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Harken AUS Reflex 728

Dean's Diary- America's Cup bombshell for Challengers

by Dean Barker on 2 Oct 2012
Piers 30-32 San Francisco. Now its up to the Challengers to build their own bases - at six months notice www.h2oshots.com

Dean Barker, Emirates Team NZ skipper and Director of www.kiwiyachting.co.nz!Kiwi_Yachting_Consultants_and_Nexus_AB, reports from San Francisco, USA from the America's Cup World Series, in which he helms Emirates Team NZ .

October 1, 2012: Six months out and no bases

Today the Event organisers dropped a bombshell on the Americas Cup competitors when they announced they will no longer be requiring the Teams to be based on Piers 30 and 32, and more importantly would not be paying for any redevelopment of the Piers as has been promised for the last 18 months.

I am sitting here completely stunned. We are a little over six months from relocating our base to San Fran to what we have been told would be a fully functioning base area complete with Team hospitality spaces and full access for the public to watch the teams preparing and launching their boats.

It is now going to be a concrete slab with absolutely nothing on it which will now require us to secure cranes, jettys, and all services required to function. We have never budgeted for this and to be dropped on us now is quite unbelievable.

I have to say we are a long long way from the vision presented to us back in September 2010. Larry Ellison has done a lot for this AC and has put a lot of his own financial resource into making the Americas Cup next year a big event. However I think in terms of a lot of decisions made along the way by different people here we are with only three challengers and now no base facility to operate out of. This is a long way from the success of 2007 in Valencia no matter how you package it.

The catamarans are great but the AC72's are just way too expensive. Not only is the design and build of the new boats extreme, but then you need a small army just to launch and retrieve the boat each day let alone the work to maintain it.

There is no question the AC72 racing next year will be spectacular. That is fortunate because the rest of the show looks to be well below expectations.

On the AC45 front we had a good practice day in what was the most amazing day I have experienced in SF. Tomorrow we have the official practice races which will be good before the racing proper kicks off Wednesday.

All for now

Dean

To read earlier editions of Dean Barker's blog http://www.kiwiyachting.co.nz/dean-barkers-blog!click_here

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