America's Cup News: 1st Quarter 2006

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 Selected News Stories and Features:


Latest Italian Fashion

Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team's new look, a computer generated image of the new boat ITA-90 under sail.
Click image to enlarge.
Image: ©2006 Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team

This Just In: SUI-91

Click image to enlarge.  Photo: ©2006 Ivo Rovera

The Defender's first boat arrives in Valencia.

New Look for Alinghi

New look for Alinghi. Photo: ©2006 Ivo Rovera


Click image to enlarge.  Photo: ©2006 Ivo Rovera

From Alinghi:  With the new season comes a new look, the re-design project has been led by Syndicate head Ernesto Bertarelli and is a variation on the old one.

Switzerland-based graphic designer Oscar Ribes has worked with him to put the concept to paper: "Ernesto wanted the new design to move forward and that is quite literally what it does. The Alinghi logo represents two boats circling in the pre-start and that won't change. What does change is the spinning effect of the logo that whirls out from it now, with the new graphic, in a forward clawing motion that gives the impression of surfing or flying through the water."

Superyacht Regatta in 2007

Continuing the popular tradition of the Millennium Cup that emerged when New Zealand hosted the America's Cup defenses, a sailing event featuring some of the most exotic sailing yachts in the world will be held in Spain in 2007 between the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Match.

Palma Superyacht Week will be held on the island of Majorca, and is expected to feature one of the most extraordinary modern yacht racing fleets ever assembled sailing in pursuit-format fleet racing spread over several days, culminating with the Millennium Cup.

Read more at Yachting World

Alinghi Seems Like Home

From swissinfo: [Brad] Butterworth has been living in Switzerland for the past five years and feels more at home flying under the Swiss flag than he did in 2003.

"Winning for New Zealand was a special moment for me, but times change. The first time I raced for Alinghi it was as a professional yachtsman, but this time it will be like sailing for my adoptive country," he said.


USA-36: Where is She Now?

The 1995 America's Cup Class yacht Young America rests on her own island in upstate New York state.  Nicknamed "Dorothy" for her adventures in a San Diego tornado, the 1995 defender was the second US boat in history to lose the America's Cup.  USA-36 with her dramatic Roy Lichtenstein mermaid livery now resides in an art museum.  The official America's Cup web site has a thorough look at her history.


New Look Soon for Alinghi

Alinghi held a press conference March 9 to kick off the 2006 season, including hints about the debut of a a new visual identity with the launch of their new boat SUI-91 later this month.

From Alinghi: Brad [Butterworth] led the event with the subject on everyone's mind, SUI91: "The dye has been cast in so much as we have made the decisions now and the first boat is being built at Decision in Vevey, so we'll find out how she goes when we put her in the water."

He also mentioned: "Alinghi has got a new look, so next time you see the boats they'll look a little bit different!" The new graphics will emerge from the shed with SUI64 and SUI75 when the sailing begins on the 21 March in Valencia.

Read the Press Release

BMW Oracle will be USA-87

Carry-on baggage: How do you move a 75-ft yacht from one continent to another in a day?  Ivor Wilkins tagged along with the new hull as it traveled from its builder in Seattle to the team's harbor base in Valencia and filed a story on the BMW Oracle website.

Read more at BMW Oracle

Signature Required.  Photo ©2006 Gilles Martin-Raget

New BMWO Boat Lands in Spain

Direct from Seattle via Antonov cargo plane, BMW Oracle's first new construction ACC yacht arrived in Spain Tuesday afternoon after a 8,900 kilometer journey.  The product of an especially intense design and technology program, the boat will be launched March 27.

Read the story at BMW

More photos at Valencia Sailing

German Boat Debuts April 24

From UITG: "The first America's Cup yacht to be built and finished in Germany with the sail number GER-89 will be christened on Monday, 24 April 2006, in Kiel..."

Read the Press Release

+39 Needs More

Helping to confirm recent rumors, the Daily Telegraph reports that Iain Percy is seeking UK sources that would help the Italian Team continue their America's Cup challenge effort.  The challenge is said to be months behind in payroll with construction of their new boat halted as well.

