
It is unnecessary for the America’s Cup to have a television audience. For many years there was no television coverage, and later only inserts into News programmes. Televising the event began in 1983 and was carried to a new height by ESPN in 1987 in Fremantle. Even then it didn’t need catamarans on hydrofoils sailing at 40 knots to be attractive – just 12-Metre yachts in boisterous conditions with some live sound from the boats.
Much more... read on

Commentary: Ernesto Bertarelli, two-time winner of the America’s Cup, shares his view on the current conditions for the 2017 edition... click here
Editor's note: Jack Griffin of Cup Experience has compiled the events that have led to the turmoil surrounding the America's Cup. Quoting Don Corleone from The Godfather, "How did things ever get so far? I dunno. It was so unfortunate. So unnecessary." For Jack's report,click here

April 8, 2015
There was a time in America’s Cup lore when there was only one objective: win. It wasn’t about entertainment, it was about victory. Nobody gave a rat’s ass about it being a close competition. The bigger delta the better, television audience be damned.
But now, the objective for the 35th America’s Cup is to be good theater.
Produce a worthy show to attract fans and sponsors. Have the boats be near-equal to insure close racing. Minimize any performance advantage gained from large budgets. Make the pitch fair and level, play the game, and spray champagne when it’s over.
How times change!
The recent switch from AC62s to AC48s was a move in this direction. The decision was supported by the Brits and the French, which needed a cheaper boat, while the Swedes – which might be the richest challenger – just wanted to help their competitors.
No word yet if there is a new sportsmanship award.
Now we hear that the defender Oracle Team USA will provide their America’s Cup Class yacht design to the France and will collaborate with the French challenge. Is this what George L. Schuyler meant when he deeded the trophy to be a “friendly competition between foreign countries.”
Is Bermuda mellowing the America’s Cup? The only aspect of this event that resembles the past are the Dark ‘n’ Stormys being poured.

April 6, 2015

Bruno tells it like it is:

Bruno Troublé, a 2007 inductee to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, has immense passion for the event.
After skippering two French challenges in 1977 and 1980, Bruno identified the opportunity to enhance the importance of the challenger selection series of the Cup. In 1983, he worked to create the Louis Vuitton Cup series, which continued until 2007, to select the Cup challenger.
But shifting sands has seen the Louis Vuitton brand lose interest, and while Bruno continued to work tirelessly to maintain the magic and tradition of the America’s Cup, he no longer recognizes what it has become. Here he comments…

I am away on my boat in Venice, enjoying spring in La Serenissima, far from the boiling controversy of the America’s Cup. All those witches and sorcerers trying to do good to the America’s Cup are instead slowly killing her. There have been so many mistakes over the last couple years!
Golden Gate Yacht Club, and their Oracle Team USA, are great sailors but hopeless guards of the Myth. They managed to kill the style and elegance which prevailed for decades, those unique aspects of the America’s Cup for which was our main aim at Louis Vuitton for 30 years.
They have discouraged the high level partners and put an end to the exclusive positioning of THE Cup. They have betrayed the long saga of incredible personalities who made the Cup so special. And they are now organizing a one design catamaran contest with no style and anonymous people beyond the sailing circles.
What we have now is a vulgar beach event smelling of sunscreen and french fries. This is definitely NOT the Cup.

The recent America’s Cup boat change from AC62s to AC48s has been extremely controversial. Never before in the more than century and a half history of the America’s Cup has the boat class been switched in midstream.
This change caused one of the best financed, most experienced teams – Luna Rossa Challenge – to pull out after spending tens of millions of US dollars. The most experienced AC team, former Cup holder and AC34 match finalist Team New Zealand, teeters on the brink.
While the change was promoted as a cost-savings matter, this commentary will go through the documents and the law regarding that change… and whether this option existed.
Question this commentary. Check it against the documents and the law governing document interpretation, which lawyers and courts call “contractual interpretation.” You can find those rules on the internet or ask your lawyer friends. If anyone claims this analysis is “flawed,” ask what the flaw is and check the documents yourself.
So was the change of boat legal? Let’s see. The documents to consider besides the Dead of Gift are the then governing Protocol (not the current one) and the then governing AC62 Class Rule (again not the current one). The applicable rules of contractual interpretation are simple:
1. In any deal you read all the documents together.
2. Specific provisions take precedence over general provisions.
3. Every provision of the combined documents must be given effect so that no provision is superfluous.
To continue reading, click here.

April 3, 2015

As the oldest international sporting trophy, the America’s Cup is the grandest achievement in sailing. Its attraction has been in its difficulty, and in the people that sought to compete. To climb to the summit was a daunting task but with a clear purpose: to win.
However, now the pursuit of commercial attention is changing the event. Where before the mission of the defender was solely to defend, there is now interest to improve the event’s competitive nature. While the best team should still win, the pitch has leveled to improve the show.
Among the five challengers that has lost patience with the process is Team Luna Rossa Challenge which has now withdrawn from the 35th America’s Cup. Owned by Patrizio Bertelli, the team was created to compete for the 2000 America’s Cup, and has since been an active and honored challenger.
With three of the five challengers dependent on sponsor support, Bertelli was in the minority, as his personal wealth funded the team. His motivation was purely to win, whereas the commercial teams also sought to stay solvent.
Given the change this week to a smaller and more affordable boat for the 35th edition, approved by the majority of entered teams, it is understood that Bertelli has grown tired of the compromises other teams were willing to make.
Here is an excerpt from the statement released by Team Luna Rossa Challenge on Apr 2, 2015:
Team Luna Rossa indeed considers illegitimate the procedure adopted and founded on an evident abuse of process by surreptitious use of procedures to modify the Protocol in order to overturn the Class Rule, which instead requires the unanimity of the teams entered.
This is an attempt to introduce boats that are substantially monotypes and in total contrast with the ultra-centennial tradition of the America’s Cup, not to mention a two-month extension period to introduce further modifications to the rules, decided by the majority.
All of the above contributes to a lack of credibility and uncertain technical grounds for what should instead be the most sophisticated sailing competition in the world.
“In sports, as in life, one cannot always go for compromise, after compromise, after compromise,” states team owner Patrizio Bertelli. “Sometimes it is necessary to make decisions that are painful but must be clear cut, as only these can make everybody aware of the drifts of the system and therefore set the basis for the future: respect of legality and sportsmanship”.
Editor’s note: The AC World Series was to have four events in 2015, with the first event to be June 4-7 in Cagliari, Italy. That event is now cancelled.

Commercial Commissioner comments on Luna Rossa

Bermuda, 04/03/2015

The America’s Cup is disappointed to learn that Luna Rossa intends to withdraw its challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup.

While we have not yet received a formal notice of withdrawal, we take the team’s media statement that they are leaving the America’s Cup as real.

“I know all are disappointed with this decision taken by Luna Rossa, especially based upon their significant history in the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller.

“Since we started the Competitor Forum, I’ve worked closely with skipper Max Sirena on many issues facing the America’s Cup and our teams. We offered a range of solutions for reducing costs by introducing a new America’s Cup Class. Unfortunately Luna Rossa wasn’t prepared to accept the majority decision, as written in accordance with the rules of the event.

“It’s difficult to understand this withdrawal when our shared purpose has been to control expenses, encourage additional entries and build a better future for the Cup. It’s even more puzzling as it was Luna Rossa who insisted on the switch to majority rule on these issues.

“But looking at the bigger picture, the America’s Cup is now more accessible for new teams and with a new generation of people like Ben Ainslie, Nathan Outteridge, Jimmy Spithill, Franck Cammas and Pete Burling we have a strong foundation for a very competitive event.”

Statement from Artemis Racing, BAR, Team France, ORACLE TEAM USA

Bermuda, 04/03/2015

We are disappointed to see how Team New Zealand are characterizing the rule changes that reflect the collective will of the America’s Cup teams.

During discussions last month, ALL six teams, including Team new Zealand, agreed on the need to change to a smaller boat to reduce costs.

While Luna Rossa supported a less dramatic change, a majority of teams agreed on what has become the America’s Cup Class, a new rule written in consultation with ALL teams, with drafts of the rule sent to ALL teams for comment and feedback.

Each team that voted for this new America's Cup Class made compromises and sacrifices to get this done for the betterment of the America’s Cup.

Taking these important decisions by a majority vote is something that was insisted upon by Luna Rossa and written into the rules of the event.

Regrettably, abiding by the results of the majority vote appears to be something neither they, nor Team New Zealand, are willing to do... unless they are part of the majority.

