Defender and Challenger present different views on the America's Cup

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 14 Mar 2014


Defender and Challenger present different views on the America's Cup

San Francisco, 34th America's Cup Final - Oracle Team USA CEO Larry Ellison  Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa©
A couple of days ago the news starved America's Cup media went into a wheel-spin over a book extract published in the San Francisco Chronicle, where Oracle's Larry Ellison expanded his views on where the next America's Cup could be headed, and how the Challenger Selection could work.

We have refrained from commenting on the Venue discussions for the 35th America's Cup, as it is hard to see the event being staged outside San Francisco.

What is more concerning about Ellison's comments – assuming they are reasonably current - is how prescriptive, someone who is on the Defender side of the equation, is about the way the Challenger Selection Series will be conducted.

Going back to basics, the America's Cup is a Challenger driven event – as we were told so often by the then would-be Challenger, Oracle Racing in their long running legal wrangle with the Defender, Alinghi .

That view was upheld by the New York Supreme Court.

America's Cup World Series Naples, Italy - what is going to change for AC35?  © Lloyd Images/J.P.Morgan BAR

Clearly it is up to the Challengers to say how their event will be run, rather than have this prescribed and detailed by the Defender.

If the America's Cup is to be lifted back to the participation levels of 1987 in Fremantle, then leave it to the Challengers to decide how best to do that. The Defender has enough issues sorting out a venue, where all entered teams can compete.

In this edition of's newsletter, we have links to two stories that have been published in the US media.

We also have a counter-point from Big Fella, Iain Murray, CEO of Team Australia, the Challenger of Record, videoed at the team launch, last Thursday - before Ellison's comments were published.

Then there is the loaded prospect of running an AC45 series for the Challengers - to determine who will go forward to compete in the AC60-65 selection series, while the Defender knows that they already have an entry in the Match and have more time to spend on research and design.

Would the Defenders compete in a series, in AC45's that is a Challenger Selection Series - albeit just to pick the top four? But as those who followed the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals in 2007 and prior well know, the final qualifying place was often decided by just a point or two. So Defender influence could be vital in Challenger Selection.

The shortcomings in the Pool system are also obvious. Would Oracle be in the Pacific Pool along with Team New Zealand and Team Australia? How would you feel if you were a Team Japan and Team Korea, knowing that you had to knock off the ANZAC teams to get through to the next round? Same for Europe - what if there are eight European teams and just four Pacific teams - is it fair that only two go forward from each Pool?

Oracle Team USA Sydney, Australia
  Andrea Francolini

Also included is a story, and video from Oracle Team USA, on their training sessions on Sydney Harbour in AC45's.

While Ellison is intent on pushing the AC45 cause as a means of selection, there was the same scenario in the last preliminaries to the Cup, but many of the participants could not go to the next level for financial reasons. That included the initial Challenger of Record, who signed a Protocol which claimed to reduce sailing costs etc etc – but in reality the same Challenger of Record could not raise the finance to mount a credible Challenge, and dropped out after a few months.

The point being that it is not the cost entry point of the America's Cup that matters, but the costs of mounting a Challenge with a realistic chance of winning. No-one goes to sponsor saying 'we are there to make up the numbers' - even those who say they are in it for the next two America's Cups.

Again some very cheap almost single digit millions of dollars were quoted in the 2010-2013 Cup cycle budgets, but that is a far cry from the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars that are actually required to win. And as Defender, Oracle Racing is believed to have spent the most of all the teams.

Team Australia AC45 - Sydney, Australia
  Andrea Francolini

The real issue is not setting a cheap entry level, for the America's Cup, but stopping the well heeled teams spending whatever it takes to win.

Meanwhile the two events competing for the top level yachting sponsorship dollar, Volvo Ocean Race, and the Extreme Sailing Series are progressing nicely.

In this edition we have the latest update as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing undertakes her sea trials off the English coast.

There has been some speculation as to how fast the Volvo Ocean 65's will be. Maybe those questions were answered by Team Brunel returning a 540nm 24 hour run (the record is 596nm set in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race).