Read the Sport Telegraph report here

+44? : Some observers think that +39's search for funds might motivate the team to change their identity.   Whether this can be taken so far as to let an Italian Team become a British team, presumably switching yacht clubs in the process after the challenge deadline, and without running further afoul of the protocol and other requirements, is a potentially controversial issue.

Acts 10 and 11 Notice of Race

Now posted at the Challenger Commission, the Louis Vuitton Act 10 NOR is online now at the Challenger Commission website.  A few changes of note: pumping of sails permitted downwind, yacht swapping permitted between Acts, and races will not be shortened to suit conditions.
Also: Act 11 NOR added 2/15.

Read more at the Challenger Commission

Lexcen, Van Dyck Join Hall of Fame

Ben Lexcen and Stephen A. Van Dyck have been named to the America's Cup Hall of Fame.  Lexcen, once known as Bob Miller, was an innovative yacht designer best known for the winged-keel challenger Australia II.  Van Dyck was a trimmer on defender Constellation in 1964, tactician on Intrepid in 1970, and key advisor to five more campaigns.

Read the Press Release

View the complete list of America's Cup Hall of Fame Inductees

Also: Australians in particular have been expecting Lexcen's nomination to the Hall of Fame for many years, and are pleased to see that it has now come.

Rob Mundle, journalist and Hall of Fame Selection Committee member, commenting on Lexcen's recognition: "Long long overdue and just the best possible news. The man is probably setting up stairs with the biggest grin on his face, after all."


Also worth reading: 

"He used to joke that he was lucky not to have been formally taught the science of yacht design because it enabled him to be free to discover for himself what actually worked and what didn't."

Read "Aussie Hero Honored" in The Daily Telegraph

Valencia Would Keep Cup

AC Management CEO Michel Bonnefous told a Spanish newspaper that the America's Cup regatta would stay in Valencia if Alinghi's 2007 defense is successful, according to a New Zealand Herald story.

Read more at NZ

Live TV for 2006

The Louis Vuitton Act regattas held in 2006 will be made available to television rights holders as live broadcasts, one year ahead of previously announced plans.  Decisions to carry the races live will be made by the broadcast channels in each country, but this development offers an exciting possibility for America's Cup fans in many parts of the world who had limited access to the Acts up until now.  Live racing broadcast will help to build a presence with viewers before the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup in 2007.

Read the ACM Press Release

Keels, Keels, Keels

Classic, Z, twin, canard, all the latest technology for racing yachts, right?  That's what you think.  Jacques Taglang and François Chevalier bring you the big picture, including the surprising early history of the twin keel (originally retractable) and some speculation about where things are headed this time around.


K-Challenge Becomes Areva

From ACM:  The French K-Challenge team has found a title sponsor and has been re-born with a new name: 'AREVA Challenge'. Areva is an international power company with over half of its 58 000 employees based in France. The team made the announcement at a press conference this morning in Paris.

Read the Press Release

Visions of Twin Fins

Radical keel design may be under BMW Oracle's skirts Cup watchers believe

From the Sport Telegraph: Just like the Formula One pit lane where one team's advance is immediately spotted by the others, Chris Dickson, chief executive and skipper of BMW Oracle Racing, knows his America's Cup rivals are convinced that the new USA 87 has a radical keel configuration.

"They know as of a week ago what we've done," he says.

Read Tim Jeffery's article in sport.telegraph

Also: "The Twin Keel Deal" from Patrick Carpenter at  Valencia Sailing

Big Launch for BMW Oracle

"USA 87"
begins sailing for the first time in Valencia.
Photo: ©2006 Gilles Martin-Raget

BMW Oracle officially christened their new boat Monday in Valencia.  The ceremony was part of an elaborate celebration that also officially opened the new base and spotlighted team identity tie-ins.

Read the Press Release

Return of the Bowsprit

Famously successful until an infamous protest of NZL in 1992, the bowsprit in the America's Cup was thought to have gone the way of the passenger pigeon.  BMW Oracle's new boat just launched in Valencia may return the sprit from apparent extinction.  Bruce Farr's a key part of the design equation in both instances....

More fun: Through the Looking Glass at BMW Oracle Racing Blog

BMWO Sprit Photos at Valencia Sailing

Sprit of New Zealand Photo: ©CupInfo
Click image to Enlarge

Who Really Designed Australia II?

