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Peeking behind AC36 curtain—Sailing news from North America & beyond


The latest sailing news from Canada and the world.
 02 Oct 2017

Peeking behind AC36 curtain—Sailing news from North America & beyond

Emirates Team New Zealand win the 35th America's Cup  © BMW | Studio Borlenghi
Oracle Team USA lost the 35th America's Cup in a stunning, 7-1 upset loss to Emirates Team New Zealand on the waters of Bermuda's Great Sound on June 26, 2017, sending the Auld Mug back to its antipodean stomping grounds of Auckland, New Zealand, where it is widely assumed the Cup's new Kiwi custodians will host “AC36”, likely in the early months of 2021. While plenty of question marks still punctuate this horizon, the world edged a lot closer to seeing the Kiwi's vision for AC36 last Friday, when the Protocol that governs the 36thAmerica's Cup was published by the Defender, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), and the Challenger of Record (CoR), the Circolo della Vela Sicilla.

Not surprisingly, the Defender and the CoR opted to return to high-performance monohulls, ditching the multihulls that have defined the last three editions of this long-celebrated regatta. According to the recently released Protocol, AC36 will be determined aboard 75-foot, high-performance monohulls (the design rule will be released by March 31, 2018 for this new class of yacht), which could benefit from foils that lift-or partially lift-the big monohull from the brine, much like the IMOCA 60 monohulls, which are used for the Vendee Globe, now employ.

Emirates Team New Zealand won the 35th America's Cup vs Oracle Team Usa 7-1
  © BMW | Studio Borlenghi

“The plans are coming together nicely–we shall have a very exciting boat that will be fast and powerful,” said Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand, the RNZYS's sailing team. “We are pushing the boundaries of what is possible technically and this will test the designers, boat builders and the sailors to the limit. Just what the America's Cup is all about.”

Each team can build a total of two AC75 boats, however each hull must be laminated in the country of its origin (e.g., a U.S.-flagged boat's hull must be laminated in the US of A), and teams are not allowed to engage in two-boat testing. Additionally, teams are not allowed to engage in wind tunnel or tank testing (but computer modeling appears to be unlimited) or launch surrogate yachts as a way of limiting the arms-race aspect of AC36.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA - 35th America's Cup Match - Race 3 Start - Bermuda June 18, 2017  Richard Gladwell

In all cases, teams cannot launch their first-generation AC75 boats until March 31, 2019, and they cannot launch their 2.0 designs (if they have one) until February 15, 2020.

While there are plenty of changes and tweaks coming to the mandatory-participation Challenger's Trophy (now called the Prada Cup, rather than its old moniker, the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series), one interesting addition is the America's Cup Christmas Race, which will be held sometime from December 10-20, 2020.

As for the AC36's starting gun details (exact dates and venue), these will be released by the RNZYS no later than August 30, 2018.

Emirates Team New Zealand won the 35th America's Cup vs Oracle Team Usa 7-1
  © BMW | Studio Borlenghi

Oracle Team USA earned plenty of criticism (including from your humble editor's quill) about the fact that there was but a single “American” on the team's starting line-up (and Tom Slingsby holds dual American and Australian passports, however he won his gold medal in the Laser class at the London 2012 Olympics while wearing Australian colors), and the Defender and the CoR addressed this shortcoming in the Protocol, which requires that 20 percent of each team's 10-12 person sailing squad (read: not designers or shore team) be from the nation whose flag is on the team's sail.

While this isn't the 80-90 percent metric that some in the sailing community favored (your editor's hand is waving vigorously in the air), it is a half step in the right direction.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) - Round Robin 2, Day 4 - 35th America's Cup - Bermuda May 30, 2017  Richard Gladwell

'Land Rover BAR has always had a British identity and this rule won't affect us,' said Team Principal, Sir Ben Ainslie, whose team was eliminated early in the last Luis Vuitton Challenger Series. 'We will learn from our mistakes, and come back stronger.”