We hope that Team New Zealand can see a way forward, as we all have, and look forward to racing them in the Americas Cup World Series later this year.

- On behalf of Ben Ainslie (BAR), Franck Cammas (Team France), Iain Percy (Artemis Racing), Jimmy Spithill (ORACLE TEAM USA)

April 2, 2015

This website can be accessed for free, just click on the yellow dialog box like you were signing up.  The videos are good.

Let me show you, in the Cup Experience Club. Do you get as frustrated as I was? Tired of press releases long on spin but short on details? Websites and magazines with plenty of “news” but not much depth? Would you like someone to show you the details hidden in the eye candy photos and videos? Wouldn’t you like to find a forum for intelligent conversation? Well, those frustrations made me start the Cup Experience Club. Webcasts. Unique content. Insider details like these photos and videos of the AC45 “turbo” boats.
Join today. Membership fees start at zero.
The six current entries to the 35th America’s Cup were asked to vote March 31 on proposed changes aimed at significantly reducing costs for the 2017 America’s Cup. A simple majority was needed, and achieved. Here is the result:
* After the AC62 was announced in June 2014 as the new Class for the 35th edition, a downsized version will now be used. The new class will cost much less over the life of a campaign, with the expectation it will be used in the next edition of the America’s Cup as well, in order to lower the barrier to entry. A majority of the teams has also now indicated a preference that all of the racing in 2017 be conducted at a single venue, Bermuda, which changes an earlier plan to have the America’s Cup Qualifiers, which were to be the first elimination series, in Auckland, New Zealand. Full report.
* Under the original Protocol, the America’s Cup Qualifiers venue was to be announced by the 15th February 2015. This requirement was fulfilled on this date with the announcement to the teams that Auckland would be the location of the Qualifiers. Now that a majority of the teams have voted to change the location, Emirates Team New Zealand has filed an application to the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel to reinstate Auckland as the qualifier venue based on a signed and accepted bid, notified to the teams in accordance with the Protocol.Full report.
* Luna Rossa Challenge, which had threatened to withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup if the proposed changes were approved, has declined comment at this time.
* The new America’s Cup Class Rule, which describes a boat of 48-feet, is nearly the same in concept as the AC62 Class Rule. The hulls, cross-structure, and wing will be built by the teams, but will be tightly constrained by one design type standards. The area of minimal constraint will be in the daggerboard and rudders. Pete Melvin, who was involved in drafting the new rule, provides an update on the process. Click here.
April 1, 2015

Is this an April Fool's announcement?

America’s Cup teams usher in new era

Bermuda, 04/01/2015

© ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload

© ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload

© ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload

© ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-RagetDownload
The America’s Cup teams have agreed to make changes aimed at significantly reducing costs for the 2017 America’s Cup.

Central to these changes is the introduction of an exciting new America’s Cup Class - a wing-sailed, foiling catamaran between 45 and 50 feet.

“The move to the new America's Cup Class is a major step forward for the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller, following the vote.

“Collectively, the teams have agreed current costs are neither justified, nor sustainable, and a majority have together taken a sensible course of action to cut costs. I believe this puts the America’s Cup on a firm foundation for today and for the future.”

Crucially, the new class will cost much less over the life of a campaign, with potential savings across design, build and operations, making it a revolutionary cost-saving measure for the sport in both the short and long term.

“The changes being made are to reduce the current costs and complexity which are barriers to new teams wishing to enter the America’s Cup,” said Iain Percy, the team manager for Artemis Racing.

A majority of the current teams favored the new class, with the expectation it will be used in the next edition of the America’s Cup as well, in order to lower the barrier to entry - both technological and financial - to new teams.

Looking towards the future, the new America’s Cup Class will put the event on a path towards economic sustainability. Numerous one-design components will focus the design effort on areas that have an impact on performance, cutting costs significantly, but not diminishing the design challenge.

“The America's Cup - like Formula One - has to be a design race as well as a race on the water,” noted Ben Ainslie, the team principal at Ben Ainslie Racing. “That has always been part of the Cup’s appeal. That is what attracts some of the world’s best engineers - people like Adrian Newey, who has shown a real passion for the design challenge of the America’s Cup.”

“This wasn’t an easy process,” admitted ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The established teams, ourselves included, were well down the path of designing an AC62. But there is a bigger picture to consider. We needed to bring the costs down, but we had to respect the design component of the event as that’s always been one of the biggest challenges in winning the America’s Cup.”

The savings the competitors will realize in this edition of the Cup may spark additional entries, with at least one potential team from Asia expected to challenge and other international teams considering their options.

“To be a global success, the America’s Cup needs to be accessible to the best teams, not just the biggest and wealthiest ones,” said Franck Cammas, the skipper of Team France. “So we must change in this way.”

“While it’s true there are a few critics of this move, we have to adjust to the time. This is a rule that provides the essential of the America’s Cup - the design challenge, the sport, the athletic spectacle - without such a prohibitive cost,” said Olympic medalist Roland Gaebler who has been working to establish a German Challenge. “My focus had been on the next America’s Cup but with these changes we may be able to accelerate that.”

The rule changes were passed by a majority vote of the Competitor Forum, comprising the six teams currently entered in the America’s Cup. An updated Protocol and a new Class Rule will be published this week.

A majority of the teams has also now indicated a preference that all of the racing in 2017 be conducted at a single venue, Bermuda. The America’s Cup Event Authority will consider this in nominating a venue for the America’s Cup Qualifiers.

March 31, 2015

by Sir Ben Ainslie, skipper, British challenger
Recent negotiations between teams in the Americas Cup have created a lot of attention but the reality is these are hugely critical and exciting times for sport’s oldest international competition and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
An impending vote by all of the teams will rule whether or not a new, more dynamic ‘AC Class’ will be implemented. It is a big call but the right one to make the Cup the sustainable event that it needs to become.
By reducing the size of the catamarans from 62ft to something nearer to the 45-footers we have all been developing over the last few months, and by standardizing certain elements of the boat, we can all make savings.
This would in turn make it more attractive to new teams, sponsors and markets. The one thing the America’s Cup has always lacked is continuity and this is what we need to create to entice new broadcasters, media and fans, fostering a long-term vision for the commercial future of the Cup.
Personally, I do not just think this is a good idea; I think it is absolutely essential for the long-term good of the Cup. Without making radical changes, the America’s Cup will never reach it’s potential commercially. Even after the amazing spectacle in San Francisco in 2013, new teams and sponsors are hugely supportive of certainty in a sustainable event.
Of course it is disappointing that a very small number of teams are arguing against the proposals but in some ways it is inevitable. In the case of Team New Zealand, their argument against change is purely focused on their desire to host part of the qualifying series in NZ, at huge expense and competitive disadvantage to all of the other teams.
The Kiwis believe that voting against a smaller boat and cost saving is their best chance of guaranteeing the NZ event and with it substantial government funding. It is therefore crucial that the majority of teams hold firm in making these changes which would continue to take the world’s oldest international sporting trophy into the modern era.
I’ve noticed a bit of criticism out there from dyed-in-the-wool America’s Cup followers but the truth is most people would not even notice the difference in size of boat. They will still be spectacular boats, they will still fly out of the water on hydrofoils at phenomenal speeds, they will still be crewed by incredible athletes.
If anything, the racing may even be better as the boats will be more manoeuvrable. Certainly they will be better suited to the Bermuda race course. The America’s Cup would remain the pinnacle of world sailing. – The Telegraph, full story.

(March 30, 2015) – The six teams entered in the America’s Cup will vote this week on whether to adopt a new America’s Cup Class that will significantly reduce costs. Competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup are proposing changes to reduce the size of the boat from the AC62, which had previously been announced in June 2014. The new America’s Cup Class under consideration is a wing-sailed, foiling catamaran between 45 and 50 feet. The boat would make its debut for racing in Bermuda in 2017. Click headline for full report.

