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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Zihuatanenjo in December 2011

This blog is complete.  As is our trip.  Enjoy as it suites you.

Count Enrico

Why we go south:

Being a native of Seattle, one can recognize, after 60 years, the lack of sunshine during the winter months in the NW.   The cure is to go and find sun.  This has any number of benefits.  There is the obvious gain in vitamin D, the lack of stress in wardrobe selection (flipflops, swim suit and light shirt),
there is the entire natural beauty concept with flowering shrubbery and non-swaddled people to look at,  warm beaches and good food with beer that actually is refreshing because it is cold, sailing on water that is 80F instead of 50F, etc...

A bonus for us has been to get others to think we are always out of town during the holidays.  It may be a bit selfish to keep to ourselves but there it is.  We just do not do Xmas.  It only cost a bit more to get on a plane and soak up the sun than it does to do the entire Xmas regimen.

Where in the world is Zihua?:

We are about 150 miles north of Acapulco.
Playa La Ropa is the name of the beach just out of town.

Approximate location of Casa Iguana

The right dot is over our unit (of 6 total) at the Casa Iguana.  The left dot is the El Vira restaurant where we spend our time on the beach.  The white sand beach is about a mile or more in length.  The water is 80F or so.  NICE!

The Countess and the Count on vacation.
This would be a typical day at the beach.
Photo taken by Nuham our host.

How we got there:

The Countess and I used our companion fare (supposedly a $90 add on to buying one ticket but the total ramps to $250 after airport fees) on our Alaska Visa card to book this trip in Feb. of 2011.  It was cold then and gave us something to look forward to.  We had missed our sun in 2010 after big travels to England and around Vancouver Island.  (see other blog articles on this blog page).  I guess the Alaska Visa is as good as most.  I used miles to go to San Diego in November for a 'free' ride on Alaska

Enough about Visa!

History of our accommodations of previous visits:

The fact that the price of the air was right is the point.  Zihua (shortened from Zihuantenjo) is one of our favorite spots in Mexico.  This is our 4th visit here.  We have stayed at the (now) Villa Mexicana, Hotel Irma, Las Brisas del Mar and now at the B&B Casa Iguana (  The Mexicana and the Casa Iguana are on La Ropa beach which is a mile long of white sand with 80F clear water lapping at it.  The other two are just outside of town right above the bay and both have their advantages.  Irma is cheap at $70 a night and Las Brisas is very nice but more, around $120 a night for a junior suite.  They are both in walking distance from town.  La Ropa hotels require a taxi or bus to town.

Travel woes:

The suffering we had to go through coming down here was pretty much limited to getting UP at 3:00 AM to catch a 7:00 AM flight out of Seatac.  After deicing the plane, we got into LAX on time, which gave us 30 minutes to get to our next plane, duty free gin purchase, and find a head.  We managed all three with 3 minutes to spare.  Our plane landed at the Zihua airport at 3:00 PM and we were out of customs (losing my peanuts, pistachios, and almonds to the customs) and in an airport taxi by 3:30.

The flight back was brutal.  We left Zihua at 4:35 PM and got to our house at 3:30 AM Zihua time.  3.5 hours to LAX, 3 hour layover, 2.5 hours to Seatac, 1.5 hours home... .OUCH, very fuzzy the following day.  There is a 2 hour difference between Zihua and Seattle, just like Chicago.

There are the usual time share dudes laying in wait just outside the exit and we hooked up with one but were easily able to shed him, being the Mexico veterans we are.  We weren't buying his shuck and massage offers.  The airport taxis are a monopoly that one just has to put up with.  $34 US one way which is fair but the fee for the return trip will be around $240p using the city taxis.

Arrival at the Casa Iguana is very understated with just a metal iguana on the exterior wall, doors closed to the street, but our host, Joel, meeting the cab, saying our flight, online, was saying it was delayed??
The very modest entrance.  Note the metal iguana.

Joel is a 55 year young Frenchman who has done well here in Zihua.  He has two successful businesses here (over at Xtapa) and this 6 unit B&B of which we are the only occupants at the moment.

Where we stayed:

A description of our suite:  (  The bottom gate opens onto a small lawn and single car parking area.  From there is a path of stepping stones set in the lawn with a flowering hedge on the left and the units on the right as one ascends the gentle grade.  Our unit was the 4th from the street and very quiet and peaceful.
Looking at our lounge area from the path.

The outside roofed lounge area has a buffet area with a fridge, water dispenser, toaster, and coffee maker.  There are two comfy chairs, a sofa, overhead fan, lights, and a coffee table with lots of plants hanging and set about.

Looking down the path from outside our suite.

Through the door into the bedroom there is a large desk, bench seat, a corner shelf with TV (satellite and several stations with movies and shows in English).  Overhead is a fan, many overhead lights in paper balls (like the one we have in our dining room), an AC unit and windows on opposite sides with screens.  The bed is kingsize with side tables and lamps.  We had to get a light blanket out around 4 AM as it did chill just a bit and the sheet was not enough even though we were snuggled together.
King size bed on concrete platform.  Where the Count felt the
earthquake of 6.5 or so.

The bathroom is a long room with clothes storage on shelves with a room safe (issues so far but will solve) then a sink above the counter, a long toilet, and at the end a walk in shower.  Everything is tiled and VERY well finished.  This is well executed construction with lots of attention to the finish.

Sitting around here is all one could ask for in comfort.  There have already been comments from jealous friends about the lack of a pool.  Well, we say to that, there are no rowdy kids splashing in that nonexistent pool.  The beach is just a two minute walk and the water there is perfect for a dip.

I will be doing a complete bathroom pictorial soon as the masonry details here are very well executed and perfect for using.  (stay tuned)
Looking at menus
Bloop in the clouds, no green flash this time.

This was where we enjoyed our first sunset down here.  The possibility of a green flash exists as the sun is going down in the sea.   The first night there were clouds on the horizon but we will keep a close watch for the phenom.

Home from the beach we both required a nap, shower, and then a taxi ride to town.  I suspect this may become routine as walking to town is a matter of a couple of miles up a steep hill and then back down.  The road is very narrow with speeding buses, taxis, and locals.

On entering the roundabout at the town entrance, Jose, our first taxi driver in his Crown Victoria (one of the largest cars in the town and rare) noted there was a parade to the Virgin Mary.  We tried to get around it but ended up following in the wake of the marching crowd and police escort.  Jose had spent 5 years in Olympia but was not able to keep work so came back here to drive a taxi.  Now with the cruise boats not coming so much (down from 100 visits a year to 10, his words) his tour business is very slow.  One can rent him and his car for $50 US an hour or $120 US a day.  The cost of ride to town is $3.50 US so that beats waiting for the bus.
Note the Xmas stuff on the roof at Any's Tamale and Sopa

We went out to dinner on day one to Any's which we had eaten in during previous visits.  Maybe a it was a different name but it was the same decor and tables.  We both ordered Tortilla Soup, Sopa de Tortilla, and were served the best tortilla soup we had ever had!  The cost was $205 pesos (10 pesos= 1 dollar mostly).  Lori noted one other gringo couple but speculated they were full time residents, there are many.

What to do while here:

Sitting on the beach, reading books, going shopping, eating at multiple restaurants, sailing Hobie cats from the beach, going out to nightclubs, taking starlit walks on the beach, riding the bus, sleep, and generally relax.

All in all, not much more than simple relaxing.

 One of the best things one can do in Zihua is find Jimi Mamou playing his blues at a club.  Be advised, many places will say he is playing just to get you in.   Check out a bit of riff he has on Youtube.  Link to:  Jimi Mamou gets started on the blues.   This is WAY too short but one gets the idea.  Jimi is now 73 and very fit and fine, still living down here and playing in various clubs occasionally.

There are other activities which we eschew:  Booze cruises, para sailing, banana riding, discos, condo touring, etc...

Been there done that or decided it is a never to be activity.
The Countess taking a promenade on the beach.  This was a Sunday and the most crowded we had seen so far. (Dec 11)
The crowds, such as they are, really show up on the day we leave, Dec 20.

We might do an eco tour, where they take us to the bush somewhere and put us in kayaks and paddle around some lagoon with alligators???

Activities we actually did this trip:

Massage:  2xs for both of us at Elvira's with Maria and Sabrina.  $250p for an hour of deep full body massage.  VERY high marks!  One can barely stand up after the session!

Hobie sailing 2xs with Xavier and Ramon's boats next to Elvira's.  $300p / hour  Light winds most days.  No hull flying wind ever.
These Hobies are in good condition and very fun.  Easy to drive.  High marks for fun.  The water is like bath water.

Dining Options and Opinions:

Since dining out is one of the common activities practiced by all travelers here I thought a bit with bullet points would help those who scan blogs.

$  Anetelia's located in 'Posole Alley':  You will not see many gringos here but the food is local and very good.   The ambiance is supplied by going local.  We had tostadas, posole (white, chicken), steak tacos, and quesidillas.  We will always go back there.  Less than $100p each meal for 2.  Beer is only $15p each.  Cheapest I have seen them in a restaurant.

$$ Tamales Y Atoles Any's located on Calle Edjito:  The BEST tortilla soup!  We went back twice for it.  Lots of inflatable Xmas stuff inside and out.  $200-210 for each meal including drinks.

$$$  Paty's Miramar located on La Ropa, next to Villa Mexicana:  Very good and romantic.  Nice lights in the palm trees with the water 30 feet away over the white sand.  We ordered too much food.  The shrimp cocktail could be a meal by itself so we took one home.  We couldn't eat what ever we ordered (too much fuzz upstairs) but it was good.  $390p and good.

$$   El Viras on La Ropa, located right next to Paty's.  This is where we have spent each day on their lounge chairs under umbrellas, ordering an item or two plus drinks.  To die for are the Sopes which are like little tostados with a thick tortilla base.  The strawberry dacquri without sugar (sans dulce) is an amazing slurpee.  I am having at least one a day.  Mmmmmmm!  The Countess likes the lemonada, chips and pico de gaio.  Our bill daily is between $180 and $350p.  Nuham and Rebe are the two main waiters who take care of us.  They are very good at getting it just right.  The only reason we have not eaten dinner there is for us to sample other place's fare.

$$$  Tres Hermanos, located down town on a walking street:  Very marginal, would not go back.

$$$$ Agave, located upstairs across from Amfibios surf shop on one of the main drags away from the water.  Tied for the best food I have had down here!  A new place, and very empty, we hope they can make it.  The spinach salad was amazing no matter which city you might be in.   The mexican steak I had was peppery and GOOD.   The chicken fajitas were way too much for one.  Consider splitting one with each having a good salad.  $485 plus tip for two with food and drinks.

$$$$  Chuletos, hard to find for us. (We looked 3xs)  If you are looking at the water from the downtown basket ball court, turn right and go most of the way toward the public pier.  It is on a corner on the right with darkened signs.  A small place but the food was SUPER.  We split a house salad, a good idea.  I had the thickest pork chop with brown gravy and mushrooms with little potatoes and other veggies.  Lori had the fish with some cajun spice.  It was WAY too much food again.  $485 plus tip for food and wine.

