Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 728x90

Fisher's View- A gift horse in need - America's Cup WS, Naples - Day 1

by Bob Fisher on 16 Apr 2013
Photographers and Media at the Casina Pompeiana, Villa Comunale all trying to photograph ACWS skippers - America’s Cup WS, Naples Media Conference April 16, 2013 SW

Bob Fisher, one of the world's top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in Naples, Italy for the America's Cup World Series.

Bob is a multihuller from way back, having won the 1967 Little America's Cup, with Peter Schneidau on Lady Helmsman, and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.

He writes:

Day 1: Tuesday in Naples

‘Never look a gift horse in the mouth’ is standard advice, but perhaps it should have the rider, 'but make sure it has some teeth’.

Today’s media 'conference', for want of a better word, was a shining example of a gift horse in need. It was held in a building with bare walls and more echoes than enough – and the behavior of the 'media' not actually involved was appalling – they talked loudly (with undoubted increase in volume because of the acoustics of the room) and the photographers, who had earlier had uninterrupted access, were among the worst. Interviewing a skipper was a painful operation.

Nevertheless, It was possible to talk with an upbeat Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Dean Barker, who won the local coastal race last weekend. As he was fully aware, Naples has taken to this event like nowhere else and this was fully evident in this one-off event that was organized quite separately from the America’s Cup World Series. Dean looks on this final regatta in the ACWS as: 'A good opportunity for racing before San Francisco [and the three-team Louis Vuitton Cup series that lasts two months] and this is the same type of racecourse as that in San Francisco.'

'With the AC-72, we have had lots of testing,' he explained, 'but you need to get into the smaller AC-45s to sharpen your racing skills. And there will be ample opportunity here for that with eight other top skippers aiming for the podium, even if some of the acknowledged 'greats' like Jimmy Spithill, Russell Coutts and Loick Peyron are missing.

Chris Draper, in Luna Rossa – Piranha made an impressive showing here last time and has a teammate in Francesco Bruni with Luna Rossa – Swordfish. In addition, double Olympic gold medallist in the Tornado class, Roman Hagara, is steering the Artemis boat, while the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Ben Ainslie, is steering his own boat – JP Morgan BAR – and has shown form already in the AC-45s.

Barker wasn’t allowed to speak solely about this regatta, most journalists wanted to find out more about the progress of the AC-72s, and that is hardly surprising as that is what the America’s Cup is all about.

'Getting an AC-72 round the course in heavy conditions is going to be difficult,' he admitted, 'but we have had some good practice with Luna Rossa in Auckland, and I presume that they have also benefited.' What he didn’t add was that it will have been more useful than the short amount of trailing Oracle had with Artemis (from which Artemis learned the awful truth).

Ainslie, who laughingly declared: 'Navigation has never been my strong point,' when questioned on missing a mark in the coastal race, believes, 'hopefully, we will be in the top end of the fleet come next Sunday.' He observed: 'The conditions here are lighter than San Francisco, and we are going to have to learn how to use the gennakers and Code Zero sails.' The importance will be finding out how to sail deep and fast with these 'extras'.

Bearing away into a gybe at the first mark was also critical, according to Ainslie. 'This is where races are won and lost,' he said, adding that keeping within the course boundaries was also of primary importance because: 'you can’t bank on it always being a square course.' Ben too was looking to the AC-72 and his role in Oracle and beyond. While the money for this AC is guaranteed, when he goes it with a British team next time round with sponsorship from J.P.Morgan, he didn’t see all of the cash coming from the one source: 'We will need some element of private money.'

Much of what the skippers wanted to talk about was the future, but for Mitch Booth, back to skipper China Team, it was with mixed emotion. Mitch was undoubtedly the best technical commentator that has been used on the ACTV, but he has been sidelined from that, as he explained: 'Because I don’t speak American!'

© This report and images are copyright to Bob Fisher, Linda Wright and Sail-World.com and may not be republished without permission






Protector - 660 x 82Insun - AC ProgramNaiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May
A Q&A with Don Adams about Sail Canada’s plan to win Olympic medals
I caught up with Sail Canada CEO Don Adams to hear about Team Canada’s High Performance Plan for winning Olympic medals. Sail Canada, Canada’s national sailing authority, is implementing a new High Performance Plan with the aim of improving on their recent Olympic sailing performances. I caught up with Don Adams, CEO of Sail Canada, to learn more about this ambition plan for helping Canadian sailors win Olympic medals while also helping to inspire younger generations to pursue the Olympic-sailing dream.
Posted on 8 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
A Q&A with Nicole Breault about women’s match racing in the USA
I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about women’s match racing in the USA and about her upcoming Clinegatta. I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about the state of women’s match racing in the USA, and to also hear more about her upcoming Clinegatta, which is set to unfurl on the waters of San Francisco Bay this July, and which could be a great resource for other talented female match racers who are looking to sharpen their skills.
Posted on 17 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr