Oracle Team USA crew member Tom Slingsby explains why there is a bow-down attitude of their America’s Cup Class boat. Video by John von Seeburg and Mike Herbener (Oracle Team USA) published on Apr 18, 2017.
Posts in category Oracle Team USA
The men and women behind some of the 85,000 hours that went into designing and building the America’s Cup Class boat that ORACLE TEAM USA will race in the America’s Cup in Bermuda in June 2017. These are the faces of the team… For the rest of the story from Scuttlebutt Sailing News CLICK HERE!
With the high speed of the America’s Cup Class boats, making split-second decisions is among the challenges that the six teams will face during the 35th America’s Cup. Defender Oracle Team USA performance manager Ian “Fresh” Burns and tactician Andrew Campbell peel back the curtain on how they are confronting the issue… For the rest of the story from Scuttlebutt Sailing News CLICK HERE!
“Excited to push these guys as hard as they’re pushing me,” says ORACLE TEAM USA tactician Andrew Campbell. “I know that we’re working toward the same goal and the same level – and that’s to win the America’s Cup.” More about Andrew in this #TeamThursday feature by John von Seeburg & Mike Herbener… For the rest of the story from Scuttlebutt Sailing News CLICK HERE!
Two-time America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill has revealed he came close to having his arm amputated earlier this year after battling a serious post-surgery infection. The issue occurred after Spithill got his wound wet, which then resulted in a series of emergency surgeries before spending 10 weeks on an intravenous drip. Full report.
“Once I got to the America’s Cup, it was something I never wanted to let go of,” says Alex Reid, ORACLE TEAM USA electronics systems engineer. Meet Alex and learn more about the journey that led him to managing the electronics on board our yachts.
#TeamThursday feature by John von Seeburg & Mike Herbener / (c) ORACLE TEAM USA
Published on October 6, 2016
Three years ago ORACLE TEAM USA completed one of the greatest comebacks in sport, winning eight consecutive races, to retain the America’s Cup 9-8. But it nearly didn’t happen.
Not long before the final, deciding race, there was a bang from above, indicating significant damage to a control arm on the wing. Jeff Causey and shore team sprung into action, and jury-rigged a repair.
This is the story of how the shore crew saved the day, and allowed the sailing team to face the Kiwis in a winner-take-all race for the Cup.
Video by Sam Greenfield / (C) ORACLE TEAM USA; Published on Sep 28, 2016.
This weekend is Bart’s Bash – the world’s largest celebration of sailing, in honor of Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, a friend and mentor to so many in the America’s Cup family.
Tom Slingsby, who will be at helm for Oracle Team USA at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in France this weekend, gets flung forward in heavy conditions during training on September 8, 2016. No one on board was hurt.
Sailor Andrew Campbell writes a letter to his infant twins, reflecting on his Olympic experience, his journey to the America’s Cup and telling them how they came to be born in Bermuda.
(August 18, 2016) – ORACLE TEAM USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand, Core Builders Composites. The major components for the 15-meter platform, including the hulls and cross beams, have now been built. The systems, wings and foils remain in a state of constant development and testing and that will be the case right up until the final race of the America’s Cup in June next year. Full Report.
(August 17, 2016) – Tom Slingsby is expected to resume training with Oracle Team USA this month. The Oracle sailing team manager, helmsman and tactician is on the mend after having surgery to replace a damaged disc in his back at the DISC Sports & Spine Centre in Marina del Rey, California, the same clinic where Jimmy Spithill, Oracle skipper, recently had elbow surgery. Oracle, who trail World Series leaders Land Rover BAR, the British challenger, by a point heading into the next event in Toulon, have now resumed training in Bermuda after taking a short summer break. Full Story.
Oracle Team USA Dean Curtis and Jeff Causey talk us through their responsibilities for rigging – all the lines and rods that control the foils and keep the wing sail upright: “A lot of what we do is to determine the right line for the right application. Anything we put on the boat we build it once on the test bench and we break it, so we know precisely what the limitations are.”
ORACLE TEAM USA uses revolutionary 3D computer modeling and printing to speed up the build process for parts and components. It’s a critical time-saver for the design and build team.
From winning the Youth Worlds to College Sailor of the Year to the Olympic Games, Andrew Campbell (USA) is now on the sailing team for America’s Cup defender ORACLE TEAM USA. Here he discusses risks and safety…
One question we get asked a lot is whether what we do is scary or if part of the sailing scares us. The first gut answer is: no not really. We do this every day, we’re accustomed to the speeds. We know the points of the race course that are dangerous and the places on the boat where you’re at risk. We try to strategically set up our sailing to minimize our time in those areas, and thereby mitigate the risks.
But on second thought, yeah… it is a little scary.
Why else would we wear helmets? Why do we wear spare air tanks? Why would we wear impact vests? Why do we wear climbing harnesses, and safety knives? Why does each team need a diver and a paramedic on the water every single day we go sailing? Why do we need to know our extraction points on shore? Our capsize protocols? Our in-the-water backboard training…? Why do we have comprehensive insurance?
When you look at it like that, the consequences of a mishap become a bit scary.
Quite often it is human error that puts us at risk, but we do sail on an experimental foiling catamaran designed and built to explore the edges of maximum speed and maneuverability. Whenever the boat goes into a bearaway, the pitch control, the grinding, wing shape and trim all need to be in sync to not only enable to boat to get down to angle successfully, quickly and efficiently from a tactical sailing point of view, but also from structure and safety point of view. The same risk is applied to each gybe, each bottom mark turn-up, while reaching, and any time we’re in close proximity to other boats.
