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April 30, 2018 Am Cup moves ... Five medal haul from Hyeres

30/04/2018


Sail-World NZ: April 30, 2018 - AC Update..Kiwis' Medal haul

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Molly meech and Alex Maloney (NZL) - Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Tomas Moya / Sailing Energy


Dear [recipient name]


Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for April 30, 2018

At last, there has been some America's Cup news that is not about some politico's warblings, the umteenth option for base locations or yet another pressure group trying to use the America's Cup as a crowbar to achieve some aspirational agenda.

Last Friday, at the Prospect of Whitby, a Thameside pub dating back to 1520, Ben Ainslie announced that there had been a major change in the financial backing of the British America's Cup team challenging through an affiliate club of the Royal Yacht Squadron.

The "new" money in the City who'd backed the first challenge by Ben Ainslie Racing has been quietly shuffled off centre-stage, along with Land Rover as naming rights sponsor, to make way for a new single sponsor, INEOS, a privately owned petrochemical conglomerate, who will pump £110million/NZD$217million into the Challenge.

Part of that eye watering sum is believed to be a payout to the existing sponsor/backing team.

The former management and financiers associated with LRBAR's Bermuda challenge, outwardly wished the new group well. While their AC50 appeared to be lacking in the boat-speed department in Bermuda, the management group were able to put together a very good infrastructure of bases, sailing programs and networks that extended far beyond just the America's Cup program. It is a big ask to get a first time Cup team to function properly, but they did well. It will be interesting to see how much of that rich inventory is engaged in the current Challenge.

The street frontage of the Prospect of Whitby - venue for the announcement of the INEOS Team GB Challenge - photo © Buisson International
The street frontage of the Prospect of Whitby - venue for the announcement of the INEOS Team GB Challenge - photo © Buisson International

Land Rover BAR was not quite so restrained their surprise exit saying in a statement: "We are extremely disappointed having worked tirelessly to support Ben and the entire team. It is a great blow to us all that our partnership will not continue."

Describing how the new deal came about, Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of INEOS, said he thought he was merely going out to have a drink, arranged by a mutual friend, with Ainslie - and one thing led to another.

Our guess that Ainslie's team had done their detailed budgeting and concluded that they would be seriously short of funds for a two boat AC75 challenge.

Land Rover BAR enjoys a rare moment crossing ahead of Emirates Team NZ on Day 3 of the Semi-Finals - photo © Richard Gladwell
Land Rover BAR enjoys a rare moment crossing ahead of Emirates Team NZ on Day 3 of the Semi-Finals - photo © Richard Gladwell

As he exited the last America's Cup, Ainslie said that the Land Rover BAR Challenge had signed the same sponsorship team for the 36th America's Cup, and it was full speed ahead. That was with a £80million commitment, not the £110million program that the darling of the British sailing now leads.

With the budgeting done for an Auckland based venue, our guess from 12,000 miles away is that Ainslie met with Jim Ratcliffe with the objective of topping up the already committed £80million budget to the level they required - in excess of £110million.

Ineos Team GB to challenge for the 2021 America's Cup - photo © Iain Gomes
Ineos Team GB to challenge for the 2021 America's Cup - photo © Iain Gomes

Rather than tipping in the extra £30million required, Ratcliffe who is founder and chairman of the largest privately owned company in Britain - with pretax earnings of £2billion last year - wanted a clean boat and sole sponsorship if INEOS was to be involved.

That triggered a delicate "Dear John" conversation with the City backers of Land Rover BAR and naming rights sponsor Land Rover themselves, who made their views clear in the terse media statement above.

The new deal was apparently put together in just four weeks. But that's one of the advantages of dealing directly with the owner of a privately owned company rather than negotiating with a bevvy of corporate lawyers.

The situation is reminiscent of Sir Tom Clark's agreement to back Peter Blake's Ceramco New Zealand 1981/82 Whitbread WTWR campaign. The way Clark told it, he made the sponsorship agreement with Blake and then told his Board of the deal he had signed!

Outwardly Ben Ainslie's line was that with the increased sponsorship the team could now afford to build a second AC75. It was a little surprising to hear that they had not factored the second boat into their budgets at the same cost as an AC50.

Graphic of INEOS Team GBR's AC75 - photo © INEOS Team GBR
Graphic of INEOS Team GBR's AC75 - photo © INEOS Team GBR

In an almost throwaway line, Ainslie mentioned in a post-announcement interview that the team would be launching a test boat as permitted under the Surrogate boat rules, which will be launched in the British summer - meaning it is three or four months away.

That should get enormous publicity for INEOS, with most pundits not being able to understand the physics and geometry of the AC75. Many don't believe the AC75 monohull will be able to foil, despite the assurances from the design boffins - and half-expect the concept to fall flat on its snout.

The new British Challenge can be assured of another generous serving of Royal Patronage, echoing the best of British mantra. The three second-tier sponsors are all part of the INEOS group - spread across automotive manufacture, clothing and accommodation. The single sponsor approach has meant that Ben Ainslie Racing will be contracted to INEOS to provide a boat and run a program. Presumably the idea is that INEOS picks up the corporate side of the equation and runs that for the benefit of the Group. That being so, Ainslie will be relieved of a lot of corporate heavy lifting ashore - allowing the five-time Olympic medal winner to focus on the race boat and program.

A surprise from the surrogate boat comment is that INEOS Team GB will have to design and construct their own carbon arms and steel foils, without the design detail from the Cor/D design group - and knowing that for the AC75 the arms and foils are specified as a supplied part.

