Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for 11 January 2012
Last night, NZT, Ben Ainslie made his much anticipated announcement as to his plans post the 2012 Olympics.
No surprises, but he will be starting a new sailing team, Ben Ainslie Racing, under the auspices of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club - underwritten by Oracle Racing.
Effectively he/the team comes in on the Challenger side of the America's Cup equation, and then he jumps to the Defender side for the 34th America's Cup, while the team gets sidelined from May 2013 until after the 34th America's Cup.
Some take the pragmatic approach, and paint this as a good move designed to get a new team into the America's Cup.
Others liken it to switching sides at half-time.
In this edition of Sail-World, we try to cover both points of view and leave it to you to decide how you see it.
There's video coverage of the full media conference (35 minutes) at the London Boat Show, plus a highlights clip from the Show and Ben Ainslie sailing earlier with Oracle Racing.
The Ben and Russ Show. Ben Ainslie, four time Olympic medallist pictured with Russell Coutts, head of Oracle Racing and current holder of the Americas Cup. Ben Ainslie Racing
No sailors were announced with the team, save for Ainslie, and it will be interesting to see if he run with a group of British sailors and stays true to his objective of building a strong British team for the 35th America's Cup. Or, if he runs with a crew from Oracle Racing and stays true to his objective to do his best to help the Defender retain the America's Cup.
Top international yachting writer, Stuart Alexander, weighs in with his view of the announcement, too.
Announcement of the financial arrangements also begs the question as to whether other teams are on the same, or similar, sweet-heart deal as unveiled last night for Ben Ainslie Racing.
On Monday, and earlier, two Jury Decisions were posted by the International Jury for the America's Cup. One is a simple declaration that Emirates Team NZ's SL33's are not Surrogate Boats in terms of the America's Cup. The second relates to voting rights on matters involving the AC72's and the America's Cup Regatta itself.
We report on the Decision and interleave an interview conducted by Peter Montgomery, before Christmas with Emirates Team NZ CEO, Grant Dalton - which traverses the background and gives Dalton's insight on the issue. It has a lot of hard hitting comments aimed at the second tier teams - who will not be progressing to the AC72's but have been voting on rule changes relating to that class, and an event, in which they will not be competing.
One of these is the development of the Code of Conduct, or so-called Dalton Amendment, being drafted and seen by many as potentially being used as a gagging device against teams and individuals who do not toe the America's Cup party line. A key case in point being whether the moves to the current format are a genuine attempt to reduce cost, or if they are really a move to skew the game as much as possible in favour of the Defender.
Again, have a read and decide for yourself.
Kimberly Lim (SIN) 2011 World Optimist Champion Matías Capizzano/Optiworlds
In Napier the Optimist Worlds have concluded with a good win for Singapore's Kimberly Lee. Eight countries featured in the top 10 overall, which underlines the the standard of competition in what is arguably the most keenly contested world championship of all the sailing classes.
Read Stuart Alexander's excellent backgrounder, written mid-regatta, which looks at the intensity of the Optimist class, and how many countries have incorporated the Optimist into their Olympic development program.
Rena stern section sinking from overflight on 10 January 2012 at 1030hrs Maritime NZ
Disaster of the week, has undoubtedly been the breakup of the MV Rena on the Astrolabe Reef. We have the officials report, video of the sinking of the stern section and photos of the wreck in this edition.
Quite what happens from here remains to be seen. However the number of containers that are unaccounted for is a major concern to sailors. The official line is that these will sink or come ashore, but as sailors know only too well, many float in a semi-submerged state waiting like a mobile reef for a passing yacht.
We will update when there is significant new released, or images/video. However at present it is a matter of wait and see, plus effect yet another clean up.
Andrew Mcdougall - KA Sails 2012 Australian Moth National Championship Lochlin Byrne
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