Monday (day 4):

A bit of stomach issue in the AM but we are going shopping for the day.  We both took the bus for $10p each which is 1/10th price of a taxi.  Not a very long wait and just as quick.

Low head room in the Mercado.
Lori shopped while the Count watched.  The Mercado for the locals is FULL of stuff.  The Countess even bought a bag to maybe put loot in.  The local shop keepers really showed her the stuff over and over.

Two shop girls that were sure the Count needed something.

I merely watched and when asked if I wanted anything I merely replied I am watching 'mi espousa compranda' which I was told means watching my wife shop.  The men understood immediately and the girls just kept showing me stuff.

We had lunch in the Mercado for $108p that was wonderful.

Most food is about what you would pay in the Seattle area.  For example, a bag of Cheetos and a 6 pack of Victoria beer was $92p ~ $9.20 US

The bus cost is $5p each.

Our table at the edge of the Mercado.  Not crowded and good food.

Sunsets are free!
Count Ferrari is watching for the green flash!  So far with two good sunsets observed, this with a bit of haze and another with no haze, there was only a 'bloop' as the sun dipped below the horizon.  The green flash occurs in these conditions and many $$ are made in Key West because of it.
Tuesday (day 5):

It was a day at the beach and then tried to take the bus in but we were talked into sharing a taxi for the same money into town.  There was some shopping, looking at stuff and seeing what was available.  Talked with some people in town we saw at the beach.

We ate in Antelia's in Posole Alley for the grand total of $75p.  Lori had Tostadas, and the Count had steak tacos.  Drinks were the fruit punch made on site.

After dinner, we waited at the bus stop at 8:35PM and were told by a kind soul that the bus stopped running at 8:30 PM.  We took a taxi out of necessity.  The cost didn't break us at $35p.  Back at our B&B where we continue to be the only inhabitants (except the owner, Joel, who is only home at night) we got out our cards and played Skipbo.  Lori trounced me 2:1 that night.

Wednesday (day 6):

Out of bed at the crack of 9:00 AM.  Breakfast of toast, tea, cornflakes with dried cut strawberries mixed with yogurt and fresh banana is a great way to get started.  It is always waiting for us to fix in our little fridge on our covered patio with the nice overhead fan blowing cooling wafts of wind over us.

We made our appearance at El Vira's beach restaurant a bit after noon.  This is our no rush schedule.  The waiters there know who we are now and just make a space for us with umbrella and lounge chairs.  We have become part of the scene.
Casual dress and following the shade with the lounge chairs is the usual.  Here the Countess is getting her dose of vitamin D.

There is a couple (older by a bit) who run the beach each day.  They shamed me into doing the same.  I was gasping for air before I got to the end of the beach!  Running in sand with bare feet really used the calves to the point of tight!!!  The water flowing up to 6" deep was a wet splash too.  On the way back the strategy was to stay in 1" or less water and the wave patterns allowed me to slow and nearly stop on several occasions to get back my breath.  I did the entire distance and felt I earned a full lunch!

Activity Note:

After lounging for a bit each of us took a massage from Maria ($250p + tip).  There is a massage area right next to the bar.  OMG!  She had strong hands and really made an impact on our bodies.  It was tough to walk after her tender touch.  It was decided we should do that again prior to leaving.
You can barely see a white massage tent thing on the left side of
this photo.  This is our hangout.  Buy a few drinks and snacks
and one becomes a part of the family.

The Count had a club sandwich with great french fries and the Countess had some tostada look alikes that had a puffy soft corn chip bottom that were excellent.  We terminated our beach stay with a swim. The Count swam around a mooring buoy twice in a row.  A new record for him for this trip.

Back to the B&B for showers, cocktail hour, nuts, and a nap.  Later, as we waited by the bus stop at 7:05 PM we were told by a taxi that the bus stopped running at 7:00 PM.  Oh well, what are you to do? We took his cab and asked about once in town and verified his claim.  A weird thing, I asked the driver how many taxis were in town and he replied 663.  All the local cabs have large numbers on them and we didn't see any number over that so maybe it is correct.  I do know they are predatory in trying to get passengers.  Always a horn or 'taxi?' from any passing empty cab when you are gringos.

Bug spray at the farmicia was a good find, cookies and chips at a mini 'costco' was also a hit.  We had dinner at Tamales Y Any again and had the best tortilla soup ever again.
Tortilla soup at Y Any's.  The best!

Thursday (day 7?)  (It must be Thursday if my vitamin container says so...)

Activity Note:

We got to the beach at 11:30 for a fairly early arrival.  The wind was as strong as it has been, say 5-7k with lulls.  It was time to take out a Hobie 16 in the bath water.  Armed with PFDs and a bottle of water we sailed out of the bay into the Pacific enjoying the upwind sail.  Turning around it got hot and seemingly slow but we did make it back to the beach after sailing the bay and reaching back and forth a bit, maybe getting to 6-7k of boat speed.  It was good fun and reasonable at $300p an hour.

The rest of the day was spent reading in the shade on the sand, having lunch, and walking the beach.
The empty beach is typical until Dec. 21 or so when 'high season' kicks in as do the crowds.

Peat and Repeat....  The days just go by.  Met a 67 year aged dude who had been doing this since Oct 30.  He is seriously relaxed!  Also met an 88 year young fellow, also walking the beach, who was certain that being negative shortens one's life.  There may be something in that.

We are nearing one of the toughest things we have to do down here.... Decide what to have for dinner.  It definitely means going out to dinner as the potato chips and gin over ice were our cocktail hour.  We already napped after going to the beach and then taking showers.  Grueling... (oh) NOT!

Something Different:

Here is a short video that shows two of our friends staying at Zihua in Feb of 2012 at the hotel right next to our beach restaurant.  Kudos to Dennis and Nola for getting a video together.
Video of Zihua in vacation mode.

Drivel and more written drivel... There is a certain repetition of fun in the sun here.

Could be Count Ferrari and his dance friends?
Dinner location was captured on a recommendation by the shop keeper who sold Lori a pretty square of material to be used as a wrap for the beach.  Lori also did a great job of negotiation when buying her Aztec dog in a very nice art shop, getting the price from $485 to $410p in active offers and reoffers.  We found some way cool 'Day of the Dead' statues, called Catrinas, in yet another art shop.  Will have to get one of these fashion show stylizers.  Very detailed and pricey.
These girls in red were $900p and about 16" tall.  A bit delicate
for us to transport at that price.  Note the black tails.

Anyway, we ate at Agave and were told it was not expensive but it was 2xs the price of most our meals at $485p.  It was the best food of the trip but we are not great at spending money for food so don't do it often but do enjoy it when we find a good place.  Great salads and too much food.  It was fun looking down on the street from the 2nd floor balcony.  We were the first diners of the evening at 8:00 PM and another couple came in after us but that was it, most likely for this restaurant for the night.  Slim pickins and very slow.

When we get back to our home away from home:
Chanel with the red collar and Gigi (mother of C) without a collar
and a happy dog petting Countess, after a tough night of dining out.
Friday (day 8):

MOS...  (More Of the Same).  We got to beach at noon and had some sun, cold drinks, and a couple of walks along with a swim.  Back to the room for a shower and nap at 4:30 PM.

The weather never changes.  We did get another couple move into the B&B.  We shall see how that goes as we are used to having the entire thing to ourselves.  They took the upstairs suite which is the nicest with the most space.  We looked at it and decided our room was cooler with a greener (albeit smaller) view.

Saturday:  A cruise ship came and we stayed at the beach rather than face the crowds of the Silver Sea. Not a real huge one but enough to keep us on La Ropa.

Bathroom details:

A long thin corridor done in tile and decorative rocks.  Very well executed.

Floor detail

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boats and the ACWS 2011 (America's Cup World Series)

FYI.  This site under construction. Leave comments... 

Boats and the ACWS  
(America's Cup World Series)

It is a practice race day for the AC45s.  Count Ferrari takes his trusty point and shoot camera (borrowed from the Countess) and goes out on P-1 boat with Jeff Zarwell, boat driver, and Roger Renstrom, journalist from Plastics News.

Jeff was a wealth of information.  He had been in charge of the medical boat at Plymouth but had done such a good job, he was 'promoted' to supervising the fleet of press boats.  He had been at both two previous venues for the ACWS.  He had his own business as a PRO ( in San Francisco so he knew racing issues.  He got us in as close as anyone could wish but did not get in the way of the racers.  He asked what position we wanted to see the start, race, and finish from.  It was a front row seat!

As Jeff was explaining details about the ACRM boats Roger picked up his ears and really got interested.  The carbon fiber RIBs really got his attention.  If you wish to read a very fine article, which is very complete on the ACRM boats, check this out.
Entire contents copyright 2011 by Crain Communications Inc.

Press Boat #2 (carbon fiber hull) with Jeremy of Surf City Racing
 trying to geto our boat.
Note the crowd in the background on the dock.

This particular white boat with a yellow P flag (press) is a 28' boat that has a direct conflict with the Jones Act.   It was not made in the US and cannot carry passengers without going offshore every couple of days to stay legal.  This was done by our captain for this regatta but in a special act of the US Congress, the ACWS was granted an exemption which is very rare.  AC and the new law

Captain Jeff called P-1 a mono-cat as the connecting floor pounds on 9" waves sending vibrations through the entire vessel.   It was powered by twin 115hp outboard motors that had a snug cover over them as the manufacturer would not pay a royalty to ACRM for the public exposure the boats would have.  Larry Ellison had covers built to keep the manufacturer from getting free advertising.

Other similar boats were used as mark boats, gate boats, and finish boats.  These would hover in place after being told which Lat/Lon. they were to be on.  The position of these boats for the San Diego ACWS was down to driver skill with the GPS giving them accuracy similar to the AC45s of 2 cm based on 14-22 satellites (both US and Russian).
Finish mark and the 7th mark to round.

Green boats were used for the pin end of the start and one end of the finish.  Orange boats were used as the reach mark and the two sets of gates (to leeward and to weather) as well as a finish mark.  They all flew flags to denote which number gate the competitors were going around.  That was very slick for shore watching.  Other white boats with C flags escorted local boats around the edge of the course.

