Tag Archive | "AC45"

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Artemis Racing AC45 training in San Francisco

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Artemis Racing AC45 training in San Francisco

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Oracle Team USA withdraws from past AC45 regattas

Posted on 09 August 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Oracle Team USA] ORACLE TEAM USA’s AC45 yachts have withdrawn, retrospectively, from the last four AC World Series regattas.

This follows an internal investigation led by CEO Russell Coutts, which determined that prior to racing in the regattas the yachts were modified without the permission of the Measurement Committee. The withdrawal is in spite of the fact that the modifications had no impact on the performance of the boats.

The AC45s are a class of 45-foot training yachts used in previous world circuit regattas and have not raced since Naples in April 2013. They are distinct from the AC72 yachts (72-footers) being raced in this year’s Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup.

The modifications were made over a year ago by a small number of team members involved in the AC45 circuit, without the knowledge of management or the skippers, and without having followed standard internal procedures.

“Our team is very disappointed by this turn of events, and I believe that voluntarily withdrawing from these past AC45 regattas is the appropriate corrective action,” Coutts said. “Going forward we remain focused on our AC72 training in preparation for the upcoming America’s Cup this September.”

Oracle Team USA’s shore crew carried out unauthorized modifications to their AC45…

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Video: Artemis AC45 foiling in San Francisco

Posted on 10 April 2013 by Valencia Sailing

At last a very interesting sailing video from Artemis Racing! The America’s Cup Challenger of Record publishes spectacular footage of their AC45 yacht foiling in San Francisco:

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Video: Artemis Racing – Foiling AC45

Posted on 29 March 2013 by Valencia Sailing

Nice but short video of the modified Artemis Racing AC45 yacht, foiling over the waters of San Francisco bay

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The Luna Rossa sailing and shore crew have all returned to the team’s Auckland base

Posted on 09 January 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Luna Rossa] The Luna Rossa sailing and shore crew have all returned to the team’s Auckland base to resume the training and development program.

The plan for January is to make the most of the 13 remaining days allowed by the Protocol to sail the AC72 prior to the January 31st deadline.

This coming week the team will be concentrating on match racing practice sessions with its two AC45 catamarans Luna Rossa Swordfish and Luna Rossa Piranha. Both boats were shipped back to Auckland from San Francisco following the end of the last America’s Cup World Series regattas in October 2012.

At the same time an additional group of sailors will be training on the SL33 catamaran to practice foiling techniques.

Starting from next week the crew will resume training on the Luna Rossa AC72 catamaran.

The main goals for this first period will be a mix of crew training sessions around the course and speed tests. The training work on the AC72 will be alternated in the coming weeks with practice on the AC45 boats and on the SL33.

Luna Rossa will try to make the most of the remaining 13 days of AC72 ttraining and testing. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

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Loïck Peyron, test pilot on the Artemis AC72

Posted on 24 November 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Energy Team] After four trips aboard the Artemis AC72, Loïck Peyron, skipper of Energy Team, gives us his first impressions of this impressive winged giant, with her exceptional size, her potential for power and her high speeds…

Loïck Peyron: “We have sailed aboard her four times and she is extremely powerful. That isn’t that much of a surprise for me, as I have spent a long time looking at the design of these machines, but it is still all very impressive. To sum up, these are boats that aren’t that wide or that big, but which have a very powerful “engine”. To get an idea of what I mean, it’s a bit like putting a V8 or V12 engine on a go-kart. So it is no easy matter making use of all that power. We saw what can happen when Oracle capsized. These machines require caution. My job was to be something like a test pilot on this AC72. I’m here to find just how far we can take things and avoid those hairy moments, when the boat starts to dig in, for example. Already by the second or third trip, I found myself out there on the helm and I can say it’s fascinating.”

What is the difference from an AC45?
LP: “They don’t have that much in common. Proportionally, the AC72s are much more unstable. Because looking at the base, the engine is that much more powerful. You need to add on a third more power to an AC45 to get some sort of idea. And then, there is the sheer scale: everything is that much heavier, including the wing, of course and the centre of gravity is not that well placed, as it is higher up. On top of that, there is a lot of inertia… the “engine” is extremely powerful, but above all she is always in gear. And of course, you can’t take in a reef…”

The Artemis AC72 yacht on her second day of sailing. San Francisco, 16 November 2012. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Artemis Racing

Capsizes ahead?
“Yes. Of all the boats I have sailed on, she is the trickiest. When you start flying downwind, it is very impressive and that is one of the major questions that interest us: you need to find a compromise, knowing when to fly, but above all without using too much energy to do that. For me, flying aircraft for more than twenty years, it is very interesting. After each day out there sailing, we need to spend several days ashore fine-tuning the boat on every level. For the moment, we are just working on boat number 1, but we have already got some ideas about the second one. With the first one, it’s rather like racing with 30kg on your shoulders. Once the second boat is on the water, that weight won’t be there any more.”