As for the challenge ahead, Sir Ben sounded confidant. 'We are comfortable with the transition, the key people in our sailing, design, engineering and support teams all have a great deal of relevant experience,' he continued. “We don't underestimate the challenge – it is immense – but we will call on the very best of British technology and innovation through our partners, and use that British fighting spirit to finally bring the Cup home to Britain.”

Emirates Team New Zealand America's Cup - Presentation - Bermuda June 26, 2017  Richard Gladwell

While there has been no word from Oracle Team USA, it is not expected that the former Defender will step back up to try and reclaim their prize, and-to date-there has not been word of any other American- or Canadian-flagged challengers, however there's still plenty of chronological runway left before the early months of 2021, so stay tuned!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

Mini-Transat La Boulangère – Getting into the swing of things pronto
Event Media,
All in all, everyone had opted to sail on starboard tack taking them towards Cape Ortegal. With the wind kicking back in from the west, the first choices will have to made: continue along on the same tack or make headway to the north?... [more]

2017 Optimist Asian and Oceanian Champs kicks off
RHKYC Media / Nick Atkinson,
The 2017 Optimist Asian & Oceanian Championship opened last night at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in conjunction with Hong Kong's National Day celebrations. There was a flag parade from all the regatta participants, and then one of those fireworks displays that only Hong Kong can lay on – ok so the occasion was China's National Day, but HKODA has raised the bar on Oppie events by opening a regi... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race teams up with Virtual Regatta for 2017-18 race game
Volvo Ocean Race,
The last edition, for 2014-15 saw over 200,000 skippers test their skills, charting a virtual course against the real-world fleet as it raced around the world.... [more]

Hamble Winter Series – Elaine wins IRC Spinlock Autumn Championship
Louay Habib,
Ed Broadway's Ker 40 Hooligan VII was the winner in IRC Zero, King 40 Nifty raced by Emily Bowden-Eyre was the winner in IRC One. Rachel Hunt's Jumblesail 2 was the victor in IRC Three, and Jeffrey Dakin's Flashheart was the IRC Four Champion. Ian Smyth's team won the J/88 Class.... [more]

New Racing Manager appointed for The Royal Ocean Racing Club
As a professional sailing administrator, he has vast experience and proven ability managing significant events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Farr 40 Worlds, Etchells Worlds and Volvo Ocean Race and Clipper Round the World stopovers.... [more]

Vintage Gold Cup - Final day
Paul Cayard,
On Saturday, two races were scheduled for the final day of racing. A beautiful, clear blue sky greeted us that morning but not much wind. In fact, the little bit of wind that did arrive on Gull Lake swung around wildly in direction, and never amounted to more than five knots. The Race Committee postponed the start at the scheduled staring time of 13:00. Nothing material ever developed... [more]

Anne Patin wins 2017 Women's North Americans
Sunfish Class,
Anne Patin dominated a talented field of 25 Sunfish sailors that included several former Women's NA's Champions such as Anne Edwards, Gail Heausler, Leslie Dane, Marguerite Koehler, and Lee Parks.... [more]

Williams shuts out champion to win Chicago Match Cup
Aston Harald,
In front of a cheering crowd at Navy Pier, Lake Michigan turned on all the drama for the final day of the Chicago Match Cup as Ian Williams, skipper of GAC Pindar, defeated current Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson in a tour de force shutout victory.... [more]

Mini-Transat La Boulangère – Rainy yet propitious start
Event Media,
The atmosphere is tinged with a mixture of warmth and seriousness on the pontoons and the oppressive grey skies mirror the weight that is on some of their shoulders. On the pontoons, the competitors' exchanges with their nearest and dearest are muffled.... [more]

