Archive | February, 2007

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BMW Oracle’s USA-87 is back on the water

Posted on 28 February 2007 by Valencia Sailing

After an absence of several months, USA-87 of BMW Oracle, reappeared this morning in front of the team’s base in Port America’s Cup. Together with her new sistership USA-98 this was one of the most anticipated appearances given the fact BMW Oracle is after all the Challenger of Record.

The most obvious change, even for an untrained eye, is the disappearance of the bowsprit. Ironically, USA-87 was the first yacht in the 32nd America’s Cup to incorporate such an element in its design and was then followed by Alinghi who tried it on both SUI-64 and SUI-91 as well Shosholoza on RSA-83 and finally China Team on CHN-95. Apparently, BMW Oracle’s design team has concluded it was not a feature worth keeping in the boat.

What hasn’t changed though was the jumperless mast.

Note: We write about USA-87 because it is the yacht that came out of the boat shed numbered 87 and we assume BMW Oracle keep their boats in the corresponding sheds. If now it turns out it actually was USA-98, then we hope they don’t race with the wrong yacht and get eliminated in the first round of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

USA-87 of BMW Oracle back on the water after several months. Valencia, 28 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

USA-87 of BMW Oracle back on the water after several months. Valencia, 28 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

USA-87 of BMW Oracle back on the water after several months. Valencia, 28 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

USA-87 of BMW Oracle back on the water after several months. Valencia, 28 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

USA-87 of BMW Oracle back on the water after several months. Valencia, 28 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

In all photos there is a clearly visible difference in the glare below and above a line on the bow. We tried to draw it on this picture. Could this be the possible cut line of the new bow? This difference was first noticed by user “Huevos Rancheros”. Valencia, 28 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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New America’s Cup yachts: ITA-85

Posted on 27 February 2007 by Valencia Sailing

Considering that the sailnumber of the first boat to be built for the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia was 83 and that after almost two years numbering has reached 100, ITA-85 was one of the first new-generation boats designed and built for this edition of the sailing competition.

ITA-85 is the yacht the Italian team +39 Challenge will rely upon to battle in the Louis Vuitton Cup. She hasn’t been used in any official racing and the team has only raced since 2004 on the older ITA-59. Italian designer Giovanni Cecarelli started working on ITA-85 at the beginning of 2004 and construction started in the middle of 2005. The hull arrived in Valencia in June 2006 and she was officially presented at the end of that month. Nevertheless, the boat wasn’t yet ready for sailing and after being fitted out she was launched last October, making her maiden voyage on the 27th.

Since that day, the Italian challenger has been regularly training in Valencia, hoping to be able to reach thier goal of 4th position in the Louis Vuitton Cup, an admittedly enviable rank, coveted by at least a handful of challengers.

ITA-85 being towed out of Port America’s Cup. Valencia, 27 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

ITA-85 being towed out of Port America’s Cup. Valencia, 27 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

ITA-85 being towed out of Port America’s Cup. Valencia, 27 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

ITA-85 of +39 Challenge during her first test sails. Valencia, 22 October 2006. Photo copyright +39 Challenge

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Modified America’s Cup boats

Posted on 26 February 2007 by Valencia Sailing

With the return of BMW Oracle and Emirates Team NZ to Valencia during the last weekend and the imminent reappearance of their boats, we will run a series of articles and photos on the pretenders to the throne, that is the Louis Vuitton Cup and, of course, the America’s Cup.

The America’s Cup rules do not oblige teams to build brand new boats for this edition of the event in Valencia. The only constraints on teams were to participate with a yacht built in their country of origin and modified to the newer version of rules, called Version 5. Nevertheless, all of them have built either one or two new yachts after the end of the previous edition in Auckland.

In addition, some of the first generation of newly-built boats have undergone substantial modification, often less than a year after their initial launch. As a prelude, we publish comparison photos of the two boats where the modifications are more evident, Luna Rossa’s ITA-86 and Shosholoza’s RSA-83.

Luna Rossa ITA-86
Luna Rossa’s ITA-86 being towed out of Port America’s Cup. Valencia, 20 April 2006. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Luna Rossa’s ITA-86 being towed out of Port America’s Cup. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Shosholoza RSA-83
Shosholoza’s RSA-83 being towed out of Port America’s Cup. Valencia, 13 June 2006. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Shosholoza’s RSA-83 being towed out of Port America’s Cup. Valencia, 28 January 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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Fifty days to go but not a second to lose

Posted on 25 February 2007 by Valencia Sailing

Time flies and a mere fifty days are left till the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup and all teams present here in Valencia are taking advantage of each and every second available to train, test and optimize their boats. Given the prevailing wind patterns in January and February this might even translate into launching the boats at dawn or even before daylight.

