Tag Archive | "James Spithill"

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CNN Mainsail: Australia return to the America’s Cup

Posted on 17 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

In 1983, Australia II broke the American stranglehold on the America’s Cup. Can they recreate that magic over 30 years later? Shirley Robertson reports from Sydney on the 35th America’s Cup Challenger of Record

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More unauthorized modifications on Oracle Team USA AC45 yachts?

Posted on 25 August 2013 by Valencia Sailing

A new report by the America’s Cup Measurement Committee made public on Saturday, August 24th suggests that Oracle Team USA might have made additional unauthorized modifications to the ones previously reported. Until yesterday, it was believed that the only unauthorized modification of Oracle Team USA AC45 yachts (including the AC45 Yacht that Oracle Team USA was contracted to repair and maintain), was the additionof weight to king posts and/or forward king posts, in contravention of the AC45 Class Rule.

However, a report from the Measurement Committee issued on August 24th refers to the different lengths of such king posts and the depth of engagement of the spigots of the upper main king post fittings on Oracle Team AC45 boats 4 and 5. These new allegations will now be included in the hearing on August 29th that will determine whether Oracle Team USA breached the America’s Cup Protocol.

Measurement Committee Additional Report / August 24th

Measurement Committee Additional Report / August 24th

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America’s Cup Tech Run

Posted on 19 August 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Oracle Team USA] With seconds before the start of Sunday’s practice racing, ORACLE TEAM USA’s AC72 helmed by Ben Ainslie came to a halt. The boat’s port side rudder sheared off.

“We had an issue yesterday with a spectator boat and a mooring buoy that caused a little bit of damage to the daggerboard and a rudder,” Ainslie said. “We thought we fixed it – we raced yesterday and it wasn’t a problem.

“It’s a shame because we were having quite a nice prestart and it would have been a good race. I guess it’s a learning experience for us,” Ainslie said.

Prior to a pair of practice races on Saturday, the AC72 hooked up on a navigation buoy while avoiding a small yacht.

“We did an inspection of the rudder and thought it was ok in terms of composite damage, but clearly that was not the case,” said general manager Grant Simmer. “It was on mooring overnight. Obviously there was more damage done to the rudder than we thought.”

It may have cut the day short for Ainslie and crew, but the team’s second AC72, helmed by Jimmy Spithill, continued their training day on the race course. The team made one lap around the track, then continued practice on the San Francisco Bay.

Ben Ainslie’s AC72 and her floating broken rudder. San Francisco, 18 August 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Sunday’s racing wrapped up two days of Defender Trials for ORACLE TEAM USA, allowing the crews to become familiar with the course and race mode in preparation for the America’s Cup.

“It’s a big undertaking, putting two boats out there, it’s a great test to our program,” Spithill said. “We’ve learned a lot from the weekend.

“Every day you sail these boats you push them harder, and that’s all part of it. It’s like Formula 1 – you’re constantly pushing the limit,” Spithill said. “It’s hard not to be at full throttle on these boats.

Oracle Team USA carries out two-boat practice racing. San Francisco, 18 August 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA carries out two-boat practice racing. San Francisco, 18 August 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

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Video: First Oracle Team USA practice race to be broadcast

Posted on 17 August 2013 by Valencia Sailing

Watch the first ever Oracle Team USA internal practice race that is fully boradcast by America’s Cup organizers. James Spithill takes on Ben Ainslie in the actual America’s Cup race course:

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Dean Barker’s Blog: Oracle withdraw from AC45′s for cheating

Posted on 09 August 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Dean Barker's Blog] Well yet another bizarre twist today when Oracle withdrew from four AC45 events over the lat 12 months because they had been caught cheating. I do not know the exact details but supposedly lead ballast was discovered in the king posts of both the Oracle boats and also the BAR boat which was also prepared by the Oracle Team.

It is incredibly disappointing to say the least to find out your competitors have been straight out cheating. It is an insult to the other competitors, particularly in an event that they have been running.

The AC45 is a strict one design class and this was one of the great appeals of this type of racing. To deliberately break the class rules is hard to understand.