The success of any maneuver relies on the choreography of trimming, button pushes, grinding, movement and steering. Getting out of sync can throw the moment into turmoil. Recognizing that the maneuver has gotten out of hand is one thing, but assessing what’s going wrong, communicating that problem, troubleshooting it and then taking the correct action to either save or abort the maneuver is what keeps us safe at the end of the day.
With six sailors on board the boat, you really do depend on each sailor to do his job with the strictest discipline or otherwise things can get out of hand very quickly. In a racing situation you depend on the other boats to not only act rationally and predictably from a rules and strategic point of view, but also you must plan for things to go unpredictably.
Full report and (scary) video… click here.
The hightech catamarans that are competing nowadays in the America’s Cup don’t have anything in common with ordinary boats. The so-called “hydrofoils” allow them to fly. Oracle Team USA, the title defenders of the America’s Cup, describe the process of “foiling” and name the advantages of it during a race. Video published on Jul 13, 2016.
Peter Hurley’s friend and Oracle Team USA tactician, Andrew Campbell, gives Peter a tour of the compound in Bermuda as the team is busy preparing to defend their America’s Cup title. The tour randomly turns into a full on photo shoot and one can see Peter’s excitement as he incorporates the use his portrait skills with these talented sailors at the top of their sport. A sport Peter traded for a camera after training for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.
Published June 13, 2016
By Dave Reed, Sailing World Magazine
Yes, the racing, the athletic sailors sprinting across flying platform, and the capsizes are fascinating for the casual America’s Cup fan, but the true fascination is embedded deep in the science forged by each team’s technology partners, of which Oracle Racing Team is flush, including BMW and aeronautics giant Airbus.
On the morning of the first races of the Louis Vuitton Cup World Series Chicago, Airbus’ Executive Vice President Engineering Charles Champion and Oracle Racing Team’s Ian Burns delved into the tools the two teams, as well as SoftBank Team Japan are using to develop their AC50s for next year’s match. Here’s what we learned from Oracle’s veteran director of performance.
About foil control systems:
We have up to 100,000 lines of code to program the control systems. It’s a level of complexity that is one of the areas of the competition that we’ve been given free range within certain parameters on automation.
About stable flight:
It’s a real challenge because we’re limited by the length of the daggerboard and rudders to 2 meters. Stability is slow. The more stable the foil package is the more energy that’s slowing the boat down, so having a good control system and having a fast control system and a smarter control system as we can get is important.
About structural components:
If you look at the wings of the Airbus A350 and the shape of the daggerboards, there are parallels. We have similar composite problems in making it strong enough to withstand the loads. The whole weight of the boat is sitting on the foil, and in some cases only a small part of it, so it needs to be strong but made as thin as it possibly can.
About foil efficiency:
The easiest solution is usually the slowest and the highest drag solution. The new thing for us is we go to speed fast enough to boil the water on the daggerboard and rudder, which is cavitation. The easiest way to reduce that is to make the foil thinner. The engineers want to make it thicker, so it’s a balance. A 10-percent reduction in the thickness of the foil, which is a large reduction in strength, can give you 1 to 3 knots boost in top speed before you cavitate. On the first reach that difference will get you to the mark in front. The margins are small, but you don’t need much to get an edge, a cross or an overlap that will make a difference.
About using Airbus facilities for structural load testing of the foils:
We had a beautiful look at the board breaking, and used tomography, which is a process that Airbus owns a machine, which allows us to do this. You can actually see inside the object and trace the failure right to the source, which is a unique opportunity.
About hydraulic efficiency:
We brought the allowable pressure in the rule down to 5,000 psi to try and get the relationship of automotive and aeronautical companies that are using the same type of equipment. We used to be at 10,000 psi and very few companies and parts are made at that level. It’s very expensive for small gains in performance.
Chicago, IL (June 10, 2016) – ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand put on a spectacular show in Chicago during official practice at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series on Friday.
The teams sit one-two on the overall leaderboard, but on Friday, neither team could stay upright. The Kiwis were the first to fall, capsizing late in a close match with ORACLE TEAM USA, the Kiwis came off the foils, crashed down hard, and rolled into a capsize, with some crew members falling off the boat or jumping off the top hull. All crew were safe and accounted for and the Kiwis recovered quickly to start the next race just 15 minutes later.
It was in the next race that ORACLE TEAM USA went over. The team was well back in the fleet race, and appeared to be surprised by an approaching boat. As skipper Jimmy Spithill rolled into a crash tack to avoid collision, the team didn’t have time to let off a line, pinning the wing sail, and resulting in a capsize.
As with Emirates Team New Zealand, the American team was able to recover and resume racing.
More to come….
Source: America’s Cup World Series event media
As the America’s Cup seeks to advance its commercial profile, and mature as a broadcast product, there remains one significant obstacle. The Deed of Gift. The document that has kept the competition on solid ground since 1887 is now under threat, according to this report in the British publication The Telegraph…
The speed of change in the America’s Cup over the past few years has been extraordinary; the move from monohulls to multihulls capable of flying out of the water on hydrofoils, the creation of a world series packaged neatly into a two-hour window for television, the expansion into new territories and the return to iconic stomping grounds such as New York.
