A bad day on the solent for Ben Anslie. I actually feel, that despite the expensed loss of sailing time it is a good thing to find that limit. building experience.
A bad day on the solent for Ben Anslie. I actually feel, that despite the expensed loss of sailing time it is a good thing to find that limit. building experience.
A yacht racing and design guru has described the America’s Cup changes as “brutal” and wondered if the radical revamp has gone “too far”.
Frenchman Loick Peyron is part of Artemis Racing’s design “dream team”, providing an ability to transfer his long and successful racing career into performance gains with the radical foiling catamarans.
America’s Cup bosses caused controversy with their recent decision to reduce the boats from 62-feet to 48-feet and include several one-design elements to cut costs mid-cycle on the way to Bermuda 2017.
Swedish syndicate Artemis were part of the majority that backed that move along with cup holders Oracle and fellow challengers Team France and Ben Ainslie Racing (Britain). Team New Zealand were against the moves.
But Peyron, who sailed in Alinghi’s failed cup defence in 2010 and was part of Artemis’ troubled challenge in 2013, has admitted some personal concerns.
Asked by Yacht Racing Forum how he welcomed the news, Peyron responded: “It has been a bit brutal, although we were kind of expecting it. We had done a lot of work on our 62′ which will, hopefully, not be useless. Under the leadership of Iain Percy, we were working on our systems, in order to manage our appendages and our wing, and we’ll keep doing this, just at a smaller scale.”
Peyron said the changes meant the America’s Cup had lost the “big sailing team” aspect that set it apart in the sport.
“All you need now is a helmsman, a wing-trimmer and a group of hamsters to pump your hydraulics … maybe it’s gone a bit too far: too much muscle and not enough brain, we’ll see. But luckily for the white hairs, this game, like many others, needs experience,” he said.
Peyron suggested this was a transition period that would “favour participation”. Already Japan have re-emerged with a late challenge under the adjusted format and Team France have described the changes as a lifeline to their struggling budget.
“I would personally prefer bigger boats, where the choreography and other unique skills are really important. Hopefully foiling boat speed and “spectacle quality” are not linked to the size,” Peyron said before acknowledging the inevitability of progress through downscaling.
“These changes in the cup had to be done, even if some of them seem painful. We want to offer the best sport show ever, and it will be the case again.”
Peyron is a long-distance specialist who holds the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world and has become a multihull specialist.
Even Bob Fisher, who as a journalist has always loved being an iconoclast is disturbed by the events leading up to the next America’s Cup to be held in Bermuda in 2017. Below are the words he penned for scuttlebutt:
Bob Fisher: Disgracing the America’s Cup
Published on April 11, 2015 |
Bob Fisher knows the America’s Cup, perhaps better than anyone. His books and articles have covered the event since 1851, and he considers the event unmatched in its history and intrigue. But what Bob sees now occurring for the 2017 edition gives him grave concern. Here are his words to the current trustee, Golden Gate Yacht Club…
I cannot escape notice of what you are doing to the America’s Cup – it has been nothing short of a disgrace to the premier event in the sport of Sailing. You have abused it, misused it and reduced it to no more than an average regatta, losing on the way its prestige and at the same time driven away the most serious competitors.
In the last America’s Cup event, held on the waters of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, for whom you act in a management role, the two challengers that came up to the mark were those from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Circolo della Vela Sicilia – Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and Luna Rossa. In the course of the past week you have made it virtually impossible for ETNZ to raise the necessary funds to continue by removing any chance of a major regatta in Auckland, and, by a huge change in the size of boat, caused the Italian team to withdraw. Is this what you really want?
Gone is all semblance of stability and adherence to rules unanimously agreed at the outset and in their place an undercurrent of commercial misunderstanding and constantly changing rules without the unanimity of the challengers as initially agreed. Both of these are a disgrace to the Cup and to yourselves.
It was brought to my notice by you, in Auckland, that it was important for a part of the Challenger Final Selection Series to be held in the City of Sails in order to generate publicity for the America’s Cup in Asia and the reason for that was a Japanese team would shortly emerge, and that this would encourage television networks to purchase the rights.
