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There’s no other way to put it… watching ORACLE TEAM USA “fly” their AC72 on foils is simply breathtaking.

Come along for a test flight…

In other AC34 News…

Austrians Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, double Olympic Gold medalists in the Tornado catamaran, have entered the upcoming America’s Cup World Series Naples, scheduled Apr. 16-21.

The duo will sail under the banner HS Racing and race under the US flag in partnership with ORACLE TEAM USA.

HS Racing is one of nine crews entered in the regatta, which will also feature America’s Cup World Series leader ORACLE TEAM USA, second-placed Luna Rossa Piranha, third-placed Artemis Racing White, J.P. Morgan BAR, Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Swordfish and China Team.

Hagara and Steinacher were Gold medalists at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics. They are also the sports directors for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled Sept. 1-4 in San Francisco.

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© ACEA-2013 / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

“It’s great to have Roman and Hans-Peter involved,” said ORACLE TEAM USA CEO Russell Coutts. “They aim to be serious competitors and this is a great platform to launch their America’s Cup aspirations.”

Familiar names are lining up for the final AC World Series event, with sailors such as Dean Barker of Emirates Team New Zealand, Francesco Bruni and Chris Draper of Luna Rossa, Yann Guichard of Energy Team and Tom Slingsby of ORACLE TEAM USA scheduled to compete. Sweden’s Artemis Racing will be helmed by 23-year-old Charlie Ekberg, Sweden’s top 49er sailor and skipper of Artemis Racing/Swedish Youth Challenge for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. The Naples event will also feature the return of Mitch Booth to the helm of China Team, while Ben Ainslie will skipper his J.P. Morgan BAR team.

Team Korea, previously an America’s Cup World Series participant and Louis Vuitton Cup entrant, has withdrawn from further competition in the 34th America’s Cup. In a letter to the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the team indicated it has plans to enter the 35th America’s Cup.

Last year’s AC World Series Naples drew crowds estimated at 500,000, who were there in part to catch the debut of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013. Draper led his Luna Rossa Piranha crew to a thrilling win in the final fleet race. The victory kicked off celebrations among the tens of thousands of Italian America’s Cup fans lining the Naples waterfront to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

From Americascup.com.

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The Fun Begins

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AC Train arrives in San Francisco. Photo: SLewis/ACMedia

29/06/2012, Newport (USA,RI), 34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series Newport 2012, Racing Day 2, Luna Rossa Vs Oracle Team USA Coutts.
Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget/ACMedia

The America’s Cup Express, a train stretching 1.5 miles long, rolled into San Francisco Tuesday ahead of the first San Francisco Bay racing less than a month away. The 121 railroad cars are carrying precious cargo required to move the America’s Cup World Series and the teams into the host city of the Cup ahead of racing between Aug. 21 to 26, 2012.

“In less than one month, we’ll be racing for the very first time on San Francisco Bay,” said Stephen Barclay, CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority.

“This train represents more than just another stop on the AC World Series for us,” Barclay continued. “The arrival of the train today is the first step in our move ‘home’ to San Francisco.”

August’s races are part of a preliminary series designed in part to boost interest in the main event in San Francisco in 2013.

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Crowds enjoy racing in Newport (USA,RI) at the 34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series Newport 2012. Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget

Cup organizers held an event on Pier 80, the home base of the Oracle Racing team, to celebrate the arrival of the America’s Cup Express, that came from Newport, R.I., where an earlier round of races ended July 1.

In coming weeks the Cup organizers will begin assembling an America’s Cup Village on the Marina Green, a collection of shops, educational booths and other entertainment where race fans can watch the competitions.

Riding the Green Train

“By our calculations we saved 30 percent in our carbon emissions coming across,” said Barclay.

San Francisco officials said it was the first time in a decade the city’s historic rail lines in the southeastern section had been used for such a massive load of cargo. The rails were heavily used decades ago when the Mission Bay area was a hub of industry.

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Monique Moyer,
Photo: SLewis/ACMedia

“In those days the city had cattle farms on the west side and the slaughter yards were on the east side,” said San Francisco Port Director Monique Moyer.

