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Monday, August 22, 2011
Ellison: AC Rules Will Cut Costs,
Joao Lima and Aaron Kuriloff, Bloomberg // Aug. 18, 2011
The cost of racing in the 34th America’s Cup off San Francisco in 2013 may be
less that what it was the last time more than two entrants contested the
159-year-old yachting trophy, even as the rules mandate faster, state-of-the-art
boats that will produce better competition.
Russell Coutts, chief executive of defending-champion Oracle Racing and a
four-time Cup winner, said in an interview in Cascais, Portugal, that a 60
million-euro ($86 million) campaign would be “very, very competitive” and 30
million Euros would produce a “budget team.” Oracle spent more than $100 million
in the 2007 Cup, while China Team had the lowest budget at 14 million Euros.
At the same time, racing 72-foot catamarans, powered by 130-foot (40-meter)
wing sails at speeds exceeding 30 knots, will produce more even competition
where sailing skill will matter more than boat design, according to Larry
Ellison, chief executive of Redwood City, California-based software maker Oracle
Corp. and the yachting team’s founder.
“While there might be little differences in the boats, there aren’t going to
be these major design differences,” Ellison said to reporters Aug. 14. “So I
think the boats are going to be pretty close from an engineering standpoint and
it’s going to be up to the sailors and crew to get them around the racecourse
and win the races.”
Ellison campaigned unsuccessfully for the Cup in 2003 and 2007. He and his
team won the right to choose the next venue and set the rules after capturing
yachting’s “Auld Mug” off Valencia, Spain, in February 2010 in an unusual
two-boat, best-of-three series against the Alinghi syndicate owned by Swiss
billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli.
Link to full article: Ellison
Says America’s Cup Rules Will Cut Costs, Improve Racing
above: ORACLE Racing principal Larry Ellison (2nd from left) joins Dean
Barker, James Spithill and Terry Hutchinson at the final awards ceremony in
Cascais (Guilain Grenier/ORACLE Racing).
Adam Fisher, Wired Magazine
John Kostecki has one instruction for me: “Hold on.” It’s a sunny day in New
Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf, off the coast of Auckland, and I’ve just boarded
Kostecki’s boat. Actually, calling it a boat suggests something a lot more
substantial than what I’m standing on. It’s the barest skeleton of a raft, a
wisp of a catamaran 22 feet wide by just under 45 feet long. Called an AC45,
it’s a bantam version of the next-generation America’s Cup yacht, and it’s
unlike anything else on water. Above me is not a sail but a solid wing, mounted
vertically like a fin. At 70 feet tall, it is longer than the wing of a Boeing
727. Yet the craft that this massive airfoil propels is almost fully
dematerialized—a CAD file in wireframe hovering over the bay. As far as I can
tell, there’s nothing to hold on to.
As the craft bobs idly in the water, Kostecki, the boat’s tactician, motions
for me to head out to the center of the netting stretched between the two
knifelike hulls, a place where I’m least likely to get in the way. The skipper,
Jimmy Spithill, watches silently from behind mirrored sunglasses as I crawl out
and embrace the base of the mast. As soon as I’m settled, the three other
sailors on board begin to stir their winches. This causes a cat’s cradle of
lines to spring up all around me and begin to dance. Just above my head is the
wing’s bottom edge, a massive horizontal pole with a half dozen separate lines
running in and out of it. It’s like a giant robot’s arm strung with rope
tendons, and as it starts to flex—positioning the towering wing to catch the
breeze—the boat accelerates with a gut-twisting quickness. Within seconds we’re
outpacing the speedboat that dropped me off. A rooster tail of spray shoots from
the bow of each hull, leaving me thoroughly soaked.
Next, accompanied by the terrible groaning howl of rope straining under
maximum tension, the boat starts to tip up onto its side. One of the hulls lifts
free of the water. “Hike out!” Kostecki barks, and the crew races—half running,
half speed-climbing—to the high side of the boat. “Sorry, mate,” says one sailor
after trampling across my back and flinging himself over the breaching hull.