But it could be about to get faster still with discussions under way to make the America’s Cup a biennial competition with an expanded but simplified world series using a ‘Cup class’ of boat throughout the entire cycle, The Telegraph can reveal.
The proposed changes would be the “logical” next step as the sport seeks to capitalise on the surge of interest and increase its commercial potential, according to Sir Ben Ainslie and Martin Whitmarsh, the team principal and chief executive respectively of Land Rover BAR.
The British team have committed to the America’s Cup for the long term. Land Rover BAR have built a state-of-the-art facility on the Camber in Portsmouth where an interactive ‘Tech Deck’ Education Centre was recently opened by their trust’s royal patron, the Duchess of Cambridge; they have an academy in which they are grooming future America’s Cup sailors; and they are due to announce another long-term commercial partner.
But to give such partners value – and to reduce America’s Cup teams’ traditional reliance on wealthy benefactors – there is, they say, a “collective understanding” that the sport must refine and improve upon the radical changes already made.
Among the proposals being discussed as teams prepare to compete in Chicago this weekend at the latest round of the World Series would be to make the Cup cycle much shorter – two years as opposed to four – with teams committing in advance to the next cycle and also, importantly, to the next class of boat, rather than waiting for the Defender to announce the new protocol and venue, as is the case currently. – Read on
When Larry Ellison sought to launch his first America’s Cup, he interviewed several yacht clubs to be his club of record. The history of the event saw clubs organize the campaigns, but Larry wanted a club that would relinquish control to his team.
So it would be for the 31st America’s Cup in 2003, Larry’s would enter under the Golden Gate Yacht Club burgee. But now, in his team’s fifth campaign with GGYC, a memo sent to the membership announces the burgee has been changed.
Full report… click here.
Andrew Campbell’s resume is impressive, from winning the Youth Worlds to College Sailor of the Year to the Olympic Games. Now on the sailing team for America’s Cup defender ORACLE TEAM USA, here he shares the set up at the team and where he fits in….
With the America’s Cup World Series New York event looming this weekend, all of our team at ORACLE TEAM USA is looking forward to the racing. Unfortunately, only five or six out of a sailing team of 14 get the opportunity at each event.
In addition to the racing, ORACLE TEAM USA is organized for two boat testing, but we will only field one team of six sailors in the 35th defense of the America’s Cup Match in June 2017. So all of us are aware of the fact that we’re in a healthy competition for a role on the race boat.
While we have a lean sailing team of 14 sailors, within that group we have two helmsmen, two wing trimmers, three tacticians, four jib/board trimmers and 11 grinders. How’s that for fuzzy math?
We all have multiple jobs so we can order and reorder the teams to get the most out of any given day of testing. Most of us can do multiple jobs on the boat. Most of us are also a backup for another counterpart on our team.
The division of labor in the modern America’s Cup format is both simpler and more complicated than in prior editions. Where past campaigns would have hundreds of people in each camp and specific roles for each person, the current format has encouraged smaller teams and more jobs allocated to fewer people.
For instance, sailmaking has been significantly reduced to only a few jibs per boat, thanks to the use of wings and the serious apparent wind increases. We have a team of about 65 people in Bermuda, and each sailor must assume multiple roles in the team in addition to their on-the-water role. We liaise with different departments on shore, but also have multiple responsibilities on the water. Gone are the days of 16-man crews, now it’s a multitasking effort.
My job as a tactician is primarily to help position my boat to win around the racecourse. In addition, on testing days, I collect the goals of our sailing team, our coaching staff, our design team and our shore crew from the morning briefings. We come up with a plan for the day’s effort to create drills and scenarios to reduce variables and produce the highest quality testing results that can then be analyzed for strategy, design, and construction decisions constantly going on in the background of our base here in Bermuda. – Read on
Information for America’s Cup World Series New York on May 7-8 can be found here.
When the six America’s Cup teams take to the waters off New York City for the America’s Cup World Series on May 7-8, the sailors will likely have more experience with Manhattan’s mass transit than the Hudson River race course. But as defender Oracle Team USA reports, that’s a reality they can live with…
“It’s going to be a tricky place to race,” said Oracle Team USA tactician Tom Slingsby. “I’ve never sailed in New York or on the Hudson River. There is a lot of current and obviously plenty of big landmarks on shore which affect the wind and make it all the more tricky. But as hard as it will be, it’s the same for everybody and the best team always seems to win.”
A look at the leaderboard shows the top three teams making a break from the pack. But Slingsby says that can be deceiving – the fleet is getting very competitive.
“All of the teams are capable of winning on the day. Just look at the last couple of events. Artemis Racing shows as being down a bit on the leaderboard, but they won the event in Bermuda. And Groupama Team France had a great regatta in Oman.
“It’s getting tight at the top with Emirates Team New Zealand, ourselves and Land Rover BAR. It seems to always come down to who puts it together and wins the last race.
“But to be honest, we can’t look too much at the other teams. We just have to worry about ourselves. I’d love to nail one of these down. We’ve never been off the podium at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series yet, but we haven’t won an event yet either. I’d love to see us win in New York.”
