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America's Cup - Insider's view- Close enough to touch

by Ken Read on 8 Aug 2013
Artemis Racing - Louis Vuitton Cup, Semi-Final 2, August 8, 2013 Chuck Lantz © http://www.2007ac.com

North Sails President and TV Commentary Team member, Ken Read gives his insider's view of the Louis Vuitton Cup:

Can Artemis make this an event? Does Luna Rossa need to worry about more close calls like the wing skin tearing? Just two of the many questions surrounding the Louis Vuitton Semi finals.

Typical overcast San Francisco morning. The two boats are right outside my office window waiting for the dock out presentation. In a way the sailing world was a bit relieved that it was at least a bit of a race yesterday. And what may have happened if Artemis could have foil jibed as well as the Italians?

One thing that is striking is the need for lots of people around these huge wings. Tending the boat on the mooring as we speak there are four Artemis tenders with a total of 12 people aboard as well as an additional 10 people on board the race boat itself. The wing is loose and rotating itself constantly into the wind but you can see that a big wind shift and off she would go.

Seems like there has to be some simple ways to reduce the cost of running these programs without having the masses necessary to constantly watch over the wing. When I was with Luna Rossa the other day there were 45 people necessary to put the boat into the water and take it out at days end.

Incredible!



August 6, 2013: Will it be Artemis or Luna Rossa to draw first blood?

Word on the street out here in America's Cup land is that Artemis could be off the pace. I guess it isn't shocking seeing that they designed their boat not to foil initially and have had to create last minute changes to get 'Big Blue' to fly. They are flying, but from what I have seen, they are a bit sticky trying to get the boat out of the water. Hull volumes that aren't meant to do what they are being asked to do... Believe me, I hope that these rumors are in fact just that---rumors! Because nothing would be better than delivering commentary today for a close race!

My ride on Luna Rossa a couple days ago (right) taught me a few key things. But one crucial thing... The choreography between the grinders and the helmsman is critical. Grinding the boards up and down at the right time through the turn is a 4-6 boat length difference between a foil-to-foil jibe or not. And that is a lot of boat lengths when you think about the fact that these boats average about 12 jibes per race. A really good foil-to-foil jibe costs less than half a boat length VMG toward the mark. Incredible!

Our TV show will be fun and interesting today. Todd Harris and myself in the booth with Gary donning his PUMA foul weather gear and telling it like it is on the water. Cameras everywhere including seven on each boat. Plus microphones on five guys on each boat.

Sailing (whether it is a close race or not) has never seen anything like this...!

Read will regularly write America's Cup 'insider view' posts, which will be posted on www.na.northsails.com and www.Facebook.com/NorthSailsUSA.

_________________________________________________________________________

North Sails is pleased to announce that Ken Read, president of North Sails Group, has joined the America's Cup TV commentating team in San Francisco, CA. Read will join Todd Harris, Gary Jobson and the ACTV production team to deliver live commentary for the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals starting Tuesday, August 6, the Louis Vuitton Cup finals starting Saturday, August 17 and the America's Cup Match, which will start on Saturday, September 7.

'This is an opportunity that I simply could not turn down,' Read said after accepting ACTV's exclusive invitation. 'At first I wasn't sure how it would fit in with my daily job as president of North Sails, but I think having industry opinion leaders in front of this TV audience makes a lot of sense. I have both America's Cup and multihull experience and I know many of the guys who are involved with the teams which will add a personal touch to our commentary. My sailing experience and knowledge of the sailmaking industry will help make me a credible commentator and hopefully sailors and non-sailors at home will like seeing familiar faces,' Read said.

Read got his feet wet in April when he was an online commentator for the America's Cup World Series event in Naples, Italy. 'That was the perfect opportunity for me to give America's Cup commentating a shot and see if I was able to deliver in detail what was happening on the race course,' Read explained. 'I really enjoyed that experience and I anticipate the upcoming Louis Vuitton Cup Series and America's Cup Match will be exciting to watch and fun to commentate. This is a great chance to be part of an amazing team that has put together a program that contains technical detail, photography and audio that will show our sport off in a way in which it has never been shown,' Read said.

In addition to Read's multiple World, North American and National sailing titles, he most recently raced twice around the world on PUMA Ocean Racing during the 2008-09 and 2011-12 editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. His America's Cup experience is also impressive. He raced with PACT 95 during the 1995 America's Cup in San Diego, CA and was the helmsman for Dennis Conner onboard Stars & Stripes for the 1999-2000 and 2002-03 America's Cup campaigns in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ken will also be posting Cup 'insider updates' on Facebook: www.facebook.com/kennyreadsailor and www.facebook.com/NorthSailsUSA.

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