Thursday, June 16, 2011

Let's Get It On

Or perhaps better stated, let’s get on it, as there were no real surprises at Wednesday’s “unveiling” of the official entries for the 34th America’s Cup - the eight contenders including defender ORACLE Racing are: Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing (SWE), China Team, Team Korea, Aleph-Equipe de France, Venezia Challenge (ITA) and Team Energy (FRA). A 9th entry will be announced on June 23, and it’s rumored to be a Spanish team.
Other “unveilings” included the new brand of the America’s Cup 34, “America’s Cup 2.0”. As described by Richard Worth, Chairman of AC34, “It’s sleek, it’s modern, it’s sophisticated - it’s everything our competition now stands for. Visually this evolution sees the logo take prominence representing elements of the next generation of the racing boats in the shape of the ‘A’s as well as the host city of San Francisco - you can see the subtle, maybe not so subtle reference to the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge represented in the ‘A’s. Finally the Cup itself has been streamlined to simplify the form while also retaining the beauty of the oldest trophy in sports.”

Worth also presented the new Louis Vuitton Cup branding- a new logo that defers to the shape of the hulls and sails of the new boats, with the deep blue referring to the yachting universe and the America’s Cup, and the brick red signifies the more traditional look of Louis Vuitton mimicking the interior color of Louis Vuitton leather goods.

In other news announced, the dates for the third World Series event for 2011 will take place in San Diego, California, November 12-20. Worth stated that to date, just five of the proposed 16 World Series event venues have been confirmed but that bidding continues to fill the remaining 11 sites.

Quotes of interest from the press conference:

Iain Murray, Race Director, America's Cup Race Management (ACRM):
“Here we are today with ten boats - there’s been a tremendous effort to design, build and manufacture, trial and transport and get them to Portugal - it’s been 9 months to this day - truly remarkable. What’s more remarkable about it, is when you try to do something new you often make mistakes but these boats and teams and what we’ve seen from the speed of the sailing to spectacular capsizes, these boats are proving to be the business for what they’re designed to be.

The AC45s are really just the training wheels for the AC72s - a rig that’s double the size, a boat that’s substantially longer, a boat that’s nearly three times the beam and a boat that’s going to go substantially faster. It’s a boat that’s on steroids.”

Kevin Shoebridge, EmiratesTeam NZ: “I think we’ve got a fantastic group. The quality of the teams will reflect the quality of the event in the end - we’ve got a nice mixture of evolving new teams here - it’s a good number of competitors and I think it’ll be fantastic.”

Dario Valenza, Venezia Challenge: “I think the America’s Cup is big in Italy because of the tradition and drama that it represents and there has been a history of successful Italian teams. I think this time this time it offers extra dimensions with the format being more exciting, the accessibility to the racing being better than before. Our aim is to promote the new format social media marketing and doing as much as possible to showcase Italy and Italian-made around the world.”

Terry Hutchinson, Artemis Racing: “Having spent the majority of my life going through at 9 knots, the AC45 is quite a different beast. The boats are very physical, they’re demanding on the sailors, the shore crews and pretty much everyone involved gets a full whipping from the start of the day to the end of the day. I take my hat off to Russell and the Defender for giving us this opportunity because I think we’re going to see something quite new and quite spectacular just through the awesome power that these boats create. I guess the good news, depending on how you look at it, this is the small version, with the 72s, it’s only going to be magnified by 100%.”

Russell Coutts, ORACLE Racing (on the difference between “on the edge and over the edge”): “I think I’ve become a little more qualified to speak on the subject in the last few days. But really, I think that’s one of the challenges I’m going to face over the next years is recognizing where that point is. I think it’s a matter of experience, and the experience I’ve had over the last few days sailing in San Francisco’s strong conditions, I’m starting to recognize when that limit is reached - it’s probably going to take a few more bad decisions to cement that in my brain but I’m trying!

San Francisco’s Mayor Lee: “A competitive phrase that we use here in the Bay Area for when you start a competition ... ‘let’s get it on!’”

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