sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : America's Cup: An update from the Big Fella
America's Cup: An update from the Big Fella

'Iain Murray goes walkabout at the AC World Series - Plymouth 2011, with Prince Michael of Kent'    Gilles Martin-Raget: AmericasCup©    Click Here to view large photo

Getting out of bed at 6.00am to talk on the phone to a bunch of fully wired sailing journalists spread across three continents, probably isn’t the ideal start to a day.

So it was no surprise that 'Big Fella', as Iain Murray is known in his native Australia, was talking in short sentences. The words seemed to rumble out.

Murray was back in Sydney, having taken a break from his role as Regatta Director for the 34th America’s Cup and World Series to compete in the Star class at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, in Perth, do another Rolex Sydney Hobart, and take in a few other regattas besides. That's called taking a break.

Star fleet at the 2011 ISAF Worlds, Perth -  Richard Langdon -Perth 2011  
In the first two weeks of December, the Perth regatta pulled the attention of the sailing world, as both the main 2012 Olympic Qualifier, and also for the enormous effort put in by the Western Australians to organise the jewel in the ISAF crown.

They took a leaf from the America’s Cup book to take sailing to the people, both ashore and on public television, and live streaming and replay video on the interweb.

Fremantle has a reputation as one of the dream venues for sailing, but assumed more nightmarish qualities when Murray was defending the America’s Cup in 1987 as helmsman aboard Kookaburra III. Then the home team was vanquished by the unstoppable Dennis Conner and his Stars and Stripes crew.

Almost 25 years on, the vivid memories of Freo are still fresh in the public mind – the big breezes, hefty seas, pounding boats became etched in the fans’ imaginations, as the crews wrestled with the elements as much as their competition. Ashore it was just as lively, too.

The ISAF World Sailing Championship organisers were keen to re-create the magic that was Freo. So how did Iain Murray, the competitor, rate the experience?

Wild Oats XI punches her way to Hobart - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011 -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster  
'When the breeze comes in and the sun comes out in Perth it is a great venue - one of the great venues of the world.

'There were some good things in Perth such as the 49ers finishing amongst the bathers. The Medal Race was in the right topography when they had the wind coming in from the south west. But it was not so good when it was from the SE.

'We were there in the Star class, on courses that were halfway to the America’s Cup courses - and were out on the water for six or seven hours for just two races. None of that had a good feel about it to me.

'They got Channel 10 in Australia to broadcast it live, which was good, the unfortunate thing was that the ratings were not great.

'The key to any sailing event is to get it onto television live. Getting it on live around the world is the difficult thing. In San Diego we had the ACWS going to 17 different countries, being shown live on free to air TV.

'Our live TV in San Diego was double what it was in Plymouth in terms of ratings and number of stations carrying the regatta. So there has been progression and my understanding is that we will have more coverage in Naples.

Murray says that the America’s Cup World Series would have loved to have gone back to the venue of the 1987 Defence. However the dollars just weren’t there after the ISAF Worlds had exhausted available funding.

Event Fees no longer the key issue
Event fees are a controversial part of the America’s Cup World Series. The first three events in 2011 are said to have been done on sweetheart deals, but with the Series now established, Iain Murray, in his recently expanded Regatta Director’s role stridently defends the fees being sought, their value for money and affordability.

'Venues are prepared to pay to cover the costs of the event', he says, 'and we are going to places that will pay .

'Money for Event Fees doesn’t seem to be the ultimate problem. But if we don’t get an Event Fee at the level we need, then we won’t be going.

'Very simply, we are only talking to people who know up front, what it costs.'

Team numbers and TV coverage will be up on 2011 levels for the AC45 World Series -  Sander van der Borch_- Artemis Racing ©   Click Here to view large photo
Although Murray has some strong opinions on what he calls 'Bengate', with the review process currently underway he prefers that his views stay in school for the time being. Except to say that he believes the positioning of the media boat was 'poor control' and that the sport needs colour. 'We miss the Dennis Conner’s and Tom Blackaller’s jibing with each other,' he said.

European downturn
That point moved to one side, the conversation moved onto the situation in Europe with the withdrawal of the Audi sponsorship from the MedCup, and the implications of that move for the America’s Cup World Series which has four events in Italy in the next two years. Plus there is the issue of the ability of teams to attract sponsorship, in a bear market, to fund their programs.

Murray’s views won’t go down too well in Europe and in professional sailing circles. 'The problem with MedCup and the reason Audi has withdrawn is that they created something that wasn’t sustainable for the owners, who in turn pulled back to the point that there were only going to be four boats. That doesn’t work for anyone.

'The MedCup circuit became too expensive. You needed a new boat every year. You had to have the most professional crew you could, and it was trying to run on three million Euros of Audi money every year – which just isn’t viable.

'It didn’t work for the sponsors obviously, and it didn’t make all the ends meet. So it’s no more.

