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
Last week, many locals and visitors took note of the spectacular
venue when the next-generation AC45s reveled in winds between 15 and 25
“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
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
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
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
The final environmental impact report is supposed to be published
around October and city officials hope to approve it by the end of the
Link to article: Mayor won’t cut corners on America’s Cup prep
Related articles: Fundraising for America’s Cup sails ahead
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).