High speed?
“Very. For the moment, we’re taking it step by step deliberately, so we’re not out there looking for the highest speed. But we have already reached 26 knots in just 10 knots of wind.”

A useful experience for the Energy Team project?
“In every America’s Cup there is a transfer season between the teams. I’m a bit like a jobbing actor going from one team to another, or maybe more like a Swiss army knife for the team – that’s what Ernesto (Bertarelli) called me when I was with Alinghi. Of course, and it is quite normal, I have certain obligations and have to keep certain info to myself: there are certain things I can’t share with others, but it is obvious that bringing all these experiences together benefits everyone. I am in fact the first member of Energy Team to be hired by another team, but I probably won’t be the last. With Bruno and Energy Team, we have managed to build up a pool of talent. If we manage to get everything together for the next Cup, all of these experiences will be useful For the moment, from a personal perspective, this is an exceptional opportunity to try to make it all the way with Artemis, or in other words right through the Louis Vuitton Cup and further if possible…”

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Onboard during the China Team AC45 capsize

Posted on 12 October 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Onboard during the China Team AC45 capsize

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Mark Turner, creator of the Extreme Sailing Series, talks to VSail.info (Part II)

Posted on 08 March 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Here’s the second installment of the long, but very interesting and educating to read, interview. Turner talks in depth about the Extreme Sailing Series, the America’s Cup, the sport of sailing and the fine line between making sailing attractive to sponsors and the public and catering to the needs of the rich boat owners. [Click here for the first part of the interview]:

VSail.info: Let’s now talk about the teams participating in the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series. You had 11 last year, you now have eight, with the eighth one being a last-minute deal. Do you see this as a weakness?
Mark Turner: If you look at the numbers since the beginning, eight has been our maximum of full-time teams, plus three or four wildcards. Each year that has been our aim, to have eight boats. We had seven in 2010 and I’m very happy with that, to be honest. In practical terms for us, and this is quite different to the measures you might use in most traditional sailing events, eight boats is genuinely the number which is good. Last year we had ten teams because the eleventh was our own boat that we needed to fulfill contractual obligations with venues but in Istanbul we had too many boats. We couldn’t race in a stadium and the Alinghi crash fundamentally came with the difficulties in racing in a small stadium with eleven boats. In Almeria we, unfortunately, had light winds but had we had more breeze we couldn’t have raced all the boats at the same time. Our sailing stadium format, which is absolutely the heart of the product, has some limits. For us, eight boats is the right number, seven would be fine as well, but ten is just too many, even if in some venues you can put more.

Our objective this year was to have eight boats with the ability to have one or two wildcards, at events where this is appropriate, and this is exactly what we have. I’m very proud of that because these are not easy times because most of the teams are commercially-funded in one way or another. The mathematical problem with aiming at eight is that a variation of plus or minus two is very dramatic. Plus two you have ten, too many, but minus two you have six, probably not enough. It’s quite a scary process and it’s not that easy to get there. We had to turn down quite a few teams that wanted to do five or six events. All of the eight teams racing here in Oman will do the entire season. As you know, the Danish team was a bit of a last-minute deal but we’ll have eight-nine boats in Qingdao, probably nine in Istanbul, nine in the UK and probably ten in Brazil by the end of the year. Wildcards are important but we didn’t want that to become a norm, so that people just join the events they want to. At some point we might lose that fight but until now the importance of winning the overall circuit has been up there. Inevitably, you will have some things that change. Artemis entered last year with the intention of doing the whole season but as the America’s Cup had its technical difficulties and their priorities changed, they bowed out. They didn’t feel very good about that, they were very apologetic and it wasn’t good for us to have that happen. We are trying to avoid that, even if we are never able to complete do it. Big teams come and do this as an extra thing, it’s never their priority. That’s the problem with the America’s Cup teams.

