Groupama Team France has taken delivery of their AC50 hulls built in part in Switzerland by Décision. They have been at the Multiplast-Groupe Carboman facility to be assembled with the parts already built – being the pod and the beams.
The team says via social media is to have stopped sailing their AC45S on December 18, and it is believed that several of the parts from the AC45 will be transferred across to the AC50.
In early January, the team started sending containers to Bermuda as the first stage of base set up.
The year is here. In 125 days, SoftBank Team Japan will take on Artemis Racing in their first race of the America’s Cup Qualifiers not only marking the culmination of their campaign, but the end of more than a decade of drought since Japan has challenged for the Auld Mug.
The team arrived back in Bermuda on January 2nd returning from a much-deserved two-week holiday – a chance for many members to travel back home and spend time with family prior to the final intensive testing period currently starting up.
However, one very important member of the team stayed behind in Bermuda – the team’s new America’s Cup Class race boat.
Having taken delivery of the new yacht in November, the 50-foot long one-design hull has been going through an extensive modification period in the boat shed as the team continues testing their AC45 Sport on the water.
“Progress with the AC50 has been good”, said Skipper and CEO Dean Barker.
“The entire team took a two-week break over holidays to recharge the batteries before what will be a long and hard 6 months ahead. We are all very excited to think that we will have our new boat in the water in mid-February.”
Counting down to that launch, the shore and design teams hit the ground running January 3rd maximizing the installation time necessary to transfer board control systems, ergonomics, and computers to the new boat. These custom developments have been hewn over the past year as the team has tested their AC45 Sport on the Great Sound in Bermuda.
Along with these systems, upon their return, the team was also tasked with the crucial job of committing to dagger board designs – the shape and contour of the 4-meters of winged surface that will lift the boat out of the water during the America’s Cup.
Contrary to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series where dagger boards are one-design, the 35th America’s Cup protocol allows each team to build 4 customized dagger boards.
With almost four months to go until the America’s Cup Qualifiers, every sailing day – and the resulting amount of data and technique learned – counts exponentially.
Since splashing back on the water on January 13th for their first sail of 2017, SoftBank Team Japan now will begin an extended practice race period with the other teams based in Bermuda – Oracle Team USA, Artemis Racing, and new neighbors, Land Rover BAR.
“Having four teams on the Sound so far has been great”, said Barker.
“To date we haven’t had too many days with all boats on the water, but it does get busy! It is pretty awesome charging around at well over 30 knots with 4 other boats in close proximity and we’re looking forward to the practice racing the next two weeks.”
Practice racing on the Great Sound in Bermuda will take place as weather permits, January 18th – February 6th.
Robbie Maddison, Ian Walsh and Bobby Brown just got the ride of their lives with Oracle Team USA.
Robbie Maddison, Bobby Brown, and Ian Walsh have just had their lives changed by sailing onboard with Oracle Team USA at the America’s Cup World Series in Chicago. Walsh now wants to buy a boat to take his surfing new level; Brown plans to take what he learnt about sailing’s ‘silent’ teamwork to his next big team; and Maddison learned that sailing is not for old people – and that anything can, and does, happen in sailing.
Sailing, to me, just seemed like something that old people did. This is totally not that at all. It’s extreme, it’s fast, anything can happen. ~Robbie Maddison
Just exactly what is anything? It’s when you’re rocketing along at 41knots (70 kph) and the boat capsizes while you’re attempting to avoid another boat, leaving you to hang on with all of your fingers and toes.
For the record, that’s not typical in sailing. However, if there’s anything that the America’s Cup World Series catamarans prove to us, it’s that this is not typical sailing. After all, you don’t normally fly above the water whilst sailing. But thanks to modern technology, these catamarans all flyabove the water’s surface, literally taking off like airplanes
“In less than a second you’re up on the foils,” surfing legend Ian Walsh said. “You really do feel like you’re flying.”
Although Walsh’s experience with Oracle Team USA was a little more tame compared to Maddison’s, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t equally thrilling. In the America’s Cup World Series, six boats are lined-up and buzzing around each other like bees. The tension is high and the adrenaline is even higher. But there’s no screaming – in fact, it’s pretty quiet.
“It’s really hard to explain,” Walsh said. “Everyone is just in this extreme focus and concentration. I had an idea of what would happen but I had no idea how much the guys said without saying much. So little communication is given, but everyone knows what to do.”
A silent crew, especially while racing, will always be the number one sign of a well-run boat. If everyone’s at the right place at the right time, if it resembles more like an effortless dance than a sailboat race, then chances are higher for getting on the podium.
And it’s this incredible teamwork aspect seriously impressed the athletes. “I just have a lot of respect for these guys,” slopestyle freeskier Bobby Brown said. “It’s crazy just in the teamwork aspect. When you can work and do all these things with silent movements and motions, it’s pretty impressive.”
So are the guys hooked? Definitely. “I’m going to order a Hobie Cat when I get home, and my end game is to get a bigger boat to eventually explore places for surfing you can’t get to by plane,” Walsh said.
Some sports have stops, like baseball between innings or football during change of possessions. For television coverage, these are the commercial breaks. But other sports, like soccer, don’t have convenient stops, with the broadcast often continuing uninterrupted until the end of regulation.
The holders of the America’s Cup are working in earnest to turn the event into a broadcast product, and while the technology developed to show the game is impressive, they’ve yet to create a commercial format that does not cut away during the race.
During the America’s Cup World Series event in New York on May 7-8, the U.S. television rights holder NBC enraged viewers. Here is Douglass Sisk offering his analysis….
I join the chorus of groans, vitriol, and stinky Topsiders hurled toward NBCSN’s ill-timed commercial breaks in the live coverage of the AC World Series in New York. Curious about the situation, I dusted off some grad school skills and did some additional data parsing with television ratings information.
If you take a close look at the ratings table, filter for the timeslots starting at 12noon to 3PM (EDT), then filter out the programs with fewer than 75,000 viewers (an arbitrary number) you end up with 26 viewing options. Sorting further by total viewership, the AC World Series coverage was bested not only by live coverage of several “major” sports events, but also by some well-traveled reruns. Hmmph!
But sort by the highest percentage of viewers in the coveted 18-49 year old age bracket, and the AC World Series coverage is nicely mid-pack. Okay, but…
Is notable that many of the commercial minutes were used up not by paid advertising but in promotional spots for other programs on the NBC family of networks, leading me to think that the “make-good” for a missed commercial not run in the exciting final minutes of a race wouldn’t have been onerous.
Make what you will from these stats, but imagine the conversations at some local watering holes, where veteran sailors are trying to get some new folks interested in sailing by showing off the very appealing mix of technology and speed… only to be denied the finish of the final, regatta-deciding race… leaving the new (and experienced) to wonder “What the heck just happened?”
The lack of repeat or even acknowledgement by the commentating crew suggests that the production staff have no idea that commercial breaks are imminent. It looked like NBCSN just picked up the feed and slammed the commercials in based on time-of-day, rather than action in the Live Sporting Event they were broadcasting.
I can understand that traditional fleet racing is difficult to watch on television, but – credit where credit is due – the AC organizers have worked hard to create a race format that can be enjoyed by sailors and non-sailors alike. Regardless of anyone’s opinions on the current state of the America’s Cup, this area has been successful.
But to be, quite frankly, hosed by the hometown sports network may indeed result in a long and empty road devoid of viewers. There is simply no excuse.
– source: sailingscuttlebutt.com
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