Archive | America’s Cup

Bermuda to hold America’s Cup World Series event in 2015

Posted on 05 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: America's Cup] The America’s Cup World Series – a racing circuit featuring the best sailors in the world, competing on foiling, wingsailed catamarans – will be coming to Bermuda in October of 2015.

The America’s Cup World Series is the first stage of competition in the 35th America’s Cup and begins in the summer of 2015. Featuring all of the America’s Cup teams racing in one design AC45 catamarans, the circuit is an early opportunity to put points on the board that carry forward into the next stage of the competition.

Overall ranking position in the America’s Cup World Series determines the starting points score of the teams in the America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017.

“We’re delighted to be able to announce Bermuda will host the America’s Cup teams from October 16-18, 2015,” said Premier, the Honourable Michael Dunkley, JP, MP.

“The waters of Bermuda are ideal for racing, as anyone who has sailed here can attest. We’re very excited to have our island be a part of the next America’s Cup and to have an opportunity to showcase our maritime heritage and first class hospitality to the America’s Cup teams.”

“Our team is working very hard to bring the America’s cup to Bermuda and we are truly delighted to have the America’s Cup World Series here next year,” added the Honourable Grant Gibbons, Minister of Education and Economic Development and Bermuda’s America’s Cup Team Leader.

“Given our history of sailing, our focus on the maritime environment and the engagement of our entire community, we are going to make this a very special event.”

Racing in the America’s Cup World Series – Bermuda will take place on The Great Sound, while the team bases and public race village will be located on the waterfront in the heart of the capital, Hamilton.

Bermuda remains as one of two contenders – San Diego is the other – to host the final stages of the America’s Cup in 2017. A decision on the final venue is expected in early December.

“When we started to look at Bermuda as a potential venue for 2017, it quickly became apparent that it would be an ideal location for an America’s Cup World Series event, regardless of the final venue decision,” explained Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the 35th America’s Cup.

“The racing conditions are good for the AC45s, the logistics are in place, and the island is renowned for its hospitality and its capabilities at putting together professional events. It’s a good fit for us.”

Bermuda is celebrated in the international sailing community as the finish port for the Newport-Bermuda race, which will celebrate its 50th edition during its next running in 2016, and for the Bermuda Gold Cup, the oldest one-design match racing event in the world, dating back to 1937.

Current America’s Cup skippers Ben Ainslie (2009, 2010) and Jimmy Spithill (2005) have both won the Bermuda Gold Cup, while Russell Coutts holds a record seven titles.

Now, the island will play to host to one of the opening events in the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport – the America’s Cup.

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Ainslie’s Olympic class successor joins Ben Ainslie Racing

Posted on 05 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: BAR Racing] Anyone who followed the build-up to the 2012 Olympic Games will remember that the biggest hurdle to Ben Ainslie’s historic fourth gold medal was another Brit by the name of Giles Scott. Their rivalry was one of the most compelling stories of the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympics – a classic narrative as Scott, the apprentice and former training partner, attempted to unseat the dominant figure of the previous generation, and win the single Team GBR place at the Games.

History records that Ainslie won selection, and then won his fourth gold medal. But Giles Scott used his time wisely; he raced with Luna Rossa in their 2013 America’s Cup campaign, and this summer won the Finn Olympic Class World Championship in Santander. Scott is now a firm favourite for gold in Rio 2016, and will be a key member of the British America’s Cup team, Ben Ainslie Racing.

The British sailors train on the team's Nacra F20. (С) BAR Racing

The British sailors train on the team’s Nacra F20. (С) BAR Racing

Their story began much earlier than most people realise, right back when Scott was a talented junior.
“The first time I met him was years and years ago,” recalled Scott when he came in to the BAR offices to sign his contract. “I was doing a National Junior event. I was with the Northampton team, and Ben came and did a talk. I think I would have been about ten years old, sailing with my older brother. I didn’t talk to him, but I think I got a sweater signed by him!”

“We crossed paths at various events after that,” he went on, “but it was when I started sailing the Finn (the Olympic class boat in which Ainslie won his final three gold medals) that I really got to know him. It was 2006 when he came back to the boat – after two years away – to prepare for the 2008 Games. I was one of the youngest members of the Finn squad and still at University, and Ben was the figurehead.”

Ainslie remembers that time clearly. “It was a lot of fun because they were talented guys who were enjoying learning to sail a new class of boat, and for me it was refreshing having some young, motivated guys there to train with – so it worked very well. And Giles was the stand-out talent of that group.” Scott was the ISAF Youth World Champion in the single-handed class in 2005. “They didn’t really have any expectations of the 2008 Olympics,” added Ainslie, “but then with me moving away into the America’s Cup, it was a different story when I came back in 2010. They were that much older, and really going for the 2012 Games.”

