Sail-World New Zealand: March 12, 2014 - Back to Basics for the Cup

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San Francisco, 34th America’s Cup Final - Oracle Team USA CEO Larry Ellison
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for March 12, 2014

Yesterday, a news starved America’s Cup media went into a wheel-spin over a book extract published in the San Francisco Chronicle, where Oracle’s Larry Ellison expanded his views on where the next America’s Cup could be headed, and how the Challenger Selection could work.

We have refrained from commenting on the Venue discussions for the 35th America’s Cup, as it is hard to see the evnt being staged outside San Francisco.

What is more concerning about Ellison’s comments – assuming they are reasonably current - is how prescriptive, someone who is on the Defender side of the equation, is about the way the Challenger Selection Series will be conducted.

Going back to basics, the America’s Cup is a Challenger driven event – as we were told so often by the then would-be Challenger, Oracle Racing in their long running legal wrangle with the Defender, Alinghi .

That view was upheld by the New York Supreme Court.

America’s Cup World Series Naples, Italy - what is going to change for AC35?

Clearly it is up to the Challengers to say how their event will be run, rather than have this prescribed and detailed by the Defender.

If the America’s Cup is to be lifted back to the participation levels of 1987 in Fremantle, then leave it to the Challengers to decide how best to do that. The Defender has enough issues sorting out a venue, where all entered teams can compete.

In this edition of Sail-World.com’s newsletter, we have links to two stories that have been published in the US media.

We also have a counter-point from Iain Murray, CEO of Team Australia, the Challenger of Record, videoed at the team launch, last Thursday - before Ellison's comments were published.

Then there is the loaded prospect of running an AC45 series for the Challengers - to determine who will go forward to compete in the AC60-65 selection series, while the Defender knows that they already have an entry in the Match and have more time to spend on research and design.

Would the Defenders compete in a series, in AC45's that is a Challenger Selection Series - albeit just to pick the top four? But as those who followed the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals in 2007 and prior well know, the final qualifying place was often decided by just a point or two. So Defender influence could be vital in Challenger Selection.

The shortcomings in the Pool system are also obvious. Would Oracle be in the Pacific Pool along with Team New Zealand and Team Australia? How would you feel if you were a Team Japan and Team Korea, knowing that you had to knock off the ANZAC teams to get through to the next round? Same for Europe - what if there are eight European teams and just four Pacific teams - is it fair that only two go forward from each Pool?

Oracle Team USA AC45 launch, Woolwich dock - Sydney, Australia

Also included is a story, and video from Oracle Team USA, on their training sessions on Sydney Harbour in AC45’s.

While Ellison is intent on pushing the AC45 cause as a means of selection, there was the same scenario in the last preliminaries to the Cup, but many of the participants could not go to the next level for financial reasons. That included the initial Challenger of Record, who signed a Protocol which claimed to reduce sailing costs etc etc – but in reality the same Challenger of Record could not raise the finance to mount a credible Challenge, and dropped out after a few months.

The point being that it is not the cost entry point of the America’s Cup that matters, but the costs of mounting a Challenge with a realistic chance of winning. No-one goes to sponsor saying 'we are there to make up the numbers' - even those who say they are in it for the next two America's Cups.

Again some very cheap almost single digit millions of dollars were quoted in the 2010-2013 Cup cycle budgets, but that is a far cry from the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars that are actually required to win. And as Defender, Oracle Racing is believed to have spent the most of all the teams.

SAILING - Team Australia AC45 - Sydney, Australia 10/03/2014 ph. Andrea Francolini/Team Australia

The real issue is not setting a cheap entry level, for the America’s Cup, but stopping the well heeled teams spending whatever it takes to win.

Meanwhile the two events competing for the top level yachting sponsorship dollar, Volvo Ocean Race, and the Extreme Sailing Series are progressing nicely.

In this edition we have the latest update as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing undertakes her sea trials off the English coast.

There has been some speculation as to how fast the Volvo Ocean 65’s will be. Maybe those questions were answered by Team Brunel returning a 540nm 24 hour run (the record is 596nm set in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race).

Team Brunel’s mark was set on their first real offshore training session – which is an excellent opening bid.

Abu Dahabi OR’s Azzam sailing in The Solent (England)

Emirates Team NZ’s Glenn Ashby (AUS) takes a look at the team’s effort in the first Act in the Extreme Sailing Series staged at Singapore, and what has to be done for the team to improve in the next round at Muscat, Oman, next week.

In this edition of Sail-World.com’s newsletter we feature a story on Team Brunel’s fast run, and a commentary from the design team behind the VO65, as to why this latest generation of boats may be the quickest yet. Certainly the reports are that the VO65 is an easy boat to drive hard – and that makes for fast times and speed records.

We also have reports from two NZ National Championships – the Tornado class- which attracted an excellent fleet of ten of the former Olympic catamaran.

Maybe not surprisingly the championship was won by Olympic Gold and Silver medallist, Rex Sellers, sailing with his son Brett.

Team Brunel training, 1st of March 2014, Lanzarote, Spain

One of NZ’s oldest sailing trophies, the Sanders Cup was contested in on Lake Taupo, last weekend. While not strictly a National Championship, the event is a throwback to the history of New Zealand sailing where the top competition was inter-provincial, rather than Open.

So there were only six entries – one per province, with only North Island provinces competing. But the competition was strong over the three day regatta, on a very challenging venue.

We also feature the Notice of Race and other rules for the upcoming One Ton Cup Revisited event, which will be staged by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

The One Ton Cup was the premier international event for New Zealand sailing for many years, from the late 1960’s to the late 70’s, with two regattas being staged in New Zealand.

Sellers in action - 2014 Tornado Nationals, Tauranga
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Like so many of the Ton Cups – the event has now been transformed into a celebration of a great era in sailing – with the former Quarter and Half Ton Cuppers being found, restored and raced – providing excellent competition for their former and new crews.

With plenty of One Tonners in New Zealand, and around the world there is no reason why the same cannot happen with this class, too.

Put May 15-18, 2014 into your diaries – when the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show will be staged again at the ASB Showgrounds, Auckland.

Over the past couple of months we have featured some of the great prizes to be won at the Show – and in this edition, we have another one.

Visitors to this year’s Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show will have several chances each day to win an incredible Heletranz heli-fishing experience.

Visitors to this year’s Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show will have several chances each day to win an incredible Heletranz heli-fishing experience.
© Mike Rose

Heletranz, the company that invented heli-fishing and still does it far better than anyone else, will every day give a number of show visitors the chance to be on board the following day’s flight to a remote fishing spot somewhere in the outer Hauraki Gulf.

Those keen to have a chance of winning of the heli-fishing experiences simply need to head to the Heletranz stand in the Hauraki Fishing Hall and fill out an entry form.

Northland's Phil McNeil and Craig Gilberd with the Kingham Trophy - 2014 Sanders Cup
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There’s plenty of other great prizes on offer, plus the chance to see the very best of New Zealand boating, fishing and sailing on display.

Stay tuned.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

sailworldnzl@gmail.com

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Abu Dahabi OR’s Azzam sailing in The Solent (England)