Subsequently, the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) has made it clear that ALL Challenger Selection races will be held in Bermuda, effectively slapping ETNZ in the face and reducing the Kiwis’ chances of Government sponsorship (which hung on a major AC regatta in Auckland), possibly even eliminating this team from AC35
It is unnecessary for the America’s Cup to have a television audience. For many years there was no television coverage, and later only inserts into News programmes. Televising the event began in 1983 and was carried to a new height by ESPN in 1987 in Fremantle. Even then it didn’t need catamarans on hydrofoils sailing at 40 knots to be attractive – just 12-Metre yachts in boisterous conditions with some live sound from the boats.
Now, thanks to the wizardry of Stan Honey and his colleagues, full details of the speed and direction of each of the competitors is overlaid on the live pictures of the racing. The technology of other sports has improved television for even the non-sailor, but this does not drive the America’s Cup. Money does. And there will certainly not be enough from television rights to pay for the somewhat unnecessary regattas that take place using the name of the event that has, over 164 years, taken place only 34 times.
The America’s Cup is a one-off event. It does not need promoting with pseudo regattas in the intervening years, which use its name. The Challenger Selection Trials, together with the long lost Defender Selection Trials, are adequate and the responsibility for their expense is down to the individual teams. Now there is a state of affairs in which the Defender trials have been eliminated. In the Protocol, Item 17 clearly states:
“Defender means GGYC and the sailing team that represents GGYC in AC35;”
You have excluded any chance of another US Yacht Club from competing for the Cup, maybe even giving GGYC the type of competition it needs to retain the Cup. Not even the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) felt sufficiently confident to resort to that.
Neither did the NYYC resort to changing the boats at a late date – the move from the AC-62 to the AC-48 has been very last minute and particularly hard on the teams that had set up their design groups well in advance to produce the smaller AC-62, as announced soon after the last AC match. It is hardly surprising that you have put Patrizio Bertelli’s feelings in disarray to the extent he has withdrawn Luna Rossa from AC35. His team had been working since early January 2014 at its headquarters in Cagliari with a Design Office of 40, all working on the design of a 62-footer. I suppose your comment will be: “Silly him,” but you have lost one of the biggest commercial sponsors of the Cup – just look where the Prada advertisements for Luna Rossa appear.
To throw fat on the fire, you are offering to give design and financial support to the French team, which has made little progress, and what is worse attempting to justify this with the terms of the Deed of Gift, where it indicates that the event is to be: “a friendly competition between foreign nations.” But you may well counter this with the quote from the judge of the New York Court of Appeals in the case between the Mercury Bay Boating Club and San Diego Yacht Club, who queried: “Where in the Deed of Gift does it say the America’s Cup is supposed to be fair?”
The loss of Louis Vuitton, after 30 years, is another huge loss of commercial sponsorship, but the writing for that was on the wall in San Francisco.
Everything this time around has been late, and bringing in new entries at this stage is another breach of the Protocol. I implore you to get your act together, remember the event with which you are dealing, with its glorious past, and begin to act in a proper manner.
Bruno Troublé, a 2007 inductee to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, has immense passion for the event.
After skippering two French challenges in 1977 and 1980, Bruno identified the opportunity to enhance the importance of the challenger selection series of the Cup. In 1983, he worked to create the Louis Vuitton Cup series, which continued until 2007, to select the Cup challenger.
But shifting sands has seen the Louis Vuitton brand lose interest, and while Bruno continued to work tirelessly to maintain the magic and tradition of the America’s Cup, he no longer recognizes what it has become. Here he comments…
I am away on my boat in Venice, enjoying spring in La Serenissima, far from the boiling controversy of the America’s Cup. All those witches and sorcerers trying to do good to the America’s Cup are instead slowly killing her. There have been so many mistakes over the last couple years!
Golden Gate Yacht Club, and their Oracle Team USA, are great sailors but hopeless guards of the Myth. They managed to kill the style and elegance which prevailed for decades, those unique aspects of the America’s Cup for which was our main aim at Louis Vuitton for 30 years.
They have discouraged the high level partners and put an end to the exclusive positioning of THE Cup. They have betrayed the long saga of incredible personalities who made the Cup so special. And they are now organizing a one design catamaran contest with no style and anonymous people beyond the sailing circles.
