ORACLE Racing and America’s Cup Media Day
By ORACLE RACING Comms
Yesterday was a big day in San Francisco, for both ORACLE Racing and
the America’s Cup. The team hosted a press conference for about 50 media
to announce its arrival and promote the attributes of San Francisco Bay
as the ideal host venue for America’s Cup racing.
ORACLE Racing will be sailing on San Francisco Bay for the month of
June helping America’s Cup Race Management advance its digital systems
and refine the configuration of the racecourse.
The press conference at the Golden Gate Yacht Club opened with
Friday’s team video of the near capsize, which can be viewed here: High 5!
That put the audience on the edge of their seats and led master of
ceremonies Jonny Moseley, the 1988 free-ski Gold medalist, to say,
“Spectacular San Francisco Bay and extreme boats is the kind of cool
sailing I’m interested in.”
ORACLE Racing’s representatives James Spithill, Russell Coutts, John Kostecki, Kurt Jordan and Dirk Kramers all agreed.
“These are the most physical boats we’ve ever raced,” said Spithill.
“There is a huge reward for sailing these boats well. We think these are
the perfect boats for taking this sport to another level.”
“We’ll have a lot more maneuvers, which will be very different than past America’s Cups,” said Kostecki.
But it was Coutts who (unwittingly at the time) summed it all up
best. “You have to find the edge but not go over it,” said Coutts. “The
closer you design a boat to the edge the faster it will go.”
On the water
After the press conference members of the media were given a safety
briefing from team member and round-the-world racer Simeon Tienpont.
The media then got a close up view of “the edge” when they were taken
for a full-drenching adrenaline rush on the two AC45s. The speed
astounded everyone who stepped aboard.
Julia Prodis Sulek of the Mercury News put the new-look
event into perspective, “Forget the idea of stuffy blue blazers and a
slow-motion snooze fest when the America's Cup yachting race comes to
San Francisco Bay.” (Read the full article at: America’s Cup sailing goes extreme.)
For intrepid journalists such as COMCAST’s Jaymee Sire and Mark
Matthews of ABC7, their onboard interviews with Spithill were the
fastest they’d ever conducted. Not in terms of time, but speed. The No. 4
boat reached a top speed of 27 knots as they conducted their
interviews. (Watch Sire’s interview, Meet ORACLE Racing’s America’s Cup team, and Matthews’ interview, ABC7 hops on board ORACLE Racing catamaran.)
The intensity of the action impressed Captain Cynthia Stowe of the
U.S. Coast Guard, whose West Command includes the Bay Area. “I’ve never
had a ride like this. It was tremendous out there, it was so fast,”
Stowe said. “We were right on the water, it was something else. We went
25 knots out there with two extra people on board. It must be a young
man’s sport. They’re jumping around on the boats going as fast as they
are, it’s pretty intense.” (Watch the video: Coast Guard Captain Cynthia Stowe.)
Stuart Streuli of Sailing World magazine summed up the
sailor’s perspective in his first-hand account. Streuli is an
experienced sailor, having raced on monohulls such as TP52s and
NYYC/Swan 42s, so he jumped at the opportunity when Coutts invited him
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I took the helm,” Streuli wrote on the Sailing World website.
“Coutts either has a fair amount of confidence that I can sail or—and
this is more likely—a lot of confidence his boat is quite easy to steer.
And it was. The helm was surprisingly light, but not without feel. The
boat tracked upwind better than any boat I’ve ever sailed.” (Strueli
also posted two videos of his ride, which can be viewed at AC45 Ride and At the helm of the AC45.)
Over the edge
After the media entertainment, Coutts and Spithill engaged in
demonstration races to illustrate why San Francisco Bay will be the
perfect venue for the Cup. With the media watching ashore from the
Golden Gate Yacht Club, America’s Cup Principal Race Officer John Craig
set up a trial racecourse that featured reaching, running and beating.
It was in the second pre-start, however, when Coutts demonstrated
where “the edge” lies with a dramatic capsize that sent him and crewman
Shannon Falcone into the water.
“We got caught in the pre-start at the wrong angle and paid the
price,” said Coutts, who fell approximately 20 feet through the lower
part of the front element of the wing and into the water. “The boats are
spectacular, hard to sail. They’re gonna test the best sailors in the
world. Luckily I had the crash helmet on.”
Falcone fell a shorter distance, but injured his ribs. “It was all in
slow motion,” said Falcone, one of the strongest members of the team.
“I didn’t think it was going to go all the way over.”
Falcone walked under his own power to an ambulance waiting shoreside
and drove himself home after a check-up and X ray. He has sore ribs, but
no breakages. (Watch the video: ORACLE Racing capsizes.)
“It’ll take a few weeks to heal,” Falcone said today. “But I can’t
wait to get back out there and back out kiteboarding. This has ruined my
The video was picked up by NBC and broadcast nationally during this morning’s Today show, the top-rated U.S. morning program.
All photos: Guilain Grenier/ORACLE Racing
America’s Cup promoters put wind in Ed Lee’s sails
By C.W. Nevius, San Francisco Chronicle // June 14, 2011
Organizers for the 2013 America's Cup are no dummies. They knew they
could hold a long, boring news conference to promote the event. Or they
could invite media and city officials for a sail on the bay, put them on
an incredibly cool vintage sailboat, and have high-tech catamarans rip
past them at warp speed.
As you might guess, they picked the latter, and the passengers'
ear-to-ear grins conveyed one message - we're sold. Among them was Mayor
Ed Lee, who is not exactly Capt. Jack Sparrow.
"This is my first time on a real sailboat," Lee said. "I'm converted."
Link to article: America’s Cup promoters put wind in Ed Lee’s sails
Competitor slate to be revealed tomorrow
The America’s Cup Event Authority has scheduled a press conference
for Wednesday, June 15, at which the official competitors for the 34th
America’s Cup will be formally welcomed by the Honorable Edwin M. Lee
to San Francisco, site of the first two 2012 America’s Cup World Series
events; and home of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup - America’s Cup
Challenger Series - and America’s Cup Finals.
Joining Mayor Lee will be Iain Murray, CEO and Regatta Director,
Americas Cup Race Management, Richard Worth, Chairman, America’s Cup
Event Authority, Russell Coutts, CEO, ORACLE Racing, and Representatives
of the Challengers for the 34th America’s Cup including Artemis Racing, China Team, Emirates Team New Zealand and others.