Green and Orange Finish boats as Artemis Racing finishes
in front of the US carrier Midway.

Bow of the Midway.  It is bigger than one would think!

There was a carbon RIB with twin outboards used to right a tipped over AC45 if needed.  There were three boats seen, that flew the R (rescue) flag.  Apparently all one has to do was attach a tow line to the bow of the 45 and tow it forward, into the wind and the wing would lift it right up.  That was never tested in San Diego but they had lots of practice in Plymouth!  Another carbon R boat would, if needed, attach a line to the hull in the air and pull it down.  It only had one outboard.

There was a  carbon jet drive boat with divers aboard to retrieve sailors out of the water safely so the prop would not be an issue.  In addtion to the R boats, there was a medical boat (M flag), the 4-5 press boats (P flags), all the teams had at least one support boat out on the water.  Also out there was the Committee boat and two TV boats on their catamaran amas, screaming around the course getting good footage.  Boats, boats, boats....

TV catamaran with San Diego and the Midway poking out.

Add to this the four local sailboats, called stake boats, flying large flags anchored on the four corners of the course limits.  Locals could not impinge on this area without being pulled over by the gendarmes.

Race Committee Boat with flag mast and big timer.

The newest AC boat showed up at the end of the regatta and it has a linked GPS auto hover with twin rotating (360d) stern drives that tie into a computer and keep it on station.  This and probably others like it will be in place for the Naples event.  It looks to be big enough to be the new committee boat.  Naples will tell in April 7-12, 2012.

New GPS based hovering design for the ACWS mark boats.

In terms of a great boats, one must mention the carrier Midway, which happens to be a great museum on San Diego waterfront.  Budget two hours and $18 pp to take it all in.  For the ACWS the front of the flight deck was rented out for the 45 Club which allowed access to the public for a price.  For most of the days the price was $200 pp and may have gotten you out on the course in a VIP boat for an hour or so and then access to a very posh tent with a monster TV set up inside and one of the best views of the entire course from about 50' above the water.  There were two other active carriers across the San Diego Bay and that US Navy presence was huge!  They had cordoned off water with a submarine net with several patrol boats keeping locals away from the fleet.

When President Obama flew in from Miramar for Veteran's Day to watch the college basketball event on the flight deck, all the AC helicopters were grounded and racing terminated.  We know who the big dog is in this bay.

There were super yachts but the largest was Larry Ellison's Zensi, at 160'.  A gorgeous ketch that lit up at night but was not too shabby during the day either.  Bruno Trouble had his 80-100' powerboat out too.

Seems only fair to throw in a great shot of the stars of the show.  Team Korea with Chris Draper at the helm dueling with Oracle #4 with Jimmy Spithill driving.
If you take a look under the Oracle boat on the right of the photo in the shot above, you will see a blonde girl, Mieke Schomaker , an on the water umpire (505 World Champion), driving a 60 mph, 300 HP intercooled, black and white striped PWC (Personal Water Craft).  It turns out she was a dedicated 505 racer turned into a waterjet jockey keeping an eye on these racers, up close and personal.  Her com-padre was a Navy Seal, Mike Martin, who was taught the yachting rules as he was more than capable of getting into the action and out of the way, when needed to officiate.  In a press conference, Ian Murray said it was easier to teach the rules of racing to the Seals than it was to teach the umpires how to ride the PWCs in close quarters.

The Energy Team zipping down the luff tube for the jib.  Other
45s had hanks around the forestay.  One of the few things the
teams could change on the one design AC45s.

An odd boat will be instantly recognizable to the Sailing Anarchy readers.  I noticed it during my ride on the Energy Team 45 and got a photo of same.

Da Woody with Artemis in the background.

One of the most most remarkable boats was the schooner America, built in 1998 for about $4 million.  This is a replica of the original America which won the original race by miles and for which the America's Cup is named.  Captain Troy and the ACEA (America's Cup Event Authority) generously took the media out for a sunset cruise on San Diego Bay.  This is a very remarkable boat.

Foredeck of America under sail.

Mainsail going up.  Note lazy jacks and hoops for the luff.
America took out paying passengers each day.  Captain Troy (owner) had a very deft hand going in and out
of the AC45 mooring area, having to dodge5-6 of the $million dollar race boats on moorings.
A fun photo of America and Midway.  Both top of the game
in their eras and genre.

Are we having fun yet?

So many boats, so little time.  All are fun to watch! "Nothing is so much fun as simply messing about in boats!"
Wind in the Willows.

Good photos by John Papajani, others by Count Ferrai

Saturday, November 26, 2011

San Diego and the America's Cup World Series. The CF perspective.

This article is under construction.  If you find it, let it go and check it out after the photos and deeds are documented.  CF

The EVENT:  
(This is being written 11-17-2011 from the Media Center for the ACWS in San Diego)

So much has happened in the past 10 days of hanging on the docks here in San Diego.  Time to capture and massage my memories.

Arrived on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Cool stuff that happened:
Emergency Row Seating for the 2 hour flight down from Seattle.
UPgraded to a Jeep Liberty for free from an Aveo from Thrifty
Had a G&T at Island Prime on Harbor Island checking the boats sailing about.  A fine place to see the race from.  3pm -3:30 pm
Checked in with the Media Center and got my press pass.  Very easy. (890 approved and as of Wednesday the 16th there were 480 checked in.) Exited MC and headed north to Carlsbad @ 4:30.

Drove right to my host house with fine Google Maps he had emailed me.
Out to dinner for Mexican with DT.

Wednesday, day 2:

Arrived at MC around 10 AM, DT drove me in and we messed about.  He was unable to go out on the docks as he had no press pass.  We lost each other but played phone tag and were able to relocate so he could show me about the waterfront.

Costco run for food.  We bought too much as per usual.  Lots of chocolate and veggies.

Out to dinner in Encinitas at a great Italian place.

Thursday, day 3: Practice day and the last day for my pass to get into the pits with the AC teams.

Four teams were on the Media Center's Broadway Pier:  Energy, Green Comm, Korea, and Aleph.

On the Midway Pier:  China, Artemis, Oracle and New Zealand.  Also out on this pier were many of the AC alphabet crews.  ACRM (Race Management), ACTV were at the outside end of the Midway Pier, and ACEA (Event Authority) is in the Media Center on Broadway Pier.

I was walking through the boat pits and introducing myself to the various Media Representatives for each team on the Broadway Pier.  I was asking questions about trying to get a ride and was surprised when Alexandra Peyron, (daughter of Bruno Peyron), of Energy Team, responded with "What are you doing around noon?"

The answer to that goes without question.   I am IN!   I was introduced to Yann Guilchard, the new helmsman and told to come back in an hour after they had lunch.

When I returned in an hour the winds were still light but I was SO excited.  Sara fitted me up with foulies, PFD and a helmet that all looked matching with the crew.  I conversed with Eric, a boat rigger who keeps the 45 in perfect shape.  He explained the big repairs can be done by each team but the teams have an option to enlist, for a price, the services of ACRM which includes repairs.  Eric also explained about who is paying and it depends on how the fault lays.  Some of the insurance companies are dueling over payment because they don't recognize the Umpire rulings so some of the payment question has actually gone to court.

The team put me on the big Zodiac with 4 team support folks, a couple of sails in bags, and spare lines with water.  We towed the AC 45 out from the boat haven and let them go and put up the headsail.  There was 2-6k of wind and glassy water as I was invited to board the 45.  I managed to grab the shroud and step onto the windward hull easily.  Walking over the net towards the stern was not the easiest as the lines are just thigh high so are tough to go over or under.

A historical article submitted to my Editor, Craig Leweck, of Scuttlebutt (
(He elected to not use it but I put it here to make... whoops, I will put this along with my other submitted article.  See November postings in 2011 for the articles.

September 11, day 4:

Friday, November 18, 2011

AC72 design for the America's Cup 2013, the latest info

A newer post from Count Ferrari has taken over the latest news of the AC and the 72s that will be racing.

Click here to see the latest in the AC news compilation.

This blog has new bits of information about the AC72 up to Feb, 19 2013.  Click on the link above for the newest information blog.

Below you will find photos and links under each team that show various new features.  Check for your favorite team and see the speed being built!

In reverse dating below you will see what is coming to race in SF for the Summer of 2013.

Date:  2-19-13

Lunna Rossa makes a move:

* America's Cup challenger Team Luna Rossa has announced that for their
AC72 crew, Chris Draper has been chosen as helmsman and Francesco Bruni
will be the tactician. At the upcoming America's Cup World Series event in
Naples, Italy in April, Draper will helm one of the Luna Rossa AC45s, with
Bruni driving the other. -- Full story:

Here is a very fun article describing a ride on ETNZ's latest monster.  Barker says "We are going to go over 40k today"

There is video at the end of the link below that show #2 ETNZ foiling downwind.  There is also a mention of boat #1 hitting 48k!

New Zealand Herald reporter Dana Johannsen hitches a ride on Team NZ's new
AC72 as it tests on the Hauraki Gulf.
It wasn't being made to sign a waiver before I hopped on board Team New
Zealand's new AC72 that made me nervous - apparently the team's legal
department are kept busy enough as it is.

Nor was it being handed a helmet and an oxygen bottle to strap around my
waist in case the super-sized racing machine should capsize and I get
trapped under water.

It was hearing skipper Dean Barker briefing on the on-board comms before
the start of the day's testing that he hoped to push the boat upwards of 40
knots - around 75km/h - on just its third day on the water and second
proper sailing day.

Looking at the faces of the design team on the chase boat, they too were a
bit uneasy about the skipper's plans.

But with the big event in San Francisco on the horizon, the sense of
urgency in the Team New Zealand camp has been ratcheted up several notches
since the launch of their second boat, New Zealand Aotearoa.

So as I gingerly climb aboard NZL05, I knew this was going to be no
pleasure cruise around the Hauraki Gulf.

Moving around the boat takes some getting used to. As I stagger about on
the netting like a new-born foal, clambering from one side to the other
whenever a tack is performed, the crew sprint past me, easily traversing
the distance between the two hulls in a couple of bounds.

I'm seated in the driest spot on the boat, right in the centre, but that
does not save me from the odd dousing.

It is the windward crew that are most in the firing line, though, with
Richard Meachem, the team's bowman, hunkering down to avoid the massive
shower of spray as the windward foil kisses the water.

Today is considered a calm day, with a flat sea and moderate winds, but
full wet-weather gear is a must.

