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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

America's Cup, Nationality of the teams 2012

Population of various nationalities racing in the 2012 SF ACWS:

In order of population on the boats are the represented countries:  (These represent the starting sailors and do not include the spares or the shore teams)  Sailors of various nationalities are mixed UP in the fleet with no boat having a complete country represented with all 5 sailors.
NZL:  17
AUS:  7
GBR:  7
FRA:  6
ITA:  5
USA:  4
NED:  3
CHN:  2
ESP:  2
SUI:  1

A special note on the Chinese Team: 
There are back UP sailors on all the teams but in the China team they are taking Chinese sailors (a rare thing in China) and giving them time on the 45.  Most of the other teams are just putting  the best sailors they can find aboard.  China is to be congratulated for bringing newbies into the sport.

One of their most remarkable new sailors is a 35 year old woman, named Summer,  who was on the helm of a Yngling for the 2008 Olympics in Bejing.  They placed 8th in that event.  She has married a sail maker (TC, Todd Cunningham) for Doyle Sails who is making sails for the Korea Team.  She has not been aboard a 45 for a race yet but is being groomed for the helm position.  She has 10 years of 470 sailing followed by being a floater crew aboard an Extreme 40.  She is tall for a Chinese woman at 172 cm and weighs in at mere 62 kg.

The two met in Bejing when her spinnaker measured just 12 mm too wide at the shoulder for her Yngling in the Olympics.

One can hope for the best for her.  She is the only female sailor on any of the ACWS teams.  This boat requires some serious fitness and strength and the helm is the only potential position for most women.

Nationalities of the teams:
There are only three of the 11 boats that have a 50% of country for the team on board.  Noted with an *

USA:  Two boats, both from Oracle, representing and defending the AC for the Golden Gate Yacht Club
SWE:  Two boats, both from Artemis Racing, representing Sweden and  are the Challenger of Record.
ITA:  Two boats, both from Lunna Rossa, from Italy * (Swordfish)
KOR:  One boat, from Team Korea
CHN:  One boat from Team China
FRA:  One boat from Energy Team*
ETZ:  One boat from Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ)*
GBR:  One boat from Ben Ainsley Racing (BAR) (sponsored by JP Morgan)

Only the two boat ACWS teams above and ETNZ are building 72’ boats for the 2013 Louis Vuitton Challenger Series (August)  and the America’s Cup (September).  Each team is allowed to build 2 boats with a total of 12 wing sections.  For more on this, see my blog about the AC 72 development.  Korea has entered the contest but has not started building their 72’ boat as of this date.

NATIONALITY: The history of this America’s Cup clause

Published on April 28th, 2013 | by Editor
By John Longley – Grinder on Australia II
The plea for a return to nationality in the America’s Cup is a recurring thread on Scuttlebutt, and it is always interesting to restate why we are where we are on this matter.
Most America’s Cup fans would know that prior to the Second World War, the yachts were mainly crewed by professionals and that nationality was not an issue, particularly as many of the crews were British and Scandinavian fisherman. Arguably the first Corinthian crew was that of Tommy Sopwith’s Endeavour in the 1934 Match, which was mainly crewed by amateurs, after his professional crew struck for more money.
With the post war revival of the competition, it seemed that nationality came into being more by default than by any demand from the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) as Defender. Why would anyone want to sail for any other country than your own? No one, or very few, were being paid, and the prime motivation was to represent your country.
It was Australian Alan Bond who broke the mould in the 1977 Match. In the 1970′s, the Congressional Cup was the premier Match Racing event in the world. In fact, Match Racing was almost totally a U.S. discipline with most of the top Match Racers being American.
As a lead up to the first Bond challenge in 1974, a crew was sent to the Congressional Cup with 1972 Dragon Olympic gold medallist John Cuneo at the helm. We came last, and I still have my copy of “Race Your Boat Right” by Arthur Knapp Jr, which was awarded with great pomp by Arthur to those who did so, to prove it.
We did not do much better in 1977 with Noel Robins at the helm, although as I have only one copy of Arhur’s book, I guess we did not come last. So Alan pondered what to do.
“Why don’t we sign up an American Match Racer,” mused Alan? “There are no rules to say we can’t.”
Hence one Andy Rose came onboard our team. Andy was one of the new hotshots in the Match Racing world and, and as he was a Californian, he wasn’t a real American… at least not from the NYYC’s point of view anyway (just joking).
Suddenly we could play the game, and although Courageous still beat us 4-0, it was a slight lack of upwind speed that was our problem, and not our lack of Match Racing skill.
The NYYC did not approve of this at all, and closed the loophole by writing an interpretation to the Deed Of Gift that demanded that all crews be nationals of the country of the challenging yacht club.
And so it was until the 2003 Match when the Kiwis changed the Deed to remove the Nationality clause. It may have been that the Kiwis wanted to maximise the number of Challengers for commercial reasons, and with a nationality rule the Swiss were not going to be able compete, but I believe the main drive for relaxing the rules came from a shift from Corinthian sailor to professional.
Sailors were starting to make a living out of sailing in the America’s Cup, and if they were to be able to get the best deal from their prospective employer, they needed to be able to offer their wares on an open market.
Today there are Australians sailing on all of the current America’s Cup syndicates although there hasn’t been an Australian Challenger since 1995. The Kiwis, Spaniards and Brits are everywhere as well. If it had not been so, I doubt there would have ever been a Swiss, or Japanese Challenge, and the Chinese would most likely never be back.
I too yearn for the days of National-based Challenges. But to wind the clock back to the 12 metre era is both impractical and arguably not in the best interests of the future of the Event, as it will exclude countries who do not have home grown experience in this strangest of competitions.
However, I do think that partial solutions should be explored.
For example, maybe a certain percentage of the crew could be required to be Nationals. The Australian Basketball professional league has such a system in that it only allows two non-nationals per team. I can see no reason why this would not be viable. You can, for example, always train up trimmers, although I acknowledge it would be hard to train grinders as they are simply born with their incredible skills.