March 30, 2015

It is hard to argue that the America's Cup is fueled as much by controversy as competition. The latest dispute surrounds the AC62, which was revealed in June 2014 as the platform to be used in the 2017 event. But now there is a proposal to reduce the boat size, perhaps between 45 to 50 feet.
Among the five challengers, the Italian team Luna Rossa Challenge, is distinctly opposed to the proposal, and threatening to withdraw from the America's Cup, Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck spoke with Defense CEO Russell Coutts for an update:
What are the factors behind this proposal to downscale the boat?
A lot was learned this past February, when Oracle and Artemis were sailing their modified AC45 turbo sport boats on San Francisco Bay. These were launched as design test platforms, but when you look at the video images, we found the boats to be presenting well on camera, which is where most of your sponsorship value lies. We also saw them going basically the same speeds as the AC72s, and this was just after launching them. Plus they have improved maneuverability than the bigger boat.
(Editor's note: Here are photos and videos of the AC45 Turbo: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5)
So to downscale the boat, we would not be giving up much visually, and there would be significant cost savings. This change would have an immediate impact. We are currently going through the final entry process. We look to already have one additional challenger from Asia, and if we downscale the boat we might possibly have two additional teams, plus it would allow the French team to have a competitive budget.
There’s probably no question that the bigger boats are grander, and in some ways more spectacular, but one of the great lessons from the last America’s Cup Final was that if we can have close racing amongst good teams, than that becomes more of the focus.
When you look at all the factors, the argument to move away from a larger platform becomes pretty compelling. It is unfortunate that Luna Rossa does not see it this way, and seeks to make no changes, which in our view is to keep the cost of the competition high. Yes, we made some progress when we conceived the AC62, but nothing like if we further downscaled the size of the boat.
During the build-up toward the 34th America’s Cup in 2013, it was widely agreed that the AC72 was too expensive and complex, and did not need to be as big to gain attention. But a lot now has transpired. Foiling is more commonplace. Won’t a significant downscale of the boat impact the uniqueness and allure of the America’s Cup?
That has been the concern, but what has my attention is how to get more competitive teams into the game rather than to have something more dramatic. Let’s consider the Deed of Gift match between our team and Alinghi in 2010. These were massive boats, and they were clearly spectacular as a result of their size. But that’s not enough to hold your interest for very long as the racing for the most part was not very compelling.
We saw with the AC72s that they succeeded in providing for compelling racing, but if we stayed with the AC72s, we most certainly would have had less teams. The complexity of the bigger boats cannot be understated, so it is quite hard to be competitive. This leads to dull races.
Much more... click here
It’s times like this when we reflect on what Dennis Conner said. As four-time winner of the America’s Cup, Dennis has seen all forms of finagling when it comes to the event. And when trying to sort out the motivation of others, Dennis cuts to core.
“Bet on self-interest,” he observes. “It’s always running.”
Last week it was announced that the competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup were planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat than the previously announced AC62.
But reducing the boat size was not a new proposal. In fact, this was voted on last year. It failed.
Only two teams, believed to be Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA, supported it then. Why? Kiwis lacked money and Oracle needed entries.
So why is this proposal being floated again?
In February, both Oracle and Artemis Racing launched custom 45-foot test platforms to validate design ideas for their AC62s, and these boats (which look remarkably similar – wink, wink) posted performance numbers close to the AC72s used in the 2013 America’s Cup.
And while speed is important, so is the commercial component, and the test boats looked hot on camera. Little sister had speed and sex appeal. Why pay for Porterhouse when Filet will do?
There are five official challengers, and three of them need money: Brits, French, Kiwis. There is also one team, and possibly two teams, whose entries may be accepted if the budget to compete gets lowered.
But this proposal is still not fully supported.
The Italians don’t want it because they don’t need it. They have money, and are already down the design road toward the AC62. A change now shifts any advantage they have back to the field.
The Kiwis are saying they don’t want it either, a result of a crafty amendment that connects reducing the boat size to simplifying the event schedule.
The first round of qualifying racing was to be held at a separate location from Bermuda, likely in Auckland, which had motivated the New Zealand government to help fund the Kiwi team. But the two venue plan was expensive for everyone else, and now the proposal moves all racing to Bermuda, which could cost the Kiwis their government support.
The only challenger without obvious self-interest is Artemis Racing, backed by billionaire Torbjörn Törnqvist, which doesn’t need a discount. But the Swedish team is chummy with Oracle and the Brits, so that alliance may offer equity in the future.
The phones were busy this past weekend to get everyone on the same page. The Italians have already threatened to withdraw if the proposal is passed, and the Kiwis may not be far behind.
Teams are being asked to vote on the proposals this week. A simple majority is all that’s needed. Standing by for the count…

March 27, 2015

When it was announced on March 25 that the competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup were planning to implement changes to reduce the size of the boat from thepreviously announced AC62, the news came as a strong and significant shift of course.
However, one team clearly not onboard are the Italians that issued this statement on March 26:
“Team Luna Rossa Challenge is distinctly opposed to the proposal to change the Class Rule for the 35th America’s Cup and therefore the boat that was previously accepted by all challengers on June 5th 2014.”
The idea of changing the boat size has been floated for some time.
“Part the way through the venue process in 2014, we discussed with the teams downscaling the size of the boats to give us more room to maneuver with some of the venues under consideration,” said America’s Cup defense CEO Russell Coutts in December. “It was quite an intense and robust discussion, with consideration also toward moving these boats around the world, the future of these boats, the costs, and so forth, how many crew they should have. But the teams didn’t vote for downsizing, for various good reasons actually.”
And now months later, Emirates Team New Zealand questions the process for change on their Facebook page:
“Since then time has passed with teams well advanced in their design process now and any ideas around change will need the full consultation and support of all the teams.”
Coutts explains that Pete Melvin, who was involved in creating the design rule for the AC72 used in 2013, and the AC62 that had been planned for 2017, has been retained by the teams to propose revised specifications:
“A length somewhere between 45-50′ seems to be the consensus, enabling the boat parts to fit into a container, however, the beam and wing height are probably more important considerations than the length in terms of performance. It is a pity we didn’t get this over the line a while back when it was first proposed but better late than never.”
However, according to their statement, the Italian team is not willing to accept any change to the boat size:
“If the principle of unanimity of all challengers required to change the Class Rule were not to be respected, Luna Rossa will be obliged to withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup.”
There are currently five challengers, with the Italians expected to be among the favorites.
To complicate matters further, the Italian team was to host the first of four America’s Cup World Series events in 2015, but now say that an effort to change from the AC 62 will jeopardize the organization of the Cagliari, Sardinia event planned to take place from June 4 to June 7.
Staying silent has been the government of Bermuda, though likely wondering if any proposed changes may impact the financial benefit they hoped to gain from the US$77 million package they have committed to be the host of the 2017 event.
The teams will be asked to vote on rule changes to the boat before the end of March. As “the principle of unanimity” is not required, standing by for what changes are made and whether the Italians will stay or go
During the build-up toward the 34th America’s Cup in 2013, it was widely agreed that the AC72 was too big, too expensive, too complicated. While it seemed appropriate when first conceived, the boat proved to be more than what was needed. A smaller boat would sufficiently fill the broadcast screen while still providing riveting performance.
So for the 35th America’s Cup, the AC62 rule was created to make amends for the overreach in the previous edition. However, in the time that rule was released in June 2014, enough of the competitors are now thinking it’s an overreach too. So rather than potentially face another size reduction in the 36th America’s Cup, there is an effort to make that change now.
But how do you make a change now, with the teams already at work on their AC62 design? Peter Rusch, Communications Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority, provides this explanation:
The relevant rules are in the Protocol and how to amend the Protocol (Article 20), and similarly in the Class Rule and how to amend (section 4).
For the Protocol, Article 20.2 says it may only be amended with agreement of Golden Gate Yacht Club (club of the Defender) and the Challenger Committee. The part of the Protocol that establishes the Challenger Committee indicates it operates on simple majority vote. Nowhere in the Protocol does it say the Challenger Committee needs more than a majority vote.
The Protocol also provides that the America’s Cup Qualifiers, the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs and the Match must be raced in yachts that conform to the AC62 Class Rule. That is the operative provision that has to be changed in the Protocol (amongst other cross-references). To make that change requires a Protocol amendment, so the simple majority of the Challenger Committee would apply.
The AC62 Class Rule provides for a different standard of approval required for any amendment to the rule (unanimity after March 31st), but the proposal is not to amend the AC62 Class Rule.
Rather, as above, the proposal is to amend the Protocol to introduce an entirely new class of yachts to be raced in 2017. The AC62 Class Rule will remain unchanged, but with no effect after the Protocol has been changed to provide that those yachts won’t be raced.
The rule changes are now being drafted and teams will be asked to vote on these changes before the end of March.
March 26,2015

The competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup are planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat than the previously announced AC62.
“After reviewing prototypes of the new AC45 sports boats being tested on the water over the past several months, it is clear that if we raced smaller boats in 2017, we could dramatically reduce costs without sacrificing any of the spectacle or the design, engineering and athletic challenge fundamental to the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller.
“We have a responsibility to think of what is best for the long term health of the America’s Cup as well as improving the value equation for team principals and partners. Racing a smaller boat in 2017 and beyond is a big step in the right direction.
“The existing operational costs of teams is much too high with a boat like the AC62. We discussed making this change early last year at a Competitors meeting in London but at that stage only ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand were in favor of using a smaller boat.
“But now that the teams have seen these new boats in action there is a clear majority of competitors who support the idea. I’d like to be able to say we have unanimous support from all the teams but that is not the case.”
Boat speed in the new boat is expected to be similar to what was achieved in the last America’s Cup through increased time foiling and advances in design and engineering.
Click headline for full report.
The competitors and organizers of the 2017 America’s Cup are planning to implement a series of rule changes to dramatically reduce team operational costs, primarily by racing in a smaller boat.