America's Cup - Ainslie says next Cup will be a design challenge
Sir Ben Ainslie,
Sir Ben Ainslie has added to the comments in the media release issued by the British America's Cup team on Friday after the announcement of the Protocol which will govern the 36th America's Cup to be staged in New Zealand or Italy in 2021. Writing in the Daily Telegraph (UK), the four times Olympic Gold medalist and CEO, Skipper and Helmsman of Land Rover BAR says they are still digesting the P... [more]

Canfield trades blows with Swedes as final four lineup confirmed
Aston Harald,
The Final Four lineup for the Chicago Match Cup was decided today in a gladiatorial spectacle that unfolded on Lake Michigan, as Phil Robertson, Sam Gilmour, Ian Williams, and local favorite, Taylor Canfield, survived elimination.... [more]

2017 Laser Masters World Championships - Day 7 - A good race to finish
Katie Olsen,
Racing on the final day of the Laser Masters World Championships was brought forward an hour to increase the possibility of all fleets sailing at least one final race. In hindsight, it was a wise move as the wind pattern of previous days was repeated. An offshore land breeze from the North eventually shifted to build from the South West after a two-hour wait afloat.... [more]

2017 Etchells Worlds - A nail-biting finish
Leslie Richter,
The overall winner of the 2017 Etchells World Championship, hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club, is Steve Benjamin (USA), representing the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, with crew of Dave Hughes, Ian Liberty, and Michael Menninger. Benjamin, a past Olympic medalist, 505 World Champion, and 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, finally claimed the championship after numerous attempts.... [more]

Mini-Transat La Boulangère – A sense of ambivalence among Mini sailors
Event Media,
The atmosphere had become more relaxed as the week went on, after the initial, rather alarmist weather forecasts from earlier on in the week, improved considerably. For the solo sailors, it's been all about putting the finishing touches to a series of odd jobs, amidst like-minded people, with teams restricted to a few old faithfuls, out to give a last helping hand with the preparations.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race holds landmark sustainability workshop
Volvo Ocean Race,
The event, held in the Boatyard facility in Lisbon, saw over 100 sailors, shore crew, stakeholders and industry leaders come together to learn more about plastic pollution, hear more about the sustainability plans for the next edition... [more]

Vintage Gold Cup – Day 2
Paul Cayard,
In the first race of the day, race three of the regatta, Brian and I led wire to wire keeping things rolling from yesterday. In race four, we got out of phase with the wind shifts early and got in traffic. On the second windward leg we went left which the locals have been telling us all week, is the favored side here.... [more]

Gilmour swims and Robertson survives in Super 16 Racing
Aston Harald,
With Lake Michigan waves pouring over the harbor break wall, the Super 16 Stage of the 2017 Chicago Match Cup kicked off today, serving up epic match race action with bitterly contested matchups throughout the fleet of competitors.... [more]

Laser Masters World Championships - Day 6 - Not enough wind
Katie Olsen,
The forecast stronger wind failed to show on the penultimate day of the Laser Masters World Championship in Split, Croatia. The familiar pattern of waiting on shore until the first visible sign of a south westerly wind was played again, but after going afloat and waiting for three hours, the wind failed to strengthen and stabilize. At 16:00 the fleets were sent back to the harbour.... [more]

SAP 5O5 World Championship - Day 5 - Wrap-up
Bill Wagner,
Runner-up status was on the line during the final day of the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship. Having clinched the championship with a tremendous performance on Thursday, Mike Holt and Carl Smit were able to watch the last race from the comfort of a powerboat – no doubt thrilled they did not have determine the title on a light and fluky day.... [more]

America's Cup - Alinghi and Brits respond positively to Protocol
Richard Gladwell,,
Twice America's Cup winner Alinghi has responded positively to the Protocol for the 36th America's Cup announced in Auckland yesterday morning. British America's Cup team Landrover BAR also responded positively, and were the first and maybe only of the America's Cup teams who competed in Bermuda who will continue into the 36th America's Cup (aside from Emirates Team New Zealand).... [more]

