Cupdates and an offshore tragedy—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

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12 Mar 2013

Cupdates and an offshore tragedy—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Any sailor who has ever set hand to tiller has at least daydreamed of taking the helm of a wingsail-powered AC72-class catamaran. (Granted, of course, the vast majority of us simply don't have the boathandling skills to drive something this twitchy, but why let fact stand in the way of a nice daydream?) While these foil-borne wonders are commanding international sailing headlines these days, the fact remains that precious few people on the planet have actually been handed the keys to one of these sophisticated wind machines.

Fortunately, Sail-World's publisher, Rob Kothe, sat down with Oracle Team USA's Jimmy Spithill for a two-part Q&A session that offers us 'everyman' sailors a chance to learn what life on the helm of an AC72 is really like, from the highs to the lows.

Jimmy Spithill - Oracle Team USA  Guilain Grenier Oracle Team USA©

'It was a huge learning experience,' said Spithill of the team's October 16, 2012 capsize on San Francisco Bay. 'I reckon the biggest thing to take from that is seeing how people react to a tough situation in basically the aftermath. It was a big test and it was pretty rewarding to see how our shore team, our boat building team the engineers how they dealt with it. From that point of view we have been tested more than any other team. It is a big statement for our competitors out there.'

Wet, wet, wet aboard Oracle's USA-17 training in San Francisco  Guilain Grenier/Oracle Racing©

As for where teams should be placing their efforts, design-wise, Spithill was forthcoming. 'You can't just focus on one area,' he said. 'You really need to make sure you don't have any weak links. Obviously foiling is very important. You can't also disregard the sails or the wing. All the crew work—it all adds up.' Be sure to check out the first parts of Kothe's report, inside this issue. Part II will be released in the next few hours, it shows the Oracle camp are getting quite irritated by the Kiwis and Spithill unloads as an Australian can.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa on the first reaching leg of a practice race on the Hauraki Gulf. 8/3/2013 - Emiratres Team NZ and Luna Rossa, Practice Racing March 8, 2013, Takapuna, NZNZ  Chris Cameron/ETNZ©

Also Cup related, more great 'Am-Cam' footage of the AC72s have emerged, shot both on New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf (where Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge are practicing) and on San Francisco Bay where the Defender, Oracle Team USA, has been training alone since Artemis returned to the shed a few weeks ago.

Much closer to home, tragedy struck this weekend during the Islands Race, which was hosted by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club and the San Diego Yacht Club, when James Gilmore's 'Uncontrollable Urge' (a carbon-fiber Columbia 32) lost her rudder and went aground on the rocky shore of San Clemente Island. The USCG arrived on the scene as quickly as possible but, tragically, crewmember Craig Thomas Williams didn't survive. Get the full report, inside, and stay tuned to the website for more information, as it emerges.

Uncontrollable Urge, Coast Guard Rescue off San Clemente  

Also inside, be sure to get the wrap-up reports from the Melges 24 Atlantic Coast Championship and the Calema Midwinters, and don't miss the preview reports from the Salt and Speed competition, which will pit the world's fastest kiteboarders on a course in Salins-de-Giraud, France to determine bragging rights.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor



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America's Cup: Leaning on the weatherman to get it right
ETNZblog.com,
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Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean - Alluring action underway
Alex Bocage,
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Richard Mayon-White - across the Atlantic solo on a Mini Transat
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America's Cup update with Oracle helm James Spithill (part 1)
Rob Kothe,
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Salt and Speed - Kitesurfing world sailing speed record attempt
Tanguy Blondel,
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America's Cup: Big week of racing for Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa
ETNZblog.com,
It has been a big week of racing with Luna Rossa for the Emirates Team New Zealand sailing team on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland. Four days sailing and racing is not just hard on the sailors, the shore crew plays a vital role in keeping the highly tuned racing machine in race mode for each days sailing. Images gallery and Video.... [more]
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Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup - Victory with a final flourish
Rich Roberts,
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27th Calema Midwinters event summary
Tinho Dornellas,
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Five injured, one fatality in NHYC/SDYC Islands Race
Chuck Hope, SDYC Paul A. Marshall, NHYC,
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Sedov, over 90, but midway through a circumnavigation
Nancy Knudsen,
She's over ninety but still sailing strong. One of the world's biggest tallships, Russia's Sedov, a four masted steel barque which has been under Russian ownership since 1945, has left Singapore and is now crossing the Indian Ocean on its way to Mauritius. On board there are almost 200 lucky university cadets doing sail training.... [more]
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J/105 Midwinter Championship - Zartler and Solaris crew retain title
Christopher E. Howell,
In the J/1-5 Midwinter Championship, Bill Zartler and his Solaris team will be keeping the title of J/105 Midwinter Champion. Despite placing seventh in Sunday's only race, Solaris hung on for the two-point victory and back-to-back Midwinter Championship trophies.... [more]
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T200 thermal camera - ideal for smaller sailing boats
Polly Tyekiff/Sail-World Cruising,
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Bacardi Miami Sailing Week - Mendelblatt and Fatih claim the Cup
Icarus Sailing Media,
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Bacardi Miami Sailing Week - Melges 24 champion crowned
Joy Dunigan,
The closing day of the Melges 24 Atlantic Coast Championship in conjunction with the 2013 Bacardi Miami Sailing Week proved the strength of yesterday's leader board with all three teams remaining on the podium. Italy's Riccardo Simoneschi, owner of Audi, impressed the fleet with two bullets today overtaking the lead with a five point spread to win the Melges 24 Bacardi Miami Sailing Week.... [more]
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