“After reviewing prototypes of the new AC45 sports boats being tested on the water over the past several months, it is clear that if we raced smaller boats in 2017, we could dramatically reduce costs without sacrificing any of the spectacle or the design, engineering and athletic challenge fundamental to the America’s Cup,” said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller.

“We have a responsibility to think of what is best for the long term health of the America’s Cup as well as improving the value equation for team principals and partners. Racing a smaller boat in 2017 and beyond is a big step in the right direction.

“The existing operational costs of teams is much too high with a boat like the AC62. We discussed making this change early last year at a Competitors meeting in London but at that stage only ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand were in favor of using a smaller boat.

“But now that the teams have seen these new boats in action there is a clear majority of competitors who support the idea. I’d like to be able to say we have unanimous support from all the teams but that is not the case.”

Boat speed in the new boat is expected to be similar to what was achieved in the last America’s Cup through increased time foiling and advances in design and engineering.

“This will be a big change, but it is a necessary one if we are to create a sustainable America's Cup for the future,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper and team principal of Ben Ainslie Racing. “These boats will create a significant cost saving whilst still providing a real challenge for sailors and designers alike.”

“For Team France this will be a game-changer,” said skipper Franck Cammas. “We will be able to have a very competitive team for about half the budget. With the smaller boat we can imagine that a budget between €15-20 million would be enough to win the America’s Cup.”

To lock in the cost saving measures over the long-term several competitors, including Artemis Racing, have committed to using the new smaller class in the next edition of the America’s Cup should they prevail in this one.

“These changes may help some current teams be more competitive, but this is clearly also about building the future of the America’s Cup,” said Iain Percy, the team manager of Artemis Racing.

“By making a commitment now to using the smaller boat next time, it will be that much easier for new teams to join as they’ll have access to existing boats and technology. So this has required us to look a little bit beyond the scope of ‘what’s in it for us?’.”

The rule changes are being drafted and teams will be asked to vote on these changes before the end of March.

March 22, 2015

Bermuda will be the venue for the 35th America’s Cup. It’s a brand new race track for foiling multihulls, and Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) were the first to test it back in January. It was immediately clear that it would be much more of a strategic and tactical test than the drag-race that dominated the 34th Cup match in San Francisco.
Sailing Manager Jono Macbeth and new Team Coach Rob Wilson will lead the project to develop a playbook for foiling multihulls on Bermuda’s Great Sound, with the team now training on two foiling Nacra F20 Carbon FCS catamarans to learn about the America’s Cup course.
When Bermuda threw its hat into the ring as a potential venue for the 35th Cup, it was already a familiar venue to many who had competed in the Newport to Bermuda Race or the World Match Racing Tour event, the Gold Cup. However, no one had ever looked at the Great Sound with a view to racing 62 foot foiling America’s Cup.
So charts were quickly unrolled, distances were measured, weather data was analysed and heads were scratched. The team spent over a week at the venue for a training session at the end of January, and when they came home, Sailing Manager Jono Macbeth commented:
“We turned up in Bermuda with preconceived ideas about how big the race course was going to be, where it was going to be, the wind directions and strengths. It’s not until you’re there on the ground that you really get a good feel for what’s going on. And one thing we learned was that the race course is going to be pretty small, it’s going to be tight, and there’s going to be a lot of manoeuvring. This is a sailor’s race course, and we knew that we had to get back there as soon as we could for more detailed analysis.”
Click headline for full report.

March 16, 2015

In the absence of America's Cup racing, we instead have America's Cup lawyering, in which we get a look at the rarely disclosed world of sailor payment. To help navigate these waters, Scuttlebutt legal analyst Cory E. Friedman provides this report....
In today’s media market, if it bleeds it leads, and the arrest of an AC 45 owned by Oracle Racing, Larry Ellison’s America's Cup (AC) racing team, has been headlined around the world and even made the Wall Street Journal – not to mention generating oceans of schadenfreude. So let us cut through the hype and take a look at what is actually happening. This is the entitled world of Oracle Racing and strange things happen.

Joseph Spooner is a former AC grinder. He pumped hydraulic fluid, much like the belt on many motor vehicles that turns the power steering pump that aids turning the front wheels when the driver turns the steering wheel. According to the recommendation Jimmy Spithill wrote for his visa application and the cardio numbers he has submitted to the Federal Court in San Francisco, he was an excellent grinder in top physical condition.
But even top grinders do not win MacArthur Genius Grants, Nobel Prizes or Knighthoods, and are hardly unique. According to alleged comments about his age allegedly foolishly made by Russell Coutts, who should know that commenting on the age of employees is legally taboo, he is an aging grinder in the new youth oriented AC in which, as Dean Barker recently learned, 40 is the new 70.

Immediately following the AC 34 victory in San Francisco in 2013, Oracle Racing and Spooner entered into what amounted to a preliminary contract to run through AC 35 which was intended to be superseded by a final, much more detailed, contract, but never was. As headlined in the press, Spooner’s compensation was generous -- US$25,000/month plus a US$4,000/month housing allowance plus many other benefits including, for example, annual tickets back to New Zealand for the family.
Given his age, AC 35 might well have been Spooner’s valedictory and he then could have moved into some other less physically demanding AC related role. Now he likely is done as a professional sailor.

After signing the preliminary contract Oracle announced that AC 35 would be in Bermuda and Spooner discovered that Bermuda is even more expensive than San Francisco (hard to believe, but I am not making this up) and a three bedroom home meeting his family standards could not be rented for US$4,000/month (the Bermuda Dollar is at par with the US dollar). He apparently did not feel he should pay any of his housing costs out of salary as most of us do.

Therefore, he demanded a raise if he was to relocate to Bermuda. On behalf of Oracle Racing, Grant Simmer told him no to the raise, exercised the termination for any reason on two weeks’ notice provision of the preliminary contract, for which he would be paid two weeks wages, and basically told him not to let the door hit him in the ass on his way out. - Read on

March 10, 2015

Auckland, NZL (March 11, 2015) – Departing America’s Cup skipper Dean Barker says Team New Zealand is trying to “rewrite history” with their version of his split from the team. And the ousted skipper is weighing up a move to another America’s Cup syndicate. The Kiwi team yesterday said Barker had rejected a coaching position offered, ending his 20-year career with Team NZ. Click headline for full report.

March 9, 2015

(March 9, 2015) – Federal marshals seized America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA’s prototype boat in San Francisco on Monday, before it could be shipped out of the country, in response to a lien filed by a fired sailor. Marshals went to the team’s base at Pier 80 and determined that the souped-up, 45-foot catamaran and its various components and wing sail were in three shipping containers the team was preparing to send to Bermuda. Marshals Service spokesman Frank Conroy said the containers were stickered and locked. In maritime law terms, the boat was arrested. Click headline for full story.

(March 9, 2015) – Speaking on behalf of Emirates Team New Zealand, Chairman Keith Turner today confirmed that Dean Barker has decided not to accept the position of Performance Manager/Coach and Executive Team Member offered to him following a four month period of restructure at ETNZ. “We are disappointed that we have lost Dean from the team and hold him in the highest regard, but he has made it clear throughout this restructure process that he saw he was best suited to a role on the water as Skipper or sailing director.” Click headline for full story.