Oman Air flies at the start and in the overall event. The Wave, Muscat, 29 February 2012. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

VSail.info: Absolutely, but on the other hand they add to the quality of the circuit as well, not just the quantity. Team New Zealand, Artemis and Luna Rossa are, after all, some of the world’s best sailing teams.
Mark Turner: I agree with you but Luna Rossa wasn’t an America’s Cup team in 2011. It was perfect for us. It was a high-level team, a good brand but it actually wasn’t trying to do the Cup at the same time. We had to Cup teams last year, Team New Zealand and Artemis, but we if had more that came to us, I think we would have turned them down. I knew they would come and then go, they were, basically, using it for training. That’s fine and, you are right, it adds an extra level but we are not short on good sailors. There is a plus and a minus with the Cup teams and we I never want to be in the position the World Match Racing Tour got into. They nailed their colors to the mast, they said “We are the road to the America’s Cup”, a very random thing that changes every few years. It’s very hard to plan long-term around the America’s Cup because you don’t know what is going to happen. A new guy might win it and change everything. It’s unheard of in other sports, having one of its most important parts run in such a random way.

Again, we would have said no to more Cup teams. For example, the Kiwis nearly made it to this event and Artemis might come and be a wildcard in some events. We’ll see what happens during the year. The important thing for us is to have this core set of teams with the majority of them being with a commercial objective because the whole structure has been set up for that. They must care about the hospitality side and they must care the public is there. If it becomes a Cup plus private owners circuit we might end up in the position the Medcup found itself. You try to please two very different groups of people and that is very difficult. A mix of that is always good and we always had some private owners. Erik Maris is was with us in the two previous seasons and is back this year well. It’s a nice mix to have but for us, ultimately, our objective is to get brands involved, brands that activate and use their sponsorship.

Red Bull is a great example but The Wave, where we are right now in this event, have had enormous success in promoting their resort in their key markets. That’s what we are trying to create and to have these teams is very important. Whether we achieve it or not in the long term remains to be seen but we have to keep on working to make it attractive to these guys. Sailing is a tough sport to sell.

VSail.info: Since you mentioned the Medcup I was curious to know your opinion about the end of AUDI’s sponsorship. Is it something that makes you happy? Do you see it as one competing circuit less in the market?
Mark Turner: No, not at all. I think that any brand leaving the sport is bad for all of us and a new brand coming in is always very good. Take for example Alpari and the World Match Racing Tour. We were also in talks at some point last year, we are disappointed we didn’t go any further but they did a gret job. That’s absolutely, unquestionably, a good thing for the sport. Brands need to see other companies coming into sailing, into commercially-driven parts of the sport and that helps all of us. When a company leaves the sport of sailing it has an adverse, negative effect.

The Danish team, sponsored by British fashion designer Simon Spurr, is the latest entry in the circuit. The Wave, Muscat, 29 February 2012. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

VSail.info: Is the Extreme Sailing Series in search of a title sponsor?
Mark Turner: We have been looking for one during the last six months because 2011 was really an investment year for us, in terms of moving the whole vent on and choosing where we would go with the event rather under the influence of a main partner, allow us to grow it. Six months ago we started the search for two main partners, one of which might end up having the naming rights as well. We are reasonably down the line now with two companies and we have to see if we pull this one off for the next year, maybe even through this year. We want that, we need that, for the future. In the year 2010, without us choosing, we lost iShares very late in the season and in 2011, by our choosing, we ended up with two years where the revenue stream was completely changed. The sponsorship side is now a relatively small part of the total budget. Even with two main partners it will still be a minority part of the total funding.

VSail.info: Does most of the funding come from the host cities?
Mark Turner: Yes, from the cities. Overall, it’s several million that come from the cities. We still are a reasonably small event and we have a package that works well for the cities, what they have to pay is in the hundreds of thousands not millions. Each city deal is slightly different because you have a different amount of value-in-kind. For us, value-in-kind is very valuable. If the cities put on a lot of the infrastructure or the public entertainment that has a big impact on our budgets. So, each city is different but the value of the deals increases every year. It takes time because you generally do 2-3 year deals, so you can’t change from one year to the next but if you include value-in-kind, revenue from the cities is more than 50% of our income. The rest of the income comes from hospitality, entry fees for the teams, merchandising, in some events we sell public space in the villages and after we bought Tornado Sports last year we also sell boats, spares and sails.

We have diversified the revenue stream enormously, which is a much better and sane model for the future. However we absolutely need those two main sponsors as much for funding as for activation. In the last two years we missed having a main partner pushing us and activating.

VSail.info: Since the city deals are so important for the circuit, what is the main challenge you encounter when you approach a possible venue where sailing is not a popular sport?
Mark Turner: Quite the same as any other non-major sport. You usually talk to nine people that know nothing about the sport and one that might know something about it. You are educating them at the same time. One issue is the confusion in sailing as to where the different events sit. If they are also approached by other sailing events you have to explain the difference and where each one sits. I also think that people’s perception of sailing, 99% of the time, is that it’s about white sails somewhere over the horizon. First, we have to get the message across it’s not the same thing.