Mini-Transat La Boulangère – A mixture of worry and excitement
Event Media,
Torn between media engagements and the arrival of their nearest and dearest to see the start, the skippers are being guided by their mood and their character. Some have shut themselves away in a little bubble far away from the race village, others are focusing on trivial material tasks... [more]

J/80 North American Championship announcement
As per their usual high-standards, expect the complete red-carpet treatment from Eastport YC and its members for the J/80 competitors! The EYC PRO promises fair weather, great sailing and a lot of races!... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race – Team Scallywag surprise with new crew announcement
Volvo Ocean Race,
Until today, Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag was the only team, out of the seven competitors, to not have considered female sailors. The announcement of Bes now means every Volvo Ocean Race team has female sailors fully integrated into their crew line up.... [more]

Vintage Gold Cup in Michigan
Paul Cayard,
Arther Anosov, sailing Magic, with Dave Julius Ceasar, is in second over all with a 3, 2. Jon Vander Molen sailing his Heather, with Rick Burgess crewing, are in third place with a 2, 7. Mark Reynolds, in Flapper, with Michael Brundage are in fourth.... [more]

North Sails 3Di RAW Powers TP52 Super Series Season Success
Danielle Neri,
Azzurra were crowned 52 Super Series champions when they bested the fleet in the final series act in Menorca last week. Alberto Roemmers' Azzurra, helmed by Guillermo Parada and tactician Vasco Vascotto, is the only team to win two series regattas in 2017, placing them seven points ahead of Platoon and eleven points ahead of 2016 series champs Quantum Racing.... [more]

Laser Masters World Championships - Just enough wind for one race
Katie Olsen,
A fresh overnight Bora wind off the land greeted Laser Master sailors and race committee as they arrived at Mornar Sailing Club in Split, Croatia on the fifth day of racing. The northerly Bora wind created a dilemma for the Race Committee as it was expected to die and be replaced by a south westerly just after the scheduled 12:00 start time... [more]

America's Cup - New Protocol good for marine firms but not Pro Sailors
Richard Gladwell,,
The Constructed in Country provisions of the Protocol open up the opportunities for marine industries and manufacturers, despite a tougher line than the previous Protocol. For the 36th America's Cup, only the hull of the AC75 will have to be laminated in the country of the challenging or defending club.... [more]

Domination and upsets as qualifying concludes in Chicago
Aston Harald,
Plenty of action at the final day of qualifying at Chicago Match Cup that saw both dominant performances and nail-biting upsets as the Super 16 Stage roster was decided off Navy Pier.... [more]

2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship - Tough fight for podium
Bill Wagner,
Organizers of the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship said from the outset that versatility would prove crucial to winning. That is because Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay figured to deliver a wide range of wind conditions over the course of a week.... [more]

America's Cup - Italy a better than even option for Cup Defence venue
Richard Gladwell,,
The most surprising aspect of this morning's Media Conference to announce the Protocol for the 36th America's Cup was the comment, contained in the Protocol, was that if Auckland was not ready to host the America's Cup then it would be staged in Italy.... [more]

America's Cup - Protocol governing 36th Match is released in Auckland
Emirates Team NZ/Luna Rossa,
The Protocol of the 36th America's Cup was released today at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron after a focused and friendly period of negotiation between the Defender and the Challenger of Record Circolo della Vela Sicilia following Emirates Team New Zealand's victory in the America's Cup only three months ago in Bermuda.... [more]

SCL and ISLA sign agreement with YCCS to support One Ocean initiative
The League sees individual yacht clubs competing in national leagues within a dedicated circuit. The ISLA was created successively and encompasses each of the individual national leagues.... [more]

A QandA with Sam Rogers about the 2017 Melges 20 World Championship
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
The 2017 Melges 20 World Championship is set to unfurl off of Newport, Rhode Island, from October 3 to 7 and will be hosted by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) at their beautiful Harbour Court facility. I caught up with Sam Rogers, the Melges 20 North American fleet manager, via email to learn more about this exciting regatta that's expected to draw competitors from four continents and nine nations.... [more]