March 6, 2015

The 34th America’s Cup saw a lot of change. Multihulls with shoreside spectating was a lot of change. Broadcast tools to make sailing understandable was a lot of change. The over-riding mission was to make the America’s Cup into a consumable product that could be commercially sold.
Key to that mission was to quicken the pace. The result would be the ‘made for television’ plan of races having a 40 minute time limit, and for two races fitting into a two hour time slot.
While short races were not in the DNA of the America’s Cup, all sports are seeking to adapt with an evolving society. A report in the NY Times by Christopher Clarey explains… here is an excerpt:

On a summer evening in Sydney in January, two former Grand Slam champions, John McEnroe and Patrick Rafter, played an abbreviated version of tennis. Rafter won the exhibition match by the strange and truncated score of 4-3, 4-1.
“It’s whatever the crowd wants; whatever TV wants,” Rafter said of the new format, called Fast4. “I think the Grand Slams will always stay their way, but for the other events, if this is what the fans want, this is what we should be playing.”
Tennis — be it professional or recreational — is not yet on the brink of abandoning its traditional scoring system. But the market-driven, youth-driven thinking that was behind that January experiment is part of a global trend that continues to accelerate.
In a world where attention spans are under duress and where big-screen and small-screen entertainment options are proliferating by the hour, sports are increasingly focused on not only making their formats more compact but on making the most of literally every second.
Consider the package of initiatives announced by Major League Baseball that is designed to pick up the pace of play by trying, among other line items, to keep dallying hitters in the batter’s box (a pitch clock could be next).
Consider the N.B.A.’s preseason experiment in October with 11-minute quarters and a 44-minute game instead of its usual 12-minute quarters and a 48-minute game. Or golf’s ongoing fight against slow play. Or look at FIFA’s adoption of vanishing spray at last year’s World Cup; one of its biggest selling points was how quickly it did away with much of the interminable stalling and haggling before free kicks.
Such measures look cosmetic compared with more radical changes such as cricket’s successful adoption of the Twenty20 format. A complementary 21st-century version of the game, it was begun in 2003 and allows matches to be completed in about three hours instead of multiple days. It has radically altered the perception of the slow-paced sport even as the longer, traditional versions of cricket continue to be contested.
“They put their heads together and found a way,” Kristick said. “For me, that’s a step change, and that certainly is going to speak to a wider and newer audience and, by default, a younger audience. I honestly don’t know if baseball reducing a few minutes here or there will address youth issues without addressing the bigger challenges.”
But then reaching youth is not just about streamlining the product. It is about breaking up the main meal into bite-size portions that can be easily shared on social media.
Much more… CLICK HERE

March 4, 2015

Quieting the critics
Team New Zealand leader Grant Dalton is the man who goes into the board rooms and gets the sponsors for the team. The Kiwi America's Cup team would not exist without sponsors. Whether or not this is a popular decision is not relevant, and even Mr. Coutts said that this was a difficult task, and Dalton is better at it than anyone else.
Dean Barker is a great guy and a fine sailor, but the decision to hire Peter Burling was made a long time ago, and was never a secret. However, the fact that the Cup was lost cannot be blamed on any member of the team, but was a matter of money.
Oracle owner Larry Ellison was not going to lose the Cup; no matter what it cost and he is the fifth wealthiest man in the world. Ellison spent over $250 million to win the race and their computerized foiling system was well beyond the Kiwi's capability (and arguably illegal too).
The public should also know that ETNZ brought in enough business into New Zealand. The $36 million taxpayer investment was deemed to show a positive impact of $87 million to the New Zealand economy. Wouldn't everyone be glad to get that kind of return on their investment?
The Cup was not lost due to any mistakes made by Dalton or Barker. The fastest boat wins and a computer aided system will beat manpower every day of the week. Oracle only came back to win the Cup, after their team mastered the use of that computer.
These are the facts. All the complainers are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.
- Julie Aarons-McColm

March 2, 2015

Test AC62 design ideas on your development AC45. Race your one design AC45 in the AC World Series. How many races do you need to win? Why do you need to win fleet races? When to launch your AC62? And where? When to move to Bermuda? Bermuda’s not San Francisco – short courses, multiple laps, lots of maneuvers – how’s your crew work? What’s the course layout? Get the answers in the FREE Cup Experience newsletter. Content you won’t find anywhere else – design details, crew choreography, rules and penalties – AC World Series, challenger selection and the AC Match. Sign up here, today!
If only June could come quicker. That will be the start of the America’s Cup World Series in Italy, which offers the opportunity to showcase elite racing. But in the absence of America’s Cup competition, the focus aims elsewhere.
While most of the AC news has come from Bermuda, which gives every appearance of being a small town desperate for recession recovery, the prominent Team New Zealand has been owning the media spotlight now for two weeks. Here’s what we’ve learned.
- Skipper Dean Barker has been moved out. Young blood has been moved in. Click
- Barker is not happy with being considered old. Anybody that is already old can relate. Click
- Barker and team managing director Grant Dalton are not mates. Barker’s outster has set their relationship back further. Click
- Billionaire Matteo de Nora, the Swiss-Italian who has poured millions into Team NZ, has given his full backing to the team and its administration. Click
- Bermuda is a bummer, seriously impacting the team’s finances and sponsorship funding, reducing the budget by some $20 million. Click
- Passionate Kiwis have lost some passion for the team. So has the Kiwi media. Click
What the Kiwis need now is a distraction. Will the French declare they lack funding to go forward? Will the mystery Asian team finally step out of the shadows? Will a Bermuda budget crisis boil over? Something, anything for the attention to turn away from the Kiwis.
For a full index of America’s Cup stories, either click this tag or the America’s Cup link on the home page of the Scuttlebutt website.
Feb. 27, 2015

Auckland, NZL (February 26, 2015) – Emirates Team New Zealand announced today it had completed the restructuring process that came out of the team-wide review after the 2013 America’s Cup, and Dean Barker will no longer be at the helm for the team.
Wing trimmer in 2013 Glenn Ashby has been appointed Sailing Director and he and Peter Burling will take on helming duties. Ashby is a multiple world and Australian champion in three multihull classes and Burling is current world Moth and, with Blair Tuke, 49er world champion.
Barker, who has led the team since the 2003 America’s Cup, has advanced three time to the America’s Cup finals before losing each match.
Emirates Team New Zealand wants to retain Barker’s services as Performance Manager and Sailing Coach with a place on the executive committee. The team has now made a formal offer to Dean which he is still considering.
“We’re hoping to retain Dean’s 20 years of America’s Cup experience in Emirates Team New Zealand but we also acknowledge it is time for new blood to be given the chance at the helm of the country’s challenger,” CEO Grant Dalton said.
When rumors of the change leaked last week, the team denied that Barker had been replaced on the helm. However, now that the review period is complete, the team is ready to reveal the change.
The team, which relies heavily on government and sponsorship funding, also revealed that as a result of Bermuda being named the venue for the next America’s Cup series, it has had a serious impact on the team’s finances and sponsorship funding, reducing the budget by some $20 million.
As a result, the team has had to reduce its remuneration budget and each team member has, as a result, taken a significant pay cut.
Additionally several million dollars has been axed from the operations budget leading to the scrapping of one of the foiling AC45s that we had planned and, consequently, the elimination of one of the planned helmsman positions.
The Halsey Street, Auckland, base will be fully operational from Monday, March 2, with 50 people signed on to begin working full time.
Work will start immediately on modifying an AC45 catamaran to foil in time for the first America’s Cup World Series regatta that is scheduled to take place at Cagliari, Italy in June.
MORE: Dean Barker spoke exclusively to John Campbell of 3 News about how he learnt of his position within Team New Zealand and he is “absolutely gutted” about the way Team New Zealand management has treated him: CLICK HERE

Feb. 23, 2015
Fun video of the turbo 45 in SF Bay

San Francisco Bay has been busy with America's Cup activity since the launch of the new AC 45 Turbo, a scaled down version of the AC 62 which will be used in the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. Click above for videos.