Oracle Team USA will have six sailors in New York and select the five man crew ahead of each race day. The six sailors are:
Jimmy Spithill (AUS) – Skipper/Helmsman
Tom Slingsby (AUS) – Tactician
Kyle Langford (AUS) – Wing Trimmer
Joey Newton (AUS) – Trimmer
Matt Cassidy (USA) – Bow
Sam Newton (AUS) – Bow
Full report… click here.
The brilliance of videographer Sam Greenfield shares the shenanigans of ORACLE TEAM USA as they hold their first annual Golf Day earlier this month. Video published on Apr 24, 2016
By Erin Beresini, Outside
Oracle Team USA is a sailing crew of 14 athletes bankrolled by billionaire software tycoon, Larry Ellison. Every three years, these Olympians and world champions are called upon to compete for the America’s Cup title in a 46 mile-per-hour spectacle that’s been dubbed the world’s most dangerous sailing race.
Nine years ago, America’s Cup boats had a top speed of about 11.5 mph, The Verge reports. That 35 mph leap comes from a combo of intense training and a greater focus on boat design. “Leaning how to sail is maybe 10 to 20 percent of it,” says Team Oracle member Sam Newton. “The other 80 to 90 percent is developing the boat to make it as fast as possible.”
For that, Oracle has an 11-person design team. But they can’t do their jobs without quality feedback from the sailors. And the sailors can’t do their best without understanding how the boat works, right down to every last cable, panel, and button. In other words, the key to the sailors’ success, which includes two consecutive America’s Cup wins, is absolute mastery of their equipment.
In the Oracle Team’s case, that’s a multi million-dollar vessel loaded with high-tech electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical features. For you, maybe it’s a time trial or mountain bike, skimo, or climbing equipment. Whatever your sport, you’ll be a better athlete for knowing your stuff, inside and out. That way, you can tweak it for optimal performance—enhanced aerodynamics or grip, for instance. And when something goes south, you’ll have a better handle on how to deal.
American sailors Andrew Campbell and Rome Kirby have two of the more unique jobs on the ORACLE TEAM USA sailing team.
During tacks and gybes, they are the ‘caretaker’ helmsmen, who are first across to the new windward side of the boat, and who steer the boat for the 5 seconds or so that it takes for the regular helm – Tom Slingsby or Jimmy Spithill – to run across and get in position.
“It’s a bit of a case of ‘here you go, don’t screw it up!'” according to skipper Spithill.
But despite limited time at the wheel, the potential for taking over at just the right – or wrong – moment is very real.
Consider the video (click here). Andrew Campbell is barely in shot in the bottom left of the screen. He has just run across the trampoline and taken over the wheel during a gybe.
Artemis Racing, closing in at speed from the left, is on starboard and has rights, so the original call was for ORACLE TEAM USA to heat up – to turn to port (left) – and pass behind Artemis Racing.
But then, the Swedish boat came off the foils, nearly stopping. In a split second, and having had the wheel in his hands all of about five seconds, Campbell had to make the call to turn to starboard (right) instead, bringing his boat off the foils in a spectacular splashdown.
Tom Slingsby, the regular helmsman, had just run across the boat and had his hands on the wheel as well. By the time both boats had come to a near stop in the water, just a yard or two apart, Slingsby was on the wheel, and Campbell was on his feet, heading the wing to push it to leeward by hand to help get the boat moving again.
“There wasn’t a lot of room for manoevering there, we would have been going near 30 knots, and they would have been even faster, so it was a pretty fast closing speed. They touched down right when we would have gone behind them, but it became apparent very quickly we wouldn’t have room to do that.
“Right up until the moment where they touched down our move was to go behind and everybody was ready for that, but you need to be able to adjust quickly.”
Campbell says the key to staying safe is to have a playbook and to know what the boats are capable of doing.
“Safety is always in mind, you always know what the exit move is, what the safe option is,” he says.
He says he and Rome Kirby, who also has this role during tacks and gybes, lobby for time on the helm to ensure they have the skills and instincts to deal with unexpected situations.
“We want to make sure we are comfortable. There are scenarios where what happens in those five seconds when the regular helmsman is running across the boat could make a difference in the race,” he explains.
“At these speeds, your reaction time is reduced, but it is the same reaction. You have to know what the plays are before you get into the situation. You know what your play is and what their counter-play is, so when you see they aren’t on their normal play, you are ready to make a quick adjustment.”
At closing speeds upwards of 50 knots, it better be quick.
We learned several hours ago that the Gunboat 55 Rainmaker has indeed been found, and here’s where truth gets stranger than fiction. The long-discussed G55, whose saga is here in all its glory, was spotted by members of Oracle Team USA while they were on a fishing trip off Bermuda! A boat named Tenacious is slowly towing her back to base, and we’ll have more when it’s available. Photo courtesy of Craig McFarlane and thanks to our friends for the heads up – you know who you are.
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
Despite all the drama that surrounded the 34th America’s Cup – the cheating scandal, the jury rulings, the remarkable series – I figured we’d all moved on. It’s been two and half years. Stick a fork in it, right? Apparently not.
The release of a new book by G. Bruce Knecht, The Comeback, focuses on how the defender Oracle Team USA, seriously in a 1-8 hole, found new speed to win eight straight races to beat challenger Emirates Team New Zealand 9-8. And how they did it by cheating.