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team launching their boat at dawn, starting a day of intensive training in Valencia. Photo copyright Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team

Areva Challenge launching FRA-93 at dawn, starting a day of intensive training in Valencia. Photo copyright Franck Socha / Areva Challenge

No, this is not a miner sweating in the depths of a mining tunnel but a crew member of Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team preparing the boat for launch in Valencia at 7am. Photo copyright Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team

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Emirates Team NZL-84 and NZL-92 arrive in Valencia

Posted on 24 February 2007 by Valencia Sailing

After a two-day trip aboard the enormous Antonov cargo plane, NZL-84 and NZL-92, the two latest-generation yachts of Emirates Team New Zealand, arrived this morning in Valencia. At around 1pm the two boats that could eventually win the 32nd America’s Cup arrived in their base at Port America’s Cup and were tucked inside the team’s boatshed, away from indiscreet eyes. Valencia Sailing was there to welcome and greet the two high-tech hulls.

Emirates Team NZ will try to win the Louis Vuitton Cup and, probably, the America’s Cup with two boats in its amunition, NZL-84 and NZL-92.

NZL-84 was built in Auckland in 2005 and first launched there, just before Christmas of that year. At the beginning of 2006 she was transported to Valencia and relaunched in mid April. The kiwi America’s Cup challenger raced with this boat during the whole 2006 season, finishing third in both Louis Vuitton Acts 10 and 11 and first in Louis Vuitton Act 12, where they clearly outperformed all other 11 teams, losing just 2 races out of 17. After the end of the northern hemisphere summer and racing activity in Valencia she was once again shipped back to Auckland where she was used during the team’s two-boat training sessions, together with NZL-92

NZL-92 hasn’t been used in official racing yet and in fact this is her maiden trip to Valencia. She was built in 2006 and launched in Auckland on October 19. Since that day, together with her older sisterhip NZL-84 they have been training extensively in the Hauraki gulf, spending six or more hours on the water, five or six days a week. Around ten days ago, the team finished their winter training in New Zealand and both yachts were flown to Valencia, arriving today morning.

According to the team, the shore crew will now prepare the two boats for sailing and the New Zealanders will resume their training on March 5, this time of course off Valencia’s coast.

NZL-84 and NZL-92 about to enter the Emirates Team New Zealand base. Their identity is unclear to us, although it seems that NZL-92 is on the left and NZL-84 on the right. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

We haven’t been able to unequivocally identify the two hulls and in order to avoid errors we will refer to them as Boat 1 and Boat 2, according to the order in which they entered the base.

Boat 1Judging from the form of her bow it is NZL-84, but again, we have no unequivocal proof.

Emirates Team NZ boat. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ boat. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ boat. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Boat 2This must be NZL-92, but again, we have no unequivocal proof.

Emirates Team NZ boat. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ boat. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ boat. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ boat. Valencia, 24 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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BMW Oracle’s USA-98 arrives in Valencia

Posted on 23 February 2007 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: BMW Oracle] BMW ORACLE Racing‘s new race yacht, USA 98 arrived to Valencia by Antonov cargo plane from Auckland, following conclusion of the team’s New Zealand winter training session.

The shore team greeted the plane at the Valencia airport to unload two masts, two keel bulbs, sails, a chase boat and the new America’s Cup Class race yacht for trucking to the team base in the Port America’s Cup.

The focus is now on final preparations for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Challenger Selection Series for the 32nd America’s Cup, starting here 16th of April. BMW ORACLE Racing will continue its sailing programme in Valencia starting in early March with USA 87 and USA 98. The New Zealand winter training session was deemed successful, paving the way for the final ramp-up to competition in Valencia.

“Our time in New Zealand exceeded our expectations on all fronts,” Chris Dickson, CEO and Skipper of BMW ORACLE Racing said. “We sailed in a full range of conditions which gave us the chance to fully sea trial USA 98 with new rigs, sails and appendage packages. While it is still early days with USA 98, we are all pleased with the performance to date. Even more importantly, our in-house racing programme has the crew closer to being ready for the Louis Vuitton Cup now less than two months way,” Dickson said.

USA-98 being offloaded the Antonov cargo plane. Valencia, 23 February 2007. Photo copyright BMW Oracle Blog

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BMW Oracle’s USA-98 arrives in Valencia

Posted on 23 February 2007 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: BMW Oracle] BMW ORACLE Racing‘s new race yacht, USA 98 arrived to Valencia by Antonov cargo plane from Auckland, following conclusion of the team’s New Zealand winter training session.