A couple of notes on the 45’ boats: 

These boats are built in New Zealand and cost $1 million each, not counting the headsails and are intended to be a practice platform for the teams making a run at the America’s Cup in 2013.  There is nothing scheduled for the AC 45 fleet past the two Italian venues of Naples and Venice but rumors abound.  Mentioned new venues for next year were Katar, New York, Auckland, and the Bahamas.  Negotiations continue and apparently there are two that are fairly close to being announced.

Green Comm, which was a Spanish team in the San Diego ACWS sold it’s boat to Oracle and that boat is now the Red Bull Youth boat.

Ben Ainsley’s boat (BAR) is the old Aleph boat from the 2011-2012 series.

These boats can hang about on moorings very easily but Energy Team had a fright when their boat broke loose and went walkabout on it’s own on SF Bay.  It departed, apparently, around 10:30 PM on a windless night and was discovered at 3:30 AM over at Treasure Island across the pond from Pier 32 where all the teams were based for this event.  No significant damage beyond a bit of hull scraping which was polished UP and all was good.  This Energy team must be full of good luck! 

Where the fleet goes after the AC in 2013 is UP in the air.  They have taken 'stadium sailing' to a new level thanks to Live Line and all the TV graphics.  One design racing is proving very popular.  Match racing, not so much.  Will the AC be a fleet race(s) once again?  Leave a comment if you can.

Road Trip to San Francisco to watch the AC 45s 2012

ROAD TRIP (or Fear and Loathing in SF)

Leisure pursuits, if they are to be successful, take planning and assertiveness.  The trip to San Francisco to observe the AC 45 2012-13 series regatta #2 was taken very seriously.  We were going to wing the accommodations as we went but were ready for any contingency.  There was a tent and 3 folding chairs in the trunk along with sleeping mats, bags, whiskey, chocolate, mixed nuts, cold beer in a cooler (for Ev), ice, water, VHFs, binoculars, computer (netbook), pillows, clothes, disc golf discs, umbrellas, etc…

Monday, Oct 1, 2012
2001 S-500 ready to depart on road trip.  Named the Uboat.
Sparky, the happiest dog in the world, is wondering why he
can't go too.

Some Numbers:
Mileage on the Uboat at the start:  95,433
Mileage at the end:  97,394
Total miles:  1,961
6 tanks of fuel, Premium fuel prices from $4.05 in OR to $4.91 in CA.
Fuel economy on the road avg:  24.5 MPG
Fuel economy in SF and surrounding area:  19.1 MPG

A nice concrete path to the Willamette River in Portland.

Cousin Everett was my partner and provided local knowledge of SF as we approached .
Ev was picked UP in Seattle at the downtown ferry terminal as planned and we hit I-5 south.
Departed Seattle:  10:37 AM
Lunch in Portland on the Willamette River front park, 1:45-2:10

We found white sandy beach with a pretty girl for our lunch
stop.  Life is good.

Count Ferrari with a boat on the hard on the beach.
A Buccaneer 30 looks like fun!
River moorings be shallow.

Arrived Roseburg OR @6:30 PM to stay with Auntie M (Aunt to both Ev and I)
Mileage: 95839

Cousin Ev and Auntie M in Roseburg.  Tremendous
Auntie M showing off her balanced art.
She loves to create in metal.