Thanks to the idiosyncrasies of the Olympic rules, only one person per nation can compete in each of the ten sailing events. Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott were — by any reasonable measure — the best two athletes in their class in the world. Scott was World Champion in 2011; while Ainslie was World Champion (for the sixth time) in 2012. But because they were both British, only one of them could go to the Games.

Scott and Campbell-James train on the Nacra F20. BAR Racing

Scott and Campbell-James train on the Nacra F20. BAR Racing

“The thing is about Giles,” said Ainslie, “he’s a really nice guy, and I remember saying to him in the build-up to 2008 that it’s great to be nice, but you also have to learn to stand-up for yourself and not let people push you around. Of course, he’d really taken that to heart and so it was a slightly different story for 2012 when he was going for the Olympics. And quite rightly, he needed to stand up for himself. He had just as much right as anybody else to that spot.”

“There was a switch in my mentality,” said Scott. “I had to switch from having Ben on a pedestal, to seeing him as a competitor that I wanted to beat. There was no switch in the way that we operated off the water, but on the water there was a definite transition. He was always trying to assert the dominance that he had always had, and I was constantly trying to break that down.”

The two men went head-to-head in the events that Team GBR had defined for the selection process. “I won a lot of the events in the build-up to the start of the selection events,” reflected Scott, “and then [when it came to the selections] Ben was at the top of his game and he ticked all the boxes, while I finished second.” The rest is history, Ainslie got the spot on the British team, went to the London Olympics and, under almost unimaginable pressure, won his fourth gold.

“The one good thing that came out of it was that it opened up the America’s Cup doorway,” commented Scott. He started sailing with Team Korea, and then Luna Rossa offered him a place on their sailing team.

Flying past Calshot Spit into the Solent. BAR Racing

Flying past Calshot Spit into the Solent. BAR Racing


“All the guys you speak to at Luna Rossa only have good things to say about Giles and how he fitted in with the team,” said Ainslie. “And that’s one of the reasons why we wanted him to be part of this team. There are a handful of sailors of his generation in the world that stand out as really a cut above the rest, and Giles is clearly one of those. We have been very selective about the people that we have brought in; we know that they will gel with the team. And with Giles, it was a ‘no-brainer’. A good team player and a winner. We are very excited about him being with us.”

Scott has continued where Ainslie left off, and now dominates the single-handed men’s Finn class, recently winning the 2014 World Championships with clear blue water between him and the pack. It’s obvious that Scott has unfinished business with that Finn gold medal, and doesn’t intend to let it slip away again.

Combining America’s Cup sailing with the Olympics is something that Ainslie knows all about, but how does Scott think he will fare? “I’m hoping it will be easy to integrate the two, and achieve my Olympic goals and have a positive impact on the Cup. It’s an amazing project to be involved in. I’m just feeling very excited about getting my teeth into it and trying to make it all happen.”

Stephen ‘Sparky’ Parks, RYA Olympic Manager, agrees joining BAR is a positive move for Scott, “Joining BAR is a great option for Giles. No one understands what it takes to win an Olympic medal better than Ben Ainslie – and that will help to ensure that Giles gets the job done in Rio before focussing exclusively on the America’s Cup. Giles will be able to draw on Ben’s experience to ensure he keeps the Finn Olympic Gold medal in GBR hands, where it has been since 2000. Equally, Ben knows Giles well, and he knows he will bring a host of raw sailing skills to the BAR programme.”

And what about working with Ben after all those bruising encounters on the water? “It’s very useful to have been through that, because if two people were ever going to fall out over something, it would be over an Olympic selection – you are battling each other for your dream. Going forward from that, I have a knowledge of him and how he performs – what he likes, what he doesn’t like – you just know each other, so I think it can only be a positive thing,” concluded Scott.

Giles Scott – Fact file
Date of Birth: 23rd June 1987
Place of Birth: Huntingdon
Current Home: Weymouth
Major Titles: ISAF Youth World Champion 2005; Finn World Champion 2011 and 2014; Finn European Champion 2011 and 2014; Rio Olympic Test Event 2014.

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America’s Cup Commissioner lays the groundwork for first season of racing

Posted on 01 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: America's Cup] The best sailors in the world will be flying above the water at speed when the America’s Cup World Series begins in the summer of 2015.

Champion sailors Ben Ainslie, Dean Barker, Franck Cammas, Nathan Outteridge, Max Sirena and Jimmy Spithill will lead their respective teams into the first stage of the competition for the most storied trophy in international sport.

Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller says that he also expects at least one additional team will be joining as a late entry.

The America’s Cup World Series runs for two seasons in 2015 and 2016, ahead of the America’s Cup Qualifiers, Playoffs and Finals in 2017.

In a Regatta Memorandum issued to the teams today, Schiller confirmed two America’s Cup World Series events have already met the hosting criteria and had been scheduled to be raced in 2015 by the America’s Cup Event Authority.

