Archive | America’s Cup

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Statement from the America’s Cup Teams Meeting

Posted on 29 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: America's Cup Event Authority] ORACLE TEAM USA hosted a meeting with four of the teams who have entered the 35th America’s Cup or plan to by the 8th August 2014; Luna Rossa, Artemis Racing, Team France and Ben Ainslie Racing.

A positive meeting saw a number of points debated, the key points agreed between all parties present were:

• Regular meetings encompassing all teams in order to work collectively to maximize the potential of both this America’s Cup and future editions.

• Each team plan to host an America’s Cup World Series event in either their own country, or a country of their choice.

• All the teams present agreed that they would commit – if they were to win the Cup in 2017 – to continue with the America’s Cup World Series.

• A commitment to further reduce the costs for both this Cup and future editions.

• Support for the choice of host venue, be it Bermuda or San Diego.

• A working group to agree on the date and event structure of the 36th America’s Cup, to lay the foundations for a sustainable event.

The proposed America’s Cup race course in Bermuda

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Joint statement from the teams

Posted on 26 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Following the announcement of Team Australia – representative of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Challenger of Record of the 35th America’s Cup – of its intention to withdraw from the competition, the teams Luna Rossa Challenge, Artemis Racing, Ben Ainslie Racing and Team France – jointly with the yacht clubs they represent – confirm their full support to the event, regardless from the host venue that will be selected.

The four teams, who have so far made clear their involvement, also reiterate their commitment to co-operate in a constructive way with the Defender to the sporting and commercial success of the 35th America’s Cup, with the aim of bringing this event to the peak of the world’s professional sport in terms of media, show, public and the intense sporting competition which has always characterised the America’s Cup.

The teams look forward to establish a constant dialogue with the Defender Oracle Team USA with the intent to fully preserve the principle of “friendly competition between foreign countries“ – one of the core elements of the Deed of Gift that rules the America’s Cup – and to co-operate actively with the Defender to adapt the rules where need be and outline the America’s Cup World Series calendar, as well as the format of the Challengers’ Selection Series and of the America’s Cup finals.

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge, declared: “All the elements for the success of the event are there: after the 34th America’s Cup it is no longer questionable how spectacular the full foiling wing-sail catamarans are! Neither is questionable the excitement, intense competition and high-adrenaline this racing offers! ”

Ben Ainslie, Team Principal of BAR, commented: “We are really focussed to help build a successful and sustainable America’s Cup for the future. The America’s Cup is about pushing the technical boundaries of the sport through continued innovation. The AC62 will again be incredibly exciting to watch, both on and off the water, all the ingredients you need for a great sporting event.”

Iain Percy, Team Manager of Artemis Racing, stated: “The next America’s Cup is likely to be the most competitive, exciting and sustainable ever. We cannot wait to compete.”

Franck Cammas, skipper of Team France, declared: “We believe that the format of the next America’s Cup will bring a friendly but fierce competition between the best sailors on the most spectacular machines the America’s Cup has ever seen. The 35th America’s Cup will confirm a new era for sailing, but also for the sport in general and the related technologies, with the most intense competition possible and Team France will be proud to be part of it !”

Luna Rossa is standing strongly behind the America’s Cup organization

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The myth of the “commercially sustainable” America’s Cup

Posted on 22 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

According to Forbes Magazine’s list of the 50 richest Australians, Bob Oatley is sitting in 33rd place with an estimated fortune of US$830 million, as of January 2014, which at the current exchange rate is approximately €615 million.

No matter what currency you express it in, for the average person, that is a boatload of money and thousands of times what most of us would ever earn in our entire lifetime. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous difference between being very rich and being able to finance an America’s Cup campaign, and this is something that, apparently, Bob Oatley and his son Sandy, misjudged when they filed their challenge for the 35th America’s Cup last September.

It’s difficult to conceive how such an accomplished businessman wouldn’t see nearly a year ago that with an estimated cost of more than €100 million to run a competitive campaign and have a serious chance at beating Larry Ellison, it is financially a no-brainer. One cannot spend a sixth of one’s fortune on a yacht race, regardless of its appeal and the resulting status achieved, as well as the bragging rights. In fact, there were a number of knowledgeable people that, off the record, would also express their bewilderment during the 2013 Sydney Hobart race.