When James Spithill was racing this yacht in Naples last spring, technically, it wasn’t an AC45 as Oracle Team USA’s shore crew deliberately tried to circumvent the AC45 rules. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

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Photo gallery: Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions

Posted on 19 July 2013 by Valencia Sailing

The AC72′s might be the most ridiculously expensive and complex America’s Cup boats in recent history, however Oracle Team’s two-boat training sessions produce a number of undeniably spectacular photos. Once again, the excellent shots are from team photographer Guilain Grenier:

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA’s two-boat training sessions. San Francisco, July 2013. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

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34th America’s Cup starts with drama, fog, strong winds and no AC72 sailing

Posted on 05 July 2013 by Valencia Sailing

Welcome to the “new” America’s Cup, which looks pretty much like the “old” one in Valencia as the first ever chance we had to see three of the four spectacular AC72′s sail together on San Francisco bay was cancelled because of weather conditions. It does look like Valencia in April 2007 with the only difference that while in Valencia there was no breeze, in San Francisco this Friday there is too much of it. According to Iain Murray there were in excess of 25 knots early in the morning, forecast to go over 30 knots in the afternoon, with gusts of 40 knots.

Iain Murray, America’s Cup Regatta Director, certainly wasn’t the happiest person when he had to announce that the three AC72′s weren’t going to take part in the scheduled “boat parade” and “time trials” where the high-tech America’s Cup boats were supposed to be towed to the actual race course and then do one race each, starting 10 minutes apart. With that scrapped, today’s action was reduced to a parade of the schooner “America”, followed by tenders from each team and race organizers!

I will most probably be criticized once again for repeating it over and over but if race organizers all over the world haven’t been able to completely eliminate weather risks from the sport of sailing it is because there is absolutely no way anyone can! Sailing is probably the one sport that depends most on weather conditions and unless someone has supernatural powers or a direct line to God, that dependence will never be eliminated. The question though is why wasn’t there a Plan B in case of uncooperative weather conditions. They could still have taken four AC45′s sailing from the America’s Cup Park to the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

Not a happy bunch of people at the Louis Vuitton Cup press conference. San Francisco, 5 July 2013. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Hopefully, weather will get better, San Francisco will live up to its promise of fabulous sailing and come Sunday we will be able to watch an exciting race between Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand. Or will we?

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa, threw cold water on everybody in the press conference room by stating that his team’s participation in the race if far from certain. I don’t think there is any need to go through all the details of the current drama, if you have been reading this website you must have seen more than enough. The core of the story is that there are two protests, one from Luna Rossa and another from Emirates Team New Zealand, that could blow apart most of the rules. Although the international Jury arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday, two days ago, they were initially scheduled to convene on Monday, the day AFTER the first scheduled race of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, something that puzzled each and every reporter from the mainstream press and the main news agencies.

While the mantra in our sport has been to make it “simpler” and “easier” to understand for the average person, it is beyond anyone’s understanding why a Jury, in any sport, would decide on the rules of a race, after that race had finished!

In any case, Max Sirena made it clear that his team will not take part in the opening race on Sunday if the Jury hasn’t taken a decision by then. Patrizio Bertelli, Luna Rossa’s owner, made it clear in an interview two days ago with the Corriere della Sera that taking part in a race before the Jury’s decision would imply Luna Rossa indirectly accepted Iain Murray’s safety recommendations. Sirena was adamant his stance wasn’t about politics, it was about a question of principle. He stated Luna Rossa was in San Francisco to race but under the condition it was under fair rules.

As a result, it is now much more unclear whether they will be any race on Sunday and for that matter, whether there will be any racing during the Louis Vuitton Cup round robins, unless of course Artemis Racing can make it to the starting line. That’s probably the only positive and encouraging news we had in the press conference. Iain Percy, skipper of the Swedish challenger, said that the blue AC72 is currently undergoing stress tests and could be launched in a couple of weeks. According to Percy, it is “definitely possible” Artemis Racing could take part in the late stages of the round robins. He went on, though, stating that if Luna Rossa’s protest were upheld by the Jury, Artemis Racing could be out of the competition altogether!

One thing was clear from the press conference. No matter what Luna Rossa or Artemis might do, Dean Barker and the Emirates Team New Zealand crew will be on the starting line of each and every race their AC72 is scheduled to take part in. As Barker stated, they are here to race and they are happy to spend more time on the race course. Why don’t we skip the months of July and August and go directly to the America’s Cup match between Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand in September? It’s not a science fiction scenario any longer.

Here’s the full replay of the press conference if you are interested.

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Video: Oracle Team USA – Taking On Two Boats

Posted on 28 June 2013 by Valencia Sailing

The fact Oracle Team USA are trying to stack the cards against the challengers or move the goalposts after the game started doesn’t make their videos less spectacular or interesting. Here’s the latest installment with superb footage from the first day of two-boat training:

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