Taxes and Lawyers.  What else is new?
by Dana Johannsen, New Zealand Herald
Auckland, NZL (February 22, 2015) – A furious Dean Barker has called in the lawyers as the bitter battle over his future with Team New Zealand intensifies.
Barker was left shell-shocked at leaks to media this week that he was to be axed as skipper of the America’s Cup syndicate. His lawyers have written to the syndicate’s board seeking a “please explain” over his treatment.
The campaign for the 2017 regatta in Bermuda was already mired in controversy over taxpayer funding, and now the Herald on Sunday has learned the relationship between Barker and syndicate boss Grant Dalton has been toxic for some time, and that they rarely speak. It emerged this week that Barker only learned he was to be replaced at the helm of Team New Zealand by young sailing star Peter Burling after reading it on Facebook.
The leak occurred while Barker was in negotiations with Team New Zealand top brass. It is understood one of the options being discussed was for Barker to be replaced as skipper, but to retain a leading role within the team.
That now appears unlikely, with the Herald on Sunday learning last night that Barker – left in tears after Team NZ’s heartbreaking loss to Oracle in the 2013 America’s Cup – is set to walk away from the crew if Dalton remains in charge of the syndicate.
A source close to the team said if Barker moves on he will reject any imposition of a gagging order and is preparing to reveal all.
“He wants his chance to share his side of the story and New Zealand deserves to hear it,” the source said.
The explosive legal move comes as a source close to Barker told the Herald on Sunday the yachtsman was struggling to come to terms with how his likely axing was made public.
“Dean is having a hard time. It’s not easy for him at the moment, we’re talking about 20 years of service,” the source said. “It’s all a shock that this has come out in the media, that he has not been told, but it has been leaked – and Dean has a good understanding of who this has come from.
“I do not know why he [the leaker] would want to do this, or what good this actually is doing for Team NZ. It’s a total mess. The history and brand of Team NZ is being destroyed.” – Full story
Editor’s note: As Warren Zevon sang, “I’m a desperate man, send lawyers, guns and money, the shit has hit the fan.”
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Tax increases are on the way at the pump, at the airport and in the paycheque as just three ways the Bermuda Government is seeking more money for the 2015-16 Budget, reports.
Finance Minister Bob Richards said “in order to reduce the deficit, the Government considers it appropriate now to strengthen the tax base.”
Increases can be expected on Payroll Tax, Land Tax on commercial buildings, Corporate Service Taxes, Customs Duty on fuel, Airport Departure Tax and other fees as part of Government’s strategy to overcome an estimated deficit of $220 million.
Government spending on the America’s Cup is broken down into three areas: $37M on infrastructure and services; $15M in sponsorship and a $25M sponsorship guarantee.
While that total adds to $77M, it does not mean Government will spend that much. He said the “sponsorship guarantee is not money spent by the government, but rather an underwriting of private sponsors. That underwriting will be reduced as additional commercial sponsorships facilitated by Bermuda come on line and by a proportion of admissions revenues earned up until August 2017.
“The claim that the America’s Cup will cost the Bermuda government $77 million is false. That statement assumes that the America’s Cup in Bermuda will be an abysmal failure with no sponsors. That type of thinking only guarantees failure as an outcome.”
The Government expects the America’s Cup to inject $250 million into the economy over the next two years, reports

Feb. 20, 2015

The oddness is getting really odd!

The AC45 “4 Oracle Team USA” may soon be arrested by the U.S. Marshals at its berth in San Francisco, pursuant to a lawsuit filed in Federal Court by a former crew member against America’s Cup defender Oracle Racing and the AC45 itself.
Joe Spooner, Oracle Racing’s former grinder and crew for two America’s Cup titles and three Fastnet Race wins, is claiming a seaman’s lien against the vessel for approximately $725,000 in unpaid wages, plus punitive damages, for an alleged wrongful discharge by Oracle Team USA.
Under maritime law of the United States, the vessel itself can be sued in Federal Court and be arrested by the U.S. Marshals pending the outcome of the suit.
The AC45 is raced in the America’s Cup World Series and used for America’s Cup training.
The full complaint can be read here.

Feb, 19, 2015
Dean Barker called too old to compete!?!

(February 18, 2015) – It is known as the silly season, that period of time which falls between the end of the previous America’s Cup and that moment when teams hit the water in earnest for the next edition. Now in the silly season, and no team is sillier than Team New Zealand.
Lacking big money backers, their budget is largely derived from commercial and government funding. For a team that is historically the most competitive, they are also among the least stable. Will they be able to find funding for the next America’s Cup? That question is part of their identity.
And just when it appeared the sun was shining on the Kiwis, a cloudburst has occurred.
First, the good news was a result of unconfirmed reports this week which point to Auckland as the venue for the America’s Cup qualifying series in 2017. The government was waiting on this news before finalizing funding for the team, as having all the teams based in Auckland for up to three months would do well for the local economy.
But now the news circulating is that skipper Dean Barker is on the outs. Barker, who has led the team since the 2003 America’s Cup, has advanced three time to the America’s Cup finals before losing each match. Whether this news is true or not is unclear, though the team is sternly denying it through this statement:
“Emirates Team New Zealand, describing as inaccurate media reports this afternoon that Dean Barker had been replaced on the helm, said no decision had been made in relation to helmsman for the America’s Cup 2017. The team had been conducting a review across all operations, the sailing team included, with a view to decreasing costs and increasing competitiveness. The review is continuing.”
Dana Johannsen of the NZ Herald paraphrases the team’s statement: “We’re not saying it isn’t going to happen, it just hasn’t happened yet.” She says the news regarding Barker’s demotion was leaked by an official source high up in the organisation.
The team’s heir apparent is believed to be 24-year old 49er and Moth World Champion Peter Burling, who won the Youth America’s Cup in 2013 and is now a member of the team.
Kiwi America’s Cup veteran Chris Dickson believes the time is right for Peter Burling to take over from Dean Barker at the helm of Team New Zealand’s boat. Dickson says age has caught up with the 42-year-old Barker. Dickson is also adamant that Burling, 24, has the skills for the job.
“Dean Barker has been at the sailing helm of Team New Zealand for about 15 years – that’s a long time. Like very sportsman and sportswoman, there’s a time when your time ends I guess,” Dickson told NewstalkZB this morning.
Dickson felt the top yachting scene, like other areas, was becoming a younger man’s game.
“Unfortunately for men in our world we’re on the slippery, slidey slope from the age of about 23 or 25. Experience obviously helps and covers things but by the time you are into your early or mid 40s as a sportsperson your days are incredibly numbered.
“The younger people are hungrier, they’re faster, they’re quicker, they are going to whip you on the age front. There’s a time when you are too old. Dean’s done a great job but hey, there’s some really, really good guys knocking on the door.”
Standing by for more silliness…

Feb. 18, 2015
Finally some fun stuff.  Turbo 45s on SF Bay.

by Erik Simonson, Pressure Drop
The America’s Cup may have left San Francisco Bay, but not all the teams have. Both defender Oracle Team USA and challenger Artemis Racing are on the water training in new 45-foot test platforms.
“We knew it was a weapon when it was on the drawing board, and it certainly has lived up to those expectations thus far,” says Adam May, Design Coordinator with Artemis Racing. “We call it the AC 45 Turbo, a scaled down version of what we think our AC 62 will be.”
The AC 45 Turbo is not what will be competing in the America’s Cup World Series. Those boats will all be AC 45s with production foil appendages, mechanical conveyances and assorted packages all provided to the teams to keep it a one design competition.
The noticeable difference between the AC 45F, as they are referred to, and the AC 45 Turbo is the later has steering wheels, custom cockpits, and updated consoles.
So why bother with the AC 45 Turbo? “It’s quite simple,” says Pete Melvin of Morelli & Melvin, who assisted in writing the rule for the new AC 62. “They can replicate the thoughts and mechanics of the intended designs at much lesser cost and get the design right before committing to the much more expensive 62.”
When asked if there is an area of great importance with a tiller versus the wheel for the scaled down Turbos, Pete noted how “the immediate feedback after rounding the weather mark, adjusting the rake and attitude of the rudder is critical. Dialing those things in will be keen for success of the crews in the bigger boats.”
Artemis has been taking it slow and gradual with their immersion with the Turbo unit, and the crews are understandably excited every time they get to sail. Mimicking the conditions expected in Bermuda is a goal, and San Francisco Bay in the winter does assist in finding the 10-12 knot wind range and flat seas ideal for that.
“Even in the summer time,” noted May, “the South Bay is right outside our base and can offer conditions ideal for replicating what we expect (12-18 knots) in Bermuda, and to that end we could not be happier.”
The AC 45 Turbo has been tested with a crew of 5, and when queried with the fit of the new coamings and the crews ability to get in and out of them while making maneuvers, and elbow room to do grinding, etc, May indicates “the whole layout was well thought out in advance, and while you can’t miniaturize the crew, you can organize things to be efficient and fluid.”
While the defender will be moving to Bermuda by May, Artemis Racing will remain at their Alameda Base for now. “We discussed our options when the various locations for the AC finals were being decided, and this location with the pleasant weather, large hanger and easy access to the water is fantastic. We could not be happier.”
When asked if they plan on any side by side testing with Oracle Team USA, which has recently launched a strikingly similar AC 45 Turbo platform, May indicated that there were no solid plans at this point.
As far as delivery date for the AC 62, May will not yet commit. “We have target windows on the schedule, but it’s a moving target which will be determined by what we learn with the current testing on the AC 45 Turbo.”
Click here for photos.