Longshoremen will begin unloading the containers this week and hauling the yachts and racing gear to Piers 30, 32. The piers will serve as the home base for a fleet of 13 international teams competing in the America’s Cup World Series from August 21 to 26 on the San Francisco Bay. The race is a tune-up to the America’s Cup event in 2013.

In the meantime, Barclay said spectators will be able to view the teams practicing on the bay for weeks leading up to the event.

“I think for the first time ever they’ll be able to almost touch the boats,” said Barclay. “They’ll see the boats moored down at the Marina Green.”

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 – San Francisco: A four-alarm fire caused significant damage to the historic Pier 29 on the Embarcadero, San Francisco’s waterfront yesterday.

Bad news for the City, and although not good news for the America’s Cup organizers, it won’t put a significant damper on plans to construct the long-awaited 10,000-seat stadium and starting line for the final race of the America’s Cup.The plan is still to have the construction completed by March 2013, according to the Contra Costa Times.

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San Francisco’s waterfront and pier 27-29. Photo:© GILLES MARTIN-RAGET / ACEA

The fire began in the vacant 97-year old building and around 1:50 p.m. No one was injured and investigators are still working to determine the cause. Welders were working on site however and one could have started the blaze that caused the roof of the building to collapse.

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Pier 29 fire causes roof to collapse. Photo: Cole Rise


In a statement on their website, America’s Cup Organizers said, “We applaud the immediate and courageous response from the San Francisco fire department this afternoon at Pier 29.Pier 29 is not currently under the control of, or under development by, the America’s Cup. Pier 29 is still under the control of the city and Port of San Francisco and their contractor Turner Construction Company.According to the reports we’ve heard, there are no injuries reported at pier and that is very good news.

Based on information available at this time, we do not anticipate that this will have any impact on our plans for the site and we look forward to moving ahead with the future construction of the America’s Cup Village at Pier 27/29.”

That is certainly some good news.

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Soon all sailboat racing enthusiasts will see their wishes come true

as the America’s Cup will finally be broadcast on network television for the first time since 1992. It all happens next year when NBC broadcasts the first two races of sailing’s top prize on San Francisco Bay in September 2013.

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17/02/2012 - Sedro Wooley (USA) - ORACLE Racing - Training. © Americascupmedia.com.

In an AP article, it was reported that:

Officials told the Associated Press that the deal with the NBC Sports Group also includes three broadcasts on NBC this year from the America’s Cup World Series. The remaining races in the America’s Cup match will be on cable, on NBC Sports Network.

The deal is big for regatta organizers, who hope to showcase the modernized America’s Cup racing to mainstream fans. Racing will be on a short course close to shore rather than miles out to sea, and in fast, wing-sail catamarans rather than plodding sloops.

The NBC Sports Group also acquired rights to the Louis Vuitton Cup in the summer of 2013 in San Francisco, which will determine which foreign syndicate meets Oracle Racing, owned by Silicon Valley maverick Larry Ellison, for the oldest trophy in international sports.

Richard Worth, chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority, said NBC will televise the final day of racing from three stops on the America’s Cup World Series this summer, as well as the opening two races of the 34th America’s Cup match on Sept. 7 and 8, 2013.

NBC Sports Group is not paying a rights fee. Worth said America’s Cup officials will acquire airtime and offer commercial time first to their own sponsors.

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18/02/2012 – San Francisco (USA) – ORACLE Racing – Training.
© Americascupmedia.com.

A Fair Race?

Of course there’s plenty of folks out there who feel that the race isn’t like it used to be before the big cats came on board. But organizers believe they’ve largely avoided the potential problem of weather-related delays that could easily mess up broadcast schedules by switching to catamarans that can sail in a wide range of conditions. Races have been shortened to better fit into TV time slots and will be sailed close to shore.

The ACWS is being contested in 45-foot catamarans with high-tech wings as mainsails. The Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup match will be sailed in 72-foot cats.