US wildcard team announced for remaining Extreme Sailing Series Acts
Extreme Sailing Series,
The all-star American syndicate - which is sponsored by Texan restaurant chain Lupe Tortilla and Demetrio Tequila - will make its debut on the GC32 as the Series hits the waters of San Diego Bay... [more]

The Lorient-Bermuda-Lorient Transatlantic Sailing Race is back
Lorient Grand Large,
Organised by Lorient Grand Large, the association responsible for managing Lorient La Base, (the only port devoted to offshore racing in the world), the race departure is planned for the spring of 2019 in a crewed sprint equivalent to two transatlantic races. Open to the Ultima multihulls who have already put the event their diaries, other classes will also be welcome.... [more]

Marina Lanzarote prepares for RORC Transatlantic Race fleet
For those competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 - celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018 - the first leg of the AAR acts as a challenging annual feeder race, as well as a great way to race across the Atlantic in company to take part in the Caribbean winter circuit.... [more]

ETNZ's Andy Maloney leads NZ Match Racing RC
Andrew Delves, RNZYS,
Emirates Team New Zealand sailor and 35th America's Cup winner Andy Maloney leads the 20 strong Yachting Developments NZ Match Racing Championship fleet after the first four races on Day 1 at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, on what was a beautiful day for sailing in the city of sails.... [more]

Les Voiles de St. Barth - Regatta will carry on in 2018
Barby MacGowan,
Considered a high point of the tourist season on the island of Saint-Barthélemy, Les Voiles de St. Barth will take place as planned over April 8-14, 2018.... [more]

Consistency pays off for the top of the leader board
Leslie Richter,
Day two racing began much as day one, with a two-hour postponement, although today the call was made to hold the racers on shore. When racing began at 2:20 pm the wind had filled in at 16-17 kts from a typical San Francisco Bay westerly direction of 225 degrees.... [more]

Stacked standings define Day 1 at Chicago Match Cup
Aston Harald,
The competitive lineup for the 2017 Chicago Match Cup did not waste any time carving up the Lake Michigan racecourse during fleet racing today, with few points separating nearly all the teams in each of the three groups – surely, all the skippers will sleep anxious for the final qualifying session races tomorrow.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race - Mark Turner elaborates on resignation reasons,
Outgoing Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Mark Turner has elaborated on the reasons behind his sudden announcement that he would be parting ways with the event into which he had put an enormous effort to both effect changes for the next edition of the race and the shape of the race over the next 10 years.... [more]

Etchells Worlds get two races in after a long delay on Day 1
Nic Douglass,
Two races in after a long delay on day one... [more]

Fabulous Flyer first to enter the Legends Race
Volvo Ocean Race,
Restored in 2014 by her original builder, the Royal Huisman Shipyard, in Vollenhove, The Netherlands, she was fitted with two new Sparcraft masts and a sail wardrobe from North and her original doghouse was rebuilt. The only item retained from her days as Alaska Eagle is the fold-down canvas sprayhood.... [more]

Potent Volvo Ocean Race cocktail given a resounding shake
Brian Hancock,
There has been a big shake-up at the Volvo Ocean Race and it comes less than a month before the next race is scheduled to start from Alicante, the port city on Spain's Mediterranean coast. The big news is that Mark Turner is stepping down from his role as CEO. It's not clear whether Mark is jumping or was pushed... [more]

Rooster® launch new Pro Laced Boots-
Lucy Burn,
Like a Butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the new Rooster® Pro Laced Boots are a thing of unsurpassed excellence and beauty. Poetic? Yes. Justified? We think so. Worth the wait? Absolutely.... [more]