The March 2006 issue of Sailing World Magazine is fresh off the presses with a landmark article examining one of the biggest America's Cup enigmas of recent memory:  Was Ben Lexcen the true designer of the historic winged-keel 12-meter, the Dennis Conner-defeating first-ever-winning-challenger, Australia II ?

This point was never clear in 1983, despite rules that certainly appeared to require an Australian designer for an Australian boat.  Yet public statements that summer by Dutch scientists at first seemed to claim design credit for themselves.  Much like a secret keel itself, though, the more the stakes rose in regard to the question of who was in fact the designer, the more a shroud was raised around the answer.

Despite more than a few efforts in the years since to peer into the murky waters surrounding the issue, the source of the innovative design of Australia II was never resolved.  Indeed, many people holding key pieces of the puzzle have said little or nothing, some out of respect for Lexcen's memory and Australia II's achievement, others possibly hoping to avoid dredging up embarrassment for those on all sides of this controversy.

Author and America's Cup historian John Rousmaniere spent much effort in the last few years to seek out the long-hidden details surrounding the genesis of this most famous design.  Breaking some notable silences on the subject, Rousmaniere's detective work tracked down many of the central figures, elicited their often untold stories, and carefully assembled the accurate facts in a fascinating article Cup fans have been waiting over two decades to read.

(Note: The article is not currently available on line at the Sailing World website.)

Hardy Calls on Aussies

From The Australian: "Few other Australians have the America's Cup experience of James Hardy, and yesterday he used his retirement from ocean racing to invite a wealthy Australian sponsor to challenge again for the Auld Mug.

"It'll take some time and we need some fellow like Lachlan Murdoch to get the bug," Sir James said. "Somebody with plenty of spare cash."

Read the Jeremy Roberts story

91 and Counting

Alinghi takes a number for their new ACC yacht.  But when will the boat begin racing?

From Alinghi: "The new boat, SUI91, is under construction at Decision Boatyard in Vevey, Switzerland, under the critical eyes of yard director Bertrand Cardis, chief designer Rolf Vrolijk, chief engineer Dirk Kramers, boatbuilding manager Michel Marie and head of design Grant Simmer.

"Twenty five boatbuilders are involved in the new boat, from both the Decision and the Alinghi camps and the aim is to have the boat finished by May."


Also: Owners of numbers 87 and 90 remain secret.

Read more at the Challenger Commission

Victory Begins Building

Killian Bushe has begun the process of building Victory Challenge's new ACC yacht, and modifying their 2003 generation yachts to version 5.0 of the class rule.

Read more at Victory Challenge

CHN-79 to Sail by March

The former FRA-79 is believed to be faster in Valencia's sailing conditions than her sister, sail number 69, which was used in competition by China Team in 2005.  With a new keel, a modified stern, and upgraded rig and gear, the boat is expected to be launched by the end of March in time for tuning before this year's regattas.

Read more (and view photos of jigsaw removal of the stern) at

Alinghi Across America

Visit with Alinghi during their recent tour of US yacht clubs.  Helmsman Ed Baird and General Counsel (and America’s Cup historian) Hamish Ross bring the Alinghi story to the Long Beach Yacht Club and sit down with us for a chat in Chicago.

Read more about the Alinghi tour

BMW Oracle in Long Beach

Ian Burns describes the team's design process, Tom Ehman explains the impact of changes to the event, and Gary Jobson helps capture the patriotism of yachting's most historic prize.

Read the story by Diane Swintal


Photo ©2005 CupInfo

As They See It

CupInfo interviewed America's Cup Umpire John Standley gaining insight into the umpire perspective on the Cup, learning how the umps use technology to help them make their calls and improve their skills, and examining the interplay between sailor's styles, tactics, venues, course configurations, and the match racing rules.

Read the CupInfo interview with John Standley

2006 Louis Vuitton Acts Announced

Provisional Dates for 2006

Act 10: Match Racing May 11-16
Act 11: Fleet Racing May 19-21
Act 12: Match Racing June 22-July 2

All regattas to be held in Valencia:

 Act 12 will feature an extended format, with round robin and semi-final pairings leading up to a final match.  It might also be noted that the Act 12 dates will be one year before the 32nd Defense of the America's Cup.

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