There will not be any Team Australia taking part in the 35th America’s Cup. Photo copyright Andrea Francollini

Most probably, the Oatleys thought they would be able to gather around them more wealthy Australian businessmen and corporate groups that would fund a national drive to take back the America’s Cup to Sydney. The final match in San Francisco might have been one of the most exciting and thrilling races but the entire event was a commercial disaster. None of the sponsorship and funding goals were achieved and a mere three challengers competed. We have commented on this many times and we will not go over that issue again. Still, it is interesting to remind ourselves of the budgets the four teams had last time, according to Bruno Troublé: Oracle Team USA spent €250 million to successfully defend the America’s Cup. Artemis Racing had a budget of €160 million, Luna Rossa had at its disposal €100 million while Emirates Team New Zealand reached the finals with €80 million.

As a result, the Oatleys started their negotiations with Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison at the €100-million barrier and unless they were able to negotiate a protocol that would substantially reduce costs compared to the 34th America’s Cup they had embarked on a mission impossible. After, allegedly, tough negotiations that went on for months, the result was quite surprising, to say the least. Not only did the Australian challenger agree to hand the Defender unprecedented rights, they put on additional burdens on the challengers that made the, already scant, commercial appeal even smaller.

Just the fact the challengers will have to compete in two different parts of the planet makes the logistics and finances prohibitive. In addition, marketing departments will have to make their pitch in the corporate boardrooms without even guaranteeing that their team will make it to the top four! Let alone the fact that before the end of 2014 they will not know the venue of the next event and the venue of the Challenger Selection round robin will not be announced before February 2015!

It seems that reality settled in on Saturday when Team Australia announced their withdrawal from the America’s Cup, stating, among others that “ultimately our estimate of the costs of competing were well beyond our initial expectation and our ability to make the formula of our investment and other commercial support add up.”

As of today, there are four potential and credible challengers that are, or could be, able to provide the initial US$3 million required for the entry. They are Luna Rossa, Artemis, Ben Ainslie Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand. There is talk of the possibility of a French or Chinese entry but we doubt they will be able to get the necessary funding.

The case of Ben Ainslie is an example of the impossibility of getting off the ground without the strong support of either a government or a group of wealthy financial backers. The world’s most successful and most accomplished sailor, a living sports legend in his own country couldn’t have started his campaign without £7.5 million of government funding and the contribution of seven founding shareholders. We aren’t saying that this is negative, it’s simply a fact.

We were criticized in the past for pointing out this but when the team that wrote the rules of a competition bows out because they consider it to be extremely expensive what should the rest think? It appears Russell Coutts is doing an excellent job though. Despite the PR to the contrary, the only task he has is to retain the America’s Cup, nothing more. So, with one of the five potential challengers out, achieving that goal became a bit easier.

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Australian Challenger of Record withdraws from America’s Cup

Posted on 19 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: America's Cup] The America’s Cup organizers have received notification from the principals of Hamilton Island Yacht Club of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America’s Cup.

“We are very disappointed to be receiving this news,” said Russell Coutts, Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). “We were excited to have Australia as a challenger and we were also looking forward to the prospect of holding America’s Cup World Series events in Australia.

“But our focus going forward is with the teams that have already submitted challenges and the teams that have told us of their intent to do so before the entry deadline on August 8th.”

In the meantime, ACEA is continuing its work to select a host venue for the America’s Cup in 2017. The selection process is progressing well with an aim to announce the final venue in October.

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), which revealed its America’s Cup team in a gala ceremony in London last month, had this comment:

We remain supportive of the Defender’s continued drive towards a more commercial event format, along with a more sustainable future for this historic trophy. BAR will be bidding to host two America’s Cup World Series events in 2015/16 at our new home in Portsmouth; as a key part of the road to the 35th America’s Cup. While the withdrawal of the Challenger of Record is regrettable, it is also not unusual and we will continue our own preparations for the 35th America’s Cup and look forward to an exciting future.