While Knecht details many of the changes made by the defender, one area gets the most attention. The defender got on a roll when they improved their upwind speed, a result of their ability to foil. But it was how they were able to foil is the big reveal. The book reports it was a result of rapidly pumping the main wing. Here’s an excerpt:
After every turn (tack), the frenzied in an out movements of the wing enabled the boat to rapidly climb up onto the foils. With the boat mostly liberated from the water’s grip, Oracle quickly gained ground on the Kiwis. Thanks to the continued pumping, Spithill could then turn slightly back toward the source of the wind to put the boat on a more direct course toward the next mark without falling off the foils. Nonstop pumping was crucial. “If we didn’t pump the wing, we would lose ground,” Spithill explained.
The book contends that Oracle Team USA won the 34th America’s Cup by cheating. That would normally be the case, however, this is the America’s Cup where the rules were different.
The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) had been modified for the America’s Cup, with significant changes made to Rule 42 – the propulsion rule – which is the section of the RRS that governs actions like pumping. It is this difference in the two versions of the rule that would appear to have relevance.
Under the America’s Cup edition, the rule states only that “A yacht shall compete only by using the wind and water to increase, maintain or decrease her speed. Her crew may adjust the trim of the wing, sails, rudders, daggerboards and hulls, and perform other acts of seamanship.”
That’s all it says, which to me means that you can’t use paddles to row the boat, or perhaps have crew with swim fins try to pull the boat. But you could use the items listed to their limits to sail the boat. Additionally, the Definitions in the America’s Cup edition make no mention of what it means to ‘trim’ the wing and sails.
What would appear significant is how in the RRS used by the sport, Rule 42 is much different. While the basic tenet is the same as the America’s Cup edition, the RRS also includes a list of exceptions and prohibited actions.
Rules only get more complicated when needed, so in the case of RRS Rule 42, clever people over time had pushed the limits of the basic rule to the point that specific techniques had to be listed as either allowed, allowed with limits, or banned.
One of those actions is pumping. In RRS Rule 42, it states that repeated fanning of any sail by pulling in and releasing the sail was prohibited. But the America’s Cup edition makes no specific mention of sail pumping, only saying that you can adjust the trim of the wing and sails during the race.
So do you think what Oracle Team USA did was illegal?
To read both complete versions of Rule 42… click here.
All crew are safe and the ORACLE TEAM USA AC45S test platform is secure back at base following a capsize during training in Bermuda on Wednesday afternoon.
“It was a great day for training, sunny, 15-20 knots of wind,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “So it was a great afternoon of sailing until we capsized.
“The boat didn’t tip over through a nose-dive, which is what normally happens, but we were just pressed over sideways.”
The boat was righted quickly with the assistance of the team chase boats and was then able to sail back to base.
“It was a good test of our on-water safety procedures. Everybody is safe, it looks like we had minimal damage, but we’ll know more on that after the shore crew get a look,” Spithill said.
ORACLE TEAM USA is the second team to capsize during training in the past few months. Land Rover BAR capsized on the Solent in the UK just before Christmas.
“Hopefully we don’t see too many more of these, but this is where we are as a sport where you’re always pushing to be on the limit. We’ll learn from this and move forward.”
© ACEA 2016 / Photo Ricardo Pinto
America’s Cup World Series Oman practice races
In the opening no-count practice races in Oman, light air fleet and match races displayed the importance of weight placement and pressure hunting. Over the should of Oracle Team USA’s Jimmy Spithill, Artemis Racing’s crew reveals how they intend to keep their high-drag foils out of the water.
The America’s Cup is a trophy constantly on the move and its latest stopover is in the Sultanate of Oman – the first time it will have been raced in Middle Eastern waters. The world was made more aware of the influential choosing factor at a pre-series briefing when it was announced that the racing on Saturday and Sunday, when three races are planned for each day, would have to “fit into that all-important television time.”
The practice day, however, was different in many ways. For the first time in AC35 there was hope that match-racing would figure, but only “if the teams want to do it.” There was every indication that the teams did indeed wish to practice in this discipline. The request for it came from the teams.
Two fleet races were scheduled and there was a new-boy in the role of skipper. While Franck Cammas is almost fully recovered from the ankle injury he sustained when he fell from a GC32 at speed, he is not sufficiently mobile to steer Groupama Team France. “I still need a couple more weeks for that,” he said with some regret, “but Adam (Minoprio) will do a good job.”
There was something prophetic about that. The race was held in a streaky breeze that topped out at 5 knots, and strength rather than direction of the wind was the most important factor. Minoprio grabbed the start and was first to the turning mark, followed at some distance by Nathan Outteridge with Artemis, Ben Ainslie with Land Rover BAR, and Dean Barker with Softbank Team Japan.
By the bottom gate the French were still ahead, trailed by the Brits and the Kiwis, who had made a smart move on the left side of the field. Ainslie led at the weather mark gate followed by the French and the Kiwis, but on the run to the finish positions changed faster than current interest rates. At the line, Artemis beat Softbank with Groupama third, followed in order by Oracle, Land Rover BAR and Emirates Team New Zealand – all overlapped.
Minoprio nailed the second start and bolted, the rest were strung out in line astern. By the bottom mark, Groupama was still in front and elected to go left, into the breeze that had brought her down the leg faster than her rivals. But that side didn’t pay and upwind Outteridge, in better breeze took the lead for Artemis Racing, rounding the weather gate ahead of Jimmy Spithill with Oracle. Then came Ainslie and the BAR team followed by the French, ETNZ and Softbank.