Auckland, NZL (February 18, 2015) – America’s Cup challenger Team New Zealand appears set to receive funding from the Government again, well-placed sources have told the NZ Herald. The news comes as unconfirmed reports point to Auckland as the venue for the America’s Cup qualifying series in 2017. Click headline for full report.
Feb. 17, 2015

In the pursuit to transform the America’s Cup into a sporting enterprise that would attract a wide audience, the 34th edition incurred significant changes. In 2013 we saw faster boats, shorter races, and accessible courses merged with ground-breaking broadcast tools. The event was now better packaged for live and recorded viewing.
But the one element that any sport needs to attract spectators is good competition, and during the 2013 Challenger races, there was some bad competition. Heck, there were even one boat races. That is as bad as it gets.
For the 35th America’s Cup, the Defender needed to improve the odds that there would be good Challenger competition. They needed to sell the broadcast rights, and bad races don’t fetch much money.
So a new plan was put in place. The Protocol described an opening qualifying round, possibly at a different venue, possibly four months before the Semi-Final round, which would thin the field to only the best four Challengers. That way, when the cameras rolled in Bermuda, the actors would be ready.
The only problem with this plan is that the Challengers hated it. To get team sponsors, it would be imperative that broadcast exposure would be guaranteed. For a Challenger to get eliminated at an earlier qualifying round, and for the sponsor to not enjoy the bright lights of the America’s Cup, it would be a tough package to sell.
Since the Protocol was released June 2, 2014, the elimination series for the Challengers had been a hot topic. When asked in December, Defense CEO Russell Coutts provided a glimmer that a revised plan was being tooled. “That’s under discussion now, but I’m pretty limited about what I can tell you. What I can tell you is, all of the teams will be going to Bermuda.”
The Protocol stated that the venues and dates of the Challenger elimination plan would be released no later than February 15, 2015, which has reportedly occurred, but only privately to the teams. A public announcement is expected during the first week of March.
So we will wait a few more weeks to learn the news, but a report out of Australia has stated that the opening qualifying round will be held in New Zealand in February 2017. What we don’t know is how teams will advance from there to Bermuda, and then on to the final America’s Cup Match in June of 2017.
Standing by…

Feb. 14, 2015

The 34th America’s Cup was arguably the most exciting in the event’s history.
Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of Oracle Team USA, predicts that the next one — to be held in Bermuda in 2017 — will raise the bar even higher.
At the previous event in San Francisco, where Oracle pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in sports history to retain the ‘Auld Mug’, Coutts said teams committed a lot of mental mistakes in the wing sail foiling AC72 catamaran.
However, he believes they will have learned valuable lessons from those mistakes and now have a better feel for the one design America’s Cup catamarans capable of reaching speeds nearing 50mph.
“You watch those last finals in 2013, there were a lot of mistakes probably because the teams had less time to actually think through their next move and so forth,” the five-time America’s Cup winner said. “It was the first cycle in those boats last time, and next time I think you are going to see the best sailors in the world all be more adapted to it, and as a result the standard will be higher.”
Even though much has changed in the America’s Cup in terms of boat design, Coutts said the art of match racing remains the same.
“It’s the same thought processes with the modern America’s Cup boats,” he said. “But it’s just happening a lot faster. You have a lot less time to plan your move and respond to changes on the race track, whether they be change of wind conditions, or changes responding to what your opposition is doing.”
Coutts said advances in boat design since the previous Cup will also add to the spectacle when Bermuda hosts the America’s Cup World Series in the Great Sound in October as well as the Challenger Trials in 2016 and America’s Cup Match in 2017. – The Royal Gazette, full story

February 12, 2015
This could be fun.  It would be nice to get a ride on one of these beauties!

Majestic J Class yachts to return to America’s Cup waters after eighty years

Bermuda, 02/12/2015

© Jesus RenedoDownload

© Jesus RenedoDownload

© Jesus RenedoDownload

© Jesus RenedoDownload
The majesty of the J Class era will return to the America’s Cup eighty years after the class last raced for the oldest trophy in international sport.

The J Class Association (JCA) and the America’s Cup Event Authority have agreed to stage a J Class regatta in Bermuda in June 2017 between the conclusion of the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs and the America’s Cup Match.

“The J Class era of the America’s Cup is widely recognized as being among the high points in Cup history,” said Russell Coutts, director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

“When racing for the America’s Cup in the 1930s, the J Class boats embodied grace and power with cutting-edge design and engineering. Having the J Class join us in Bermuda will create a spectacular blend between the old and new.”

The J Class boats will be moored in the America’s Cup Village in Dockyard at Bermuda, providing as elegant a sight at rest as their beauty and power are impressive under sail.

Louise Morton from the J Class Association (JCA), commented: “The America’s Cup organizers have offered the J Class a unique opportunity to be part of the America's Cup for the first time in eighty years. On behalf of the Owners, Captains and crew, we are delighted to be part of this spectacular event.”

Racing in the J Class regatta will be organized by the America’s Cup race management team with the final two days of racing expected to straddle the opening weekend of the America’s Cup Match.

The current J Class fleet comprises seven boats, including three original Js, two of which raced for the America’s Cup. The seven J Class boats currently sailing are: Endeavour, Hanuman, Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger, Shamrock V, Velsheda. An eighth J Class yacht is expected to be launched in May 2015.

About the J Class and J Class Association (JCA)
J Class fleet racing is one of the most spectacular sights on the world sailing circuit. The Class continues to expand and the fleet is warmly welcomed by regatta organizers around the world.

For more information on the JCA and J Class, contact or or Official J Class on Facebook

February 9, 2015

TV buys in on the event...

NBC acquires US broadcast rights for the 35th America’s Cup

Bermuda, 02/09/2015

© ACEA / americascup.comDownload

The America’s Cup has selected NBC Sports Group as its partner for the upcoming edition of the America’s Cup - including the America’s Cup World Series events (2015-16), and the America’s Cup Qualifiers, Playoffs and America’s Cup Finals (2017).

“We are delighted to announce this agreement with NBC Sports Group,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. “This is a great deal for the America’s Cup, our teams and our partners. NBC Sports Group’s continued interest reflects the growing popularity, as well as potential additional growth, of the America’s Cup as a major television sport.”

NBC and NBCSN were the US television home for the last America’s Cup, in which ORACLE TEAM USA staged one of the greatest comebacks in sport to retain the trophy for the United States. The television coverage was widely acclaimed and saw the development of the Emmy Award-winning on screen graphics package, AC LiveLine, which enhanced the viewing experience by making the sport more engaging and more easily understood, especially for new fans.

“We are excited to once again showcase the best sailing in the world to a national audience,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC and NBCSN. “The 2013 America’s Cup served as the setting for one of the greatest comebacks in recent sports history, and we will again leverage the full collection of broadcast, cable and online platforms of the NBC Sports Group to present the race for the oldest trophy in international sports.”

Highlights of the agreement between NBC Sports Group and the America’s Cup include:
  * Live coverage on NBC on both weekends of the America’s Cup Finals 2017
  * Extensive live coverage of the America’s Cup Playoffs (and additional America’s Cup Finals racing) on NBC and NBCSN
  * Coverage of all America’s Cup World Series events in 2015 and 2016 on NBCSN
  * Live-streaming of all NBC and NBCSN telecasts on NBC Sports Live Extra

“It’s encouraging to have a partner like NBC who is highly motivated to return and help build and promote the event and increase the profile of our athletes and our teams. I have no doubt that over the next three years we will touch more viewers, in more ways, through the reach of NBC Sports Group’s platforms.” Schiller concluded.

Competition in the next America’s Cup begins in June 2015, with the first event of the America’s Cup World Series, in Cagliari, Italy, with racing on June 6-7.

February 7, 2015

A video hype: Click on the photo

Bermuda is the home of the 2017 America's Cup
1 day ago  •  2,435 views

February 6, 2015

(February 5, 2015) – New Zealand sailor Matt Mitchell filed complaints today of gross misconduct against the five members of an international jury that assessed the harshest penalties in America’s Cup history, a result of an investigation which concluded that defender Oracle Team USA had illegally modified AC45s used in the AC World Series. Mitchell submission – AP story

February 2, 2015
The Marion Bermuda Race is one of only two sporting events in 2015 to be named a Signature Event by the Bermuda Tourism Authority. 
The 2015 race is a special opportunity for those interested in the 2017 race and the America’s Cup Finals being held in Bermuda. Priority status will be given to all skippers that participate in 2015 for 2017 race.  This status will help with dockage and mooring space as well as special discounts surrounding their stay for the America’s Cup.
Register now for the 2015 Marion Bermuda Race and enjoy the benefits during the America’s Cup in 2017.