The real ride begins when they head downwind.

During the testing of their first boat late last year, I watched in awe
from a chase boat as the giant catamaran with the same dimensions as a
tennis court (well, 3m wider, to be exact) flew above the water. It is
quite another thing to be on board experiencing lift-off for the first
time. -- Read on:

Date:  2-16-13

Oracle flies!  See the video of the Black Beauty ripping it UP around San Francisco Bay.  Artemis is shown too as they mess about.  The new foils seem to be very steady but do they allow a deep enough angle off the wind?  Rumor has it the new ETNZ boat (#2) is not a foiler.

Click to watch the flight on foils

Date: 2-8-13

A 4 team report on the boats, followed by what makes the the top 2 teams so tough.  The relationship between tactician and helm.

Oracle Team USA (USA), Defender -
Oracle Team USA relaunched their AC72 on Feb. 4. The first two days were
spent commissioning the repaired yacht and running it through various load
tests out on the San Francisco Bay. "We treated today kind of like we had a
new boat, so it was basically a sea trial," said tactician John Kostecki
after the first day back.

The hulls and platform were repaired and modifications completed on
schedule at the team base at Pier 80. The new wing was built in New Zealand
at Core Builders Composites and assembled at the base in San Francisco.
Among the modifications is a new steering system in place of a tiller. Also
as General Manager Grant Simmer said, "You'll see the boat has different
centerboards in it - that's an ongoing research project. We're not sure
where we'll end up, but this is the next stage in our development."

Oracle Team USA plans to sail the AC72 several days each week. Work also
continues on the build of the team's second AC72.

Watch the AC72 back on the Bay:
Artemis Racing (SWE), Challenger of Record -
Artemis Racing continues to chase as much AC72 sailing as possible. Sailing
with our second wing since mid January, we are continually gathering data
to improve performance. We anticipate lining up with Oracle during
February, which will be very interesting. When not AC72 sailing, the team
is match-racing its two AC 45s.

The Red Bull Youth America's Cup selection trials are happening Feb 9-24
here on San Francisco Bay. Björn Johansson, coach at the Royal Swedish
Yacht Club, helmsman Charlie Ekberg and tactician Niclas Düring from
Swedish Youth Challenge will be here to check out the competition.

As Artemis Racing is fielding a team in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup it
does not need to participate in the selection trial to qualify. While in
town, Björn, Charlie, and Niclas will spend some time with Artemis Racing
around the facilities in Alameda, sail on the AC45's and watch the team
train on the AC72.
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Challenger -
Five months from the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Emirates Team New
Zealand's second AC72 is in the shed, for a few final tweaks from the
engineers and systems experts before going sailing.

Boat 2 was blessed on February 4, a blustery, damp Monday. With a steady 25
knots at the top of the wing the boat was never going to be lifted into the

Thursday of this week was to have been the first sailing day but it's like
a mill pond on the Hauraki Gulf. The team is now having four days off,
starting Friday. As team boss Grant Dalton has said, the time off is small
reward for a team that has worked crazy hours for the past few months.

With the pressure off, the team's schedule was revised to give shore crew
time to tie down the loose ends now and lessen the risk of downtime when
the testing and training programme gets underway early next week.

February will be a busy month. The sailing programme will be intense. The
clock's ticking and the team is very mindful of the fact that it has to
pack-up the base in April and move the entire operation to San Francisco
while Artemis and Oracle's programmes continue.
Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 (ITA), Challenger -
Luna Rossa moves forward in its training program according to plan. In
addition to technical and sports activities on the AC72, as well as testing
sessions with the SL33, the crew is also race training on its two AC 45

Throughout February the team will be focused on testing and development
projects; on Thursday, February 7th, the AC72 will stop sailing for a week
to undergo modifications and upgrades to both the wing and the platform.

The on-water activities will start again on February 14th, with two days of
sea trials aimed to ensure that all of the modifications function

The team Luna Rossa will then resume racing against Emirates Team New
Zealand, who will be sailing its second and newly-launched AC 72 catamaran.
Scuttlebutt will be providing a monthly summary for each of the four
America's Cup teams through to the Louis Vuitton Cup (July 7-Aug 31) and
the 34th Match (Sept 7-23):

The two most established helm/tactician teams in the 34th America's Cup are
Jimmy Spithill (AUS)/ John Kostecki (USA) for defender Oracle Team USA and
Dean Barker (NZL)/ Ray Davies (NZL) for challenger Emirates Team New
Zealand. Here's how these guys got paired up and what has made them a
successful team:
Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA helm: "We tried to sail with each other
before this but it never worked out. We're both really open and honest with
each other and don't get offended - that's the key. We need to have a
relationship where we can be critical or ask questions of one another and
not take it personally. We both know the only reason we're questioning
something is we want to get better, to learn. Plus we both want to win. We
also have similar personal interests - we both enjoy sports, we have kids
similar ages - which is also important, and helps makes it work."

John Kostecki, Oracle Team USA tactician: "After the 2007 Cup, we were both
being recruited by Russell Coutts, and I contacted Jimmy to see where he
was at and try to team up with him. We've been sailing together for quite
some time now. And, we've also been working really hard on communication
and teamwork. Jimmy is not only a great helmsman, but also a capable
tactician. I come from a helmsman background, so I think we have a good
Ray Davies, Emirates Team New Zealand tactician: "We didn't actually start
the helm-tactician team until after the 2007 America's Cup. We started with
the Louis Vuitton World Series at Auckland. We came from being behind in
the finals and came back to win the series so that was a great introduction
and we've done a lot of regattas since then. We had sailed together a lot
prior to that. During the last Cup I was the strategist, Dean on helm.

"The more you sail, the more you pick up - you keep learning about each
other and its fantastic to have a few years under the belt because you do
read the situations by the tone of their voice, picking up more than just a
few words in the conversation. It's been very valuable to have that
experience and time together now, and we keep learning each time we go out
about the other operates. That has become very important with the AC72.
Everything has to be running smoothly and right now it feels like it's all
going well." -- Read on:

Date:  2-7-13

A bit of fun at Artemis camp with their cars.

Click here to see the car fun in the Artemis camp.

The Schedule:

The calendar for the 2013 'Summer of Racing' in San Francisco has been
released, culminating with the America's Cup Finals from September 7-21,
when the defending champion, Oracle Team USA, will face the winner of the
Louis Vuitton Cup (the America's Cup Challenger Series).

This year, winning the America's Cup will require victory in an
unprecedented nine races, in the extreme performance, wing sail, AC72
catamarans, on the most challenging race course in the event's storied
history - San Francisco Bay.

The season begins with opening day on July 4 before racing starts in the
Louis Vuitton Cup to select the top challenger. The finals for the Louis
Vuitton Cup begin on August 17. The first team to win seven races will
become THE challenger and advance to race Oracle Team USA in the America's
Cup Finals.

July 5: Fleet racing - all Challengers and the Defender
July 7: First day of racing, Louis Vuitton Cup (America's Cup Challenger
August 17: First day of racing Louis Vuitton Cup Finals
September 1-4: Red Bull Youth America's Cup
September 7-21: America's Cup Finals
September 9,11,13 - Superyacht Regatta

Full report:

Launch of the Oracle rebuilt boat:

Video of the rebuilt Oracle 72

Date 2-6-13

Something seems amiss.  What am I missing that allows Russell Coutts to say the following?  Count Ferrari is going on record to say the ETNZ is the favorite, at this time, to win the LV Cup and face off with Oracle in the AC.

Russell Coutts, CEO of America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA, doesn't
expect to be confronting the Kiwis when the 34th Match is contested in
September. "We haven't yet seen the second boat of Artemis and I wouldn't
write Artemis off right now. It looks to me they will come out strong with
the changes they recently made in their organisation. I, certainly, am not
thinking we will be facing Team New Zealand." --

Date:  1-25-13

San Francisco, CA (January 24, 2013) - Artemis Racing trained with its
second wing sail for the first time this week. Principal Designer Juan
Kouyoumojian calls the new wing an evolution from wing one. “The general
concept is much the same: I would define it as a refinement of the first
wing. It’s not fundamentally different,” he said.

Kouyoumojian continued, “Two years ago we were a brand new team, we didn’t
have people, we didn’t have facilities, we didn’t have people who had worked
together. We started building the first wing early because it was a good way
to kick-start the team. When you get down to the second boat having had the
experience of the first build and having people who have learned how to work
together, then things are a lot easier. The second wing became a much more
normal and much easier wing to build and set up. That’s why we’ve made it on
schedule and on weight, which is as it should be.”

Team CEO Paul Cayard was happy with the first sail on wing two, citing just
small adjustments that they will make.

“We operated the wing with all of its controls and it all functions well. We
had up to 16 knots of wind, which was a bit more than we needed for the
first sail, but everything was fine and it was a productive day. They take
many months to build and we were pretty on schedule. These things are such
custom items and there’s not a single thing that’s off the shelf here so I
think the guys did a fantastic job.” -- Details at:

Date:  1-21-13

Here is a link that shows some photos and comments on each of the 4 AC72 teams.  Not much new stuff but it is a good reference for looking at differences between them.

Click here to see a site than compares AC72 designs.

An article with an interview of a catamaran designer that went out on his own after being with Artemis.  It gets technical but have fun with it.

Interview here, Gonzaldo Renando

Date:  1-16-13

Sail-World caught up with Mike Drummond, who recently left the Oracle
Racing design team, for his impression of the four designs currently
working up towards the 2013 America's Cup regatta.
"From the design point of view there are three and a half groups," he
counters. "Emirates Team NZ and Prada look like they have identical hulls
and wingsails, but with different foils.

"Overall I think Emirates Team NZ has a good, straight forward,
conservative boat with lots of volume, and a well proven structural
arrangement. The wingsail is straight out of a C-class evolution. They have
correctly focused on foil over wing development.

"Although they have added fairings, it looks like Emirates Team NZ still
have a high windage platform - with their centre spine and rigging and so
forth. That is not critical at this stage, but it's a safe assumption their
second boat will be similar, so there is a limit to the amount of drag
reduction they can achieve.

"The flip side is they've had a good robust package where they have been
able to go sailing from Day 1 and learn about this new class of yacht which
they can then feed into their second boat eventually.

"These boats are very high speed and high on apparent windspeeds. Their
windage as a proportion of their total drag is much higher than in
monohulls and so it needs to be a higher priority in the design."

