The edge every sailor wants is boat speed. It can disguise errors, it helps with execution of maneuvers. in short it can bail you out of suituations.

The New Zealand team had all the tools; a faster boat. and from a distance a team that had no egos. Everyone quietly did their jobs.

If you look at the New Zealand crew’s resume, it was brilliant.

By the way, Luna Rossa will be the Challenger of record.

I am pleased that New Zealand won. The one problem for most of the world is the fact that they are in a distant time zone.



The ‘San Diego Plan’ to host the 35th America’s Cup

The venue search for the 35th America’s Cup has narrowed the finalists to Bermuda, Chicago and San Diego. The leader among the venues appears to be San Diego, which has both consistent weather and event experience. The plan is for the racing to be held inside San Diego Bay.

“San Diego clicks a lot of boxes,” remarked defense CEO Russell Coutts. “The boats might be maneuvering every minute and a half. It would be a highly technical course in the AC 62 and would lay out quite well for spectators and sponsor fulfillment.”

The ‘San Diego Plan’ uses two downtown cruise ship terminals for the activity hub. The teams will be based at the B Street Pier while the adjacent Broadway Pier will be the public village. The start and finish would be off the Broadway Pier, with the course extending from Coronado Bridge to Harbor Island.

Involved in the San Diego bid is Troy Sears, who helped form Sailing Events Association (SEA) San Diego to promote major sailboat racing events in San Diego for the benefit of the local economy. Troy provides an update on the selection process…

What gives San Diego the confidence to host the America’s Cup?

The leadership of the Port of San Diego understands they have some very valuable assets, such as the B Street Pier and the Broadway Pier, and have made the commitment to maintain them. These piers are in great condition and well suited for a variety of uses.

As a result, to host the America’s Cup, we won’t have large capital costs needed to make improvements. Our infrastructure is ready to go. We can formulate a plan that does not require investment. The Broadway Pavilion is a fantastic facility for hosting events, and it is ready to go. This is a substantial difference from the other cities.

Additionally, we have hosted the America’s Cup before. The event has been here in ’88, ’92 and ’95, with the event in ’95 ending in the black. We know the 2017 event has to financially perform, and we understand how to make that happen.

Explain the sailing venue.

What we propose to do with the race course, positioning it in the Bay, has already proven itself successful when we hosted an RC44 class regatta and the AC World Series in 2011. Through those events, it was demonstrated that San Diego Bay is a tremendous venue for stadium sailing.

The natural landscape brings people close to the event, and it will be the harbor that defines the course. This will make it very easy for fans to recognize that when boats get to the edge of the course, they will need to turn. If boats don’t turn, they will hit the shoreline. The boundaries will be very understandable.

Additionally, the public is going to have a great view of the team bases. Watching the boats get launched, and seeing the wings get raised and lowered, is quite a show, and something the public missed out on during the 2013 America’s Cup.

What are some of the other advantages for San Diego?

We may not have strong winds on a regular basis, but we always have wind in the afternoons. The consistency of our conditions will insure the schedule will not be affected; racing will happen when it is supposed to happen. So with minimal investment needed, and solid political support, I like our chances.

Why does the venue selection take so much time?

The process takes time to generate local support once a city has been notified that their bid has been accepted. You have to educate government; you have to educate the community entities that you hope will provide financial support. That’s not a one day, one week, one month process.

Since we were notified at the start of the year, the organizational group in San Diego, which is lead by the Port of San Diego, has been working very diligently. Additionally, all the community supporters, lead by SEA San Diego, are putting in a full-time effort as well. From our perspective, we don’t see the process dragging on. Quite the opposite, we feel we need all this time to fulfill the requirements and meet the deadlines.

These events are complicated. They require a huge commitment by local cities. The assets must get lined up, such as the piers, along with the services such as fire and police. Time is also needed to sort out the city codes that may impact the organizational plan.