January 28, 2015

Oracle modified their boat and learned to sail it. Want more details? With annotated photos and videos, “Turning the Tide” compares boats and crew work. Videos of tacking, skimming and upwind foiling. Changes to boat and technique – day by day.
Available for iPad, Android and browsers. Get your copy here.

Ernest Hemingway only got it partly right.
Not only does nobody feel sorry for a pampered girl crying on a yacht, nobody feels sorry for a pampered anyone bemoaning their fate on the deck of a floating symbol of privilege and luxury.
Despite the best efforts of organisers and participants in recent years, a whiff of elitism still clings to high-end sailing.
Yachting remains, almost by definition, a rich man’s sport. And locally, of course, it has long been associated with what was once described as the pre-Second World War “Bermuda of beautiful estates and yachts, of stingers at noon and gin and tonics in the evening.”
This was also the Bermuda of rigid racial segregation, of rule by oligarchy and an inbred, inflexible socio-economic and political system.
It was a Golden Age for well-heeled visitors and Front Street merchants, perhaps, but hardly the good old days for the vast majority of Bermudian families.
Currently some members of the local body putting the organisational structure in place for the 35th America’s Cup to be held in Bermuda waters in 2017 are sulking about the fact the competition is not yet being viewed as a community-building vehicle by all segments of the community.
They might want to reconsider their pouting because, frankly, they only elicit about as much sympathy as Hemingway’s pampered girl.
Instead, it would do them and the international event they’re stewarding far more good to take on board some of the constructive criticism being levelled at them.
The intoxicating spectacle of the high-speed, white-knuckle sailing machines which now compete for the America’s Cup has gained the sport a new audience and broadened its appeal considerably over the last decade.
But more of the sport’s old associations perhaps still linger in Bermuda than most other communities.
Cordell Riley, immediate past president of Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda and a commentator on community affairs, recently argued that local organisers had inadvertently reinforced a number of these negative stereotypes. – The Royal Gazette, full story
Note: In population statistics published by the Bermuda government, there were a total of 64,237 people in 2010. The racial make-up of the population was Black (38,399), White & Other (25,459), and not stated (379).

January 26, 2015

New Zealander Matt Mitchell has asked sailing’s governing body to investigate former Oracle Team USA teammate Simeon Tienpont for gross misconduct, the latest fallout from one of the biggest scandals in America’s Cup history.
Mitchell’s complaint with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) alleges that Tienpont broke a racing rule and lied during a hearing prior to the 2013 America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay.
Although Tienpont admitted altering a catamaran used in warmup regattas, he was allowed to sail in the America’s Cup match against Emirates Team New Zealand.
Mitchell, who was implicated by Tienpont during a hearing before an international jury, was suspended for the first four races. Another teammate, Dirk de Ridder, was banned from the regatta and Oracle was docked two points in the harshest penalties assessed in the cup’s 164-year history.
“It’s really just to get some justice out of the whole thing. The guy who actually did it, nothing happened to him,” Mitchell told The Associated Press on Friday (Jan. 23). “Simeon lied during the hearing and that’s the only thing that implicated me and caused problems for me. I never should have had an issue. I didn’t do it. The only thing the jury had on me was Simeon’s lie.”
Mitchell said it’s up to ISAF to decide if there will be a hearing.
“This will put them in a difficult spot. They want the music to stop. They won’t be keen to do anything. That’s why we made the issue public. It’s a little more difficult to sweep under the carpet.”
Tienpont is now with Italy’s Luna Rossa. A team spokesman said Tienpont would not be available for comment.
Mitchell, a 43-year-old grinder who’s been on three Cup-winning teams, was cleared by ISAF’s Disciplinary Commission on Jan. 8. He repairs boats in Auckland and hasn’t caught on with another team.
Mitchell has also sued Oracle Team USA for the $68,000 he spent on legal fees fighting the accusations against him. Oracle Team USA is owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, who isn’t named in the suit. – Associated Press, full story
More: Mitchell discusses the saga with Radio Sport in Auckland, New Zealand. Listen here.

January 23, 2015

The city of Cagliari in Sardinia, Italy will inaugurate the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) when they host the first event in the Gulf surrounding the island’s capital on June 4-7, 2015.
The ACWS will consist of eight to ten regattas taking place around the world during 2015 and 2016. The circuit will feature all of the America’s Cup teams racing in one design foiling AC45 catamarans, with the overall ranking position in the series to determine the starting points score of the teams in the America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017.
All six teams entered in the 35th America’s Cup – defender Oracle Team USA (USA) and challengers Artemis Racing (SWE), Ben Ainslie Racing (GBR), Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA) and Team France (FRA) – will be present.
There is an additional team from Asia which is also expected to enter as an America’s Cup challenger. If they enter, they will also be competing in Cagliari.
The announcement of Cagliari completes the 2015 ACWS schedule:
June 4-7: Cagliari, Italy
July 23-26: Portsmouth, UK
August 28-30: Gothenberg, Sweden
October 16-18: Bermuda
Here are the events that have been announced thus far for 2016:
July 21-24: Portsmouth, UK
Summer: Chicago, USA

January 19, 2015

It is fitting for the 35th America’s Cup, to be held in Bermuda, that British challenger Ben Ainslie Racing is the first team to test the waters of the British territory. Here’s the report fromThe Royal Gazette
History was made at the Royal Naval Dockyard on Friday (Jan. 16) when Ben Ainslie Racing rolled out the first foiling catamarans to reach these shores.
Curious pedestrians and motorists watched in awe as an advance party from the 35th America’s Cup challenger unloaded a large container housing two doublehanded NACRA F20 catamarans and assembled them in the boatyard at West End Yachts.
Some observers snapped photos of the “flying” catamarans while they casually chatted with team members of the British syndicate as they went about their task of getting the multihull boats ready in time for a week-long training camp with surgeon-like precision.
“We are the advance party, so we are here early to put the boats together for a training week,” said BAR team member Jonathan Goring. “We have two of these, so we are going to have two boats sailing. We are hoping to get in as much sailing as we can and get to know the waters — and this will be one of many times.”
Regarded as the ultimate racing catamaran, the NACRA F20 is designed for inshore and coastal racing and is equipped with a flight-controlling system making it capable of reaching speeds approaching 30mph.
“They are ideal for training because they are small, fast, foiling boats,” Mr Goring said. “They are much more twitchy than the bigger boats, so they are more sensitive. In terms of balance, you learn a lot on them — basically, the whole team and the designers. The designers sail them as well, so they get the feel for what we are doing. These boats are great.”
Also among BAR’s advance party are team racers Andy McLean, Paul Campbell-James and Jono Macbeth, who all featured in the previous America’s Cup in 2013 in San Francisco, but with different teams.
McBeth was a member of defender Oracle Team USA, the holders of the coveted “Auld Mug”, while McLean and Campbell-James competed with challengers Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa.
More team members are due to arrive on Island Sunday (Jan. 18), among them team principal and skipper Sir Ben Ainslie.

Peter Burling is from the ETNZ and has been getting a LOT of foiling time in.
Sorrento, Australia (January 16, 2015) – Peter Burling (NZL) closed out the 159-boat International Moth World Championship by claiming his first title in the class.
Burling attributed his nine race wins in the 14-race series to preparation. “You get on a winning roll and just keep going. Nathan (Outteridge) and I spent a lot of time working on our boats and nothing broke. All the time I have put in to this campaign paid off. ” Burling training partner included his Emirates Team New Zealand teammate and 49er crew Blair Tuke, who finished sixth overall.
“There are some great guys in this record fleet, I am absolutely stoked to win,” ended Burling who will have little time to celebrate. He and Tuke needed a quick exit to compete in the Olympic class 49er event at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.
Finishing second was defending world champion, Nathan Outteridge, who was disappointed the full series was not completed and that conditions have been extreme.
“A bit of a shame we’ve been compromised by having such a big Gold fleet. If it was just the top 25 in Gold, it would have been easy to keep sailing today, as the calibre is so high, we would have handled it. It’s something for organisers to think about in future, because Moth events are getting bigger as the boat gets more popular. It’s hard to manage a fleet of 80 boats on one course. Even from a safety aspect.”
2011 Women’s Moth world champion and local sailor, Samantha England, claimed her second Women’s Moth world title.
Click headline for full report, results, and videos.

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