Further events will be added to the America’s Cup World Series calendar as hosting agreements are concluded and subject to the unanimous consent of the teams.

“This is the first time in America’s Cup history that each of the teams has been given an opportunity to host America’s Cup World Series events,” Schiller said. “All six teams are interested in hosting at least one event in either 2015 or 2016 and we’re working with each team to convert that interest into a concrete event plan.

The two confirmed host venues will announce their events in the coming weeks with the first announcement expected on November 5th.

“We’ve also started working with the teams on filling out the 2016 America’s Cup World Series calendar,” Schiller said.

All racing in the America’s Cup World Series will take place in foiling versions of the one-design AC45 catamarans. A feasibility study has confirmed the necessary modifications can be made to all the boats prior to the first event in June 2015.

Powered by a highly efficient wing-sail, the foiling version of the AC45 catamaran will lift out of the water, riding on hydrofoils which reduces drag and increases speed.

“It will be a thrilling and spectacular sight to see these boats racing together in a fleet race format and it will be challenging for the five sailors on board,” Schiller said.

2017 America’s Cup Venue Decision

In December, the final host venue announcement will be made with Bermuda and San Diego the remaining candidates to host the 2017 America’s Cup.

“We’re moving forward on the host venue agreement,” Schiller said. “Bermuda and San Diego have now submitted their final bids and in each case we have a potential partner who has presented a compelling event plan. The benefits of that will accrue to each of the teams leading to a successful 35th America’s Cup.

“It’s been a running start for me,” concluded Schiller, who has been in his role since late summer. “We have a lot of work to do between now and the end of the year. But all our teams have worked together, and we look forward to sharing additional positive news in the coming weeks.”

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Paul Goodison Joins Artemis Racing

Posted on 28 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Artemis Racing] Artemis Racing is pleased to announce its 7th Olympic gold medalist with 2008 Laser Olympic Champion Paul Goodison joining the sailing team.

Paul brings a wealth of Olympic experience to Artemis Racing, having competed at the 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games. He is also a former Laser World Champion claiming the 2009 title in Halifax, Canada.

Since the London Olympics, Paul has won the Melges 32 World Championships in 2012 and the Melges 20 World Championships in 2014, while also sailing in the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series with BAR. More recently, Paul has been developing his foiling skill set, training and competing in the Moth, claiming a respectable 12th rank in his first ever Moth Worlds earlier this year.

“The America’s Cup is the pinnacle of our sport and I’m really excited to be joining Artemis Racing. I’m fortunate to have spent a few weeks at the team base in Alameda, and what has impressed me most is the incredible work ethic and culture within the group. The America’s Cup finals are still almost three years away but with the buzz at the base, you would think they were next week. I took part in the team’s recent foiling camp, and it was great to be working alongside Nathan and Iain and the amazing talents here at Artemis Racing.

I’m looking forward to working with this incredible team on our quest to win the 35th America’s Cup” commented Paul.

Team Manager Iain Percy said “Paul is a tremendous sailing talent and light wind specialist, which will be a key skill in San Diego or Bermuda. He is a complete professional, but more importantly, I’m confident he will fit straight into the culture that we have created at Artemis Racing. His recent experience sailing Moths will also be invaluable as we work to develop and build the most advanced America’s Cup yacht in history.”

Paul joins the team primarily as a Helmsman but will also work in a number of other roles depending on the sailing and testing program.

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The future is foiling

Posted on 17 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: America's Cup] AC45s to be modified; America’s Cup World Series to continue into 2018.

The six America’s Cup teams have agreed to a project that will see the existing fleet of AC45 catamarans modified into fully foiling catamarans for racing in the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS).

Importantly, the teams have also committed to continue to race the foiling AC45s on the America’s Cup World Series circuit in 2018, following the conclusion of the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.

“I’m pleased all of the competitors have agreed on a way forward, beyond the current America’s Cup cycle,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner for the 35th America’s Cup.

“To have the teams give certainty to all stakeholders as to what will happen following the racing in 2017, regardless of who wins, is a huge step forward for all involved.”

The teams have undertaken the project to modify the one-design AC45s into fully foiling catamarans with a view to racing the foiling versions as early as the 2015 ACWS season.

A feasibility study has been commissioned to determine whether the mods will need to wait until the 2016 season as the timeline to make changes to the entire fleet ahead of racing in 2015 is extremely tight.

The competitors have also appointed a working group to select a Regatta Director, as required by the Protocol.

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Luna Rossa resumes its training with two AC45 boats

Posted on 14 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Luna Rossa Challenge] After Luna Rossa Piranha, who has been sailing since July 1st, today Luna Rossa Swordfish – the second AC45 with which the team is developing its design and training for the 35th America’s Cup – also started sailing again in Cagliari.