We understand that the challengers need to know the venue location, and every sense I have gotten is that everyone is pushing as hard as possible to make that happen.

What kind of support is needed to host the event?

While we are pursuing local corporate support, what the America’s Cup Event Authority is looking for is broad support. They want to insure that our community is behind the event and will support it. From the political sector, the public sector, and the business sector, San Diego has demonstrated loud and clear that this support is in place.

When the America’s Cup had previously been in San Diego, it was not a hugely popular event. What makes the City think the 35th America’s Cup will be an attraction?

The previous events were held 3 miles off the coast. The team bases were scattered around the harbor and curtained off. It was pretty hard for people to know what was going on. And even when you went out on the ocean to watch, the motion of the ocean was not comfortable for a lot of people. However, the event has now evolved, and this new model in the Bay, in front of the City, and accessible from shore, is a huge change. The interest already is phenomenal.

Note: The field of finalists will be narrowed to two venues by the end of June. The final venue is to be selected no later than December 31, 2014.


It seems that the America’s Cup is moving away from the sailing public more and more. The people I speak to hardly seem to care. It is a parallel universe.

– See more at:




America’s Cup: Why not Newport?

Published on June 9, 2014

Russell Coutts, the CEO of America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA, announced in January that officials were talking with other venues about hosting the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 because San Francisco officials hadn’t offered sufficient terms to automatically return.

Among the immediate candidates was Newport, RI, which had been closely considered for the 2013 event, and had been home to the event from 1930 to 1983. The venue had several attractive attributes: passionate fans, summer seabreeze, and dedicated facilities.

However, when Coutts announced last week to BBC News that the list had been narrowed to four cities, and Newport wasn’t one of them, we got curious what happened. Brad Read, Executive Director of Sail Newport, which coordinated the bid on behalf of the state and Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, sheds light on situation.

“While disappointed, we remain optimistic to once again be a host site for an America’s Cup World Series event in 2016. We appreciate Russell Coutts and the rest of the America’s Cup team taking the time to evaluate our bid. However, the America’s Cup is a complex event, both on and off the water. Operating under a very tight time frame imposed by the AC Event Authority, we were not comfortable engaging commercial partners with the information that was available in the timeframe required.”

While the 35th America’s Cup match will be held elsewhere, Read is hopeful that Newport will remain in the running to host a preliminary America’s Cup World Series event as the teams prepare for the 35th America’s Cup. The extremely successful America’s Cup World Series event in June 2012 proved that Rhode Island, Newport, and Narragansett Bay can host a yachting event of the highest magnitude.

“With the support of the State of Rhode Island, Fort Adams State Park has been developed into a premiere shore side venue for grand-prix maritime competition,” said Read, noting that Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay are famous around the world for their spectacular sailing conditions.

“Next spring we will host the only North American stopover of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. This event will bring hundreds of sailors, team support staff, race officials and journalists to Newport, along with tens of thousands of sailing and non-sailing fans daily to our wonderful Fort Adams State Park. With the continued cooperation of the Governor’s office and the State Legislature – without which none of this would be possible – we believe we can continue to attract top sailing events, and their considerable economic impact, to the Ocean State.

“The America’s Cup is a part of Newport’s history and vice versa. We will remain in contact with ACEA in hopes that Newport will be considered for an America’s Cup World Series event and to keep open the possibility of hosting an America’s Cup match in the future.”



The New America’s Cup Cat

The next generation will look much like this 2013 generation challenger from New Zealand, but they’re a new breed

By Kimball Livingston Posted April 13, 2014

Gino Morrelli believes the next generation of America’s Cup catamarans will revolutionize upwind tactics. He foresees the boats foiling through tacks without slowing down, and if there is no price for tacking, that’s a new calculus, isn’t it? A new game.