No more Team Australia!!!!

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Bermuda and San Diego shortlisted as America’s Cup venues

Posted on 08 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: America's Cup] The island of Bermuda and the city of San Diego have been shortlisted as potential host cities for the 35th America’s Cup.

Chicago, which had also been under consideration, is now a likely venue for America’s Cup World Series racing in 2015 and 2016.

“Both Bermuda and San Diego have made very compelling cases to be the host for the next America’s Cup,” said Russell Coutts, Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). “We will be in good hands with either venue.”

Bermuda is 640 miles (1,030 km) east-southeast of North Carolina. It is known to sailors for the Newport to Bermuda race, as well as the Bermuda Gold Cup match-racing event, both of which have a long history of success on the island and a sterling reputation among sailors. America’s Cup racing in Bermuda would take place close to shore, within the Great Sound.

San Diego is one of only seven cities to have hosted the America’s Cup. When the Cup was previously held there in 1988, 1992 and 1995, the race course was far offshore, on the ocean waters beyond Point Loma. But if San Diego were selected as the venue this time, racing would take place in San Diego Bay, offering incredible viewing opportunities for spectators along the city’s waterfront.

To advance the venue selection process over the coming months, the America’s Cup Event Authority will work closely with both venues to finalize logistics requirements and commercial opportunities, as well as to establish the needed relationships with private and public entities to ensure a successful event.

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It is through this process that the final host city for the next America’s Cup will emerge.

“We are now able to focus on two venues that are motivated and enthusiastic at the prospect of hosting the next America’s Cup,” Coutts concluded. “I’m confident that we’re on target to finish with a venue that allows us to achieve our goal of hosting an exciting and successful America’s Cup built on a strong commercial foundation.”

The host city for the next America’s Cup will be announced by ACEA before the end of this year.

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Carlo Borlenghi’s photo gallery of the foiling Luna Rossa AC45

Posted on 06 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Team Luna Rossa continues its training on board the AC45 Luna Rossa Piranha following the modifications of the appendages (daggerboards and rudders). The world’s best sailing photographer, Carlo Borlenghi, was there!

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

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Photo gallery: First sail of Luna Rossa’s fully-foiling AC45 Pirahna

Posted on 01 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Luna Rossa Piranha – one of the two AC45s with which the team will train and develop its design in view of the 35th America’s Cup – sailed today for the first time in Cagliari.

The “new” Luna Rossa Piranha has undergone some major changes foreseen by the Protocol of the 35th America’s Cup that now 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.

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

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Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha to sail again after major modifications

Posted on 01 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Luna Rossa Piranha – one of the two AC45s with which the team will train and develop its design in view of the 35th America’s Cup – starts sailing today in Cagliari.

The “new” Luna Rossa Piranha has undergone some major changes foreseen by the Protocol of the 35th America’s Cup that now 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.

In this first phase the research and 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 and sail with greatly increased performances.

Luna Rossa Piranha and Luna Rossa Swordfish have thus become real laboratories to test components, develop systems, collect and analyze data, as well as to train the crew in manoeuvers, boat handling and foiling tactics and techniques.

The aim is also to create and develop a close collaboration between the designers and the sailing team through a constant exchange of information, in order to address the design and optimize its applications.

During this phase onboard communications will also be improved; the rotation of roles within the crew will also be important to identify the most suitable sailors for each role, thus allowing all possible configurations on board.

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa, said: “We have invested a lot of energy in the development of the AC45 boats and I wanted to personally follow the conclusion of this first phase as it is a very important step in our preparation. I am very happy with the results and I want to thank the whole team for having worked with great professionalism and dedication within the deadlines we had set. The aim of Luna Rossa is to win the America’s Cup and, to achieve this result, we need to give our best from the first to the last day of our campaign.”

Luna Rossa Piranha will start sailing from the early afternoon of today.

The heavily-modified Luna Rossa Piranha is ready for her first sail. Cagliari, 1July 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

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