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Edition 2014

Cupdate, hall of famers and BIRW—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 29 Jun 2013
Larry Ellison visits Team / SFO March Testing Session / Oracle Team USA Guilain Grenier Oracle Team USA ©
The news during the week has been dominated by the build-up to the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup, in San Francisco, the issuance of the Coast Guard Permit, the Rule Changes, and the issues, statements and commentary surrounding those events.

The Rule Change matters will go before an International Jury on July 8 – after the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup a day earlier.

As our New Zealand and America´s Cup Editor Richard Gladwell says 'Essentially the situation is the same for all involved parties – in that they accept the Decision of the International Jury, or exit the America’s Cup. A situation where outside bodies can make decisions which affect the competition a few days before it starts, is intolerable for the medium and long term confidence of the event.

Regatta Director Iain Murray released a list of proposed safety recommendations in the wake of Artemis Racing’s tragic capsize on May 9 that cost crewmember Andrew 'Bart' Simpson his life. This list curiously contained a change that would allow teams to use rudder elevators (devices that allow the team to adjust the angle of attack on their rudder-mounted hydrofoils) until a race’s warning gun was sounded.

Until this point, the AC72 rules forbade any adjustment of the hydrofoils/appendages, which was one of the main challenges that teams had to overcome to learn how to foil one of these mighty, wingsail-powered catamarans. It is believed that Oracle Team USA has been sailing with these elevators since mid-March; it’s also believed that Oracle is the only team to have built rudder elevators.

'The class rule doesn't contemplate rudder elevators at all,' reported Luis Saenz, general counsel for the Luna Rossa Challenge, to Reuters news agency. 'We think they have nothing to do with safety. They are a performance instrument, and we do not believe the regatta director should get into regulating rudder elevators.'

The International Jury is the next step, but the issue could potentially find its way back into the lap of the New York Supreme Court-an ugly proposition, at best. Get the full details of this contentious story inside this issue, and stay tuned to the website for the latest AC news, as it breaks.

Meanwhile, for happier news regarding former America’s Cuppers and other legendary sailors, the National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame has released the names of the ten sailors who will be inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2013. These men and women include Cup winners, Olympic and One Design champions, naval architects, sailing photographers and marine-industry greats. Inside, get the full list of 2013 inductees, and learn more about these individuals’ proud achievements.

And on the storied waters of Block Island Sound, east coast sailors are enjoying a fine start to the biennial Block Island Race Week (BIRW). 'The first race felt like we couldn’t do anything wrong,' said Andrew Fisher, skipper of the Swan 42, 'Bandit', currently sitting in the pole position in her class. 'All and all a good day, but just because we’re in the lead now doesn’t mean much. The winner of our last regatta averaged top-three every race.'

Racing continues at Block Island Race Week through Friday. Get the latest report, inside this issue, and be sure to visit the site throughout the week for updates, as they unfurl.

Also inside, be sure to get the latest news from Kieler Woche, the RC44 Sweden Cup and the ORCi World Championships. And finally, Cup addicts are highly advised to pay close attention to the interesting correspondence (inside) between Stephen Barclay, CEO of America's Cup Events Authority, and Richard Gladwell.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Protector - 660 x 82KZRaceFurlersNaiad/Oracle Supplier