AC strait dope and a VOR update—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Jimmy Spithill - Oracle Team USA
Given the absolutely magnetic force that the newly launched AC72 class is exerting on the international sailing world, it’s only fitting that one of the week’s most interesting stories is the two-part interview that Sail-World’s publisher, Rob Kothe, recently put together with Oracle Team USA’s star helmsman, Jimmy Spithill. If foil-borne AC72s have been occupying your dream space at night this is a must-read article, but I’ll even be so bold as to strongly suggest that anyone with even the slightest interest in Cup racing spend a few minutes with this great interview as it offers a deep and unique view (read: unvarnished) into the rarified airs of AC racing.

'It is just complete crap,' said Spithill in regards to the perception in Emirates Team New Zealand’s (ETNZ) camp that the Yankees have an unlimited war chest. 'Larry Ellison didn’t get to where he was by just throwing money [away]. We have got a budget and we have to stick to it and we have to make compromises and sacrifices and for some reason part of their strategy is to go out and try act like the little team out there. [ETNZ] have got a big budget. A really big budget. [Team boss Grant Dalton] just going around saying we have got unlimited resources is just complete bulls#$%.'

Things also got interesting when Kothe inquired about the mechanics of carting an AC72 around the close-quarters San Francisco racetrack. 'The boats now can sail at pretty deep angles downwind but it will be a lot like the AC45 World Series,' reported Spithill. 'I think you are probably looking at around three gybes depending on where the top mark is. You are probably looking at around four or five tacks. The other factor will be the current.'

Be sure to check out both parts of this great interview, inside this issue.

Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing sails past the Guan Yin of the South Sea of Sanya

Meanwhile, in offshore news, Sanya, China, has signed on to host another stopover on the 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR). 'In many ways Sanya proved to be the best kept secret in sailing,' said Knut Frostad, CEO of the VOR. 'The first-rate facilities, the perfect sailing conditions and the warmth of the people added up to an eye-opening and massively successful stop, and I'm looking forward to an even better experience in 2014/2015.'

Also in VOR news, the first VOR 65 One Design hull is currently being shipped from the Persico yard in Bergamo, Italy, to the UK’s Green Marine, where the deck will be joined, creating the first finished boat. 'He is almost the helmsman of the boat at the moment,' said the VOR’s Rick Deppe of Paul Hamels, who has been trusted to drive the truck across Europe. 'When you’re helming a Volvo boat, it’s a lot of responsibility. Well, when you’re driving an exceptional convoy, it’s a lot of responsibility too. You cannot just turn and go too fast. He plays it pretty cool.'

Larry Ellison visits Team / SFO March Testing Session-Oracle Team USA

Also inside, get the latest update on 'Team Australia’s' now-sanctioned record passage from Sydney to Hobart, learn about the 34 athletes who were named to the 2013 US Sailing Team and learn about the cancelled classes at this year’s Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre (March 30-April 6). And finally, be sure to check out the great am-cam footage of Oracle Team USA foiling around on SF Bay, as well as the great photo spread of Larry Ellison’s most recent trip down to Pier 80 to visit his Oracle Team USA. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,