What we have now is a vulgar beach event smelling of sunscreen and french fries. This is definitely
(April 2, 2015) – The result of the vote proposed by the America’s Cup Event Authority with the agreement of the Defender of the 35th America’s Cup has overturned, with a majority vote, the America’s Cup Class Rule for the boat with which this edition will be held; this happened notwithstanding the fact that such rule had been previously adopted unanimously by the teams and was in force since June 2014.
Following a careful evaluation of the serious implications of this unprecedented initiative, Team Luna Rossa confirms that it will withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup.
Team Luna Rossa indeed considers illegitimate the procedure adopted and founded on an evident abuse of process by surreptitious use of procedures to modify the Protocol in order to overturn the Class Rule, which instead requires the unanimity of the teams entered.
This is an attempt to introduce boats that are substantially monotypes and in total contrast with the ultra-centennial tradition of the America’s Cup, not to mention a two-month extension period to introduce further modifications to the rules, decided by the majority.
All of the above contributes to a lack of credibility and uncertain technical grounds for what should instead be the most sophisticated sailing competition in the world.
This radical change also implies a waste of important resources already invested based on the rules that were sanctioned in June last year. This means that the claim to reduce costs reveals itself as a pure pretext aimed to annihilate research and development achievements of some teams, and to favor instead preconceived technical and sporting positions by means of changing the most important element in the competition, the boat.
As a confirmation of this, it is important to underline the fact that Luna Rossa frequently advanced proposals aimed at containing costs that however would not have changed the nature of the boats, but these proposals have systematically been rejected by the Defender.
Team Luna Rossa has also taken into consideration the possibility to protest through the Arbitration Panel as foreseen by the Protocol; it has however noted that, ten months after signing the Protocol, the Defender is only now initiating the first formal procedures to compose this important body. This fact contributes to making the entire governance of the Event even less credible and reliable.
Team Luna Rossa regrets the repercussions that this difficult decision will have on the members of the Team – although it will honor all of its contractual obligations – and on the sailing event planned to take place in Cagliari next June and obviously understands the disappointment of the many fans who have supported Luna Rossa during the last four editions of the America’s Cup.
(Editor’s note: The AC World Series was to have four events in 2015, with the first event to be June 4-7 in Cagliari, Italy. That event is now cancelled.)
Patrizio Bertelli declared: “I want to thank the whole team for its hard work during this past year; regretfully this effort has been frustrated by this manoeuvre that is unprecedented in the history of the America’s Cup.
“However, in sports, as in life, one cannot always go for compromise, after compromise, after compromise; sometimes it is necessary to make decisions that are painful but must be clear cut, as only these can make everybody aware of the drifts of the system and therefore set the basis for the future: respect of legality and sportsmanship”.
Pete Melvin, a partner in Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering, was involved in writing the AC72 rule used in the 2013 America’s Cup, and in writing the AC62 rule that was released June 2014 for the 2017 America’s Cup.
But with the increasing concern about rising team budgets, Melvin was called up again to help downscale the boat further for. After a week of work, Melvin and his design committee members put forth a plan that was approved on March 31.
Melvin shares with Scuttlebutt the process for the change…
There was a desire to reduce costs of the boats, and after Oracle and Artemis sailed their AC45 Turbos test boats on San Francisco Bay in February, they found them to be good boats which would provide good racing. They came to realize that a boat of that size could reduce budgets, which would help those teams in need of funding, without reducing performance.
The new Class has a length of 48-feet, which we got to as a result of a couple factors. The Deed of Gift requires a load waterline of not less than 44-feet, and we wanted to stretch the boat somewhat to aid its performance in light air.
While I have not seen the performance numbers that were generated during their testing in San Francisco, my understanding is they were in the 45-knot range, and that the time to complete the race course used during the 2013 America’s Cup wouldn’t be much different than what was achieved with the AC72.
What we found in our work when developing the AC62 rule was that their projected performance of that boat was not much different than the AC72 either. With these foiling boats, speed is not derived through waterline length in the same manner as a boat that displaces water.
Additional advantages with the 48-foot size is in logistics. They require less manpower both on and off the water. For transport, all the parts, including the hull, will fit inside a 40-foot container. Like the AC45, this boat will have a removable section so that you can break it down to fit.
Performance wise, we are continuing to analyze what it is capable of this 48-foot Class. The task of getting to where we are now is just a week old, but based on the observations from Oracle and Artemis from their 45s, they seem confident that it will be a nice boat for the event.