He expands to say that the windage issue is not just turbulence around the
rigging and the platform (multihull-speak for the combination of hulls,
beams and decking) but also relates to aerodynamic efficiency. There is a
very large gap between the Emirates Team NZ wing and the surface of the
water (which Oracle Team USA have resolved somewhat with their central pod
structure which forms an 'extension' to their wingsail and improves the
effective span below the platform.)

"In light airs that drag and inefficiency is very large - of the order of
5% compared with a perfect seal - which is close to 5% of boat speed. The
drag percentage reduces in strong winds but there is still a gap," he adds.

Hence Oracle's solution with a centre pod doing double duty as a structural
member and forming a solid aero barrier, together with a horizontal deck
surface. The effect is that Oracle is able to carry the lift from the
wingsail much closer to the water surface. Beyond that Drummond wouldn't
discuss further specifics of the pod or how it was designed to work. --
Read on:

ARRIVEDERCI: "The 34th America's Cup will be the only one in which we will
see these (AC72) catamarans. The question is not what is more just: for the
America's Cup to be in multihulls or monohulls. Catamarans are attractive.
It is that the AC72 is a folly to put it in water. It takes 40 people each
time. The America's Cup must not only be popular, but also accessible." -
Patrizio Bertelli, owner of Luna Rossa, America's Cup challenger,

Date: 1-15-13
"We're in the final stretch now. It's all about time on the water and
gluing the team together. The design is done. We've made our choices. There
is fine-tuning here and there but now it's about getting the sailing team
working to make the best of what we have. I think for me, we are thinking
long term in building this team. It's been two or three years now and
whatever happens, we have a great team and good base to continue. It will
be up to the next defender to decide the rules so it's not entirely in our
control whether we participate or not, but yes, we do it see it long term."
-- Torbjorn Tornqvist, owner of Artemis Racing, America's Cup Challenger of

Date:  1-11-13  A run down on what is going on with the 4 AC72 teams.

Scuttlebutt will be providing a monthly summary for each of the four teams
through to the Louis Vuitton Cup (July 4-Sept 1) and the 34th Match (Sept
7-22). All the teams returned this week from holiday break... here's what
they are up to in January:
* Oracle Team USA (USA), Defender -
The team returned from a holiday break to greet the arrival of wing 2.
Constructed at Core Builders Composites in New Zealand, the wing was
shipped to San Francisco, arrived Jan. 8, and will be assembled and tested
over the coming weeks.

Work continues on the first AC72 following its capsize in October.
Composite work was completed and the platform reassembled prior to
Christmas. Now, the shore team begins installing systems - hydraulics,
winch systems, nets, etc. The goal is to sail the AC72 again in early
February. All is happening concurrently with the build of the second boat
and third wing which are expected in the spring. The team ultimately plans
for two-boat testing and training this summer.

This month, the sailing team resumes the AC45 training and testing program,
as well as preparing to sail the AC72. Several members of the team also
continue working with the two squads selected by Oracle Team USA to compete
in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

* Artemis Racing (SWE), Challenger of Record -
The team returns from the Christmas break recharged and ready to continue
preparing for the 34th America's Cup. The Artemis team will continue to
train on the AC72 on San Francisco Bay. On days that the AC72 doesn't sail,
Iain Percy and the sailing team train in our fleet of Moths, A-Cats, F18s
and AC45s out of our base in Alameda, CA.

The teams' second wing and second boat are well under way, with the plan to
sail with the second wing in February. Boat 2 will be complete in April;
the team does not plan on training with both boats at the same time.

This week helm Nathan Outteridge is competing in the 2013 Australian Moth
Nationals, fine tuning his foiling skills. Team Founder Torbjorn Tornqvist
begins competition again on the RC 44 tour with the first event of the
season in Oman, January 30-Feb 3.

* Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Challenger -
The team takes delivery of its second AC72 next week. Boat 1 was
decommissioned before Christmas, with some of the parts - winch drums and
hydraulic fittings for example - to be installed in the second boat.

The shore crew, most of the sailing team, and contractors will be working
on fit-out through January and into February: electronics, hydraulics, the
trampoline and all the hundreds of small fittings will be put on to the
boat in preparation for the low-key launch.

The sailing team is also planning to do some sailing during January. The
team's AC45 has been commissioned over the break and there has been talk of
some race practice with Luna Rossa.

Construction of the team's second wing is well advanced although it will
not be seen in public until later. Boat 2 will use the first wing for a few
weeks to allow the team to test the platform's structural integrity and
systems and not have any potential issues with a new wing intervene in the

* Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 (ITA), Challenger -
The plan for January is to make the most of the 13 remaining days allowed
by the Protocol to sail the AC72 prior to the January 31st deadline. This
is the only boat the team plans to build.

This coming week the team will be concentrating on match racing practice
sessions with its two AC45 catamarans Luna Rossa Swordfish and Luna Rossa
Piranha. At the same time an additional group of sailors will be training
on the SL33 catamaran to practice foiling techniques.

Starting from next week the crew will resume training on the Luna Rossa
AC72 catamaran. The main goals for this first period will be a mix of crew
training sessions around the course and speed tests. The training work on
the AC72 will be alternated in the coming weeks with practice on the AC45
boats and on the SL33.

Date:  1-7-13 (the AC45 circuit will not get the focus it has enjoyed)

America’s Cup Event Authority Announces Focus on “Summer of Sailing”
ACEA Sets Aside East Coast Regatta to Focus on San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO – In an effort to retain a sharp focus on the centerpiece of sailing’s most prestigious trophy, the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) will shift its attention from the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) events contemplated for later in the spring. Instead, the ACEA will turn its full focus to San Francisco’s “Summer of Sailing,” starting with the Louis Vuitton Cup beginning July 4th and culminating with the America’s Cup finals that start September 7th

“The America’s Cup regattas on the San Francisco Bay this summer will be spectacular,” said ACEA chief executive officer, Stephen Barclay. “The Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, will feature three very competitive challengers. They will compete to become the ultimate challenger to take on the current America’s Cup champions, ORACLE TEAM USA.”
The ACEA will no longer pursue plans to host a regatta in New York – the Event Authority had said that an east coast regatta might be on the list of AC World Series events for 2013. Barclay affirmed that Naples, Italy, remains on the calendar for April with the first of the three venue hosting payments having already been made. But, he reiterated the need to keep the organization focused on the final events in San Francisco, stating that the ACEA could not stage regattas where the costs were not fully recovered or where the commercial complications would erode the success of the summer events.

The America’s Cup World Series is a circuit separate from the America’s Cup and sailed in the smaller AC45 class.  Successful events in Portugal, UK, Italy and on both the East and West Coasts of the USA have attracted in excess of two million spectators, showcased the Emmy Award-winning live TV featuring the pioneering LiveLine graphics, and drawn a combined live TV audience on NBC of 2.9 million for most recent Newport, RI, and San Francisco events.
All this technology and experience will be applied with even greater effect to the America’s Cup itself.

“Our number one priority has to be the events scheduled for San Francisco this summer,” Barclay said. In addition to the Louis Vuitton Cup (from July 4th to August 30th), he confirmed the dates for the first ever Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (from September 1st to the 4th) and the America’s Cup Finals (from September 7th to the 21st). The winner of the America’s Cup will be the team who wins nine of a maximum 17 races.

“The extreme performance AC72 class wingsailed catamarans racing on San Francisco’s spectacular but demanding bay will ensure a memorable America’s Cup. Better still, this summer’s racing will be something that sports fans will see close-up for the first time, with America’s Cup racing very close to the City’s waterfront” Barclay added.

About the America’s Cup
The America’s Cup was first raced in 1851, 45 years before the modern Olympics. The U.S. yacht America won, giving the international sailing competition its name.

Date:  1-2-13

* (December 29, 2012) - The International Jury for the 34th America's Cup
has deducted five sailing days from Oracle Team USA as the final decision
in the espionage case brought against the defender by Italian syndicate
Luna Rossa Challenge 2013. The International Jury determined that Oracle
Team USA had breached part of the Protocol by being within 200 meters of
the Italian AC72 during a training session in New Zealand in early
November. Oracle Team USA has returned 10 photos as instructed and was also
fined approximately $15,200. Details:

* Russell Coutts income of $13.4m NZD ($11.1m USD) from America's Cup
defender Oracle Team USA has made Coutts the 2012 highest paid sportsman in
New Zealand. -- Full report:

Also, note that the A-team for ETNZ will not be going to the ACWS events as they think that will take away from their working the AC 72 to the max.  They, will, "if they have to" send in a youth team to compete to the two Italian venues and the New York venue if that works out.

Date 12-20-12

Source Scuttlebutt 3743  * America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA reports that the repairs to their
damaged AC72, which they capsized in October, will be ready to meet up with
the arrival of their new wing rig so as to be sailing again in February.
The team expects to have their second boat available sometime by
March/April. --

Date: 12-14-12
Here is a good synopsis video put out by Team ET
NZ.  It shows their progress in their 30 days of sailing that were allowed prior to January 2013.  This is the only team to get those full days in and it seems to be a BIG advantage.

A bonus in the video shows AC72 Lunna Rossa foiling near AC72 ETNZ .

Click here to watch AC72 video

Date: 12-12-12
Sourced from Scuttlebutt 3738:
(December 12, 2012) - Emirates Team New Zealand completed the permitted 30
days of testing and training in its first AC72 catamaran, and now will put
the boat out to pasture. Rules for the 34th America's Cup allowed only 30
sailing days for the first boat between July 2012 and the end of January

The shore crew will start on Thursday to decommission the yacht while the
team concentrates on finishing Boat 2. Winch drums and some hardware will
be removed from the yacht and fitted to second boat, while the first boat
is refitted in the near future and held in reserve, to be commissioned
quickly in the event it's needed.

Components for the new boat are being built at Auckland companies Cookson
Boats and Southern Spars. The second wing is being assembled now at the
team's Viaduct Harbour base. Hulls, beams and other parts of the platform
will be delivered to the base early in January for a launch in early

On why the team will not train with both boats, Managing director Grant
Dalton explained that it was not possible. "We never considered sailing
both boats together because of the logistics and cost involved.

"It takes 35 people 1½ hours to launch the AC72. Three hours out of morning
to launch two 72s and three hours at the other end of the day to retrieve
them is out of the question. The only solution would to have two separate
operations to launch, retrieve, maintain and improve two AC72s and that is
not a realistic prospect for Emirates Team New Zealand."

Dalton said the team would gain many of the benefits by racing with another
boat through the arrangement with Luna Rossa. --

From 11-28-12

With the cloud of death and destruction now hovering over the America's Cup
and the exceedingly powerful AC72, let's assume for a moment the sailors
will soon tame this beast of a boat. But for the four competing teams,
their mission is complicated by the schedule. Taming won't be enough; they
must have it fully trained.

