by Ken Read
Emirates Team NZ returns to her base after Race 6 of the Final of the Louis Vuitton Cup
North Sails President and TV Commentary Team member, Ken Read gives his insider's view of the Louis Vuitton Cup:
After technical difficulties in LV Finals Race 3, we are reminded that good things come to those who wait
The bottom of Luna Rossa's wing gave them trouble in Race 2. The port side 'wing arm' ultimately lead to their withdrawal from Race 3.
Lets be honest. Frustration rules the day in San Fran. Everyone is frustrated.
At the top of the list are the sailors and teams who's boats aren't making it around the track in one piece. Then we have the fans, who are clearly having a tough time getting it all straight with the boats, the wind limit, and the schedules. TV times fluctuate based on license restrictions and who is covering what on a given day. Whether a race day is a 'scheduled race day' or a 'lay day' (a reserve day, to which races can be added) determines what type of broadcasting is possible - either live racing on YouTube or tape delay on NBCSN.
ACTV is also frustrated, as we just want to showcase good racing to those who appreciate it. Today especially, there seemed to be endless obstacles. At this stage, maybe we should throw both teams in a couple Melges 24s (who are out here practicing for the worlds near the course) and let them have at it!!
The silver lining? I firmly believe that if we can get some real racing in soon, we will all forget about the frustration. A day off for boat repair is clearly needed so the pit crews can try to locate the next problem prior to it happening on the course. Lets get out on the race course on Wednesday and hope like hell that the boats and the wind limit cooperate.
One thing is certainly clear. When you mix in things like wings and flying boats and new safety wind limits (that are below the average wind speed for this time of year) good things happen to those who are patient. The best is yet to come, and soon we will all be able to forget these frustrating days of August.
?Louis Vuitton Cup? Final Race 4 & 5 are scheduled for Wednesday at 1:10pm PST. Tune in to ESPN3 or watch the replay at youtube.com/americascup.
Ken Read describes the trials and tribulations of the 1st day of racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals in San Francisco, CA
You can probably feel it in my writing that I absolutely loved sailing on these 72 footers when I got the chance prior to the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup finals. But yesterday I was really happy to be in the commentators booth talking about the action rather than living it!
First of all, the sad tale of the Italians who broke prior to the start of race #1 in the Louis Vuitton finals, was such a huge disappointment for everyone. You could see that there was broken carbon fiber in the daggerboard for the board lift line and that is never good. It's not like you can through bolt a key carbon part like this or just glue in another piece. The Italians were done before the start and really got lucky that the wind limit came into play for the second race of the day or they would have had to play their 'mulligan' card, which each team has only one of for the entire series.
Now on to the Kiwis who were given a free pass around the track when the Italians were clearly broken. Luna Rossa never officially dropped out of the race effectively forcing the Kiwis to keep sailing, hoping that they would get lucky or as my partner in the booth Todd Harris said, 'throw a Hail Mary'.
And lucky they almost got. The near pitch pole by the Kiwis at the last windward mark made for great TV but nearly cost them the race and worse yet, the regatta. Two crew washed overboard but both were okay to the relief of everyone watching. The damage to the boat was cosmetic, just wind fairlings that apparently were broken free. All-in-all it looked really dramatic and my guess is if you were on the boat, it was really dramatic! A good day to be dry in the confines of a comfy chair.
The bottom line is that this racing in these types of boats is never boring and never over until the boats are tied up to the dock. Thank goodness that all are okay because the speed breakdown onboard ETNZ was 20 knots - to 42 knots - to 12 knots in ten seconds. And the 42 to 12 happened in about 2 seconds.
Welcome to the America's Cup 34 edition. Never over. Not for the faint of heart. More to come as we dissect what happened.
Racing continues today (Sunday, August 18th) on San Francisco Bay. Tune in to NBC Sports Network at 6pm ET / 3pm PT to watch the racing tape-delayed. All racing can also be watched on YouTube.com/AmericasCup after it is aired on NBCSN.
Sailing on ETNZ Yesterday in San Francisco Bay at 46.5 Knots was My Top Speed in a Sail Boat (and Maybe a Power Boat!)
Ken Read gives us a sneak peak at the speed of the AC72s on the eve of the LV Finals
This is the only photo I was allowed to take yesterday while I was a guest onboard Emirates Team New Zealand for a jaunt around San Francisco Bay. I was asked not to photograph anything that was going on aboard the boat - can't say that I blame them.