Team Brunel's mark was set on their first real offshore training session – which is an excellent opening bid.

Abu Dahabi OR's Azam sailing in The Solent (England)  Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race©

Emirates Team NZ's Glenn Ashby (AUS) takes a look at the team's effort in the first Act in the Extreme Sailing Series staged at Singapore, and what has to be done for the team to improve in the next round at Muscat, Oman, next week.

In this edition of's newsletter we feature a story on Team Brunel's fast run, and a commentary from the design team behind the VO65, as to why this latest generation of boats may be the quickest yet. Certainly the reports are that the VO65 is an easy boat to drive hard – and that makes for fast times and speed records.

Brisbane to Keppel start - Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race 2013  Alaine Neilson /RQYS

The Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race can be part of the migratory journey for north bound yachts.

It follows the Sydney Gold Coast yacht race and is ahead of Airlie Beach Race Week, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and Magnetic Island Race Week.

The 343 nautical miler from Queensland's Moreton Bay to Rossyln Bay at Great Keppel Island will start at midday on Thursday July 31st, 2014.

The Notice of Race has been published and online entry is now open. Details below.

Two West Australian teams, David Gilmour Team Gilmour and Keith Swinton's Black Swan Racing have accepted positions as Tour Card Holders on the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

The Alpari World Match Racing Tour today released the list of Tour Card holders for 2014 including; last years winning Taylor Canfield (ISV), four times World Champion Ian Williams (GBR), Keith Swinton (AUS), Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Phil Roberston (NZL), Mathieu Richard (FRA), and Americas Cup tactician Francesco Bruni (ITA) representing Luna Rossa.

'The Tour' consisting of six events across the globe begins in Germany for Match Race Germany, followed by Stena Match Cup Sweden on the island of Mastrand with Sopot Match Race in Poland rounding out the European leg. The tour then heads across to the USA for the Chicago Match Cup and then down to Bermuda for the Argo Group Gold Cup, thence to the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.

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Abu Dahabi OR's Azam sailing in The Solent (England)  Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race©