The Louis Vuitton challenger series is in July and August, otherwise known
as the "season of nuclear winds". For the challenging team lucky enough to
win (or survive), they will advance to the more moderate winds of September
for the Match. But the defender is not much better off; they will be
training during 'nuclear' season.

Given the difference in San Francisco Bay wind strength from July through
to September, can the same design work effectively in both realms?

"I think the challengers and the defender will need to think about
developing boats that work well through the range of windspeeds,"
anticipates Pete Melvin, who is a member of the New Zealand design team.
"Average wind speed will be higher in the July-August period, but you can
still get windy days in September.

Since the protocol does state how competitors may substitute yachts between
the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Match, or between different
stages of each series, this could lead to the development of specific modes
for the conditions.

"There is considerable debate as to how many measurement certificates will
be allowed during a series, and the outcome of that debate will have a
direct impact on how diverse your quiver of equipment will need to be,"
noted Melvin. "The AC72 Class Rule only allows one certificate at a time.

"The AC72 Class Rule also stipulates that you can only measure in one set
of hulls, daggerboards, and wing on a certificate. This was done to reduce
cost and complexity, and to promote the development of all-around gear
rather than condition-specific gear.

"For both the LVC and the Match, the current proposal is to allow boats to
have multiple pre-measured certificates. You would need to notify the
measurement committee the evening before if you were going to change your
configuration to a different certificate."

Time will tell if configuration changes become the result of performance
decisions or death and destruction. --

 from 11-27-12
The last time Frenchman Loick Peyron had a birthday, he was skippering the
130-foot trimaran Banque Populaire V into the record books, completing the
Jules Verne Trophy (circumnavigate the world) in 45 days. When Peyron
celebrates his birthday this Saturday, his 53rd, it will be with the
Artemis Racing team in San Francisco. Peyron has been assisting the
America's Cup challenger test their recently launched AC72, and shares here
some of his early observations:


Gilles Martin-Raget /AC34
After four trips aboard the Artemis AC72, Loïck Peyron, skipper of Energy Team, gives us his first impressions of this impressive winged giant, with her exceptional size, her potential for power and her high speeds…
Loïck Peyron: “We have sailed aboard her four times and she is extremely powerful. That isn’t that much of a surprise for me, as I have spent a long time looking at the design of these machines, but it is still all very impressive. To sum up, these are boats that aren’t that wide or that big, but which have a very powerful “engine”. To get an idea of what I mean, it’s a bit like putting a V8 or V12 engine on a go-kart.  So it is no easy matter making use of all that power. We saw what can happen when Oracle capsized. These machines require caution. My job was to be something like a test pilot on this AC72. I’m here to find just how far we can take things and avoid those hairy moments, when the boat starts to dig in, for example. Already by the second or third trip, I found myself out there on the helm and I can say it’s fascinating.”
What is the difference from an AC45?
LP: “They don’t have that much in common. Proportionally, the AC72s are much more unstable. Because looking at the base, the engine is that much more powerful. You need to add on a third more power to an AC45 to get some sort of idea. And then, there is the sheer scale: everything is that much heavier, including the wing, of course and the centre of gravity is not that well placed, as it is higher up. On top of that, there is a lot of inertia… the “engine” is extremely powerful, but above all she is always in gear. And of course, you can’t take in a reef…”

Capsizes ahead?
“Yes. Of all the boats I have sailed on, she is the trickiest. When you start flying downwind, it is very impressive and that is one of the major questions that interest us: you need to find a compromise, knowing when to fly, but above all without using too much energy to do that. For me, flying aircraft for more than twenty years, it is very interesting. After each day out there sailing, we need to spend several days ashore fine-tuning the boat on every level. For the moment, we are just working on boat number 1, but we have already got some ideas about the second one. With the first one, it’s rather like racing with 30kg on your shoulders. Once the second boat is on the water, that weight won’t be there any more.”
High speed?
“Very. For the moment, we’re taking it step by step deliberately, so we’re not out there looking for the highest speed. But we have already reached 26 knots in just 10 knots of wind.”
A useful experience for the Energy Team project?
“In every America’s Cup there is a transfer season between the teams. I’m a bit like a jobbing actor going from one team to another, or maybe more like a Swiss army knife for the team – that’s what Ernesto (Bertarelli) called me when I was with Alinghi. Of course, and it is quite normal, I have certain obligations and have to keep certain info to myself: there are certain things I can’t share with others, but it is obvious that bringing all these experiences together benefits everyone. I am in fact the first member of Energy Team to be hired by another team, but I probably won’t be the last. With Bruno and Energy Team, we have managed to build up a pool of talent. If we manage to get everything together for the next Cup, all of these experiences will be useful For the moment, from a personal perspective, this is an exceptional opportunity to try to make it all the way with Artemis, or in other words right through the Louis Vuitton Cup and further if possible…”

Oracle Team:

What does one do when all you have is a bunch of high tech parts?  Go and see what the other guys are doing... Posted Nov. 20:
click here to see the latest Oracle efforts.

Here is a must read article from Sail World, Gladwell's Line, it is a very good look at the aftermath of the Oracle crash (going 37-39k of boat speed) and the crunching of the wingsail on the subsequent rescue.  Options for Oracle are well outlined and it does NOT look good for them.  It is speculated the builders will be the heroes IF Oracle can win the AC after this set back.

Clink here to read a GREAT article with photos

This team had a big set back on October 16, 2012.  Sailing in approx. 30k of wind, the bows buried on a bearing off and a complete destruction of the wing after a pitch pole and then the final turtle.

There are 3 linked videos to this link.  First the capsize, then the attempted rescue, then some commentary.

30k of wind pitch pole, click here.

From Scuttlebutt 3700:

Safety issues with the Americas Cup radical new 72-foot-long catamarans
have been a hot topic since the design was unveiled. Capsizing wasn't an
"if" but a "when" -- and "when" arrived on Tuesday, when Oracle Team USA
pitchpoled in 30 knots of wind near San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

Dirk Kramers, Oracle Team USA's engineering guru, and Iain Murray, Americas
Cup Regatta Management Director, recently addressed the risk issues
inherent in the boat's design and how best to manage the aftermath of
flipping one of these huge race yachts.

2013 will make the fifth Cup cycle for Kramers, who was one of the
multihull expert behind the Stars&Stripes 88 and Alinghi 5, as well as the
Alinghi and Young America monohull campaigns. His experience with the
America's Cup is one of the most extensive of any active player. Kramers
believes that the safety systems designed into USA-17 are fairly
self-explanatory personal safety equipment, rescue personnel, righting
lines -- but noted that many safety systems would not really see active
practice. At least not planned practice. Post-Tuesday, that may be a
different story.

"There are a lot of different safety aspects, most of which are common
sense, like wearing life preservers and helmets", said Kramers on a recent
tour of the team's Pier 80 base. "It's also important to always have a
knife on you in case you get stuck or caught somewhere, like a diver you
can cut yourself free."

"The boat is set up with righting lines, in case we have to right the boat.
We also have buddy-breather cartridges, so if you have to dive, you can go
under longer. But it's also an organizational issue; we have three to four
boats out there supporting us, and there's a whole set of response
maneuvers that we've practiced to make sure that we do the right thing at
the right time. For example, if someone falls off and gets hurt, that's the
first priority. The next priority is getting the boat head-to-wind. So
there's a whole series of events that have different response maneuvers."

Oracle went with a design that includes a large pod below the boat's hard
wing that acts as something of a wing extension, providing more power
closer to the waterline. That's a positive contribution, but one negative
with the pod is it means the sailors cannot do the "monkey dance" down the
netting to safety.

"One of the aspects that's difficult about this kind of boat is that once
it's capsized, you can't really climb up or climb down. So you're sort of
stuck. With the AC45, you can climb up and down, but this boat has the big
pod in the middle. And you can imagine falling off, if the boat is at 90
degrees. If you fall down into something hard, that's not going to be good.
We've had a lot of guys falling off the AC45s, but we've been lucky that no
one has hit something hard yet -- like what happened to Russell, it was
inches away from it being a big problem. And it's happened to other guys.
That is the biggest thing, making sure the guys have something to hang
onto." -- CupInfo, read on:

Despite watching the teams at the America's Cup World Series become
increasingly proficient at surviving an AC 45 capsize, it was well
understood that an AC 72 capsize would be much worse. The narrow line
between control and catastrophe would be given a wide berth.

But on October 16 the line got crossed. America's Cup defender Oracle Team
USA capsized their AC 72 on the team's eighth day of training on the boat,
digging their bows in for a pitch-pole while bearing away downwind. "I
guess we found our limit today," admitted tactician Tom Slingsby.

With training days limited by the rules, and with the defender already
behind schedule due to daggerboard problems, Oracle Team USA was in
catch-up mode. What made matters worse, Emirates Team New Zealand appeared
to be progressing quickly with the development of their AC 72. And with the
light winds of fall and winter soon to descend on San Francisco Bay, the
defender needed hours on the water.

The forecast for San Francisco Bay on Tuesday was for a maximum of 18
knots; certainly within the range of safety. But when winds spiked to 30
knots, the defender was caught using one of their limited training days in
excessive conditions.

Witnesses say the team appeared to be wisely cautious, using only the small
headsail and keeping the hulls in the water rather than foiling. The
defender had previously demonstrated their foiling ability, but had yet to
exhibit the same foiling control as the Kiwis. And with a strong ebb
pushing against winds estimated to be in the mid-20s, maintaining control
in the steep chop at this early stage of training was prudent.

But herein, quite possibly, lied the onboard conflict. Observers have noted
that the defender's AC 72 opted for a narrow bow shape design, which is
good for reducing weight and windage but does not prevent a pitch-pole like
a fuller shape. So how did the designers expect their AC 72 to avoid
pitch-poling in strong winds?

As team engineer Dirk Kramers explains, their AC 72 is supposed to be
foiling when they bear away. "Our hull is quite small, much smaller than
Team New Zealand's, so we are reliant on the foils to keep it from
pitchpoling in a bearaway," explained Kramers.

Memo to spectators... get good seats at the upwind mark.

UPDATE: The San Francisco Bay current, which swept the AC 72 four miles
west of the Golden Gate Bridge, was estimated to be over five knots. The
boat, which capsized at 3:00 pm Tuesday, was upside down when it finally
returned to the team's Pier 80 base by 1:00 am Wednesday. The wing,
estimated to cost $2 million, was completely destroyed. A replacement wing,
according to Jeremy Leonard of Sail Revolution, may not be ready until
after Christmas. The port hull, which had filled with water, was supported
by airbags as it was pumped. The platform was eventually hauled, with no
disclosure at press time regarding damage.

