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
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.
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.”
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Federal marshals seized America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA’s prototype boat in San Francisco on Monday, before it could be shipped out of the country, in response to a lien filed by a fired sailor.
Marshals went to the team’s base at Pier 80 and determined that the souped-up, 45-foot catamaran and its various components and wing sail were in three shipping containers the team was preparing to send to Bermuda.
Marshals Service spokesman Frank Conroy said the containers were stickered and locked.
In maritime law terms, the boat was arrested.
US Marshals seize Oracle Team USA’s boat prototype
Conroy said marshals believe the confiscated boat is the catamaran known as 4 Oracle Team USA.
He said marshals had a “very pleasant exchange” with syndicate members.
“We didn’t get the feeling of anyone trying to hide anything from us,” Conroy said.
In a filing Friday, Oracle attorney David E. Russo said the boat that fired sailor Joe Spooner wants confiscated to satisfy the lien was sold to a French syndicate in December.
However, a photo taken shortly after Team France took possession of that boat shows it has hull No. 5. The boat sought by Spooner has the hull No. 4.
In an earlier filing, Oracle contended boat No. 4 hadn’t been launched during Spooner’s tenure with the team. Oracle argued that the boat was mismarked and although it said 4 on the hull, it was actually boat No. 5. Spooner provided evidence showing him sailing and repairing the vessel in question.
The dispute will return to federal court, where Spooner is seeking at least $725,000 in a wrongful termination suit.
“It is a match race and we have the lead at the first mark,” Spooner’s attorney, Patricia Barlow, said in an email to The Associated Press.
The catamaran was built to foil, or ride up on hydrofoils once it reaches a certain speed. Oracle tested the boat on San Francisco Bay in February as it prepares to build a 62-foot catamaran that will be used to defend the America’s Cup in 2017 in Bermuda. Foiling 72-foot catamarans were used in the America’s Cup in 2013, when Oracle Team USA rallied from an 8-1 deficit to win eight straight races and defeat Emirates Team New Zealand.
Spooner, a New Zealander, sued Oracle Team USA last month, saying his contract for $25,000 a month was terminated without cause in January. He was a grinder with Oracle Team USA during its America’s Cup victories in 2010 and 2013.
Chief Magistrate Joseph Spero denied Spooner’s initial complaint on Feb. 23, but said he could file an amended complaint. Barlow filed an amended complaint Friday and clerk Richard Wieking issued a warrant later that day.
Barlow said Spooner had obtained a visa that required him to be working under a fixed-term contract, and that Oracle argued that the sailor had an at-will contract.
Besides the visa issue, Spooner’s complaint alleges that Oracle Team USA retaliated against him for asking if his monthly salary could be raised to $38,000 to cover the expense of relocating his family from New Zealand to Bermuda. Spooner was offered a $4,000 a month relocation housing allowance, but said it would cost around $7,500 a month for suitable housing for his family, as well as other expenses to live on the island for the America’s Cup cycle.
Oracle Team USA is owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, who is not named in Spooner’s suit.
Marshals said this was the second time an America’s Cup catamaran was “arrested” in San Francisco. In 2012, marshals seized a French team’s cat during a dispute over a salvage claim after the boat broke free from its mooring.
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.