Posts Tagged ‘catamarans’

America’s Cup Update: Team New Zealand Protests “Last-Minute Proposals” Favoring Larry Ellison in the “Name of Safety”

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Looks like things aren’t all rosy in Larry Ellison’s already-failed America’s Cup 2013 yacht match.

Let’s hear the news of the day from straight-talking New Zealand nerd Russell Green:

“I cannot help wondering how the All Blacks [New Zealand national rugby union team] would feel arriving at the World Cup in UK in 2015 to find that there were last minute proposals to change basic rules of the game in the name of player’s safety but which in effect favoured the slower stop/start style of the Northern Hemisphere teams?”

Here’s the whole thing:

“Emirates Team New Zealand’s rules advisor Russell Green blogs about moving goal posts and the negotiations ahead.

Last Wednesday was my first day working in San Francisco and we were called to a meeting late in the afternoon by regatta director, Iain Murray, who presented his recommendations from the work of the Review Committee. Present were the key members of the teams, the event authority and Louis Vuitton.

Iain Murray, who distributed the report and then worked through the document explaining all the relevant points, looked tired. It was clear there had been some long hours worked by Review Committee in the previous six days, an amazing job in such a short time.

The teams, especially Artemis, had various questions but there was little time to digest the information as former Oracle Racing COO Stephen Barclay, who now heads the Event Authority (ACEA), revealed the document had already been made public. It was straight back to the base for Grant Dalton to talk to the team about the content and how we would deal with the upcoming work which, inevitably, be required.

It is daunting to arrive at the venue after years of planning to find the “goalposts moving” so late in the campaign, long after design decisions have been made based on the anticipated windy conditions in San Francisco.

Yet another challenge for the team. I cannot help wondering how the All Blacks [New Zealand national rugby union team] would feel arriving at the World Cup in UK in 2015 to find that there were last minute proposals to change basic rules of the game in the name of player’s safety but which in effect favoured the slower stop/start style of the Northern Hemisphere teams?

The recommendations are general, the task now facing the event and the teams is for these general recommendations to be converted in to specific rules of the event, a process which needs to be dealt with quickly so the US Coast Guard can be satisfied on safety and issue its event permit.

Many will require discussion amongst the teams and ACRM, responsible for the race management. Currently there is a high degree of goodwill and co-operation in the interests of ensuring safety but there will inevitably be differences during the process, as the teams all have different competitive strengths which they wish to protect.

The most contentious issues for ETNZ are the reduction in the wind limits and the prospect of flexible starting times.

The recommended reduction of the upper wind limits is more than we would have liked, but we always knew the 33 knot upper limit was not practical. It has been explained to us that the flexible starting time regime, intended for use in the windier conditions in the LVC, would involve the starting time only being brought forward when ACRM was sure that the wind speed would be over the upper limit at the scheduled start time.

This will clearly need the input and cooperation of the teams and we have made a proposal how this could work.

Modifications will be required to the various rule documents which govern the event. Changes to the Protocol and the Racing Rules require agreement from the majority of the teams, changes to the Class Rule requires the unanimous consent of the teams as does a document called the Newport Agreement which stipulates the format, schedule and start times of racing.

Thursday was a day of digestion and analysis ashore while our AC72 went for a sail and the external rule change process started on Friday with a three-hour meeting involving the four team’s rules advisors and ACRM.

Agreement was reached on which rule document would need to be modified to accommodate each recommendation and the next steps required.

Next there will be a series of meetings early in the coming week. I will join Jeremy Lomas and Chris Salthouse at a meeting on crew safety equipment, structural engineer Gio Belgrano at a meeting on structural issues, and Dean Barker at a skippers’ meeting to consider changes to the racing rules in the start area.

There will also be a need to work with technical director Nick Holroyd and his design team on the negotiations on the draft Class Rule changes which we are expecting from the Chief Measurer, Nick Nicholson.

A busy week coming up, but in the meantime the sailing will go on…”

So the First Part of the America’s Cup is Almost Over and About 1000 People Have Watched It So Far?

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Work with me here, this is a bus ad seen yesterday:

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Note that it doesn’t say “World Series race” or whatever. It says America’s Cup August 21st – 26th, 2012.