The first NBC broadcast is scheduled for July 1, the final day of the America’s Cup World Series in Newport, R.I. The other dates on NBC are Aug. 26 and Oct. 7, so America’s Cup organizers will fit events to those slots. Organizers are exploring having an ACWS stop on the Hudson River in New York, which would end on Aug. 26. If that’s not possible, there would be ACWS stops in San Francisco ending with televised races on Aug. 26 and Oct. 7.

Whether it’s in New York or San Francisco, the regatta ending on Aug. 26 will feature Ben Ainslie’s debut with Oracle Racing. The star British sailor, who will be trying for a fourth straight gold medal in the London Olympics, will join Oracle Racing to gain experience for what he hopes will be a title challenge with his own team in the future.

Each boat will carry an HD camera and 14 microphones. America’s Cup officials have developed a system called LiveLine that will insert graphics into live shots from helicopters. Lines similar to the yellow first-down line used in football broadcasts will be used to show which boat is ahead, distance to the marks and course boundaries.

(Originally published March 1, 2012)

By The Associated Press  BERNIE WILSON (AP Sports Writer)

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Organizers scale back plans

Organizers of sailing’s most prestigious event say they are dramatically scaling back plans to renovate San Francisco’s dilapidated waterfront.

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34th America's Cup - The America's Cup in San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge

Following hours of pointed, dense and passionate discussions, a Board of Supervisors committee voted 2-1 to move the deal to a full board vote on Tuesday as organizers face looming construction deadlines to ready waterfront race facilities before qualifying matches begin in July 2013.

Exhibition races are set for August, progressing toward finals – the Mount Everest of sailing, as Oracle Racing skipper James Spithill described them – in September 2013.

According to an article on SFGate.com, some supervisors continue to have concerns about the final financing deal between the city and race organizers, a regatta group led by billionaire Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, that would provide long-term leases and development rights on port-owned waterfront property in exchange for at least $55 million in infrastructure work shoring up dilapidated piers the city can’t afford to fix.

The cornerstone of the deal remains giving the business arm of Ellison’s regatta group, the America’s Cup Event Authority, a 66-year, rent-free lease on Piers 30-32, a crumbling single, conjoined pier south of the Bay Bridge, and title to Seawall Lot 330 across the Embarcadero, in exchange for the group paying $55 million to stabilize the piers.

Mayor Ed Lee made the announcement Monday during a news conference at San Francisco’s Pier 80, where Ellison is building his space-age catamaran to defend the trophy he won in 2010 off the coast of Spain.

Ellison picked the San Francisco Bay as the location of the 34th race for the America’s Cup, scheduled for September 2013. The plan was for Ellison’s race team to spend $55 million on piers 30 and 32 in exchange for rent-free use of them for 66 years and title to a city-owned lot nearby.

Instead, all competitors will be housed at Pier 80, which Ellison has already spent a couple million dollars renovating. But the location is about two miles from the proposed “racing village” that is expected to serve as the event’s hub. Pier 80 will still be open to the public, but organizers concede that it may require a bus ride instead of a walk from the racing village to visit.

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San Francisco's Pier 80

Nonetheless, Lee and organizers insisted Monday that none of the 50 or so race days leading up to the final weekend of racing in September 2013 or the planned course around Alcatraz island in front of the city’s skyline will change. The racing village planned at Piers 27-29 along the heart of the city’s waterfront is continuing. The village will be converted into a cruise ship terminal after the America’s Cup events.

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Marina Green Rendering © 2012 Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com

Lee said the change was made after negotiators concluded they didn’t have enough time to solve the financial, environmental and regulatory issues necessary to refurbish the piers in time for the challengers to move in and convert to their headquarters. Training runs can begin on the Bay in July. The agreement was also criticized by some supervisors and others as too sweet of a deal for Ellison and the city budget analyst recommended San Francisco share some of the future revenues from the property.

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AC34 San Francisco Bay Race Course. © 2012 Gilles Martin-Raget / http://www.americascup.com.

Who will compete?