Smaller, faster, safer. It’s quite a package that Morrelli is talking about, and he knows a bit. His firm of Morrelli & Melvin wrote the design rule for what we will call, for now, the AC62. That is, ten feet shorter than the AC72s of 2013 and shrunk appropriately in other dimensions as well. Add-in some one-design components, factor-in the fact that a lot of the design possibilities have already been explored—we know what the next generation will look like—and you have a boat that is cheaper to design and cheaper to build, even with amped-up technology. His partner Pete Melvin has been hard on the case.

At which point Morrelli adds the ultimate qualifier, “We can lower the cost to entry, but we can’t make it cheaper to win the America’s Cup.”

Write this on the board twenty-five times: An America’s Cup team will always spend whatever it can get.

I shared billing with Gino over the weekend for a program at Strictly Sail Pacific, which opened my window onto what’s coming next, with a little caution tape on the windowsill: “We finished our job about four weeks ago,” Morrelli told the audience. “In our last iteration, the boat was 62 feet, but now we’ve handed it over to Oracle and Russell and the boys to fuss it out with the Challenger of Record and Iain Murray. That is, the Aussies from Hamilton Island Yacht Club. Between them, a lot can happen. We’re now out of the loop, but something’s cooking . . . At some point they have to pull the trigger and publish the design rule and let people start working on the new boats, even if they don’t decide the venue until deep in the process.”

How can you design the boat if you don’t know the venue? Or if, as Larry Ellison once suggested, there could be more than one venue? Good question. Here we go—

Gino again: “One thing that was possible under the AC72 rule, but now is mandated, is a wing design that can be over-rotated to a negative angle of attack. You would do this at the top of the wing, so that instead of pushing the boat over, it’s actually pulling the boat up. Theoretically, if you’re bearing away around the weather mark in 30 knots, you can crank the wing inside out to get positive righting moment. You get a safer turn. The downside is that you’re inducing drag, which slows you down, so you’re going to have to learn how to actually do this. But it’s one way to build a big rig that will perform in San Diego but survive San Francisco.

“There are provisions in the new class rule to allow different wing sizes and jib sizes, but the ability to over-rotate the wing gives us a tool for sailing in a wide wind range with one wing.”

Early in the development of the original design rule for the AC72s, there were no restrictions on foiling surfaces. Restrictions were added at the insistence of the then-Challenger of Record, but we know now that the result was merely to make the boats trickier to design and less safe for the sailors.

This time out, Gino says, “We’ve got everybody to agree to take the brakes off foiling. The boats will foil by design. We’ll be able to actively change the angle of the rudder posts to adjust the angle of attack of the T-foils on the rudders—in 2013 we could make changes between races, not during a race—and the T-foils will be symmetrical, and bigger. This is part of what brings us to foiling tacks. You’ll have more chance to use low angles of attack to give you the highest glide speed through the tack. We’ll see who can glide to weather the farthest.”

This likewise opens new imaginings in what it means to attack, attack, attack.

On the safety side, there is now a minimum bow volume, for buoyancy if the boat augurs in. “New Zealand had the biggest bows in the fleet in 2014,” Gino said. “They stuffed it in that one race and survived. After the fact we sat down with the Oracle Racing guys to analyze the video of that incident, and we determined that, if Oracle had done the same thing, they would have been upside down. So, the new bow dimensions are much closer to the NZ spec than to the Oracle spec.”


Photo by Daniel Forster

Photo by Daniel Forster

You might recall, ETNZ took that serious nose dive in an early race, and Oracle did this less-radical face plant on the reach to the first mark in the deciding, final race, which could have come out rather differently. As seen through the lens of Daniel Forster . . .


With hulls now functioning as components of a foil-delivery system, the extra bow volume builds a safety margin with no meaningful downside. A little more carbon, a little more weight, a little more windage, but equalized through the fleet. Where Oracle had a safety advantage over the Emirates Team New Zealand boat was in its protective cockpits. When ETNZ stuffed it, bodies were flung forward against each other—there weren’t enough grab points—and as the boat sailed on, there were fewer crew on deck. The “AC62? mandates cockpits.