The three leaders held their places, giving Artemis two wins in the day for best boat on 20 points (they don’t count in the series score). The rest of the finishing order was Oracle Team USA, Land Rover BAR, Softbank Team Japan, Groupama Team France, and after fouling two boats, Emirates Team New Zealand.
Following the fleet racing practice, by request of the competitors, there were two rounds of match racing in increasingly difficult conditions. There was one basic rule which all should have followed – when ahead, cover your opponent. Letting the boat behind sail a different course several times brought about a change in the order. Nothing was at stake apart from personal belief.
The breeze was anything but steady in strength and direction and place changing was frequent and the winners of the respective six matches had Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis, Softbank, Groupama and Land Rover Ben Ainsle Racing. Only the defender Oracle Team USA returned to the dock winless.
Official racing in the America’s Cup World Series, starts on Saturday and will consist of three races on each day with the points on the second day doubled. It will need the assistance of the competitors to aid the race officials the necessary discipline to enable this amount of racing to take place.
© ACEA 2016 / Photo Ricardo Pinto
America’s Cup World Series Oman
While Oracle Team USA remained consistent in the practice day’s fleet races, the team came up short in its match races.
In the previous America’s Cup, a cost containment provision was in place to limit past practices of building many boats. Nothing beats real scale testing, but with the immense build time and complexity to sail the AC72 used in 2013, only defender Oracle Team USA was able to execute two-boat testing.
It was, however, permitted to use the AC45 for training, and when the defender discovered the Kiwis had solved the foiling conundrum, they quickly were testing appendages on their 45s. But whatever they learned still had to be significantly scaled up. Not a no-brainer.
For this next America’s Cup in 2017, training limitations still allow use of an AC45, but it can also be a boat that resembles one. With the America’s Cup Class (ACC) yacht now reduced to 15 meters, which is just a click over 49 feet, what had been a significant size gap between real scale and test scale has been nearly eliminated.
With no limit on how many 45-foot test platforms can be built, Oracle Team USA is doing what well-funded teams can do. They are spending money.
The defender launched their third test platform on February 15. The Swedes have two boats while the Kiwis, Brits and Japanese have only first generation platforms. The French have none.
“There is a big step up with this boat in terms of the systems we are developing and now testing in real world use,” says Scott Ferguson, design coordinator for Oracle Team USA.
“We think we will see a significant jump in performance with this boat,” said defense general manager Grant Simmer. “The systems we are testing now will translate directly into the design of the America’s Cup boat we race in 2017.”
While ACC racing won’t start until May 2017, it will soon be time to make critical decisions.
“The design lock-in dates for the first America’s Cup Class boat are staggered to a certain extent,” Simmer said. “But we are coming up to the time when we need to make some hard decisions.”
In the history of the America’s Cup, the fastest boat wins. Right now oddschecker.com bets it will be Oracle Team USA.
San Francisco, CA (February 12, 2016) – A federal judge dismissed without prejudice an America’s Cup sailor’s claim that Oracle Team USA breached his contract by blaming him for a crewmate’s mistake, though the judge found it “difficult to imagine” how the sailor could successfully amend his lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Vincent Chhabria found Wednesday that Matthew Charles Mitchell lacks standing to pursue the lawsuit he filed last year, but gave him 14 days to amend it.
Mitchell claimed that Oracle blamed him for nonparty Simeon Tienpont’s violation of the rules: adding weight to a race boat, in the form of resin.
Mitchell claimed “that the team’s failure to suspend or fire Tienpont caused Mitchell to become a scapegoat in disciplinary proceedings before the America’s Cup jury,” Chhabria wrote in his summary of the case. “In other words, Mitchell seems to believe that if the Oracle Team had suspended or fired Tienpont, the America’s Cup jury would somehow have treated Mitchell differently during disciplinary proceedings.
“But according to the allegations in Mitchell’s own complaint, as well as the exhibits he attaches to the complaint, the America’s Cup jury was aware that Tienpont added resin to the kingpost. Therefore, the Oracle Team’s alleged failure to suspend or fire Tienpont could not have caused Mitchell’s alleged injury.” (Citation omitted.)
However, Mitchell’s lawyer insisted on Thursday (Feb 11) that if Tienpont had been suspended or fired, the America’s Cup jury would not have gone after Mitchell. Attorney Patricia Barlow said it was significant that the judge’s order included to what the jury knew about Tienpont’s involvement.
Mitchell, who had been hired to help prepare for the 34th America’s Cup, sued Oracle Racing dba Oracle Team USA in July last year. He sought $400,000 in damages.
The main event in 2013, featuring 72-foot catamarans in San Francisco Bay, was preceded by the America’s Cup World Series, for which the Oracle Team prepared three 45-foot multihull race boats called AC45s.
Before the race, and official discovered that lead and resin had been added to an AC45. Mitchell claimed that his reputation was hurt and he was excluded from sailing in the first four America’s Cup races because Oracle Team did not suspend or fire Tienpont for the extra weight.
He said he did not perform any work on the kingpost, nor did he supervise Tienpont, who did do the work.
The kingpost is a sturdy post near the bow that rises above the deck.
After a two-day hearing in 2013, the America’s Cup International Jury decided that Mitchell probably participated in filling the kingpost with heavy resinous material.