First of all, let me get this out of the way right off the bat. MY GOODNESS WAS THAT AMAZING!!!!!!!!! It was much breezier than the day I was aboard Luna Rossa - we saw a high of about 24 knots of wind speed and the top boat speed I saw was 46.5 on the dial!!!! That's right, 46.5 knots or 53.5 mph. My new top speed ever in a sail boat. Maybe in a power boat as well.
Similar to my day aboard Luna Rossa, the guys were great and the amazing thing is how composed they all are onboard the most powerful sailboats ever built. Just ripping around the Bay and for the first half of the day, there was pea soup fog on the top half of the race course. The boats are so fast that you couldn't avoid the foggy areas because the Bay just isn't very big when you are going 30+ knots all the time.
So here we are at extremely high speed on the edge of control blazing across the Bay with about four boat lengths of visibility and commercial traffic all over the place. I sat there in the middle of the trampoline thinking to myself that it was all a bit marginal when tactician Ray Davies said over the ear piece to skipper Dean Barker something like 'not sure how good an idea this is Deano as I really can't see a thing.' YOU THINK THIS ISN'T A GREAT IDEA RAY? It just goes to show how relaxed all these crews have become at incredibly high speeds.
They love going sailing every day. They claim they are learning more about the boat and the Bay all the time and their speed curve is still steep. More to come on this as I am being cautious as to what I can and can't say. What I can say is these guys appeared to be really switched on.
First LV Finals race is Saturday between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge. Tune in to NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) in the US at 6pm ET and on YouTube.com/AmericasCup after it is broadcast on TV. Looking forward to an awesome series! More information and a full broadcast schedule can be found on: www.AmericasCup.com.
Amazing TV, a bit of controversy and a lot of anticipation looking ahead to the next round of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
For sure the start of Race #4 in the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals had a lot going on on Saturday here in San Francisco. It was really tough to call off the line. A lot of confusion with the lights and who was at fault and when the penalty was actually given and taken by Artemis.
At the end of the day, the Artemis team was not happy about how things went down. I saw a few of the team members after the race and they were still mumbling about when the penalty light came on for them to do their penalty and in their view, it was not done correctly. I am sure there will be a lot more to come about this in the near future.
As we move on to the the next round, starting this Saturday, August 17th, Luna Rossa is going back into the shed for repair and upgrades. I have never been around boats that go in to have modifications and come out almost always going significantly faster. Sometimes knots faster because the development of the aero packages and hydro packages are going straight through the roof.Oracle, for example, came out the other day with end plates on their bow sprits for the bottom of their jibs making both boats look more like the 'Batmobile' than a sailboat. I am sure there is a lot more to come before we get to the finals.
Five days off now for some of us on the TV crew. My days are still packed with North Sails commitments. Lots of stuff going on in the sailing world with the Cup and the Rolex Fastnet Race and Match Racing in Chicago etc. Very exciting times!
The Louis Vuitton Cup finals between Luna Rossa Challenge and Emirates Team New Zealand begins on Saturday, August 17 and will be aired on NBC Sports Network at 6pm ET. The LV Finals are a best of 13 series (first competitor to seven wins) and the racing is scheduled to be aired on NBC Sports Network and on www.YouTube.com/AmericasCup. More information and a complete broadcast schedule can be found on www.AmericasCup.com
Ken Read's insider's view from the America's Cup prior to race #3 of the LV Semi-Finals
Inside the ACTV studio in San Francisco, CA
The TV show continues to evolve. Photo attached is my boy Todd Harris in our little Cube/Studio. We announce while watching three monitors with 140 people in the studio and on the water making it all happen here at ACTV. AC Liveline is up all the time on one monitor, the actual TV picture that you see and a technical box with lots of stats scrolling through that the technicians in the back room keep updating. Along with a couple people in our earphones all the time counting through the production--what could possibly go wrong? Todd is a real pro and keeps the whole thing together and moving and dragging me along for the ride. Good fun, and we will continue to get better I hope...
Todays show is on NBC Sports Network. NBCSN. A bit of a delay from the live race. Tonight at 7-9 Eastern time on your cable TV. Welcome to the world of Television. The schedule will continue to move around as NBC comes in and out of the broadcasts.
BTW, I think it is great for NBC to be showing off our sport. For sure we have been asked to keep things a bit more elementary when on NBC, thinking that there are a lot of people who are possibly watching sailing for the first time. This isn't easy for me. What obviously comes natural is using normal sailing lingo. Todd has to keep asking me 'what the heck does that mean?'
Ken will also be posting Cup 'insider updates' on Facebook: www.facebook.com/kennyreadsailor and www.facebook.com/NorthSailsUSA.