The weather was superb if a bit warm in the 90’s 
 but no issue for us cocooned in the big S-500 cab.

This art piece is titled Horsepower and is made from old
car parts to the shape of a horse.

The following day saw temperatures to 101 F for many locations in Northern CA.

Everett takes a public bath:
The day was hot but the water was NOT.

Looking for a place to dive in.  

Arrival in Sebastopol was to temps around 98F in a house with no AC.  However the temps did cool off at night and really never got hot again for our stay.

The Sebastopol stop.  Ground hogs(?) ruled the dirt!

DAY 1 in SF (Wed)
Bacon Chef extraordinaire!
Ed taking a self portrait at Crissy Field in SF.

We took our Sebastopol host, Ed to the AC event with us and he pedaled around while we checked in and received our press credentials.  The Count was freelance  as a photo/ journalist with and Ev was freelanced as a photo/journalist from the Port Townsend Leader.  The photo part was to give us access to the mark boats or photo boats if desired.  No need.
Our first activity was to attend a great lunch hosted by the St. Francis YC with host Kimball Livingston and the speaker was noted Sailing journalist Bob Fisher who regaled us with many fun stories of America’s Cup espionage and goings on.  Bob mentioned he has seen footage of ETNZ doing a gybe on the new 72’ AC challenger that had it staying ‘on foil’ for the entire gybe.  If anyone sees this footage, please try and leave a comment for that website.
Another remark  from Bob Fisher about each team having aboard  crew representing the nation  with a requirement of 50% citizens of said nation for the racing received a BIG applause.
Ev and I returned to the Media Center at Marina Green and got the latest handouts.  A very fun print out was the one showing who was crewing for which boat.  There are 11 boats in this regatta, all one design 45’ catamarans with wing sails.  Each boat has a crew of 5.  It is interesting reading as the teams keep poaching the best sailors to try and get a win on the water.

Tiffany providing free sunblock and lots of smiles in the
Marina Green.

Ed showing off his mountain bike form after doing a
103 mile ride two days previously on his road machine.
We met UP with Ed watched the racing from the Peninsula which had the race boats coming within 100 yards of shore and maybe the other side of the course was a mile or so away but easily seen.  The first day was Match racing and Russell Coutts CEO of Oracle schooled Nathan Outeridge (Artemis Red) on the start and led the entire way but could not post a win because he missed the last mark.   The starts on the Match Racing were quite a bit more sophisticated than those from the last series.   Lots of action and speed with penalties being sought and every advantage taken by the racers.

Energy Team and China Team crossing.  Taken with a baby point and shoot from the shore.  Note the fog
After the match races we took off to the Napa River to meet friends, Jimmy and Robin, who delivered a 43’ Catana from the NW to here.    We had a good time and dinner and then headed back to Sebastopol where Ev and I elected to sleep in the great outdoors.   I found the backyard trampoline to be very comfy, while Ev had a traditional ground and sleeping mat.
If you haven't slept on a trampoline, it is
wonderful unless it rains.

DAY 2 in SF: (Thursday)
After a great breakfast, we packed UP the Uboat and went to watch what we could in SF at the ACWS show.  We found the provided accredited Media FREE parking at Pier 19 and took the provided FREE water shuttle back to the Media Center to see what was going on for the day.  The shuttle was about a 15 minute ride on the Bay and provided a nice perspective of the city.  The boat, Outer Limits, was a 54’ aluminum catamaran, owner operated (Jim) who was hired by the day from his usual fishing charter.  There were 3 of these shuttles provided so there was very little waiting around for the sailors, team members and media.  The shuttles ran from Pier 32 to 19 to Marina Green and back.
Ev looking at the new Oracle World being built on the
water at about Pier 28 (?)  For those who don't know (like
The Count) the piers are numbered evenly south of
the Bay Bridge and odd north of same.
Our favorite shuttle from  Pier 19 to the Marina Green.

The air show practice for the Blue Angels was in full progress and Ev and I wandered about, finding the Golden Gate Yacht Club was hosting the Media (including us) to a full on meal with guest speaker Ian Murray who is in charge of the entire ACWS regatta.  We were able to use our ID wristbands to enter later in the day to watch the races from their deck.  This is perhaps the best spot in the Bay to watch from. They had a huge TV set up in the dining room and the view from their bleachers and deck is second to none.  The AC 45 club, St. Francis YC and the small public bleachers are good too.

There was some match racing and then some fleet racing.  All of which is amazing to watch.  Racing concluded and we took our shuttle boat back to our free parking on Pier 19.  We powered UP the Uboat and headed across the Bay Bridge to our Priceline acquired hotel at the Claremont.  This is a 22 acre jewel of a hotel with pools, tennis, spas, 4 star luxury with perhaps the best shower I have ever had.   The water pressure was HUGE.