Rob Kothe & Richard Gladwell

Extreme Sailing Series - Act 2 action on the horizon + Video
Extreme Sailing Series,
With only one week to go on the EDOX countdown clock before the Extreme Sailing Series action continues on the Extreme 40 stadium racecourse, the 11 international teams and their crews of elite level sailors, are preparing to return to the Sultanate of Oman for a fourth consecutive year.... [more]
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Head West for hot Etchells.
John Curnow,
23 Crews are in Western Australia ready for that State's 2014 Championship. To be sailed on the picturesque Swan River over March 15 and 16, the best news is that once more, competition will be feature. Like all Etchells regattas, that will be evident no matter whether your fighting for first spot or aiming to ensure someone else is going to be in 13th place, meaning you finish in the top half.... [more]
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America's Cup: Loick Peyron re-signs with Sweden's Artemis Racing
Irene Corosu,
Artemis Racing announced today that French sailing legend Loïck Peyron has committed his future to the Swedish team as a member of the design group and helmsman. Following his role as technical coach and helmsman during the 34th America's Cup, Loïck brings his renowned versatility and unparalleled experience to Artemis Racing.... [more]
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Marine Rescue NSW - Commissioning of rapid-response rescue vessel
Ken McManus,
Marine Rescue NSW - The vessel and its air-berth represent a further investment of $47,000 by Marine Rescue NSW in boating safety in the Illawarra region. This follows the major refurbishment of the unit's large 12.5m Steber offshore rescue vessel, Jervis Bay 40 ‘Colin Woods', in 2012, at a cost of $414,500.... [more]
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Extreme Sailing Series 2014 - Sydney Maritime authorities keen to help
Roads and Maritime Services,
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 - Roads and Maritime Services Acting Director Maritime Michael Wright said Sydney would host the finale of the series from 14 to 16 December. 'This is expected to bring a lot of attention to Sydney and not just within the marine community,' Mr Wright said.... [more]
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Multihull Solutions powers to the 2014 Singapore Yacht Show
Kate Elkington,
Multihull Solutions will mark its inaugural presence at the Singapore Yacht Show with an impressive display of luxury power catamarans.... [more]
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International Cadet Class State Championships 2014
Chris Furey,
The past Labour Day long weekend saw thirty-two Cadets travel from their Melbourne and Geelong bay side clubs to join with five local crews on the beautiful waters of Bancroft Bay on the Gippsland Lakes for the 2014 International Cadet Class Victorian State Championship.... [more]
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The Constrictor: a powerful 'Queen' of sailing knots!
John Jamieson,
Which sailing knot do you need to tie when you absolutely, positively must keep a rope bitter end from fraying, lash a broken sailboat tiller together or keep and engine hose in place--without hose clamps? Read on for one of sailings most under-used sailing knots...... [more]
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Clipper Round the World - Durban resident prepares for ocean crossing
Amy Martindale,
For the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, a young Durban resident is preparing to take part in what is dubbed as the most challenging ocean crossing of the 40,000 mile long race.... [more]
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Doyle Sails NZ/Stratis Newsletter for Summer 2014
Ellie Brade,
Latest update from the team at Doyle Sails, New Zealand - includes Shockwave's win in the Caribbean 600, maxi yacht sails, Hugo Boss, Round North Island, new sails for the Farrier F-22 and the latest from the Finn Nationals... [more]
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2014 Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race - Entries now open
Lisa Ratcliff,
The Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race is an integral stepping stone in the annual winter keelboat march northwards and once again the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron is expecting to entice a strong fleet.... [more]
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Boat painting - simple but best tips
Andrew Keays, Island Cruising Association,
Andrew Keays from Artful Dodger, contributing member of the Island Cruising Association, here suggests some simple but best techniques for painting your boat, in this case using International Brand paint, but the advice is good for any brand.... [more]
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'It's never just one thing' - Swedish sailors rescued
Renate Johns,
The two Swedish sailors were a little more than a week into what was to be a three-month voyage from Florida back to Sweden. Niklas Carlberg, 35 and Karin Wiger, 24, were on on Carlberg's 33-foot, sailing boat Bull when events turned against them, with water entering the boat 'near the propeller'. 'But,' he added, frustrated by his inability to locate the source, 'it wasn't a seal leak.'... [more]
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America's Cup: Australia versus USA on Sydney Harbour,
Oracle Team USA and Team Australia, the Defender and Challenger of Record respectively, are currently in training/racing sessions on Sydney Harbour, sailing AC45's. Oracle Team USA sailing team manager and tactician Tom Slingsby is enthusiastic about his team's first days on the harbour.... [more]
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Extreme Sailing Series: Glenn Ashby looks to ahead to Act 2, Muscat
Extreme Sailing Series,
In 2014, Glenn Ashby returned to the Extreme Sailing Series as trimmer with the Kiwi Emirates Team New Zealand, after last competing in the circuit in 2011. He takes a look back at the opening Act of the season in Singapore, and eyes the upcoming Act in Muscat, Oman, which starts in just over one weeks time.... [more]
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Cruising Club of America celebrates outstanding sailors of 2013
Kirsten Ferguson,
The Cruising Club of America (CCA) celebrated its outstanding sailors of 2013 during the Annual Awards Dinner on March 7, 2014 at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan where CCA Commodore Frederic T. Lhamon made presentations to the winners of the Blue Water Medal, Far Horizons Award, and Richard S. Nye Trophy.... [more]
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America's Cup: Larry on the Big Picture for AC35
Oracle Team USA principal, Larry Ellison explains his vision for the 35th America's Cup and the lead-in. From Julian Guthrie, author of 'The Billionaire and the Mechanic' - this is an extra section added after Oracle Team USA's victory in the 34th America's Cup.... [more]
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Serious innovation for maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 + Video
Virginie Bouchet,
A bike aboard a boat? It may sound silly but it is a very serious technical innovation to help Yann Guichard to handle the maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 alone on the next Route du Rhum. Prepare to find out more on your web series '40 metres solo'.... [more]
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