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America's Cup- Oracle Racing News - Edition 15 - Media Reaction

by Oracle Racing Media on 23 Jun 2011
ORACLE Racing - ORACLE Racing AC45 Sea trials Gilles Martin-Raget/Oracle Racing.com © http://www.oracleteamusamedia.com/

Oracle Racing's newsletter for 14 June 2011 covering the Media reaction to the America's Cup in San Francisco and more.

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Monday, June 20, 2011
34th AMERICA'S CUP

San Francisco Bay “shakes out” welcome mat

By ORACLE Racing Comms // June 20, 2011

Sailors around the world know San Francisco Bay as a great sailing venue. The strong winds make the sailing intensely physical and swift tides make for challenging tactical racing.

While the Bay regularly hosts world championship regattas for classes of all sizes, nothing will showcase the Bay's natural amphitheater like the America’s Cup World Series regattas in 2012 and the Louis Vuitton Cup, America's Cup Challenger Selection Series, and America’s Cup Finals in 2013.

Last week, many locals and visitors took note of the spectacular venue when the next-generation AC45s reveled in winds between 15 and 25 knots.

“Starting now, America’s Cup racing is different,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler wrote in his June 14 column, America’s Cup on the Bay will be arena sailing. “To picture the 2013 race on San Francisco Bay, as compared with all Cup races to date, imagine the Kentucky Derby being run in a barn, over hurdles, with horses geeked on steroids.

“More excitement, more danger, a little edgier.”

Veteran yachting journalist Bob Fisher concurred. Fisher, who once won the C Class catamaran championship that now features wingsailed cats, has long been a supporter of multihulls. After watching ORACLE Racing’s June 13 press conference and Russell Coutts’ unfortunate but spectacular capsize, he took his word to the World Wide Web.

“The two ORACLE Racing AC-45s, skippered by Russell Coutts and Jimmy Spithill, showed the world that the venue is perfect and that catamarans will provide all the excitement due from the Cup in the 21st Century,” Fisher wrote in a column titled, San Francisco is perfect for the America’s Cup.

“The two catamarans provided a spectacular display of racing – a promise of what will be seen during the three months of the Louis Vuitton Cup for the challenger selection trials and the match itself – as they sliced through the waters of the Bay, often in the shadow of Alcatraz, and even provided a pitch-pole capsize by the most successful AC skipper of all time,” Fisher said.

Photo top: ORACLE Racing’s AC45s light-up San Francisco Bay under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge (Guilain Grenier/ORACLE Racing).

 

The America’s Cup, translated for television

By Anne Eisenberg, The New York Times // June 18, 2011

THE yacht-club crowd may turn out to cheer at regattas, but sailboat racing hasn’t been a big hit with mainstream television audiences — perhaps because they have trouble following what’s happening on the waves.

Experts in the sport may appreciate a helmsman’s split-second tactical decisions or a crew’s athleticism, yet the drama often goes over the heads of landlubbers who don’t know how points are scored, or even who is ahead.

Now technology may change that. Starting in August, a two-year series of regattas, culminating in the 34th America’s Cup in 2013 at San Francisco, will have a feature intended to demystify the sport for television and Web audiences. Live footage will be superimposed with ingenious graphics — including lines and pointers that show who is ahead or behind in the welter of foam and hulls, and tags that identify yachts as they race to coveted positions.

The technology is part of an ambitious, expensive effort by the America’s Cup Event Authority, the entity formed to handle all commercial aspects of the America’s Cup competition. The event authority has been backed by the billionaire Lawrence J. Ellison, the chief executive of Oracle and owner of Oracle Racing, the team that won the cup in February 2010.

The graphics system is still being tested, and TV networks have yet to announce interest in the events. But the graphics may attract a new generation of viewers, said Claude Ruibal, the head of sports content at YouTube. “The races are hard to view right now,” Mr. Ruibal said. “But if you add graphical elements, consumers will have a richer experience. We feel there is a real opportunity here to get a whole group of young consumers excited.”

The graphics system is the brainchild of Stan Honey, technology director for the 34th America’s Cup. Mr. Honey, an electrical engineer and an avid sailor, is no stranger to the elucidation of hard-to-see moments in sports. He is one of the creators of a popular television graphics effect: superimposed lines that serve as virtual first-down yard markers for football fans. He is a co-founder of Sportvision, a company that provides this service.

Ken Milnes, who once worked with Mr. Honey at Sportvision, is developing graphics for the cup races. Mr. Milnes also helped create the graphics system that identifies Nascar racers as they surge through the backstretch.

Link to full article: The America’s Cup, translated for television

 

Mayor won’t cut corners on America’s Cup prep

By Eric Young, SF Business Times // June 16, 2011

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, a newly converted fan of America’s Cup racing, said the city is making good progress on the environmental study of the 2013 event.

Lee also said he wants to make sure San Francisco doesn’t cut corners in its preparations.

The city must “do it well, without disturbing the natural environment, without disturbing our own residents and business people.”