This new Class rule is fairly similar to the A62 rule. There have been a few tweaks but essentially the concepts are unchanged.
The hull will be a new design specific for this boat, but the rule tolerances will be tightly constrained similar to a one design class. Each team will build their own hulls, with the hulls built in their country of origin, but the hulls each team builds must fit within tight margins. These tightly constrained tolerances will also be applied to the cross structures and the wing.
The area of open design options will be the foils, the rudders and daggerboards. There will be some rule limits, such as foil location and length of extension, but determining shapes and designs will be open. Also, the control systems for the rudders and daggerboards is open. Each team will determine how best to control their foils. There are some limits in how the system operates, such as manual or power, but the rest will be unique to each team.
There is still a lot of work to do. The shapes for the hull, cross-structure, and wing have yet to be finalized. We are now working with the teams as quickly as possible to define the geometry for those items of the boat. The final documentation for those items is due by the end of May.
The Challenger of Record, long time America’s Cup competitor, Luna Rossa have threatened to withdraw from the America’s Cup if the mooted Protocol change to a smaller boat is implemented.
Emirates Team NZ, via social media, say they have supported the Italian stand against the boat change. ‘Emirates Team New Zealand agrees with Luna Rossa Challenge . It would be unfair to change the rules at this stage unless all America’s Cup teams agree to do so.’ says a statement on their Facebook page, today.
The previous day the Team wrote:’ the idea of boat size reduction is not new. Emirates Team New Zealand suggested this last year. Since then time has passed with teams well advanced in their design process now and any ideas around change will need the full consultation and support of all the teams.’
The latest Kiwi stance pits the two longest standing teams in the America’s Cup against two first time teams, plus Artemis Racing and the Defender.
Contrary to other media comment the Protocol Amendment is for a new class of boat – in the 47 to 54ft range, and not a foiling AC45 as has been suggested.
The initiative for the change is believed to have come from Larry Ellison as part of a move to make the America’s Cup more sustainable and for the class to be adopted by the teams for future America’s Cups and avoid the boat changing that has marked the more recent editions.
Initially both Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand backed a move to a smaller boat (AC54) after the AC62 had been announced, and the discussion has been ongoing at the last two or three Competitor Meetings for the 35th America’s Cup.
The new AC5X rule is being drafted by the same group that produced the AC62 rule and is expected to be just a scaling of that rule.
At this stage there is no indication of how the Nationality rule will be applied, which requires two of the eight crew to be either Nationals of the country of the club of the team, or have passports for that country. The minimum number was initially set at 25% of the crew which neatly transposed to two crew members when the AC62 had eight crew. It is expected that the crew size will reduce to six, but that the Nationality requirement will remain at two nationals.
Earlier today Luna Rossa issued a media release stating:
Team Luna Rossa Challenge is distinctly opposed to the proposal – announced today on the official web site of the America’s Cup – to change the Class Rule for the 35th America’s Cup and therefore the boat that was previously accepted by all challengers on June 5th 2014.
Luna Rossa does not believe that a sporting event should be disputed in a courtroom and does not intend to initiate a lengthy litigation process that would only bring prejudice to the event.
If the principle of unanimity of all challengers required to change the Class Rule were not to be respected Luna Rossa will be obliged to withdraw from the 35th America’s Cup.
Team Luna Rossa trusts that the Defender will quickly announce a public clarification, also to avoid jeopardizing the organization of the America’s Cup World Series – Cagliari – Sardinia event planned to take place from June 4 to June 7, 2015.
Contrary to statements issued by one team, Changes to the Protocol only require the consent of the majority of the teams together with the Defender, Golden Gate Yacht Club or their commercial arm America’s Cup Events Committee.
After the withdrawal of the initial Challenger of Record, Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Luna Rossa stepped into the role as the next to challenge.
The Italians magnanimously waived their effective right of veto of change under the Protocol, instead ceding that right to the majority decision of the Challengers, of which there are currently five.
Given that three of the Challengers – two of which are first time Challengers – have indicated their support for the move, it could be a done deal, unless cooler heads prevail.
Had the Italians not given away their effective right of veto, they would have had the ability to stop this move dead in its tracks, now they are locked into the decision of the majority – two of which are first time challengers. Artemis Racing sailed just four races in the Challenger Rounds for the 34th America’s Cup.