'That is unfortunate, because the TP52’s are great boats.

'But when times get tough, the owners start watching where the money is going, and it’s a big ticket at the end of the week.

Region of Murcia Trophy final day - Audi MedCup Circuit 2011 -  http://www.ingridabery.com!©_Ingrid_Abery  
'If you look at what an AC45 costs to run compared to a TP52, there is a big difference. Part of that is the amount professional crews are being paid. In the 45’s there are a lot of young guys who aren’t getting paid that much compared to what some are demanding on the MedCup circuit', he notes.

Having gone through its first year of start up, will the ACWS ever become viable and expand into a sporting property like some others in sailing, but more common in mainstream sports with the major sporting leagues and teams?

Murray believes the ACWS is starting to hit its numbers and is making inroads. Maybe that is at the expense of other sailing events initially, but more so in the longer term where it is offering a new television sport.

'We are getting interest from a lot of parties, including sponsors and supporters, who see the ACWS as being more sustainable and viable. They are looking at the quality of our TV and the distribution, and they like that picture.

World Series expanding
'We are progressing. I am confident that in Naples that we will have 11 boats on the starting line – which is all we can muster - and by mid-year it will be 14 boats.

'In Naples we will have nine teams, and there will be two teams with two boats each in Naples ( Oracle Racing and Luna Rossa). Our big problem is that we are committed to building boats 15 and 16, but we can’t get boat 15 to Naples in time, because of the other things we are doing like the wing extensions and a couple of other bits which are being done by a team of eight working flat out in Auckland. They just can’t get it all done', he adds.

America’s Cup event organisers have often been criticised for not following the model adopted by Volvo Ocean Race, of trying to give a stopover to each entered team. That way each team would have at least one 'home game' in the World Series. So far only the America’s Cup defenders have had a home game, and that was not in their home town.

Murray takes the point, but the equation for ACWS is still driven by the dollar rather than sentiment.

'We would like to work with the teams and support the venues of the teams, if we can. But there is a key requirement; we need the money to go there. Ideally you’d like to support the teams in their own country, but of course it has to have the facilities, and maybe the magical Fremantle touch of guaranteed wind – which is important too.

Pier 27-29 from Embarcadero, San Francisco -  Americas Cup Media   Click Here to view large photo

Focus on San Francisco
A recent re-organisation of America’s Cup Regatta Management’s functions, and the America’s Cup Event Authority, has seen ACRM, headed by Murray take an expanded role.

'We have taken over the AC World Series logistically,' he explains.'With Club 45, we’ll manage the logistics side, and the Event Authority will use that facility for their guest program.

'We’ve taken over the superyacht program – not that it is relevant to the AC45’s - and will look at what really needs to happen and co-ordinate that.

'Probably the biggest task is sorting out what needs to happen with San Francisco and the build out. With environmental building permits there is a substantial amount of work that has to happen like the upgrade of the piers, construction of the new terminal, the responsibility for that is now with us.

Oracle Racing - AC45’s San Francisco -  Guilain Grenier-Oracle Racing©   Click Here to view large photo
'We have a big team working in San Francisco. But it is going to need a lot more of my time there, but it is relevant to my experience in marine development,' he notes.

The teams seem to better pleased with the changes in the organisation made to the responsibilities of ACEA and ACRM, and the attendant tune up of functionality.

'ACEA’s mission has been narrowed to commercial matters', Murray explains. 'It is still their responsibility to raise the funds, and deal with the venues and the like. That all goes back to the underlying premises of the Protocol, signed between Mascalzone Latino and Golden Gate YC in the first instance.'

The next three months will see the nine teams split before re-assembling in Naples in early April.

'Oracle Racing’s boats have gone to San Francisco, Emirates Team NZ’s have gone back to NZ, where they will train with Luna Rossa.

'All the other equipment has gone to Valencia. Artemis now have two boats and will be sailing those.

'We had been in two minds as to where to take the ship, but in the end it was Valencia because most of the teams were already there, and it’s a great facility.'

Another Competitors Forum is scheduled to be held in Auckland at the end of January, and practice racing between the Italian and New Zealand teams will take place in Auckland in February and March.