Their weight is the only thing keeping us from flipping. To gain maximum
leverage they hang off the boat upside down, facing up, with their feet tangled
in the netting and everything past their knees cantilevered over the side. The
goal is not to bring our wayward hull back to the water but rather to bring it
as close to the surface as possible without touching down. Flying the hull
eliminates its drag. Flitting across the water, literally and figuratively on
edge, the black carbon-fiber boat takes on a distinctly alien, insectoid grace.
The next America’s Cup race takes place in 2013, but one thing is already sure:
The event’s pioneers wouldn’t recognize their sport now.
Link to full article: Winging
Download a PDF of the article: Winging
Photo above: Guilain Grenier/ORACLE Racing
Guided tour to the
James Boyd, The Daily Sail
Joey Newton has been one of James Spithill’s trimmers since the duo sailed
together as part of Syd Fischer’s Young Australia campaign for the 1999-2000
America’s Cup. Like Spithill, despite being in his early 30s, Newton is now
incredibly on to his fifth America’s Cup campaign having followed Spithill
through OneWorld, Luna Rossa and was on board the monster USA17 wingsail
trimaran for the 33rd America’s Cup. Newton continues to trim the headsails for
Spithill on the AC45, alongside tactician John Kostecki, wingman Dirk de Ridder
and bowman Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen.
In this 20 minute long video Newton gives us the full guided tour to the hull
of their AC45, hull no4 from the production line, comparing it with the Extreme
40 that they campaigned in the build-up to the 33rd America’s Cup, the spine
system that is similar to Alinghi 5 and the D35 catamarans plus some of the less
well discussed aspects of the boat such as the electronic penalty system -
including the lights that tell the crew when a penalty has been expended - plus
the load cell at the rear end of the central spine attached to one of the many
Pelican cases on board that houses a red flashing light and the siren indicating
when the boat is overloaded.
Link to website: Guided
tour to the AC45 (Note: The Daily Sail is a subscription website. Allow time
for 138 MB download.)
|34th AMERICA'S CUP|
In the beginning
America’s Cup website // Aug. 22, 2011
It was 160 years ago today, on August 22nd, 1851, when the yacht America
triumphed over the pride of the British fleet in a race around the Isle of
Wight, off England's south coast, winning the trophy that came to bear the
At 160 years old, the America's Cup is often called the oldest trophy in
international sport. To give some context, consider that when the first Games of
the modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece in 1896, the first chapter in
the America's Cup story had been written a full 45 years earlier.
It began in the early summer of 1851, America sailed across the Atlantic from
the east coast of the United States for a season of racing against the best that
Britain could offer.
But her owners had tipped their hand. On arriving in British waters, America
had left its welcoming committee in its wake, making races (and the profitable
wagers that accompanied them) difficult to find.
Eventually, America was able to enter the Royal Yacht Squadron's £100 Cup
(also referred to as the 100 Guinea Cup); a race around the Isle of Wight
against a fleet of British boats, with the winner on the water taking the trophy
- no time allowances would be made.
The boats started, arranged under anchor, in two rows off Cowes. As the start
gun fired at 10:00am, the yachts slipped anchor in the light breeze and made
their way to the East.
Link to full article: In
Photo: The schooner America
crosses the finish line off The Castle, Cowes, Isle of Wight, on Aug. 22, 1851,
to win the Hundred Pound Cup, which would be renamed the America’s Cup in honor
of the winning yacht (A.D.
America’s Cup Uncovered Episode
This week’s program begins with the inaugural America’s Cup World Series
event in Cascais, Portugal aboard Green Comm Racing, the Spanish challenger, as
they compete in the first ever AC500 Speed Trial. Then, a day off from the
sailing offers not just rest but also a focus on ocean conservation. Join the
teams as they help preserve the Cascais coastline. Next, it’s front and center
with Geordie Shaver, America's Cup commentator and former AC bowman, as he helps
take America’s Cup TV live for the first time. Then we’re fresh off the race
course, where Team Korea breaks down their racing after the beating America’s
Cup winningest skipper, Russell Coutts.