So far, three teams have formally entered the competition. Lead Ellison negotiator Stephen Barclay said he expects a few more teams to sign up before the June 1 deadline.

Monday’s announcement also postponed a final Board of Supervisors vote Tuesday on the financial agreement between the city and Ellison. No new date has been set for the board to consider a redrafted final agreement.

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Oracle training on San Francisco Bay. ©2012 Guilain GRENIER/www.americascup.com

Read the entire article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/22/MN6H1NB6T8.DTL#ixzz1o0aGLmYs

NBC Sports Group Sets Sail for America’s Cup with New Deal

NBC Sports Group landed yet another key piece in its continued push to acquire more rights to live sports, signing a deal to carry the 34th America’s Cup from San Francisco on both NBC and the NBC Sports Network in 2013.

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The NBC Sports Group will present live coverage of the 34th America’s Cup on both NBC and the NBC Sports Network beginning on September 7, 2013 from the Cup’s host city of San Francisco. In the picture Jon Miller, President of Programming at the NBC Sports Group with Richard Worth, Chairman, America’s Cup Event Authority. Photo: ©2012 ACEA/www.americascup.com

The first two days of racing Sept. 7-8 will air on NBC, with the remaining races airing on NBC Sports Network. NBC’s coverage of the opening two days will mark the marquee yacht competition’s first appearance on network television since 1993, when ABC broadcast the opening race from San Diego. All others have been carried live on cable since 1983 (the first time an American yacht club failed to win the Cup in 132 years).

NBC Sports Group also acquired the rights to the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, which determines the challenger for the America’s Cup Finals. NBC will also televise the final day of racing from three stops on the America’s Cup World Series this summer. NBC Sports Group is not paying a rights fee; rather, America’s Cup officials will acquire airtime and offer commercial time first to their own sponsors.

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Oracle Racing AC45 against Marin hills. Photo by Guilain Grenier

While out on the San Francisco Bay practicing for the 2013 America’s Cup, Russell Coutts and fellow Oracle team members James Spithill (AUS), Shannon Falcone, Tactician John Kostecki (USA), putting their two boats through their paces, Coutts showed off some acrobatics by flipping the AC45 wing-sailed catamaran over on it’s side.

In typical SF Bay wild winds and seastate, the capsize managed to cause some excitement for the spectators along the cityfront on Monday. With Coutts at the helm, and as the cat was bearing off in a pre-start, the AC45 pitchpoled at around 22 knots. They were able to right the boat after about 10 minutes with some damage occurring on the wingsail – where a hole was made in the fabric skin where Coutts fell through.

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Photo by Guilain Grenier

According to Oracle Racing.com, “We got caught in the pre-start at the wrong angle and paid the price,” said Coutts, who fell through the lower part of the front element of the wingsail. “The boats are spectacular, hard to sail. They’re gonna test the best sailors in the world. Luckily I had the crash helmet on.” During the incident crewman Shannon Falcone injured his ribs. “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 was taken to the hospital for a precautionary X-ray. Though they came back negative, Falcone did suffer a dislocated rib cartilage and will have to mend.

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Damage to Wingsail. Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget

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Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget

Those bouncy trampolines between the hulls is usually were crew hang on when the boat goes over, but sometimes when the wingmast hits the water hard, they can be catapulted right off and into the water.

The AC45 demo sailing is part of a press buzz building up to Wednesday’s (June 15) announcement of the lineup of paid entries for the 2013 America’s Cup. Since the April announcement that SF Bay will host the 34th Cup, there have been 14 entries in addition to the Defender Oracle Racing including Emirates Team New Zealand and Swedish Artemis Racing Team who have become the new Challenger of Record. Other teams expected to race are the White Tiger from Korea, China Team, Energy Team from France and Italian Venezia Challenge. A surprise drop out is Italian Mascalzone Latino who were not able to raise the necessary $40 million to get to the start line in 2013.

All images courtesy of 34th America’s Cup, Oracle Racing and Gilles Martin-Raget and Guilain Grenier.

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