DAY 3 in SF: (Friday)
We drove in the massive traffic to Pier 32 to check out the team bases as media were allowed in that day.  I interviewed 4 of the teams support personnel   We observed all the boats on moorings sheltered inside this cove formed by the various warehouses and a huge attack helicopter carrier that was open for the public because of Fleet Week.
Parking for Media at Pier 32.

Note the moorings for the AC 45s.

Breakfast was at Red’s Java House, which is a MUST do if you are near the water in SF.
We next drove around  the city with Ev pointing out the various houses he had lived in as well as going UP to Twin Peaks and driving through and around some amazing large houses on the hill. 

San Francisco from Twin Peaks with The Count listening to cousin Ev.

We went back to our parking at Pier 19 and took the shuttle in to watch the racing.  Very fun again.
The day ending UP as we drove to our Red Lion Inn near the Oakland Air Port because we couldn’t get an extension on our Claremont Hotel room because the Cal Bears had a game Saturday and they were full.  We had an exotic dinner at the In and Out Burger.  These do not exist up here in the NW and are pretty good fast food burgers.  Part of the experience.

A group of 10 Anacortes sailors came down and my Anacortes Yacht Club Commodore and his lovely companion were welcomed at the GGYC for all days of race watching.

Mac and Wendy inside the GGYC.  AYC was well represented.

DAY 4 in SF (Saturday)
We had intentions of getting in early but didn’t arrive at the parking until 11 or so after doing some more tourist activity looking about over at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Traipsing around Golden Gate Park.

The BEST air show ever:
The B-2 (according to my cousin Peter who wrote in correcting me) bomber making a pass for the air show.
We were on the water shuttle to watch it go by.  Very impressive!
How does it stay in the air?

After checking in with the Media Center to see what was going on and doing some actual email on the provided wifi we watched the best air show I had seen.  There was a B-1 bomber doing a couple of fly bys, there was a 3 plane flight with a P-51 Mustang, a hot single tailed jet and what appeared to be an F22 Raptor.  There was  an Osprey VTOL doing a hover , a 747 doing some figure 8s very low, a bunch of acrobatic planes, the Canadian Falcons, all capped off by the Blue Angels.

The crowd was huge for all the Fleet Parade, the air show and then the AC 45s.
Lunch was provided for the media in the Media Center as was some company outside with some lovely volunteers.
Typical crowd seen looking at Crissy Field, just W of
Marina Green.
The jetty and the crowd with the best view, unless you
were watching on TV.

More AC45 Racing:

Fleet racing started after the air show and Jimmy Spithill took a nose dive on the first mark as he was tied for 1st and did a pitch pole capsize with his boat and crew with his boat going from about 25 knots to 0 in about 10 feet.   All the fleet behind him did a good job to not run them over!

Click on this to watch Jimmy crash!

Click here to look at still photos of the crash.

He was righted UP again by the stand by boats that are waiting to pull these boats UP.  Jimmy and crew took a 2nd place in the next race!  Then he went on to win the Match Racing at the end of the day.   Spectacular stuff!  He ended the regatta by winning both the Match and tied for first with the Fleet racing (although Ben Ainsly won with a tie breaker on the Fleet racing).

Sunday, Oct. 7
Ev and I discussed the merits of coming in Sunday for the last race and decided to watch it on TV preferring an early start driving north and avoiding all the craziness of SF that had a 49’s game, a Giant’s playoff game, Bluegrass festival, and several other gatherings, not to mention the final day of AC 45 racing.

On our return to Ed’s we were fed some fine BBQ and then watched his recorded AC 45 racing which provided a great perspective differing from the live views we saw.  The commentary was superior on the TV and the graphics are just amazing, thanks to Stan Honey and Live Line.

Back to the trampoline for the night but this time a LOT of dew fell so we had to dry out a bit prior to leaving.

Monday, Oct 8
We packed UP and found a place called Hole In the Wall in Sebastopol for a great breakfast and motored East and then North to Roseburg OR for the night.  We got in a game of disc golf in Roseburg at the Veteran's Administration Disc Golf park.  A very nice 18 hole course with concrete tees and Mach III baskets with some tight trees to get around.  The Count shot a +5 but should do better.

Interesting Tee info.  Only half of the plaques on the tees survived the vandals.

Back to Arlington, WA after dropping off cousin Ev at the ferry at 4:45 PM, the traffic north was feared but turned out to be really pretty easy as I took 1:15 hours getting me home from Seattle through rush hour, arriving at 6:00 PM.

Whew!  Always so good to get home!