The Protocol of the 35th America’s Cup in fact allows the modification of any component of the AC45 catamarans – used in past editions of the America’s Cup World Series – except for the shape of the hulls.

During this first phase the modifications focused essentially on the optimization of the appendages – daggerboards and rudders – and on-board systems that allow the AC45 catamarans to fully foil. These “new” catamarans are capable of greatly increased performances and can simulate the sailing conditions of the AC62 catamarans (“full foiling” with a 30-meter wing) that will be used in the 35th America’s Cup.

Luna Rossa Piranha and Luna Rossa Swordfish have thus become real test laboratories for components, systems, data collection and analysis, as well as the ideal platforms to train the crew in manoeuvers, boat handling and foiling tactics and techniques.

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa, said: “This is an important day for the team: sailing with two boats offers a significant advantage not only for performance comparison but from all points of view. We participated in the last America’s Cup to set the basis for our 35th America’s Cup and now we can count on a solid team and a close collaboration between designers, sailing team and shore team. There is a constant exchange of information between these areas to address the design and optimize its applications.”

Training on the water with the two AC45s began this morning with a northwest wind ranging from 7 to 12 knots that allowed both boats to sail immediately in a full-foiling configuration.

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America’s Cup: London media conference full replay

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Sail-World NZ] In fact of the expected hour of coverage, the broadcast did not start until 17 minutes before the end. 

Six skippers fronted the media group and others. Jimmy Spithill represented the Defender, Oracle Team USA. the five Challengers on stage were Max Sirena (Luna Rossa), Dean Barker (Emirates Team NZ), Franck Cammas (Team France), Ben Ainslie (Ben Ainslie Racing), and Nathan Outteridge (Artemis racing).

35th America's Cup, Skippers presentation press conference, London (UK), 09 Sept. 2014. ACEA/Gilles MARTIN-RAGET

35th America’s Cup, Skippers presentation press conference, London (UK), 09 Sept. 2014. ACEA/Gilles MARTIN-RAGET

Media interest in the event seemed to be muted with questions being extracted with difficulty from the assembled media audience. 

Instead it was left to MC Peter Rusch to fudge his way through session, held at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, and ask many of the questions of the six skippers. 

Despite the very impressive group of sailing talent on stage, the teams appeared to lack focus due too the uncertainties surrounding the event, and from what was seen online, the event failed to to deliver on the key questions. 

Only real point of interest from the very limited online broadcast was the new Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa, responding to a question as to who the new Challenger of Record would be. 

Oracle Team USA’s Jimmy Spithill, ducked the question, deferring to Luna Rossa Skipper Max Sirena, who in turn would not confirm that his team was Challenger of Record, being the next Challenger after Team Australia withdrew in late July. 

Instead Sirena said that the Challengers were instead trying to form a Challenger of Record Committee to work with the Defender on aspects of the America’s Cup organization to make a better event. 

The teams had been advised of the formal appointment of Luna Rossa (or more properly their yacht club) as CoR a couple of weeks ago by letter from the America’s Cup events Authority. 

The CORC concept is not new and was run in the 1992 and 1995 America’s Cups in San Diego and was successful largely due to the efforts of the late Ernie Taylor (AUS). Certainly it shifted the organizational distraction from the Club and Team involved. 

Held a year after the conclusion of the 34th Match, there appeared to have been little organisational progress made.

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America’s Cup appoints Dr.Harvey Schiller appointed as commercial commissioner

Posted on 29 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: America's Cup] The America’s Cup organizers have appointed Dr. Harvey Schiller as Commercial Commissioner for the 35th America’s Cup. The role of Commercial Commissioner is new to the America’s Cup. Dr. Schiller will be responsible for supervising, managing and protecting the commercial interests of the America’s Cup. He will work closely with all of the competitors, the Regatta Director and the America’s Cup Event Authority.

“This is an exciting time to be involved in the America’s Cup,” Dr. Schiller said. “Following the thrilling event we saw last summer, when ORACLE TEAM USA came from behind to win the Cup, interest in the event is as high as it’s ever been. Our job now is to translate those opportunities into growth of the event for the benefit of all participants. As such, I’m extremely gratified to see how the teams have started working together with such a high level of cooperation over the past few months.”

Schiller has had one of the most legendary careers in public service and sports business, having served as Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, the Executive Director of the US Olympic Committee and President of Turner Sports as well as Chairman and CEO of YankeeNets and President of the International Baseball Federation.

His personal accomplishments away from sport include a Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the United States Air Force (where he retired as Brigadier General), and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Michigan. He also currently serves on the board of the World Baseball Classic and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dr. Schiller has also served on the America’s Cup Advisory Board since 2010.

Dr. Schiller starts the role with immediate effect. Items on the to-do list include finalizing the America’s Cup World Series schedule, format and venues, and securing international broadcast agreements.

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