A long first day for Etchells Worlds competitors
Leslie Richter,
The first day of racing for the 51 International Etchells teams got off to a slow start with a 2.5 hour postponement on glassy water. When race one finally began at about 2:30pm, the wind had built to a consistent 8 – 10 kts. By the second race, the breeze freshened slightly to 14 - 15 kts. “The race committee, led by PRO Jeff Zarwell, did a great job completing two races in a short time window... [more]

Laser Masters Worlds - Day 3 - 350 sailors enjoy sport for life
Katie Olsen,
After two days of delay, waiting for wind and shopping for the best forecast app, racing finally got underway at the Laser Masters World Championships in Split. Long standing battles continue and newcomers seek to take over past heroes.... [more]

2018 St. Thomas International Regatta - Registration open-
Carol Bareuther,
Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) are pleased to announce that 2018 event, set for March 23 to 25, will take place as scheduled despite damage to the island from Hurricane's Irma and Maria.... [more]

Etchells Worlds - Preview report from San Francisco
Leslie Richter,
The 2017 Etchells World Championship, hosted by The San Francisco Yacht Club, kicks off on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 with first of five days of racing on San Francisco Bay (nine races are scheduled). Fifty-one teams representing ten countries will be competing in the area known as the Berkeley Circle. This is the fourth time that Etchells World Championships are being held in San Francisco Bay.... [more]

Relive the race action from 420 Open European Championships
Event Media,
Featuring 358 athletes from 22 nations and six continents across the 420 Open, Ladies and U17 fleets, victory came after a long, hard six day assault on the race track on the Saronic Gulf, against some of the best 420 talent from around the world.... [more]

Volvo reconsiders schedule for future Volvo Ocean Races
Volvo Ocean Race,
As a consequence of this review to the race schedule the current CEO for the race Mark Turner has decided to step down from his current position. He will remain in the CEO role until a successor is appointed, a search for which has started.... [more]

Volvo Ocean Race call time out on 2019/20 event, CEO resigns
Richard Gladwell,,
Volvo Ocean Race has announced that the 2019/20 event will not take place as scheduled, and the organisers say that additional planning time is required before further announcements can take place. The CEO of Volvo Ocean Race Mark Turner has stepped down and a replacement is being sought.... [more]

Black Jack marks 50th entry for Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Ross MacDonald,
Peter Harburg's Black Jack marks the 50th entry received by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, adding to speculation that 73rd race will showcase the largest super maxi line-up in the history of the race.... [more]

Figaro Bénéteau 3 - The launch of production-
Anne Gourcuff,
Launched at the end of July in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie on France's Atlantic coast, the prototype for the Figaro Bénéteau 3, whose construction required 3,000 man-hours at the Bénéteau site in Cheviré, has since been in her test phase. Managers from the Bénéteau yard, naval architects, members of Mer Forte design office and representatives of the Figaro class climbed aboard in various conditions... [more]

Racing cancelled on Day 2 of SAP 5O5 World Championship
Bill Wagner,
Principal Race officer Sandy Grosvenor made a wise decision by delaying ashore for two hours on the second day of the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship. In hindsight, Grosvenor wishes she had kept the 89-boat fleet on the lot at Severn Sailing Association.... [more]

New versatile sail completes North Sails Inventory for 2017-18 VOR
North Sails,
North Sails has unveiled a game-changing addition to the sail wardrobes of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet – the JO gennaker. North Sails has been the exclusive official supplier to the Volvo Ocean Race since the debut of the VO65 one design fleet in the 2014-15 edition.... [more]

An interview with Donald Weld about the 2017 J/70 North Americans
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
The 2017 J/70 North American Championships are set to unfurl on Long Island Sound and will be hosted by the American Yacht Club from October 9-15. Given the number of sailors living in the greater region, it's not surprising that it's attracting the kinds of numbers that would be the swooning envy of plenty of world championships. I caught up with Donald Weld, regatta chairman, to learn more.... [more]

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