Chhabria ruled on Wednesday that even if Mitchell had standing to sue, he cannot claim that Oracle Team acted in bad faith, or refusing to fire or suspend Tienpont constituted negligence.
“Mitchell’s employment contract with Oracle had nothing to do with the Oracle Team’s employment of Tienpont, so nothing that the Oracle Team did (or didn’t do) to Tienpont could have breached the Oracle Team’s duty to act fairly and in good faith in performing its contract with Mitchell,” Chhabria wrote. (Parentheses in ruling.)
Admiralty law gives employers the right to fire an employee unless it would violate a specific provision of the employee’s contract, and Oracle Team’s decision to retain Tienpont did not violate Mitchell’s employment deal, Chhabria said.
The judge concluded that Mitchell had not made a plausible claim that Tienpont’s continued employment caused Mitchell any actual harm.
Punitive damages were also taken off the table, because without substantive claims, Mitchell cannot seek them as a remedy.
Though Chhabria gave Mitchell 14 days to amend his complaint, he wrote that it would be “difficult to imagine how Mitchell could amend his complaint … to allege either standing or a legitimate theory of liability based on the Oracle Team’s failure to suspend or fire Tienpont.”
But attorney Barlow said Mitchell plans to press ahead.
“We have reviewed the order and we now have to explain how Oracle’s treatment of Tienpont would have caused Mitchell’s injury,” Barlow said.
Oracle Team’s attorney, Ashley Baltazar with Hanson Bridgett, did not respond to phone and emailed requests for comment.
Source: Courthouse News Service
ORACLE TEAM USA is creating virtual wind tunnels and towing tanks through computational fluid mechanics tools. Designer Len Imas discusses the use of the different simulation software – RANS (Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes) and Lattis Boltzmann methods – in this #TechTuesday feature by Javier Salinas.
Published on Feb 2, 2016
America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA may be representing an American club, but through the three America’s Cup World Series events in 2015, there has yet to be a true blue American among her sailing crew. Curious about the nationality directive within the team, Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck spoke with Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill on the subject…
Is there any directive from team management for there to be any certain nationality on the team?
We don’t pick people based on their nationality. We don’t pick people based on what they look like, the country on their passport, or color of their skin. We pick people based on one thing, and that is their attitude, their work ethic, how much of a team player they are, and talent.
In my experience in sport as a kid growing up, is that life isn’t always fair, and there’s plenty of examples out there in the real world about discrimination and people being judged differently because of their background, where they might be born, maybe their upbringing, whatever.
But one thing I learned as a kid was that when you got out on the sporting field, and when you kicked that rugby ball, when that boxing bell sounded, or when the start gun for a race went, none of that stuff mattered. All that stuff went out the window, and what really mattered was who wanted it the most, and who would work the hardest. That, to me, has always been the attraction to sport, in that all the other stuff goes away.
That’s why I love doing it, and that’s why I love watching it and seeing some of these awesome stories about people coming from complete ghettos in the middle of nowhere in different countries and somehow against all odds making it, becoming a star soccer player or NFL player or whatever. But to answer your question, we select people only based on the kind of people they are. We love having great people in our team.
In terms of selecting crew, the sailing team through the three events this year were mostly Australian. Since both you and your sailing team manager, Tom Slingsby, are Australian, does that influence crew selection?
We’re going to be doing rotations throughout the entire 2015-16 World Series. The fact is because of being so focused on our boat development program, and in how there’s been very, very little training time, plus in how there’s weight limits to these boats, we wanted to give a couple of new guys a trial. But you can’t do everything at once. You can’t do everything at three regattas. But we think we’ve got the people in the team to go out there and win the World Series events, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
Much more… read on
There was a time in America’s Cup lore when any work between challenger and defender was tantamount to treason. But now, defender Oracle Team USA is providing the boat design for a new Japanese team led by kiwi skipper Dean Barker. In a report for The New York Times, Christopher Clarey presents this new reality…
Hamilton, Bermuda (October 15, 2015) – As Oracle Team USA polished off one of the greatest comebacks in any sport in the last America’s Cup, even eye contact became difficult for Jimmy Spithill, Oracle’s skipper, and Dean Barker, his counterpart at Emirates Team New Zealand.
“Both of us I think wanted to rip each other’s throat out,” Spithill said.
Little more than two years later, Spithill and Barker share office space in a recently renovated 19th-century warehouse in the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda as they prepare for this week’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series regatta on the Great Sound.
They chat amicably over lunch, exchange ideas at the weekend barbecue pit and chide each other — like many an Australian and New Zealander on friendly terms — over the results of the Rugby World Cup. Spithill even has sneaked a few Australian wallaby stickers into Barker’s workspace.
“I think Jimmy needs to sort of concentrate a bit more on the sailing and a little bit less on the rugby,” said Barker, now the skipper and chief executive for the new challenger SoftBank Team Japan.
All this adds up to quite a mood swing for the star helmsmen with contrasting personalities who were rivals long before Oracle’s 2013 fight-back for the annals from a 1-8 deficit in San Francisco.
All Barker and Team New Zealand needed was one more victory to secure the Cup, fly it back to Auckland and lounge in the afterglow of an upset victory over the lavishly funded defender owned by the American billionaire Larry Ellison.
Instead, with Spithill setting the never-say-sink tone, Oracle proceeded to win eight straight races, finding a way to foil consistently upwind and retain the oldest major trophy in sports.
