Cup Experience Monday News|
Issue 43 Monday 9 January 2017
In this issue:
Why No Team Launched Their AC Class Race Boat Yet
Spithill Avoids Amputation
2017: What to Expect and When to Expect It
A Good Look at "T3" - Land Rover BAR's AC45X Test Boat
Ask Jack: How much material are the teams moving to Bermuda?
Why No Team Launched Their Race Boat Yet
Teams were allowed to launch their AC Class race boats almost two weeks ago, but no one did. Why not? It's not only the holiday schedule. The rules changed. Again. All teams must pick 28 consecutive days when they do not sail their AC Class yachts. If they take their blackout days after launching, they may not work on their boat during the blackout period. So the only logical thing to do is to take your blackout period before launching. A quick look at a calendar lets us figure that the four teams already in Bermuda - Oracle, Japan, Artemis and BAR - should launch on Monday 6 February. This will leave them 109 days to develop and learn to sail their race boat before the first day of racing on Friday 26 May.
Why the rule change? It is probably part of making amends to Team New Zealand for ACEA pulling the round robin AC Qualifiers out of Auckland back in March 2015. Read about that dispute here. Confidentiality rules prevent the teams from confirming that the Arbitration Panel awarded damages to ETNZ. ETNZ will use the blackout period to ship their boat to Bermuda. Groupama Team France will do the same. Rules geeks who want all the details can download the most recent Protocol here and read Article 35.5.
Spithill Avoids Amputation
Last August, Oracle helmsman Jimmy Spithill had surgery on a tendon he tore in his left elbow during the Portsmouth America's Cup World Series. Trying to be ready for the September World Series in Toulon, he got the wound wet and picked up a severe infection. Facing a possible amputation, he underwent a series of surgeries and 10 weeks on an intravenous antibiotics drip treatment.
"I had a race, Portsmouth in the Louis Vuitton World Series, on the Saturday I tore [the tendon] off the bone but then raced Sunday," Spithill said.
"The surgery was a success but I rushed back and got it wet and picked up a real bad infection and then it was multiple surgeries, pretty much living with the surgeon.
"IV for 10 weeks, antibiotics morning and night so it was a battle.
"I'm glad we finally won and we beat it. If it wasn't for the surgeon, a guy by the name of Rob Bray, who knows. He saved me, I almost lost my arm.
"Typical, hard lesson to learn but you've got to balance it out. You can't just go full throttle all the time."
Team Updates - Monday 9 January 2017
Emirates Team New Zealand Five time America's Cup winner and AC Hall of Famer Murray Jones has joined ETNZ to help coach Peter Burling on match racing and on the cutthroat competition in the America's Cup. Murray was one of the "tight five" who moved with Russell Coutts to Alinghi for the 2003 AC. Coutts recruited him to Oracle for the 2013 cycle, but now Murray is back with Team New Zealand.
ETNZ started tearing down their team base in Auckland right after New Year's, to ship it to Bermuda. Presumably their AC 45X test boat is being torn down as well. The team will build their AC Class race boat using many components from the test boat. There are rumors that they will launch in Auckland in February before shipping the boat to Bermuda, but that seems unlikely. When the race boat gets to Bermuda, they will have only one boat.
Groupama Team France The team stopped sailing their AC45X test boat on 18 December. The boat was shipped from Lanveoc to Vannes to be dismantled for parts for the AC Class.
On 4 January the team began packing up their base in Lorient for the the move to Bermuda. Most of the team will arrive in Bermuda in February. They plan to have their race boat in there by March.
Land Rover BAR The Brits arrived in Bermuda in early December. They had their final sail of 2016 on 21 December and started up again sailing T3 on the Great Sound on 4 January. Their built-in-Britain race boat arrived in Bermuda on 3 January.
They will take their "blackout period" beginnining 9 January and launch the race boat on 6 February.
SoftBank Team Japan Like the other Bermuda-based teams, Team Japan will probably launch their AC Class race yacht on 9 February. Team Japan bought their design from Oracle, and former Team New Zealand design team leader Nick Holroyd has helped them with development. Their website lists only eight sailors, not enough to sail both their AC Class race boat and their AC45X test boat.
Artemis Racing In early December Artemis began practicing match race manoeuvres with their two test boats. In a recent video, Francesco Bruni gives a tour of the cockpit and some of the controls on the team's first AC45X test boat "Turbo 1."
Watch the video here - skip forward to the six minute mark.
Oracle Team USA The team returns 9 January from time off for the holidays. We can expect to see them sailing their AC45X test boats in January. They will probably launch their race boat on 6 February.
2017: What to Expect and When to Expect It
Oracle Team USA, SoftBank Team Japan, Artemis Racing and Land Rover BAR are already established in Bermuda. Groupama Team France and Emirates Team New Zealand will arrive in February.
January: The four teams already in Bermuda will probably be sailing their AC45X test boats on the Great Sound. They are allowed to train together when sailing these boats. Groupama Team France and Emirates Team New Zealand are stripping down their test boats to build their race boats with most of the components from the test boats.
February: The four teams in Bermuda will probably launch their race boats on 9 February, after taking their 28 day "blackout period." Team New Zealand and Team France will set up their bases in Bermuda and wait for their race boats to arrive.
February-April: The teams are not allowed to sail their race boats together. Team France and Team New Zealand will not have AC45X test boats so they will need to test and train on their own. Oracle, Artemis, BAR and Team Japan have test boats to sail against their race boats, but with only eight sailors, Team Japan's sailing team is too small for that - they will probably only sail their race boat. Artemis only lists 11 men on their "sailing team" but the 11 includes helmsmen Francesco Bruni and Paul Goodison. They also have Loïc Peyron and and Stu Bettany listed in other departments, so they could put two boats on the water. BAR list 13 sailors including backup helmsman Leigh McMillan, so they will be able to sail both "T3" and their race boat if they choose. Oracle lists the biggest sailing team with 14. They will be able to sail two boats if they choose. Don't underestimate the logistical challenge of putting two boats on the water - we may see the teams mostly sailing only their race boat.
May: Racing starts on 26 May with all six teams in the double round robin AC Qualifiers. Each team will race twice on at least two days, and only two substitutions are allowed between races. Remember that BAR starts with two points and Oracle has one, their reward for coming in first and second in the AC World Series. At the end of the Qualifiers, one challenger is eliminated. Oracle goes on to the AC Match while the four remaining challengers sail in the Challenger Playoffs to decide who will sail against Oracle in the AC Match.
June: The semi-finals and finals of the Challenger Playoffs run from 4-12 June. Superyachts, J Class and Youth America's Cup racing will begin on 12 June. The big showdown, the America's Cup Match, will be sailed on two successive weekends beginning 17 June. By Sunday 25 June we may have our winner but it might take until 27 June for one team to score the seven points needed to take the Cup.
Later in 2017: Five of the six teams want to start up the AC World Series for a 2019 America's Cup cycle. There could be AC World Series events in Bermuda later in the Summer and another ACWS event in Chicago later in the year. If Team New Zealand wins, all bets are off - the Kiwis have other plans.
A Good Look at "T3" - Land Rover BAR's Test Boat
Several interesting details are visible in this photo of BAR's test boat. Email me to let me know what you notice, and what questions you have. I'll show some closeups next week and compare with other teams' boats.
Join the conversation on the Cup Experience Facebook Group.
Reader Questions to "Ask Jack"
Ask me anything about the America's Cup! I don't claim to know all the answers, but I usually can find someone with the information.
Just reply to this email, or use the "Ask Jack" page on my website.
From Chris, Cape Town: How much equipment are the teams moving to Bermuda?
Hello Chris, A lot.