The first of the America’s Cup World Series events scheduled for Cagliari, Italy for early June would probably not proceed without the support of Luna Rossa.
In a further legal complication the mooted change may also fail on other grounds in the Protocol, which required the Defender to publish the AC62 Class Rule prior to the opening of the Entry Period, and having published this Rule, and met this deadline, it would require regatta organisers to re-write history to give effect to the proposed change in boat.
A clarification of the matter is expected by the end of March, with a further Competitor Meeting being held on Tuesday.
The dispute cannot be resolved by the Arbitration Panel for the 35th America’s Cup, as none has been appointed. The issues between Cup organisers and the International Sailing Federation also appear to be unresolved.
The 35th America’s Cup is due to be sailed in just 27 months, with the first event in the America’s Cup World Series scheduled to take place in just three months. The date and venue pf the Qualifier series, which in turn triggers the launch date for the AC62’s has not been formally announced.
While intended to help some struggling syndicates, the unprecedented move would also reduce the status and prestige of sailing’s marquee regatta, not to mention the sizzle generated when the 2013 America’s Cup was sailed in cutting-edge, 72-foot catamarans.
And it could be troublesome. Not all teams are believed to be in favor of going from plans to sail the 2017 America’s Cup in 62-foot catamarans to apparently sailing it in 45-foot catamarans.
A news release issued late Wednesday said the changes are being drafted and teams will be asked to vote before the end of March. Normally, a decision like this must be approved unanimously. It’s believed Italy’s Luna Rossa is against the change.
Harvey Schiller, the America’s Cup commercial commissioner, said in the news release that reducing the size of the boat was discussed last year, but only Oracle and Emirates Team New Zealand were in favor.
Now that teams have seen the new souped-up 45s on the water, “there is a clear majority of competitors who support the idea,” Schiller said. “I’d like to be able to say we have unanimous support from all the teams but that is not the case.”
Schiller did not return a phone call and email seeking further comment.
At the time Bermuda won the right to host the 2017 America’s Cup by pledging up to $77 million in financial support, plans called for the regatta to be sailed in 62-foot cats. That would reduce costs in part since they require fewer sailors. Some teams have already started designing their 62-foot catamarans.
If teams switch to 45-footers, that’s the same size boats used in warmup regattas prior to the 2013 America’s Cup and in warmup regattas this year and next. It’s also a foot longer than the minimum size allowed by the 19th century Deed of Gift.
Two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA, which is owned by Ellison, has blurred the traditional lines between the defender and challengers, so it wasn’t clear who initiated the latest talk of reducing the size of the boats. Despite being one of the world’s richest men, it’s believed that Ellison has grown weary of pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the America’s Cup and wants it to become more self-sustaining.
But teams and the event authority have struggled to raise money. There’s been speculation that two of the current five foreign challengers could drop out because of the staggering cost of competing, which would leave an embarrassingly small field of three challengers like in 2013. Team Australia dropped out last summer, citing the high costs.
Skippers from three foreign challengers — Ben Ainslie Racing of Britain, Team France and Artemis Racing of Sweden — were quoted in the news release as being in favor of the move to a smaller boat.
Team France skipper Franck Cammas called it “a game-changer. We will be able to have a very competitive team for about half the budget.”
Ainslie and Artemis’ Iain Percy alluded to the change helping the future of the America’s cup.
However, neither Emirates Team New Zealand, whose stunning collapse in 2013 allowed Oracle to keep the Auld Mug, nor Luna Rossa were mentioned in the release.
A Luna Rossa spokesman didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton referred to a statement on the team’s Facebook page. That statement said the Kiwis suggested a reduction in boat size last year. “Since then time has passed with teams well advanced in their design process now and any ideas around change will need the full consultation and support of all the teams,” the statement said.
A smaller boat could save Team New Zealand. Struggling to raise money, the Kiwis could be forced to drop out if they don’t land a qualifying regatta in Auckland. European teams are known to be unhappy about the cost of shipping 62-foot catamarans halfway around the world to New Zealand. The 45-foot cats are easier to ship because they can be disassembled and loaded into containers.
IT’S OFFICIAL, BERMUDA.
word had been leaked some weeks ago, but there was no point in posting until it was official.