That is just what many neighborhoods and environmental groups want to hear.

We’ll see soon enough what those concerned constituents have to say when the draft of the environmental study is out in late June or early July.

The final environmental impact report is supposed to be published around October and city officials hope to approve it by the end of the year.

Link to article: Mayor won’t cut corners on America’s Cup prep
Related articles: Fundraising for America’s Cup sails ahead
Photo below: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and America’s Cup Race Management CEO Iain Murray share a laugh at the America’s Cup Press Conference, June 15, 2011 (Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com).

TEAM NEWS

Cup dream takes wing for the Pitbull from Pittwater

By Rupert Guinness, Sydney Morning Herald // June 18, 2011

A combative attitude has put James Spithill back at the helm for his team's 2013 America's Cup defence, writes Rupert Guinness.

James Spithill was competing in his third America's Cup as a 27-year-old helmsman when he earned the nickname 'James Pitbull' from fans of the Italian syndicate Luna Rossa.

The name given by the Italian tifosi in 2007 was for the Sydneysider's aggressive pre-race tactics. His famed jostling for front position in match racing has provided some of the most captivating contests in the battle for international sport's oldest trophy.

Was he really a 'pitbull'? Spithill, who joined Luna Rossa from the American OneWorld crew he led to the semi-finals of the 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup challengers' series, just laughs and says: 'That was pretty cool, being on the Italian team. You have no idea how passionate and how devoted their fans are. When we were in Valencia and at [Cup] finals, they by far had the biggest turnout. They are very emotional and wear their hearts on their sleeves.'

Link to full article: Cup dream takes wing for the Pitbull from Pittwater
Photo: ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill enjoys a warm cup of coffee prior to an early morning interview with NBC TV in San Francisco (Guilain Grenier/ORACLE Racing).

 

Media week a wrap

By ORACLE Racing Comms // June 20, 2011

Phew, what a week.

Last week’s media week orchestrated by ORACLE Racing and the America’s Cup Event Authority drew to a close on Friday with a very grateful guest, Mickey Hart, the past drummer for the legendary band Grateful Dead, taking a guest ride with Russell Coutts on ORACLE Racing’s No. 5 boat.

Hart enjoys celebrity status wherever he goes. That’s probably due to his mix of global experience and self-deprecating humor. “They let me out of rehab especially for this,” Hart said in the (entertaining) video Mickey Hart’s grateful ride.

He was especially enthused for his guest ride after watching the capsize video, and brought a bit of levity to the end of the week when he showed up wearing a mask and snorkel and carrying a set of diving fins.

“I am ready,” he proclaimed. “You can never over prepare for an America’s Cup experience.”

Speaking of the capsize video, it’s racked up nearly 215,000 views on ORACLE Racing’s and ACEA’s YouTube channels. Throw into the mix the near capsize video High 5! from June 10, and the three videos have more than 250,000 views.

Globally, we figure the video is viral, meaning more than 1 million views. What we can’t accurately count is the number of websites on which the video is embedded. Safe to say, it’s impossible to visit a sailing site without seeing it.

Additionally, the video has been broadcast on news programs around the world, including shows such as NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams and the Today show in the U.S. and the BBC’s Breakfast show in the U.K.

It was the front page lead story in the Sydney Morning Herald and the San Francisco Chronicle and received top billing on news outlets such as Reuters. YouTube made it one its four Top Picks in worldwide sport on its home page.

It’s also been broadcast by TV stations in landlocked places such as Tennessee, and reported in the Telegraaf newspaper in The Netherlands. “They normally don't care about sailing,” says ORACLE Racing’s wingsail trimmer Dirk de Ridder of The Netherlands.

ORACLE Racing’s sailors were special guests of the San Francisco media throughout the week. The video Winging it! shows trimmer Joey Newton (above) at KRON studios for a live on-air interview that apparently set hearts aflutter.

“My roommate just texted me and said he’s super-hot,” said KRON weather person Jacqueline Bennett.

The video Pier View shows the challengers’ visit to the Pier 80 base on Wednesday after the America’s Cup press conference(read: Eight rivals, seven countries, one America’s Cup World Series) and includes an interview with Julien di Biase, in charge of logistics for the team.

Finally, A Day on the Bay features interviews with design team members Kurt Jordan and Dirk Kramers.

“Bringing these boats here to San Francisco Bay, it couldn’t get any better,” says Jordan. “Once the decision was made to design and build these boats there was a big push, and finally they’re here. It’s pretty exciting.”

“It’s absolutely incredible to watch,” one unidentified observer said on Monday. “The level of professionalism and the level of access that you can see standing on the shoreline, standing on the deck of a boat, it’s all available for viewing. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen and I’ve been doing this my whole life.”

“I think we’re pretty lucky to be involved in this whole thing,” said Kramers.

Photo below: Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart was a guest of the America’s Cup for a ride aboard ORACLE Racing’s No. 5 boat (Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com).

 

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