Link to video: America’s
Cup Uncovered Episode 4
Versus to broadcast ACWS highlights
shows in US
America’s Cup website // Aug. 17, 2011
America’s Cup officials have reached an agreement with the U.S. cable network
Versus to broadcast highlights packages of the America’s Cup World Series.
The 50-minute highlight programs will feature highlights from each AC World
Series event, including the tight action of the AC Match Race Championship, the
high-octane AC500 Speed Trial and the winner-takes-all race on the final Sunday
that crowns the overall event champion.
Transforming the way that audiences connect with the sport is the focus of
the team behind the new America’s Cup. To not only invite new audiences to the
sport but also change the way people watch sailing, event organizers have made a
significant investment in the production of next-generation broadcast
“Audiences are looking for different experiences, so we’ve created a varied
offering of television programming to really extend our reach,” said Richard
Worth, Chairman, America's Cup Event Authority. “We’re putting a great deal of
time and care into our production to create stylish sporting programming that
will resonate with audiences across the globe, whether they watch on television
TV SCHEDULE ON VERSUS:
AC World Series Plymouth Highlight
Program, September 18 at 7:00 P.M. ET
AC World Series San Diego Highlight
Program, November 22 at 5:00 P.M. ET
|THE CHALLENGERS' FILES|
Artemis Racing’s Kevin Hall on the
Kevin Hall, Artemis Racing // Aug. 19, 2011
Artemis Racing has just finished being a part of a watershed two weeks in the
history of sailboat racing, at the first America's Cup World Series event in
Cascais. I was once-in-a-lifetime fortunate to have a front row seat at the
event, racing on the AC45 in the Camber position. Here are a few thoughts about
what makes this different to everything we've ever done in our sport, and why
I'm thrilled that this is the future of sailing.
I was terrible at ball sports as a kid. Pretty much the last one picked
unless it was the County Science Fair team. So I never got to be a part of a
basketball starting five. Which means I have less experience picking myself up
after bouncing a bad pass or missing a catch in the end zone than most athletes.
But picking yourself up off the tramp, or supporting a teammate who is running
late to get over the spine and under the wing to the windward daggerboard is
exactly what you better be able to do if you want to succeed in America's Cup
World Series racing.
Sure, I've called too much time to kill in a semi-final in a Version 5 boat
and gone on to sail a good race, and I've overstood a few laylines in the TP52,
and sat myself down that night with my notes to figure out what I missed and how
to increase my percentages next time. But none of that was meanwhile exerting at
100% of max heart rate, with an average HR over 20 minutes of over 90% of max.
And in those races, one little mistake - a half step shy of a perfect race - is
about all you got if you wanted to win. There was plenty of time to plan ahead
and not make them.
The AC45 feels onboard like the last 2 minutes of a basketball game that has
had no subs, with the court bucking under your feet, everyone on the other team
taller than you, and sometimes even the fans themselves between you and the
hoop. There's grease on the ball, the backboard is changing from spongy to hard
and back again, and don't forget the noise of three helicopters making the
oxygen-starved space between your ears feel like the director's cut of
You need to do your job. On our boat we call ourselves Monkey #1, 2, 3 and 4
from the bow back to remind ourselves that boathandling has to come first. On
the Artemis Racing team website for the Cascais ACWS, my position was listed as
"Camber". One little word which evokes the wing, but doesn't really mention the
sub-roles as "Bowman Assist", "Trimmer Assist", "Runner if you get there first",
and "Your call on this shift as long as you get it right…"
Link to full article: Kevin
Hall on the AC45
Photo: Sander van der Borch/Artemis