One of the learnings from the last America's Cup was that a lot of time and budget can be easily frittered away on surrogate boats. At least three of the Class of 2017 built multiple AC45S development boats each. Team New Zealand's experience was that their development boat cost more than the AC50 itself.

Sir Ben Ainslie has got Land Rover BAR off to a fast start in the 36th America's Cup in Auckland.  - photo © Lloyd Images
Sir Ben Ainslie had to do some fast footwork to extract his team from the AC35 sponsorship deal andhitch his fortunes to INEOS Team GB - photo © Lloyd Images

There is always a temptation early in the AC cycle to load up early with test-kit and hardware. It gives the sailors something to do and issues for the designers to ponder. Outwardly the team has some purpose, and routine, but in hindsight they can be a huge distraction. In AC36/Bermuda some teams had up to four AC45S prototype boats in their arsenal. The winner only had one AC45S albeit cunningly stretched to have the same geometry as the AC50. That plus ETNZ's computer simulation gave them an edge over the other teams.

As mentioned, the INEOS Team GB made their announcement at the Prospect of Whitby. The 16th-century pub is handily placed to the infamous Execution Dock, where condemned navy sailors and Buccaneers were executed.

A replica gallows complete with hangman's noose is nearby, prompting Ainslie to quip that it might be his fate if he did not return with the America's Cup.

Prospect of Whitby - The venue for the announcement of the INEOS Team GB America's Cup Challenge - photo © FootprintsofLondon
And out the back ....Ben Ainslie quipped that this could be his fate if INEOS Team GB returned empty handed from Auckland - photo © FootprintsofLondon

Second US Challenger

On Wednesday US website sailingillustrated.com broke the news of a second US America's Cup challenge being formed, but didn't name who was involved despite having permission to do so from one of the key players.

Congressional Cup Day 3, Long Beach Yacht Club, April 20, 2018 - photo © Congressional Cup
Congressional Cup Day 3, Long Beach Yacht Club, April 20, 2018 - photo © Congressional Cup

It fell to the America's Cup correspondent Bernie Wilson (AP) to break the whole story, three days later. One of the crew of the winning Congressional Cup has secured the majority of the funding required to support a second America's Cup entry from USA.

Final Day, 2018 Congressional Cup, Long Beach, April 22, 2018 - photo © Bronny Daniels
Final Day, 2018 Congressional Cup, Long Beach, April 22, 2018 - photo © Bronny Daniels

Mike Buckley (35) says they have been working on the project for a year. The team will be an all-US effort and it is expected to sign the Congressional Cup winning helmsman, Taylor Canfield as skipper.

We have the full story - as it is known in this edition.

Sam Meech - Silver medalist - Laser - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Sam Meech - Silver medalist - Laser - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

Five medal haul
The New Zealand Sailing Team has come away from the fourth round of the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres with a total of five medals - two short of the French home team.

New Zealand won two medals in the 49er, one from the 49erFX, one from the Laser and one from the Men's 470.

In the other three events, New Zealand sailors finished 10th or worse.

Considered in the context of the previous regatta, the Trofeo Princesa Sofia sailed in Palma, the results in Hyeres were more up than down - illustrated by the Kiwi's increase in medal count.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) are second in the 49erFX after Day 4 of the sailing World Cup Hyeres - photo © Richard Langdon / Sailing Energy
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) are second in the 49erFX after Day 4 of the sailing World Cup Hyeres - photo © Richard Langdon / Sailing Energy

Significant too, was the medal statistics from Great Britain and Australia - with both only winning two medals each. The Brits won two Silver medals in the Women's 470, with 2016 Gold medalist Hannah Mills taking over from where she left off in Rio, now sailing with a new crew. The other Silver medal for the Brits came from the Nacra 17.

The Australians won a Bronze medal in the Laser, and Silver in the Men's 470.

Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

Hyeres was plagued with light airs for the early races, plus there were some high scoring races - with plenty of BFD's and UFD's being scattered liberally through the results. Some crews had two or more - and had to carry a maximum points score in their leaderboard tally. Staying clean on the startline paid a big dividend in this regatta - and none more so that the Medal race of the 49er, where the first start resulted in a General Recall, and the restart saw four boats cross the start line prematurely. The on the water umpires quickly swooped and removed the miscreants from the race. New Zealand was a direct beneficiary of this incident - winning Gold and Silver medals.

The next major regatta is the final of the Sailing World Cup to be held in the 2024 Olympic venue of Marseille in early June. Then it is on to Aarhus, Denmark for the Hempel Sailing World Championship - which doubles as the main Olympic qualifier for 2020 in Tokyo.

At Marseille and Aarhus, the key point of interest will be how many of the 2016 Olympic medalists come back from their various sojourns in the America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, or just a time-out. The convergence of the old talent with the new in August will be a useful marker for the Olympic regatta in two years time.

470 Mens - Medal ceremony - Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (right) - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
470 Mens - Medal ceremony - Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (right) - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

Follow all the racing and developments in major and local events on Sail-World.com by scrolling to the top of the site, select New Zealand, and get all the latest news and updates from the sailing world.

All stories are available on Sail-World.com/nz

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

 
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Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

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49er - Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
49er - Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

 
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Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

 
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Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox trail Matt Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Richard Langdon / Sailing Energy
Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox trail Matt Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Richard Langdon / Sailing Energy

 
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Laser - Sam Meech - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Laser - Sam Meech - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
49er medalists - Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Tomas Moya / Sailing Energy
49er medalists - Medal Racing - Sailing World Cup Hyeres, April 28, 2018 - photo © Tomas Moya / Sailing Energy

 
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Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Laser - Sam Meech - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Laser - Sam Meech - Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, April 29, 2018 - photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy



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