Category Archives: ACBDA

Groupama Team France’s AC50 assembly

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 team flies to Bermuda in early March.

America’s Cup – Softbank Team Japan on countdown to Qualifiers

Chris Draper has a view from the sharp end - Softbank Team Japan - America's Cup World Series © SoftBank Team Japan
Chris Draper has a view from the sharp end – Softbank Team Japan – America’s Cup World Series © SoftBank Team Japan

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.”

Softbank Team Japan - on the 125 day countdown to the Qualifiers SoftBank Team Japan
Softbank Team Japan – on the 125 day countdown to the Qualifiers SoftBank Team Japan

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.

See stars sailing an America’s Cup catamaran

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.


America’s Cup: No Excuse to Lose (the television audience)

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.

No Excuse to Lose is the book Dennis Conner still refers to as “the bible.”
A book from the man who
wrote the book on winning.

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:

Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup boat is so fast ‘It doesn’t quite feel like you’re in control’

Oracle Team USA training in Bermuda. At right is skipper Jimmy Spithill, a two-time winner of the America's Cup, both times with Oracle.
Oracle Team USA training in Bermuda. At right is skipper Jimmy Spithill, a two-time winner of the America’s Cup, both times with Oracle. photo: Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA, the defender of the 2017 Americas Cup, the most prestigious sailing race in the world, is making big speed gains in their new boat – setting a new team speed record this week while training in Bermuda.

The team broke 46 knots (or 53 MPH) in their new AC50 yacht, meeting the fastest speeds of the larger AC72 boats from the 2013 cup.

“It doesn’t quite feel like your in control,” Scott Ferguson, a lead naval architect for Oracle Team USA who was on board at the time, said.

That’s understandable. Even for some of the best sailors in the world, skimming above the water at those speeds is a frightening experience.

These yachts use foils – winglike surfaces extending below the boat’s twin hulls – to lift the entire craft of the water and escape its drag. The high speeds mean sailors must wear helmets and impact-resistant clothing.

Foiling has completely changed the America’s Cup, a big element of an effort by software magnate and Oracle Team USA financier Larry Ellison to make the sport spectator and television-friendly.

The racing was indeed a spectacle of epic proportion, but with TV ratings of about one million viewers, it was still far from worth the estimated $100 million price required to field a team, Reuters reported.

Oracle Team USA is Fast

To cut costs for the 2017 cup in Bermuda, the boats will be smaller and regulations will restrict development to the wing, foils, rudder, and the hydraulic systems that move many of these appendages around. This means the teams will have fewer areas with which to eek out an advantage before racing begins next year.

“I expect that the competition will be much closer [in 2017],” Ferguson said.

But due to the already high speeds, what little changes they can make go much further.

“We were always trying to make gains of tenths of a knot,” Ferguson said. “Now, a change can find a knot or a couple of knots.”

A designer of racing yachts for around 25 years, Ferguson worked with Luna Rossa, the Italian challenger for the cup from 2000 to 2007. The University of Michigan-trained naval architect then joined “the home team,” as he put it – he’s been at Oracle Team USA ever since.

Ferguson was part of the shore team at the 2013 cup in San Francisco, when Oracle Team USA made an improbable comeback from an 8-1 deficit to win the first-to-nine event. The team arrived at the event with a slower boat, but managed a series of technical and strategic changes that eventually turned the tide.

At the time, Ferguson was responsible for the wing – the massive, rigid structure that substitutes for a sail. Changes made to the wing’s setup played a large part in the team’s come-from-behind victory, former Washington Post contributor Bruce Knecht wrote in “The Comeback,” his chronicle of the 2013 race.

Now, Ferguson in charge of many more elements of the boat, and the challenge is immense. Especially with the competition right next door.

Emirates New Zealand and SoftBank Japan, two challengers for the cup, are also based in Bermuda. The teams regularly spar out on the water, which can be both a good indicator of Oracle’s relative progress and an ever-present source of pressure on the Oracle crew.

But now they have a new team speed record on their hands – another milestone on the long, exhaustive journey to the 2017 regatta.

The team will compete on May 7-8 in the New York harbor as part of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, an international list of races leading up to the 2017 event.


America’s Cup World series – on the Gold Coast in 2017?

Boat Works Extreme40 Tony Longhurst Steve Ackerie Rodney Longhurst | photo:   Jeni Bone
Boat Works Extreme40 Tony Longhurst Steve Ackerie Rodney Longhurst | photo: Jeni Bone

Three renowned Queensland marine business figures are keen to bring an element of the America’s Cup, the Louis Vuitton AC 45 series to Queensland’s Gold Coast.

The three guys are Tony Longhurst, former champion motor racer, twice winner of the Bathurst 1000 and Australian champion water-skier, who is CEO at The Boat Works in Coomera’s marine precinct. He and his brother Rodney Longhurst, the owner and CEO at Riviera Australia, the largest motor yacht builder in the southern hemisphere and they have joined forces with Steve Ackerie the founder of the 50 strong Stefan chain of hair salons and six-time Australian Offshore Powerboat Racing Champion in this venture.

America’s Cup World series – on the Gold Coast in 2017?

We talked this week to Tony Longhurst ‘About two weeks ago we launched our Extreme 40 and we were just running it up and down the Broadwater and we were amazed about how much attention to boat got and the local paper down here, the Gold Coast Bulletin, ran a story on the Extreme 40 and the AC45 and way these series are run and the paper suggested we should be trying to bid for the America’s Cup.