Video of the capsize:

*)The first thing noticed on this cat was the center pod with all the grinding stations on one platform.  A compromise as are all boats.  With the grinders in the center  pod (for lack of a better descriptor) there is less travel for the crew, however their weight will not be on the weather rail as far leveraged as the other designs currently sailing.  They will only be carrying about 1/2 of the grinding equipment making it lighter overall, maybe...  Lots of thoughts still to be processed.

*)A teaser video showing the 'Batzilla' (the name being bantered about, I like it, for the Oracle AC72) being launched and the foils just showing.  Apparently the dagger board broke during the first day (of 30 days allowed prior to official competition.).  No word on whether it was the foil that failed.  

There is a Batman decal on the inside of one of the hulls.

Click here to view 'Batzilla'

*)A link that shows the first day of sailing for the Oracle AC72.
There was a gear failure but that was not covered specifically.  The boat has the center hull for a design change over ETNZ or Artemis.

Click here for the First Day on Oracle AC72

*)Here is the first look at the Oracle boat.  There will be two of the big cats for this team.  This will be the first AC72 sailed in SF bay.

Artemis: (Challenger of Record)

Finally, good news.

(November 3, 2012) - The America's Cup Challenger of Record, Artemis Racing
(SWE), is ready for some good luck. They destroyed their wing in May, which
has delayed their training schedule on their AC72. And when the wing was
ready to go, their AC72 platform incurred damage during structural testing
last month. But on Saturday, it was... finally... all systems go.

It was a long tiresome day for the Artemis team, one which began before
dawn. The hull moved to waters edge in the darkness and loaded via crane
slowly as the sun began to rise. By noon, the wing was attached to the hull
for the first time and the shore crew and tech team assured all was well
for the Christening ceremony.

It was a brief, diligent affair with member of the Artemis Team in
attendance, many children running about as parents kept a watchful eye. The
would be no smashing of a champagne bottle, no sir, after what has
transpired in recent weeks, shaking the bottle and spritzing the starboard
hull would suffice just fine, thank you very much!

The crew will be testing the functions of all the operating system with a
fine tooth comb before the big red machine takes her first sail on San
Francisco Bay...hopefully next week. But with weather systems headed
towards the Northern California area by mid week, the hope would be sooner
rather than later. -- Pressure Drop, photos:

More photos:
October 19 2012:
MORE BAD NEWS: Challenger of record Artemis Racing, which has yet to sail
their AC 72, will have to wait a little longer. Their wing, which was
damaged in May during testing on another boat, is now ready but their AC 72
apparently is not. Today (Oct. 18) the team damaged the front beam while
conducting structural tests in San Francisco. The AC72 has been hauled out
of the water and the design team, led by Principal Designer Juan
Kouyoumidjian, is on site to evaluate the damage. --

Here is a first look at the Swedish 72.

Sailing Anarchy was the lead on this look.  Scroll to Aug. 21 @ 9:05 PM

Posted Image 

Here is an article that talks about Artemis and a bit about their base camp on SF bay.  There is another photo much like this one above. It seems that CEO of Artemis, Paul Cayard, has the team in his home stomping grounds.

Here is a link to the ACDiscover that has a bit about the design of the 72s in video, talking about wings under the boat.  It starts that discussion near the 5 minute mark.

click for the Artemis 72 design vid

Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ):

Kiwis, Italians, line up on Hauraki Gulf

Kiwis and Italians
© Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand
For the first time, two AC72s have been sailing together in race formation. Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge trained together on Tuesday (NZ time) on the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland.
“You learn a lot faster when you have another boat around you to punish you for your mistakes,” said Kiwi coach Rod Davis, explaining the benefit of sailing against another team.
“If I was in the other teams I’d be envious for sure,” boasted ETNZ managing director Grant Dalton of the arrangement. “I’d be a little worried, because this isn’t making us go slower, I know that.”
“To have two AC72s in the same piece of water and start to do a little bit of racing is exciting,” added skipper Dean Barker.

Go to team ETNZ for a look at this fabulous Gladwell article from 11-16-12 in Butt.

From Scuttlebutt (
On the Catamaran Racing, News & Design website, images of the U.S., Sweden,
and New Zealand-Italy AC72 designs have been posted with editorial
commentary below:
As a reference it gives an idea of the different concepts used. Needless to
say ETNZ-Luna Rossa is the best hull-platform in my view. Artemis is not a
flying AC72; it is only assisted by curved daggers. Not even T rudders at
the moment.

The front beam position is quite extreme although the wing support vertex
is a little backwards due to the V shape of the beam. The concept behind
this is to gain structural benefits on the forward beam position, and the
ability to have a better range for wing trimming/rake to backwards, thus
compensating that forward load.

To avoid pitching or to maintain the bow up on this configuration, they
totally rely on the daggers lift. But we already saw what happened to that
concept in Oracle. Let's wait to see her sail, but I'm glad (Loick) Peyron
will be there helming at least in the initial tests. So Artemis played safe
on the flying area, but went quite extreme on the front beam and hull.

After confirming that Oracle was going down in the bearaways, I have strong
doubts that this incredible piece of machinery (Artemis) will work any
different in the same situation or maybe their dagger lift configuration
will prevent it.

It is easy now to choose an option; I would have go ETNZ platform with
Artemis conservative non-foiling solution. Clearly the most 'standard' &
safe solution for San Francisco conditions. I still don´t get why designers
are going for extra foiling lift plus less aero/hydro drag to the extreme,
risking the whole project when you are going to race in +20 knots. Someone
would quickly answer: "Cause we want a design edge to win the Cup."

The only issue is that they are working in unknown terrain for these kinds
of beasts on the worst venue possible for a first try, and a rock solid
bullet proof design right now would have won easily, as we don´t know if
any of these extreme boats will end a single race in +20 knots!

See photos:

COMMENT: The racing period for the successful challenger in 2013 is two and
a half months, most of which is occurring in the +20 knot range, while the
defender need only survive for two weeks in more moderate conditions.
Either the challenger will be battle tested and formidable, or battle weary
and fatigued. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

"Our boat, in terms of windage, is far from complete. All the fairings are
still to come. The boat will look significantly different in race mode. One
of the issues with putting all the fairings on the boat is that it makes a
lot of the systems difficult to get at and tune, so we chose to put the
boat in the water in a raw state to facilitate that development process."
-- Emirates Team New Zealand technical director Nick Holroyd,!2012/11/ac72-design-hanging-it-all-together

Excellent article ( must read):
The latest (11-16-12) article from Gladwell at Sailing World has photos and a description of a sail in NZ in 25k winds.  This team is kicking ass now.  Read all about it.
Click Here
After 16 days of water testing the new boat, including many foiling experiences, ETNZ is taking the boat back into the shop for modifications.   This was announced Nov. 2, in  

There are a lot of design issues involved with this new type of AC race boat.  Team ETNZ has launched the first of this type of boat.  They are allowed only so many build efforts (depending on which part of the boat is being built) and so many days of actual on the water testing.  This is part of the money limiting that was written into the AC protocol for this go round  to try and attract more teams.

There are five teams building AC 72s.  Oracle (the defender) is building two boats.  Artemis (Sweden) is building two? maybe.  Team Korea is to build soon and the last to enter the fray is Team Lunna Rossa (Italy) who is expected to build two boats also.  

Auckland, NZ is where you can go to see these new water missles launched and training done as Lunna Rossa has entered into a training agreement with Team ETNZ.  

Oracle and Lunna Rossa are shadowing the first day of sailing for the ETZ boat.  Check the story here.

Link to first day sailing for the ETZ AC72

The AC racing will be in San Francisco starting with challenger series in the Louis Vuitton Cup in the later part of the summer in 2013.

Team ETNZ:
The new foiling ETNZ going fast in Aug. 2012

Rod Davis, coach for the America's Cup challenger Emirates Team New
Zealand, provides some answer to a question he's often asked ... "what do
you do out there all day?"
When Emirates Team New Zealand goes sailing on the AC72, people might think
we just rip around all day up on foils, trying to set a new speed record or
outrun our poor, and very faithful, chase boat drivers.

We don't, well not any more. We did for a little while, but we needed to
get on with a programme to win the America's Cup. There is no typical day
when we're sailing the big cat. Each time we go out, we chip away at the
huge list of things we need to learn.

Here's a very brief precis of the other day's programme:

Wing in at 6:30, boat in the water at 7:00, off the dock 8:30 (after boat
checks). Forecast was for 10-12 knots of wind.

First on the "to learn" list: check a new number two jib, a development of
an earlier sail. Jibs are numbered just like any other boat, one being the
biggest and four being the smallest. I'm not sure of the logic there.

Next sail on the list was the new second-generation "Code Zero". The AC72,
like the AC45, has two downwind sails. A gennaker for lighter winds that
goes way back, overlapping the wing and a code 0 that looks like a
mast-head jib in profile which is used in stronger downwind conditions.

Speed testing followed. Foiling vs non-foiling using all possible settings
to make each configuration work to the maxim of its potential.

The 72 covers a lot of miles in an hour of this kind of work, and we get a
long way from home. The downhill runway is put to good use with up-wind
sailing back into the gulf.

Then it's time for some pre-starts. From our experience with the AC45 we
know there is a lot on in the pre-start... deploy the gennaker for the
entry, furl it for the dial up (that seems to happen more often than not)
then head to wind, bear off, another gennaker deploy and furl in the gybe,
for the final run to the start line with the all-important time on distance

All of the above happens in just two minutes. It's an understatement to say
we've got a lot on.

Back at the dock, the boat is lifted from the water and packed away. After
debriefing the day on what we learned and how to do it better next time
some of us get out of the office by 6pm.

And the next day we have the same timing with a wing lift at 6:30 am...
forever chipping away on the to-learn list.


Yann Dabbadie, 33 years old, was the Design and Technical Director for China Team is acting as my expert in looking at the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 which was just launched in the middle of July.

Here is a link to the first day video of the ETZ boat.

Link to watch a video for the ETZ AC72

Yann's analysis:

Remember that this is their first boat and that they can still change quiet a lot on it.   Hull shape is no revolution from what we see on the video, I would say pretty conservative. 

The “Y” spine structure makes a lot of sense to take up the load of the runners directly into the forestay tension. This allows you to position the runners further outboard on the aft beam and create more clearance for the trailing edge of the wing when tacking or jibing quickly. On the AC45, the trailing edge often gets damaged by the runners. Also, having the runner further to windward will automatically keep the wing to windward which is more efficient. On the AC45, when your runner is on hard, your windward shrouds are actually slack.