The shore team greeted the plane at the Valencia airport to unload two masts, two keel bulbs, sails, a chase boat and the new America’s Cup Class race yacht for trucking to the team base in the Port America’s Cup.

The focus is now on final preparations for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Challenger Selection Series for the 32nd America’s Cup, starting here 16th of April. BMW ORACLE Racing will continue its sailing programme in Valencia starting in early March with USA 87 and USA 98. The New Zealand winter training session was deemed successful, paving the way for the final ramp-up to competition in Valencia.

“Our time in New Zealand exceeded our expectations on all fronts,” Chris Dickson, CEO and Skipper of BMW ORACLE Racing said. “We sailed in a full range of conditions which gave us the chance to fully sea trial USA 98 with new rigs, sails and appendage packages. While it is still early days with USA 98, we are all pleased with the performance to date. Even more importantly, our in-house racing programme has the crew closer to being ready for the Louis Vuitton Cup now less than two months way,” Dickson said.

USA-98 being offloaded the Antonov cargo plane. Valencia, 23 February 2007. Photo copyright BMW Oracle Blog

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Victory Challenge parties and officially presents Järv (SWE-96)

Posted on 22 February 2007 by Valencia Sailing

It was party time this early evening at the Victory Challenge base in Valencia. The Swedish America’s Cup challenger officially presented and christened their brand new yacht. From now on, in addition to her sailnumber SWE-96, she will be called Järv (Swedish for wolverine). According to the team, she is one of the least known predators which is remarkably strong for its size and often described as cunning, presumably the qualities of the yacht designed by Mani Frers and helmed by Magnus Holmberg.

There isn’t really anything new to talk about, as far as the boat is concerned, because SWE-96 had already been presented to the media two weeks ago and she has been sailing since then, together with SWE-73. The only difference this time around was the party and christening itself. It was completely different from what we have seen so far. Gone were the talks, champaign bottles broken on the bow and launches. This time the yacht came from the sea, towed with all the sailing crew onboard who afterwards were presented one by one.

The biggest difference of all is probably due to the fact that Red Bull is the one of the team’s main sponsors. There was a distinguishly younger mood with DJs playing loud techno music, thousands of cans of the energizing drink and above all the extremely spectacular Red Bull acrobatic planes diving and circling dangerously a few meters off the sea level and our heads.

Hard core sailing fans might find all this a distraction and consider it superfluous but it is unavoidable. Why should the America’s Cup be different from all other top professional sports? It is exactly sponsors that pay the budget necessary to design, build and race these spectacular sailing battleships. After all it was a very spectacular show and I wonder why the Swedes didn’t invite all Valencians to go to Port America’s Cup public spaces and watch the acrobatics.

This is not Pearl Harbor but Port America’s Cup where the famous Red Bull acrobatic planes gave a different spin to the presentation. Valencia, 22 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis Valencia Sailing

The Red Bull parachutist about to splash in the water. Valencia, 22 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis Valencia Sailing

The Victory Challenge base. Valencia, 22 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis Valencia Sailing

Getting down to more serious business, we had an interesting chat with Mani Frers, designer of Järv (SWE-96):

Valencia Sailing: You must have answered this question many times. Are you satisfied with the first sailing tests of the new boat?
Mani Frers: Certainly, we are very satisfied with the first results. Since we didn’t have much margin for errors, we see now that the boat, the mast and sails are performing very well.

Valencia Sailing: Victory Challenge has only built one new boat. Was this a reason to choose a radical design, a make-or-break bet?
Mani Frers: No, we didn’t opt for a radical design. In that direction you lose much more than you gain. Conditions in Valencia are very well known to everybody and we went to the maximum allowed by the rules. Being radical in the America’s Cup is almost impossible.

Valencia Sailing: Why?
Mani Frers: Because the rules are very tight. As I said, conditions are well known in Valencia, dimensions are very big. Obviously within these parameters there can be differences but they are not extreme. We took some risks but when you only have one boat and late, with little time to retouch things, they are calculated ones, in the hull, the mast, the sails and appendages. It’s a risk because you have little time and you don’t know whether you will reach your objectives. We still haven’t got to the level we wanted to but I believe we have all the possibilities to do it.

Järv (SWE-96) docked at the Victory Challenge base. Valencia, 22 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis Valencia Sailing

Järv (SWE-96) docked at the Victory Challenge base. Valencia, 22 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis Valencia Sailing

Järv (SWE-96) with all the Victory Challenge sailing crew. Valencia, 22 February 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis Valencia Sailing

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