For an easy point of cost saving, “That crazy aerodynamic structure on the underside of Oracle, fairing-in the dolphin striker, will be restricted. It represented a lot of research, a lot of engineering and a lot of carbon. By going one-design on those components, we’re saving the teams a lot of development, so now we get calls from the CFD [Computational Fluid Dynamics] engineers saying, ‘Hey, what about our lunch?’ Then there’s the grinders union . . .”

The big picture view of the 2013 America’s Cup is that Oracle Racing built a faster boat—more aerodynamic, twistier, harder to sail—and learned how to sail it just in time. Mastering upwind foiling was the key, and one key to that was grinding style. You probably know the old joke, “You just keep grinding and if I need any sheet I’ll take it.” Well, launching the comeback, that’s exactly what was going on aboard Oracle. Trimmer Kyle Langford needed instant response to keep the boat on knife’s edge. Asking the boys to pump oil to generate hydraulic pressure for trimming built in a delay that just didn’t cut it. So the grinders would grind all the way. No stored energy was allowed under the AC72 rule, but the new rule as written by Morrelli & Melvin, in consultation with Oracle Racing’s Russell Coutts and Ian Burns, for example, will permit a component of stored energy. The grinders may still be grinding steadily, but not frantically. At least, according to the numbers. As one result, the crew has been reduced to the tune of two grinders. That’s two less jobs on the payroll per boat, and two less jobs per boat in the America’s Cup Industry.

Gino Morrelli has a laid back Southern California style, and he comes by it honestly. The whole team at Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering has been known to shove work and hit the beach when the surf is up. Morrelli describes himself as, “A longboard kind of guy.” It’s not far from their Newport Beach offices to the sand. Obviously, they also crank out the work. M&M also developed the design rule for the AC72s, and they were the principal authors of the design of Emirates Team New Zealand. They’ve been part of the America’s Cup every time multihulls have been in the game: 1988, 2010 and on. They’re also part of cutting edge multihull racing at every level from A-cats up, and cruising cats from the Hobie Wave to Gunboats. And when I want to impress the nieces and nephews, I just tell’em, yep, I know the folks who designed the Jungle Cruise boats for Disneyland. Those are their only monohulls, I believe, unless you count stand up paddleboards.


The Q&A rambled a bit. Naturally, a Bay Area audience wanted to know if the 2017 match will be sailed here. I voiced my stubborn optimism that it will, simply because that’s what ought to happen.

Someone asked why Artemis Racing still has its base in Alameda, and their 45 is sometimes seen on the bay. Gino responded that, well, everybody has to be someplace, “and I think they’re betting that the next races will be here.”

Another circuit in AC45s? Here’s Gino: “The 45s attract a lot of interest from the start-up teams. It’s a way to bring in sponsors and show the racing to a home audience. On the upside, it’s pretty easy to convert an AC45 to a foiler. On the downside, the logistics are completely nuts. The circuit was a giant loss leader. No way could it stand on its own. Larry wrote the check for the whole show the last time, but I don’t know how interested he might be in helping those start-up teams get a foothold. He’s already spent so many hundreds of millions on this. I figure the AC45s are a tier 3 decision right now.”

What’s the status of Morrelli & Melvin vis a vis AC35? “We’re free agents again. We’ve been contacted by a number of the guys, but everybody’s waiting for the Class Rule and the Protocol.”

More challengers next time? “Sixish. The Aussies are in, and Artemis. Luna Rossa. Probably the Kiwis, and the French are trying hard and so is Britain, with Ben Ainslie. The design box is tighter and smaller, but I guarantee you there’s enough room inside the box that someone’s going to come up with a faster boat than somebody else.”



Hawaii, Newport, San Diego compete to host 2017 America’s Cup


San Francisco Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:12pm

(Reuters) – Hawaii and the coastal cities of Newport, Rhode Island, and San Diego are vying to entice billionaire Larry Ellison to let them host the America’s Cup in 2017, when the contest for the historic sailing trophy will next be held.

Ellison would by all accounts like to keep his Oracle Team USA sailing crew and the 35th America’s Cup matchup in San Francisco. Last year’s competition overcame a host of early difficulties and ended with an epic comeback win for Oracle and widespread praise for the spectacular racing venue on San Francisco Bay.

But despite strong support from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, initial negotiations between the city and Oracle team CEO Russell Coutts for the 2017 event have been rocky.

Local politicians who have long opposed any public subsidies for what they deride as a rich man’s yacht race have gained ammunition with a report this week showing that the 2013 regatta cost city taxpayers more than $11 million and created fewer jobs than expected.

That may create an opening for the port of San Diego and Newport, Rhode Island – both of which have hosted multiple Cup regattas in the past – as well as the state of Hawaii, where Ellison owns most of the Island of Lanai.

Coutts confirmed in an email to Reuters on Thursday that, though he is continuing to talk with San Francisco, he is evaluating alternative venues. In the meantime, he plans to release next month the rules for the 2017 event, calling for smaller, less-expensive catamarans than the 72-foot yachts that competed for the Cup last year.

The big boats provided an exciting spectacle. But sailors questioned their safety after a British sailor died in a training accident, while their prohibitive cost limited the field to just four teams and undermined the economics of the event.

It’s unclear whether other locations are being seriously considered or simply being used as negotiating leverage in the San Francisco discussions, but some prominent Cup participants say a return to San Francisco is anything but assured.

“There was a strong desire to go to San Francisco, and I don’t think there’s a lot of confidence that that’s going to happen anymore,” Iain Murray, who was race director for the 2013 contest and is now heading up an Australian Cup challenge, told Reuters this week.

Bob Nelson, chairman of San Diego’s port commission told Reuters that his city would be thrilled to see the return of an event that was held there in 1988, 1992 and 1995.

“As great as San Francisco is as a venue, if there’s no deal to be had there, San Diego is ready,” said Nelson.

“We’re wide-eyed on the fact that San Francisco has invested a great deal of money and that much of that infrastructure remains available,” said Nelson.

Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport, told Reuters on Wednesday he is filling out a “request for information” to promote Newport as the host city for the next regatta. Read would not divulge the questions in the RFI, saying they are confidential.

Read’s public-access sailing center on Narragansett Bay would make a perfect amphitheater for the 2017 series, he said. Newport hosted the Cup races from 1930 until 1983, whenAustralia broke the United States’ long stranglehold on the 163-year-old trophy known as the Auld Mug.

“Newport is synonymous with the history of the America’s Cup,” Read said. “We have the fan base, and we have the track.”

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie expressed a willingness to do whatever he could to accommodate the races and Ellison.

“The governor thinks it’s a tremendous opportunity, and he’s certainly doing his best to be sure that Hawaii’s favorably considered,” press secretary Justin Fujioka told Reuters.

Negotiations between San Francisco and Ellison’s team were also contentious last time around. Cup officials flew off to Newport at the 11th hour before finally reaching a deal with San Francisco.

Murray said San Francisco remains everyone’s favorite.

“I think every sailor loves sailing in San Francisco. If you did a worldwide poll of sailors, racing on the bay in San Francisco would be right up there,” he said. He praised the San Francisco Bay’s ideal geography, its predictable, strong winds and its scenic backdrop framed by the Golden Gate Bridge.

“All the stars lined up when San Francisco got created for sailors,” he said.

The mayor’s office did not return calls or emails. Lee told Coutts in a December letter that lessons learned from the 34th America’s Cup would guide his approach to the next event.

“I am committed to negotiating an agreement for the 35th America’s Cup in San Francisco … that maximizes the economic, cultural and other benefits for the City and eliminates unnecessary risks and uncertainty,” he wrote.