The wing has three elements as expected. Very similar to the AC45 but that third element ( tilt of the trailing edge of the fwd wing profile) allows you to control the gap that you have between the fwd and the aft wing profile. This helps to fine tune the power and efficiency of the wing. It also allows you to put the wing in very high lift mode… Great for acceleration out of the tacks and for sure in San Fran, you’ll have plenty of them! But this very high lift is too much for the maximum righting moment of the boat, so for best efficiency, you want to be able to reduce it and have a better lift/drag ratio.

As for the rest, it’s hard to see for now, except that the bottom part of the wing follows the spine structure as much as possible to maximize the efficiency with the plate effect of the platform.

Team Lunna Rossa:
Posted:  11/2/12

The launch of the Lunna Rossa boat has the Piranaha on the wing.  It appears that Chris Draper will be the primary helm of this silver/chrome monster.  Here is the link to watch the launch.   To me, it appears to look much the same as ETNZ.  

* America's Cup challenger Team Luna Rossa plans to launch for the first
time their AC 72 on October 26th in Auckland, New Zealand, where the team
is currently finalizing the assembly. The team will continue to train
throughout the Austral summer before relocating to San Francisco next year
in anticipation for the Louis Vuitton Cup which begins in July. --

This could put them in the game with the two of the 4 teams broken.  Only ETNZ with a working 72 at the moment.

I have seen nothing so far on this team except the intention to train in Auckland and share data with Team ETNZ.

Every teams participates in the 34th America's Cup will use their own AC45 and build up their own AC72 Sailing boat to race. You may hear about it, but how much do you know the difference between AC45 and AC72?
China Team will tell you more..
Hull Length13.45m (44 feet)22m (72.18 feet)
Maximum Beam6.9m (22.6 feet)14m (45.93 feet)
Wing Height24.5m* (80.38 feet)40m (131.23 feet)
Maximum Draft2.7m (8.8 feet)4.4m (14.44 feet)
Displacement1400kg (3086 pounds)5900kg (13007 pounds)
Wing Area93.7 sqm (1008.58 square feet)260 sqm (2798 square feet
Jib Area30 sqm (323 square feet)100 sqm (1076 square feet)
Gennaker Area100 sqm (1076 square feet)400 sqm (4305 square feet)
Crew5@85kg/per (187 pounds)11@92kg/per (203 pounds)
(*Note: The stock wing height for the AC45 is 21.5 m/70.5 feet)
The overall height of AC72 is similar to the boeing 747 wing! And AC72 is more than a double of AC45.

Can you say "Scary stuff?"

Here is a quote from Grant Dalton acquired March 18th 2012, for this blog.
 (credit to Ivor Wilkin in Breeze magazine)

Max Sirena said everybody had seen 
the Extreme 40s crash and burn. “These 
AC72 yachts are 100 times more powerful. 
They will be dangerous boats to sail.

Whereas a Version Five monohull would 
take a 5-10 second grind for each tack, the 
AC72 would require constant grinds of up 
to a minute. Bearing in the mind that the 
shape of the recently-published course for 
San Francisco is long and narrow, Dalton 
estimates that it will take 54 tacks and 
gybes to complete a race.

With no part of the course offering 
more than three miles in a straight line, the 
grinding effort will be virtually non-stop. 
Dalton, who said he was training hard to 
be part of the crew, said the emphasis on 
crew-work and good racing mechanics to 
manhandle the boats around the track was 
a massive focus for all the teams.
“The crew that can hoist and unfurl their 
code zero gennaker two seconds quicker, 
will be going away 20 knots faster,” said 
Shoebridge. “At those speeds, though, 
going past a mark or not being ready for a 
manoeuvre will be disastrous.”
Dalton, who was once fined £18,000 
for speeding with his giant Club Med 
catamaran on Southampton Water, said 
the giant wing-catamarans would be 
capable of 25 knots upwind and 35-40 
knots downwind.

The original article for this blog which was written during the ACWS in San Diego in 2011 is below:

The goal for the interview is to get information out to the racing world on features we might see on the AC 72s.
Yann Dabbadie aboard
 China Team in San Diego

This interview was done at the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) in San Diego sitting on the dock next to the China Team AC45.  The interview was done on November 15, 2011.

Yann Dabbadie, 33 years old, is the Design and Technical Director for China Team and is concentrating on which direction their AC72 design will take for racing in San Francisco Bay in 2013.  He used their AC45 to illustrate the upcoming design issues faced by all teams competing for the America's Cup.

Yann has a B-Eng degree from Southhampton in the UK and is a naval architect who is young enough to think outside of 'lead mines' (lead mine = mono hull with a lead keel).   "As a Frenchman, I always wonder why you put lead on the bottom."  His quote is quite telling. That natural attitude may give him a bit of an edge.

For a look at Yann talking about design click on this America's Uncovered #25.  To get to Yann and avoid the rest, go to about the 15 minute mark for two minutes of interview.   Link to Youtube 

Many teams are buying the $1.2 million Base Package design from America's Cup Race Management (ACRM). Yann, along with China Team's owner, reviewed the package and made the decision purchase it.  

One element supplied in the Base Package is the platform (hulls) designed by multihull specialist Van Pethegem / Lauriot-Prevost (VPLP).  Another element is the sail package designed by the North Sails group.
What a fine spot for an interview!

The teams are able to take the Base Package to a builder for construction or they can modify the Base Package or they can opt to do their own design within parameters.  All of the elements in the design package are evaluated for the positive and negative effects of each change.  The best compromise is then selected.

The Platform cannot be longer than 22m and wider than 14m.  Within that size, decisions run rampant but have to stay within a strict set of rules.

Q.  What are some of the details that can be changed or examined by each team on their AC72?
Illustrating the 'delta' or boom

YD:  The boom, or as I call it the 'delta', is a control feature. In fact, all the controls for any part of a boat will be different. More controls give more flexibility in sail control but add weight and increase the chance of failure.

For instance, on the AC45, the front part of the wing is fixed and does not twist. On the AC72 this part can twist to allow for more power on top of the wing.  The cost is weight and complexity.  The AC45 is a one-design fleet where all boats are identical except for headsails, so there is no experimenting, at the moment, in this fleet.
Tyson of Team New Zealand with the AC45 
Wingspars separated, showing the control lines.

One of the cost control measures for the AC72 is we are only allowed to build a total of six wingspars. 'Wingspars' are the elements that make up the leading edge of the rotating wingsail.  You need two wingspars for each wingsail. The shape of the wingsail can be whatever we wish to build.  The aft sections are not limited in number and we can build as many of these as we want.  The design of the aft sections of the wingsail will vary from team to team. The wingsail area is limited in size, but the percentage of the wingspars to the aft elements is not controled.  Only the weight and center of gravity of the wingsail are the same for all boats, to ensure similar righting moments.  

The challengers will have to build AC72s for both the Louis Vuitton Cup which begins 4th of July and through August.  Most anticipate lighter winds than the September winds the America's Cup is likely to have.  It could get scary out there with big winds in September! As a challenger you have to design for two different set of conditions. The defenders (Oracle) have an easier problem to solve as they will only race in September. The cost could also be an issue with each wing costing between $1 and 1.5 million to produce and that is only an estimate.

China AC45 Wingsail
The 'wingspars' for the forward element will be built to optimize the conditions and act as spares if required.  We anticipate mixing them in sizes so we can have spares and wind options.

We have found the AC 45 are faster in the breeze with only the wingsail and no headsails but the downside is that they become much harder to steer and control.  We will see what happens with the AC72 when they are built.  Several sailors have expressed concern about going out in the 30k range of wind as things can happen so quickly on these machines.

Q.  Are there any design features of the 'platform' that are difficult to come up with?

YD:  So far there are 4 concepts for an AC72 that have surfaced.  

1.  To have no spine or central boom like a Hobie 16.  This is unlikely.
2.  AC 45 and the M-2 designs expanded to 72.
3.  A modified Alinghi catamaran design shrunk down a bit.
4.  The D 35 catamaran design.

An example of a design problem on the platform is what to do with the pedestal grinding positions.  The spine (center line spar etc...) design is going to have to accommodate the support and stiffness of the design as well as possibly providing a solid floor for the pedestals and provide a solid tack point for the headsails.

We are deciding if we will have 2 or 3 pedestals and where to locate them.  The pedestals will provide power for all the control lines and we are thinking of providing power to hydraulic line from them too.  There can be no stored power on the boats.

Another decision is whether to have the location of the pedestals on each rail or on center line. The weight on the rail is very crucial, especially, as we have learned on the 45s at the weather mark, accelerating in big wind.

Sitting on a dock on the bay.

Q. Are there other issues being discussed with regard to the platform?

YD:  The design of the forward hulls is critical and will be different for each team.  The volume on the forward part of the hull is very sensitive.  If it is too large, then the boat would be expected to go slowly through the waves, encountering more resistance.  However, if the volume is too small then the acceleration at the weather mark might result in a pitch pole of dramatic proportions.  The goal is to find a happy medium.

Here is Oracle 5 digging in the leeward bow section after rounding the weather mark.

Note the acceleration induced submerging bow digging under.  This is about 8k of wind.  Imagine 30k!

Q.  Crew communications on that size boat are tough.  What are you planning on to enhance the coordination of the crew?

China team getting ready to go out for training.

Skippered by Charlie Ogletree

YD:  We are looking at various comm sets and have found that a microphone that picks up vibrations on the jaw is much clearer than a microphone exposed to the wind.  Some of the crew will have recieving sets only and some will have microphones.  Coordination for the crew is essential for consistency on the race course.

Q.  Are there other crew considerations?

YD:  Our goal for China Team is to have mainly Chinese crew on the 11 racers on the boat for the LV and the AC.  To further that end we have shadows in all aspects of our team.  We have two Chinese sailing crew here in San Diego, one of which is Ma Jian, a former NBA player.  He is working our bow at the moment.

At the same time, we are doing a recruiting drive in China to source athletes with or without sailing experience, who will go through an intensive 18 months training program in China to become the sailors of the China Team AC 72.

Chinese dragon blessing the AC 45  boat and crew along with Russell Coutts and Bruno Trouble.

China Team is a true Chinese challenge and as such we make sure that we incorporate Chinese at each level of the team. This is the only way to have support from our country and sponsors.  Yacht racing in China is very limited and we are trying to spread the word over there.

Photographs by John Papajani.