‘Now that is rather premature but Stefan and Riviera and a couple of local businesses in the marine precinct are certainly interested in having a crack at hosting at least a Louis Vuitton AC 45 series here and see what local interest there was.

‘First up we have been onto our local council and we have got great support there.

‘We are talking to the Waterways Authority and then we have got to the right people at (Queensland) state level and there is discussion on what funding is there if we can bring it here.

‘Now we are talking to Ian Murray and understanding how the series works and the AC45s are going to New York and then Chicago, Portsmouth, France and then across to Tokyo so it might actually possible to get around here in February 2017 if we can get the needed local financial support.

‘Initially we were thinking of post 2017, but at the moment there is still one round up for grabs so we can work towards that. If we don’t achieve that then we will definitely have a really strong bid to get online for the next cycle.

‘The action needs to close to spectators. In the Broadwater, it depends on what are you are, as to how close we can get to a shore-side crowd. ‘We have got some areas there that are three metres deep at low water. There is a section that the local authorities are now dredging from the Gold Coast seaway down to the Southport Yacht Club and the (Sundial) bridge there so there is a triangular section that could be dredged out very easily to accommodate the boats.

‘We have got an area along the foreshore where the Southport swimming pool is. It is like a parkland so you can set up there.

‘They are actually dredging right now and I understand that in the next three to six months we are going to be four and a half metres at low water, that would have to be confirmed, up the whole channel running in so it won’t be tricky anymore.

‘Then there is a section to the south western corner there that is a metre, metre and a half at low water so there is not a huge amount to be removed to make that area workable for this event.

‘Of course that would actually make it a lot better for our local boaties as well. ‘But it’s very early days. One step at a time. We certainly haven’t got anything solid yet but you have got to start somewhere and we are don’t want to make fools of ourselves otherwise we lose credibility.

‘We are financially sound to put some seed money up to start to make it happen so we are just trying to get all the ducks in line and kick one off at a time. ‘We are making a little bit of progress which I am really thrilled about. I am absolutely amazed at how much interest there is in this. I have been blown away from that.

‘We can see this event could really work here, so now the hard work has to be done.’

by Rob Kothe—on-the-Gold-Coast-in-2017?/143063

Forming foundations of America’s Cup village

Looking toward the South Basin project from Dockyard.  By the Oracle Team Base.
Looking toward the South Basin project from Dockyard. By the Oracle Team Base.

A huge cargo of steel piles has been unloaded in Dockyard as part of the South Basin project.

The piles will be drilled into the seabed to secure the reclaimed land that will form the foundations of the America’s Cup village.

The steelwork arrived in the West End last week on board the BBC Tennessee from Baltimore in the United States. Project managers expect to start driving the piles into the earth within the next couple of weeks.

Andrew Dias, the general manager of the West End Development Corporation, told The Royal Gazette that the project was “progressing well” and remained on time and on budget.

“The steel as well as the other infrastructure is now on site, although obviously not on the reclaimed land as the aggregate is still being spread out,” he said.

“We have taken delivery of 2.15 tonnes of steel piles, 1,726 sheet piles, 37 Y-shaped piles and 39 anchor piles.

“The steel work to create the perimeter is expected to take around eight weeks to complete, at which time a concrete cap will be added to the steel structure.”

From Royal Gazette, Simon Jones

ACBDA’s Mike Winfield encouraged by progress

Mike Winfield, CEO of ACBDA.
CEO of America’s Cup Bermuda Ltd (ACBDA), Mike Winfield is encouraged by progress made by company. photo: royalgazette

Mike Winfield, CEO of the America’s Cup Bermuda Ltd (ACBDA) is encouraged by the progress the fledgling company has made since coming into existence just over a month ago.

The company was created to deliver on Bermuda’s commitments to the America’s Cup organisers and to act as liaison between the America’s Cup and Bermuda.

The ACBDA is a small office working in conjunction with the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) which has responsibility for organising and delivering the events associated with AC35.

“We are pleased and excited about the opportunities the America’s Cup will create over the next several years as well as the legacy benefits for many years to come for Bermuda and its people,” Mr Winfield said.

Yesterday the ACBDA released a progress report and an infographic to show a road map forward from winning the bid to hosting the America’s Cup and to the line-up of events that will play out in Bermuda during the summer of 2017.

Since coming into existence the ACBDA has met with representative groups such as the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, Bermuda Tourism Authority, Chamber of Commerce, Ascendant and the local sailing community.

The company has assisted America’s Cup syndicates Team Oracle USA, the Cup holders, and Artemis Racing with the design of their bases at the Royal Naval Dockyard and advancing the overall design of the event village.

They have also assisted the ACEA and teams with housing, schools and related relocation issues and finalising the office set-up for the ACBDA and ACEA.

Mr Winfield added: “While we are still in the beginning stages to engage the wider community in America’s Cup-related activities, we are making progress.

“Within the next few weeks we will be selecting a public relations and communications team to assist us in the very important task of community engagement and outreach.

“We were pleased to have interest from eleven parties and the communications committee ultimately reviewed the eight proposals submitted by organisations and individual alliances.”

The ACBDA is owned by Government as the sole shareholder but carries out its role as an independent body, with full accountability to the Government through the Ministry of Economic Development.

The company is headed by chairman Peter Durhager, who is the former chief administrative officer and executive vice-president of RenaissanceRe.