In Qingdao last year, we had the same team that ran the Olympics, the local organizing committee, and until the first day of racing they had no idea, they simply hadn’t understood at all what we were about. When they saw the boats sailing 5 meters from the pier, it blew them away. All the difficulties and challenges we had leading up to the event, when we explained where we wanted the VIP tent to be, where we wanted the TV cameras to be, were simply due to the fact they were used to the Olympics. The Olympics were in a set area somewhere away and they couldn’t understand we could sail anywhere we wanted and set any race course we wanted. That’s a difficult message to get across, it’s a challenge, in every new venue.

Ernesto Bertarelli isn't simply the owner and helmsman of Alinghi. He's also a major stakeholder of the Extreme Sailing Series. The Wave, Muscat, 29 February 2012. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

VSail.info: In the inner circles of the sport of sailing there is a debate going on over monohull and multihull yachts. Do potential venue cities care about the type of boat that is used? Can they even tell the difference?
Mark Turner: I think that people don’t care. I was in a meeting with a big, global, sports marketing agency about two years ago and the person I was talking to, meant to be their sailing expert, was asking me to tell him the differences between a monohull and a multihull. We are in a bubble and we forget entirely, entirely, how much we are in a bubble. I actually don’t care whether it’s a monohull or a multihull. What is important for this event is that the sporting action is as entertaining as it can be, in this order. We will never sail this event on a boat that is crap from a sporting point of view and doesn’t work from a sporting equity and doesn’t provide a fair winner. We will never do that.

As long as you have a boat that does that, what is important is that it’s entertaining. In an event such as Almeria, where the public, in the tens of thousands, was almost 100% non-sailing, I know that when a boat lifts a hull or accelerates very quickly and places change right in front of the audience, people lean back, take photos and their heads follow the action. That’s very hard to achieve with a monohull. I’m well away these days from worrying what class of boats the Olympics should choose, all I’m saying is that if part of your mission is to make it interesting to watch, then the multihull platform, as it stands today, is way better. It’s not a question whether people watching care if it’s a multihull because they mostly don’t care. It simply delivers what we need to deliver.

VSail.info: You state that in sailing we are in a bubble. Has your involvement with other sports brought new ideas or new perspectives?
Mark Turner: Definitely, not just for me seeing other sports but also our overall team has now a mix of different skills and backgrounds. That’s quite helpful. We are involved in the mass-participation side of running and cycling and it’s quite a different world, commercially, with sponsorship still being an important part but people pay entry fees to come. You have thousands of people in cycling and running that pay entry to watch. It’s a different model to what we do in sailing.

VSail.info: Do you think that we could charge entry fees in sailing? Will people pay a ticket to watch a regatta?
Mark Turner: They will do in the Olympics. However, when sponsorship is a core revenue stream you would be in a real dilemma because in order to make sponsorship more valued you need more people to come in. Charging a ticket and limiting the entry would be in conflict with the aim of increasing the value of sponsorship. If you are Wimbledon, it’s a different thing. You have different levels of desire you can a put a price on. I think that what we can do is the VIP side of things where people actually do pay to come in. Potentially, we could have the equivalent of an airplane with the Premium Economy class where there is a high level of hospitality, people go out on the water and people would pay at that level. I think that most people in sailing would struggle with the idea of charging tickets because we need more people to come and watch it.

VSail.info: Do you think that major TV networks will ever pay to broadcast sailing?
Mark Turner: There’s only a relatively few places where this has happened anyway, even when TV stations had more money and people had more latitude to do that kind of things. Perhaps the America’s Cup can but I’m not sure. In the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia there were deals but the money changing hands was low and sometimes reduced the amount of coverage because they did the deals with the stations that really wanted it, not necessarily the stations they really wanted. Again, it’s the same thing. If your model is driven by sponsorship, you need to maximize the coverage rather than treat is as a revenue stream. When you start getting in the middle of that, 50-50, you compromise your coverage and you still get some income but you would be better off by simply enhancing your sponsorship value by getting the best deals. These days it’s a very hard game to have media coverage and you often have to pay or pay costs. For example, if you want something in different languages you will have to pay. They might provide something in English but unless we pay for the cost of doing it in Arabic, Chinese or Spanish they might not cover it. We might also provide different camera angles. It’s much more about partnerships with TV rather than seeing it a revenue stream. If you are football it’s different. If you are the Premier League it’s different but none of us, quite frankly the America’s Cup included, is the Premier League.

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