Auckland will be the venue for the next Competitors Forum at the end of January -  Luna Rossa Challenge 2013   Click Here to view large photo


by Richard Gladwell

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=93071

10:57 AM Fri 20 Jan 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2013 America's Cup

Related News Stories:

25 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA - capsize and recovery - Video
25 Oct 2012  Gladwell's Line: Italian Big Cat spots the Kiwi Cream
24 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Rod Davis reflects on the Oracle nosedive
22 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Murray Jones interviewed on Oracle Team USA capsize
18 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA damage revealed - images
18 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Images of Oracle's AC72 being hauled from the water
18 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA returns home - latest images
17 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA capsizes AC72 in San Francisco - Latest
17 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Meanwhile aboard Emirates Team NZ - Images and Video
17 Oct 2012  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA images after the capsize
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

Rolex Sydney to Hobart: Replay video coverage on Sail-World *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Replay of the start of the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race. The fleet is expected to experience fresh to strong headwinds for the start and first 24 hours, although winds will moderate towards the end of this period. ... [more]  

Will Comanche take a scalp? by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team
After blasting off the startline earlier today, Jim Clark's Comanche continues to hold the lead in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart race eight hours into the race. ... [more]  

A stiff southerly is testing the boats and sailors on the first afternoon of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart and by late afternoon, four yachts had retired from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual race. The first casualties of the race were Tina of Melbourne, forced out because of hull damage and Bear Necessity with a damaged rudder, just two hours into the race. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: The 117 competing yachts, including five 100-foot Maxis, represents the race’s largest number of starters since 1994. Of the five Maxis, Jim Clark’s Comanche (USA) made the early gains in the race’s 70th edition, reaching the first mark in record time and setting a blistering pace. Seven-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI was in close pursuit. ... [more]  

Top international photographers, Carlo Borlenghi and Daniel Forster were on the water, and in the air, for the start of the 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Here is a selection of their images of the day. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - Start photos by Andrea Francolini. ... [more]  

Comanche skipper Ken Read was in fine form in this video interview. He says On the first night, will there will be too much upwind to be able to send it? It absolutey plays on my mind as the skipper this boat is untested. We’re completely cutting edge, and when it's cutting edge it’s a Formula 1 race car that blows up its engine on the first lap. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Brad Kellett, Brindabella’s sailing master, reported that while he was doing his regular checks this evening he discovered larger than normal quantities of water in the bottom of the boat, found to be coming from damaged rudder bearings. 'We were just coming into our own after a risky tactical decision to go offshore paid off,' a disappointed Kellett said. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Day 1 start images by photographer Carlo Borlenghi ... [more]  

One of the largest fleets in many years started the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race today in a building southerly and in bright sunshine. There seemed to be some mind games going on amongst the super maxis during the pre race dry runs as each in turn put in a single reef in the 30 minutes before the start. Possibly there was some tossing of the coin as to whether it was ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - Tony Cable just keeps going on. Last year he finished his 48th Sydney Hobart, setting a record for the number of races by an individual - this year it is number 49 - 49 not out, just one off the half ton! ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Designed for fast broad reaching, the 15 knot plus south-easterly breeze on the harbour was made to order for the big red and black hulled yacht owned by American Jim Clark and his Australian wife, Kristy. After a brilliant start slightly ahead and to leeward of Wild Oats XI, Comanche swiftly unfurled her giant spinnaker and took off, quickly ‘rolling the Oats’. ... [more]  

America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill could well be the most overqualified grinder you’ll see in action in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart start line today. 'He’s been a wonderful team player and literally in the pre-start you’re going to see him grinding, he said he’d do whatever it takes, and he’s lived up to that,' Comanche skipper Ken Read said. ... [more]  

Expect a spectacular and very fast start down Sydney Harbour in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this year. At the final briefing for crews at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia this morning, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Andrew Treloar told the sailors that a southerly front is expected to move through Sydney about an hour before race start. ... [more]  

Chicken pies, the gooseneck and the voodoo stick were the last items to be ticked off today in Wild Oats XI’s preparation for a record-breaking bid in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, which starts on Sydney Harbour at 1pm tomorrow. ... [more]  

The 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart coverage will go live at 0800 AEST with interviews, but will play the promo until then. ... [more]  

In the media scrum for interviews with the skippers and owners of the five super maxis that followed a short press conference at the CYCA on Christmas Eve, anyone from outside the yachting scene might not have noticed one of the world’s finest sailors and circumnavigators standing quietly to one side chatting with Iain Murray and Steve Jarvin ... [more]  

America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill could well be the most overqualified grinder you’ll see in action in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart start line today. 'He’s been a wonderful team player and literally in the pre-start you’re going to see him grinding, he said he’d do whatever it takes, and he’s lived up to that,' Comanche skipper Ken Read said. ... [more]  

When most would have been sitting down for Christmas lunch the Wild Oats XI team were to be seen out on Sydney Harbour testing their new - and appropriately named - gooseneck, that replaces the one that failed when out training earlier in the week. In a puffy nor'easter Wild Oats XI headed to Manly on the wind, swung around close to the Manly East mark and headed back down the harbour for home. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - The Weather Gate *Feature by John Curnow and Rob Kothe, Sydney
In order to win this iconic ocean race,on handicap, there are three things you absolutely need to have accomplished. Two you can do something about, whereas the third is entirely out of your control. ... [more]  