Was this thing broadcast on regular TV? I don’t think so. (Of course a small part of next year’s event will be on NBC, but only because NBC refused to pay a broadcast fee. San Francisco isn’t getting an event fee from Larry Ellison because he refused to pay one. And we’re on the hook for $30,000,000 to host this fiasco because why? Who approved this?)

Now there was live coverage on the Internet, but the worldwide audience was 195 souls when I checked during 2:00-4:00 PM prime-time yesterday. How many people have “crowded” the shore? A few hundreds?

And this is the start of the supposedly big event what’s supposedly bigger than all sporting events in the world bar the Summer Olympics and World Cup football? And this is the start of the supposedly big event what’s supposedly bigger than the Super Bowl and Euro soccer, you know, games where fans actually pay money to watch.

What if they gave an America’s Cup and nobody came? Because nobody cared.

Wouldn’t a renaissance festival in Golden Gate Park have a bigger “economic impact” than what we’re seeing from the America’s Cup? I think so.

Oh, but we won’t know because RPD, with its excessive fees for security guards / park rangers getting paid OT to sleep in their vehicles, chased the Golden Gate Renaissance Faire out of Golden Gate Park a few years back.

Why is the City Family so supportive of the America’s Cup and so against other types of events?

Oh, here we go, here’s a reporter actually reporting on the America’s Cup fiasco. (Note that this person works for the San Joser Mercury News…)

Oh, so per the SJMN, it was Louis Vuitton what insisted on absurdly-large catamarans for the America’s Cup 2013? Who allowed Louis Vuitton to be in charge of what happens in the 415?

True story: A few years back, a San Francisco Supervisor was telling people that God had San Francisco lose a Summer Olympics venue competition so that the America’s Cup 2013 could slot right in as a replacement. Yes, she thought that (well, anyway, she told people that she thought) Divine Providence was working through Larry Ellison to bring us AC34. I’m seriously.

Well, at least former Mayor Gavin Newsom was made Ambassador at Large or something, that’s kind of like being a real ambassador, I guess. But uh oh, this link doesn’t work anymore:

http://www.americascup.com/en/Latest/News/2011/1/Lieutenant-Governor-Newsom-to-Serve-As-Americas-Cup-Ambassador-at-Large/

Oh well.

Who’s to blame for this fiasco?

A “Dramatic” Staged Accident on the Bay: Hey, Is It Too Late to Call Bullshit on this Whole America’s Cup Thing?

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

All right, here we go. Back in the day, international oil development companies would go to the leaders of underdeveloped oil-rich countries and make a deal: We’ll take your oil out of the ground and refine it into something you can sell and then we’ll split everything down the middle, 50-50. And that was the way it went for a while, with the oil companies celebrating various leaders, treating them like V.I.P.s, giving them bogus titles and whatnot.

But then one country, I think it was Libya, said, nah, it’s our oil after all, so let’s split things up with more for the country and less for the oil companies. The oil companies threatened to walk away, take away their expertise and take away the leaders’ titles, but, of course, they didn’t. Needless to say, that new idea of splitting things up differently upset the apple cart.

Comes now Larry Ellison to make a deal with San Francisco with both sides profiting, supposedly. Did San Francisco get a good deal? Not in my opinion, no. But our former Mayor got a title of Grand Exalted Ambassador At Large for the America’s Cup, or something.

So that’s why I’m not too impressed with the whiz-bang action, baby!!!!! of America’s Cup 2013.

Speaking of which, this kind of 96-point headline drama is staged for the cameras, just so you know:

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Now, I’ve sailed catamarans on the Bay myself, back in the day. The masts of the boats I was on were 30-something feet high as opposed to the 60-something foot masts on those 44-foot-long AC45 boats – much smaller but the same basic thing. So you’d think I’d care about AC13, the racing, but I don’t.

But you all enjoy your NASCAR-like staged drama. Substitute wine for beer but nevertheless, watch and hope for a crash, hope for some drama.

Oh well. (Maybe the larger cats in 2013 will actually look a little more like a they’re in a real America’s Cup? Maybe. Not much room for bigger boats in the bay, though.)

But don’t mind me.

Not at all.