“Despite what many New Zealanders think, there was no silver bullet; I wish there was so we could use it this time,” Spithill said. “The answer was it was a lot of little things.”
The outcome was one part exhilarating victory, one part crushing defeat. And the two men who symbolized each team’s improbable journey were the cocksure Spithill and the understated Barker, who looked every bit as stricken in defeat that sunny September afternoon in 2013 as one would expect.
“I think it will always haunt me, just that sort of unfinished business,” Barker said in an interview last week at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. “But you have to be able to take the lessons from it and move on because you end up being a grumpy man if you dwell on it too much. – Full report
ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill and tactician Tom Slingsby welcome you to the first event in the host venue of the America’s Cup, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, October 16-18.
When the America’s Cup World Series makes its final stop for 2015 in Bermuda later this month, the five foreign challengers will have one thing in common with the American defender. None of the teams will be sailing with Americans.
While it was not expected for the teams representing clubs from England, France, Japan, New Zealand, or Sweden to have U.S. crew, Oracle Team USA isn’t planning on doing so either.
American Rome Kirby, along with new U.S. recruits Andrew Campbell and Matt Cassidy, will be sitting on the sideline. The team representing Golden Gate Yacht Club will start in Bermuda with an all foreign line-up.
The Nationality Rule is the same for the America’s Cup World Series as it is the America’s Cup. Both events require each team to have at least one of the crew to be nationals of the country of the yacht club that the team represents. The defender fulfills the rule with crew that hold duel passports.
Oracle Team USA will race in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda with the same crew that earned a second place finish in Gothenburg, Sweden in August.
Jimmy Spithill (AUS) will again be skipper/helmsman, with Tom Slingsby (AUS/USA), tactician; Kyle Langford (AUS), wing trimmer; Joey Newton (AUS), trimmer; Louis Sinclair (ANT/USA/NZL), bow.
“We’re going with the same line-up as last time,” confirmed skipper Spithill. “We had a long list that we’ve worked on with Philippe since Gothenberg, and want to put that into play in Bermuda.
Gothenburg, Sweden (August 29, 2015) – Oracle Team USA got the jump at the start of the first race of the America’s Cup World Series, Gothenburg, picking the right line to the top mark and starting at pace to lead around Gate 1, opening the page on what was to be complete domination of the six boat fleet.
In 15 – 17 knots from the southwest, ETNZ started to weather, with top four boats almost level going to first mark, Oracle team USA popped into a narrow lead in middle of the top group at the top mark for the first time. ORACLE TEAM USA used the inside lane of the starting line to round mark one with the lead and they never looked back, holding off a late charge from Land Rover BAR to win the first race.
On leg five, halfway on the 10 leg race, Oracle was 99m ahead of BAR with ETNZ third but crossed behind Artemis who came across on starboard. At the top of the course, BAR moved into second behind Oracle, with Emirates Team NZ into third. Oracle won the race by 11 seconds, the race took 27m 30 secs duration. Artemis fourth, finishing under gennaker.
Finishing position Race 1 – Points
ORACLE TEAM USA – 10
Land Rover BAR – 9
Emirates Team New Zealand – 8
Artemis Racing – 7
SoftBank Team Japan – 6
Groupama Team France – 5
ORACLE TEAM USA earned a wire-wire win in race two on Saturday for their second victory of the day. “We’ve been working really hard with our coach and been candid with ourselves and learned our lessons,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The timing is split seconds if you get it wrong, so we still have room to improve.” Land Rover BAR steal past Emirates Team New Zealand for second place.
The America’s cup Defender again led around every mark on the ten leg course, and won all 20 legs sailed in racing on Day 1, in a dominating display of sailing. Oracle Team USA now take the lead in the America’s cup World series, with land Rover BAR in second and Emirates Team NZ third.
“Today was almost like a warm-up,” said Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “It’s all about tomorrow when the points are doubled. It’s super Sunday. But that being said, I’d rather be in our position. We’re sailing well, we’re confident, and we’ll be ready to go.”
In the first race, Ainslie was fast off the starting line, but ORACLE TEAM USA had the favored inside position to lead at mark one. From there it was a matter of protecting a narrow lead from a hard-changing Ainslie. Spithill said, “There were a few things we could have done better in that first race. Tom got us started well and picked a few shifts, but we had some boat-handling mistakes and I put my hand up for that…”
If race one was tense, the second contest was a more dominant performance.
“The second one was a really good race. Joey and Kyle were doing a great job on the boat speed and Louis was great on the maneuvers and that really allowed Tom to get his head out of the boat and he just nailed it. It’s nice going into tomorrow seeing the team working so well.”, Spithill added.
Finishing position Race 2 – Points
ORACLE TEAM USA – 10
Land Rover BAR – 9
Emirates Team New Zealand – 8
SoftBank Team Japan – 7
Groupama Team France – 6
Artemis Racing – 5
Results after Day One of racing:
Team – Points
ORACLE TEAM USA – 20
Land Rover BAR – 18
Emirates Team New Zealand – 16
SoftBank Team Japan – 13
Artemis Racing – 12
Groupama Team France – 11
Background: The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) racing circuit forms part of the 35th America’s Cup programme, with scoring contributing to the selection of the 2017 America’s Cup Challenger. The ACWS will take place during 2015 and 2016 and will feature the one design foiling AC45F catamarans at a number of event locations around the world over the two years.