For Christmas a Shiny new Sail-World.com *Feature by Brendan Maxwell
Santa’s elves started on January 7th 2014 building a set of shiny new Sail-World.com websites and just minutes before Christmas morning in one of Santa’s first touch downs Auckland New Zealand , TetraMedia General Manager Jedda Murphy flicked the switch on the dedicated TetraMeda servers in Frankfurt Germany to take almost all our world-wide audience to the new Sail-World sites. ... [more]  

Professor Pat Pending had the most amazing Convert-a-Car in the 60s cartoon series, the Wacky Races. It could do just about anything. Come Boxing Day and the start of the 70th Sydney-Hobart, some may well wish they had a Convert-a-Boat. Being a hundred feet at the start would be cool. You get away off your own line and in clear breeze. You’re also well inside the rulebook. ... [more]  

Few Americans have won more sailboat races than Ken Read, 53, the President of North Sails . Read is skipper of Comanche, Jim and Kristy Clark’s new 100-fooer, one of five that will be lining up on the startline of the Sydney to Hobart. I caught up with Read some 48 hours before the start to get his pulse on the race, Comanche, and the adventure that lies ahead, en route to Hobart. ... [more]  

The skippers of the five 100 foot super maxis battling for Line Honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race speak about the boats, the weather and their expectations. ... [more]  

For sure Christmas is upon the 16 skippers of the Barcelona World Race, but the way they enjoy it or deal with it will be different from team to team, and skipper to skipper. But for everyone the thoughts of the 31st December start, and what lies ahead for the coming three months, are impossible to suppress. Even on Christmas Day. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind recovery video *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Three and a half minute video of the Team Vestas Wind recovery operation from the reef at St Brandon. The Volvo Ocean Racer struck the reef on November 29, just after nightfall breaking off both rudders, she also ;ost a considerable part of her stern section. ... [more]  

The magnitude of this 70th edition is reflected in the size of the international fleet: the forecast 117 race entrants, comprising yachts from seven different countries, represents the most sizeable Rolex Sydney Hobart depart since 1994. 'This year is both the 70th edition of the race and the 70th anniversary of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia,' explains John Cameron. ... [more]  

The lightest of the supermaxi's Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin 100 suffered a major structural deck failure in pre-Hobart training. Sailing master David Witt explains in his usual laconic manner just what happened. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Sydney Hobart yacht race record holder, Wild Oats XI, is the centre of an intense repair effort on the eve of the big race after suffering damage during her most recent training run. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race images are provided by Photographer Carlo Borlenghi. ... [more]  

Images of five faces behind the 100ft super maxis taking part in the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart provided by Photographer Andrea Francolini. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Sailors in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart should watch what they eat on Christmas day or they may well watch Christmas dinner all over again on Boxing Day. ... [more]  

Launched in September 2014, Comanche resulted from the studies realised on the Macif and Banque Populaire Imoca monohulls, who finished first and second in the 2012 Vendée Globe. ... [more]  

Olympic Sailing Waters - Rio de Janeiro
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - Holiday gifts for a range of entries!
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - To Hobart in Style
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race: Ken Read's notes on Comanche
Rolex Sydney Hobart: Rio 100 - A supermaxi is reborn + Video *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race: Video of Team Vestas Wind being removed from reef
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - Holiday gifts for a range of entries!
Entries open for 2015 ORC Championship events
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Levelling the playing field
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race video preview
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - It's a Woman’s world too
Moth Worlds – Looping the loop *Feature
Miami Winter Series - M32 racing gets underway
Rio 2016 - Super-bugs found in Rio sailing waters
Building the bridge from Optimist to Laser and beyond – with Byte C1 *Feature
Kieler Woche - Notices of Race published – entry systems are now open
Adventures of a Sailor Girl: News and interviews from December 22 show
RORC Transatlantic 2014 Race Lanzarote-Grenada - Overall report
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind images from the reef recovery
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind recovered from reef
RORC Transatlantic Race 2014 - Prizegiving   
Qingdao to continue as Asian ISAF Sailing World Cup venue   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Will it be Bash and Crash?   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race: USA's RIO 100 trains off Sydney Heads   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Weather early Xmas gift for small yachts   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Hollywood focused on victory   
Soldiering on in the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race   
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series - Count down to Caribbean opener   
Barcelona World Race 2014-15 - The mental game + Videos   
Rolex Sydney Hobart: Jim Clark's thoughts on Comanche's maiden race *Feature   
St Thomas International Regatta announce sponsors   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Salt water therapy   
Soto 40 South American Tour - Coming soon   
Flying Dutchman Worlds on Sydney Harbour   
Moth Tutorials - Presented by Nathan Outteridge   
America's Cup: Full CAS report finds both ISAF and de Ridder at fault *Feature   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – One race many nations   
ORC announces new ORCsy rule for superyachts   
Rob and Scarlet’s big adventure before Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race   
Waypoints of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT