The Transatlantic race to Spain started in Bermuda and was in stark contrast as the course crossed two high pressure zones. The boat that won sailed the isobars. I had argued the point to no avail aboard “Charisma” as it meant sailing at right angles to the course. Less than 24 hours after finishing we set out for Sardinia; for what would be the first Mediterranean Championship; winning every race with Bill Ficker steering.
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.
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.
I have carried a camera for many years now. Most of the photographs in my posts are photos that I have taken. While most of my writing is about sailing, I am no less fascinated by the rest of the world. That said I am able to tie almost any conversation I am in somehow back to sailing.
I have created a photography web site: stephenlirakisphotography.net where you will find photos from many places and times. I am adding to it constantly.
We sail the race and many people never leave the yacht club or the immediate surroundings. There is in fact a great deal to see. I discovered this trip many new things that I had never seen before. ( my first race was in 1966) I am not sure what that says about me.
When someone from the sailing fraternity passes it naturally gives you pause. Bobby Connell in in some of the photos above (with a cigarette) How many others do you recognize?
Reading the recent article about the Onion Patch Series puzzled me because the description did not resemble any of the series I had sailed in the past. I participated on “Carina”, “Charisma”. The series in those days the series began with a race starting in Oyster Bay around Buzzards Bay light tower, around Block Island and then finishing at Castle Hill. Once in Newport we sailed three day races before starting the Bermuda Race. The race s were open to all participants but the teams were scored separately, just as the Admiral’s Cup had been sailed in the early days, before the beginning of the end when the Admiral’s Cup was excised from the crowds, but that is a subject for another day.
As I write, I wonder if we as sailors have been our own worst enemies.
I have always had a fascination with lighthouses. I marvel at the organization of the system of lights for navigation. For me, no less impressive even in today’s world of GPS which is now so accurate. They have become touchstones, memories of the ocean races I have sailed with so many shipmates.
more images: HERE.