All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by
September 22, 2013 9:04 AM   Subscribe

September 7th marked the beginning of the battle for the 2013 America's Cup between defending Oracle Team USA and challenging Emirates Team New Zealand. As the winners of the last cup, the Golden Gate Yacht Club decided that this year's Cup match would take place in a new class of boat, the AC72 wing sail catamaran. Almost as much airplane as sailboat, these extraordinary craft are designed to lift out of the water, allowing them to sail faster than the wind and reach astonishing speeds of up to 50 knots. It was hailed as the pinnacle of the sport until a May 2013 capsize and death of Swedish crew member Andrew Simpson had some calling it the world's most dangerous sailboat.

In the current series, today looks to be the day to watch the races, with New Zealand on match point after a series of weather delays imposed by windspeed restrictions following May's fatality. The weather conditions have been a boon for Team USA, who have been struggling to come back from a cheating penalty that cost them 2 points and 3 crew members. The current standings are 3 to 8 and the first race is scheduled for 1:15 PST. Larry Ellison will be watching from his superyacht Musashi; you can watch live on YouTube.
posted by annekate (91 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Please, god, let that asshole Ellison lose.

We were up on Hawk Hill last year on the day when the Oracle boat capsized/pitch-polled during trials. We were mostly watching for hawks because that's what we do, but it was hard not to notice that a giant sailboat went from being upright to lying down in the water. We saw it surrounded by little boats and lines, but we missed the part where it was dragged out into the Gate on the ebb tide and smashed to pieces.

For Bart Simpson:

.
posted by rtha at 9:18 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The AC72 is the new class of yacht created specifically for the 2013 America’s Cup"

Okay, I accept that this is a very fast boat. It may be the ultimate in rapid wind powered propulsion across water.

But in what conceivable sense can you apply the word "yacht" to that machine?
posted by Naberius at 9:20 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]




I will say that the cool thing about the coverage has been the onboard cameras, which gives a really good feel for just how fast these things go. It's amazing.
posted by rtha at 9:24 AM on September 22, 2013


I'm certainly cheering for New Zealand. This "race" has cost my city millions of dollars in taxpayer funds so a lying, cheating billionaire can try to cheat his way to a win. No thank you.

"Clearly (the event) didn't live up to expectations," Avalos said. "The subsidies for the America's Cup promoters increased as support for bread-and-butter services for everyday San Franciscans stayed about the same. We were promised a regatta of 15 boats but ended up with three billionaires in a tub."
posted by gingerbeer at 9:24 AM on September 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Great post, thank you. And these boats are truly magnificent when you see them on the water.

But boy the event has been a fiasco here in San Francisco. There's a litany of articles in the local paper about cost overruns and poor attendance. See today's article, for instance, and it's the most positive I've seen yet. It doesn't help that as sporting events go it's been pretty weak; only three teams competing, lots of "races" consisting of one boat making a few laps by itself, more time spent in courtrooms than on the water. It doesn't help everyone thinks Ellison is a giant asshole. And then his Team Oracle cheated. No wonder everyone's rooting for New Zealand, they're the good guys.

I'm hopeful in a few weeks we'll have a good final news article about how much hosting the event ended up costing San Francisco. At least the waterfront real-estate giveaway Ellison originally tried to scam got stopped.
posted by Nelson at 9:26 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's the coverage in the local paper.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:29 AM on September 22, 2013


The SF Bay Guardian (also linked above) has had some good coverage, with reporting from New Zealand.

And the SF Weekly has also been pretty critical from the beginning:

"Considering this dismal state of affairs, it's no surprise event organizers and cheerleaders hand out blithe assurances that the rising tide of increased tax revenue will raise all boats. It'd be less irksome if this worked out mathematically. It doesn't.

Relying on a spike in hotel taxes is a dubious proposition. From 2010 to 2012, the months of July to September averaged 90 percent room occupancy. The most recent available average daily rate is $227. Since the Transient Occupancy Tax takes a 14 percent slice of the rate, that's about $32 a room going to the city.

So, for every $1 million the city is forced to eat in America's Cup costs, it'd have to fill an additional 31,466 hotel rooms. That's tough to do when you're already at 90 percent capacity. It's even tougher when there are only 33,596 rooms in the city, total."
posted by gingerbeer at 9:36 AM on September 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Billionaires should spend their money on space exploration rather than yachts. How can we make that happen?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:53 AM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


In fact, without New Zealand's maritime way of life, Larry Ellison wouldn't have much of a team: of the 27 sailors and management crew aboard Oracle, a third are Kiwis. Another third are Australians. If you count Ellison, there are only three Americans aboard. Just one of them — tactician and grinder John Kostecki — grew up sailing on San Francisco Bay.

Ellison's boat is mostly a Kiwi production, too — the fixed-wing sails and structural components for Oracle's two AC72s were made in New Zealand, as were the boats, sails, and rigs for ETNZ and Luna Rossa. The only other syndicate competing, Sweden's Artemis, in the wind since the death of crewmember Andrew Simpson, is the outlier, but they still have eight New Zealanders on board.

posted by Bwithh at 9:59 AM on September 22, 2013


gingerbeer, quoting the SF Weekly: "So, for every $1 million the city is forced to eat in America's Cup costs, it'd have to fill an additional 31,466 hotel rooms. That's tough to do when you're already at 90 percent capacity. It's even tougher when there are only 33,596 rooms in the city, total.""

I don't have a dog in this fight (actually, the only opinion I have regarding boats has to do with seasickness on our honeymoon: "Fuck Boats.") but that's misleading as hell. For each million, the city would have to fill an additional 31,466 rooms *for a night*. So filling the remaining ten percent of the rooms for a couple weeks covers it. Sounds like this thing has been going on for more than two weeks...and that doesn't take into account any other city tax income from restaurants, catering, etc.

I mean, yeah, the boats aren't nearly the draw some people say they are, but...
posted by notsnot at 10:02 AM on September 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


But in what conceivable sense can you apply the word "yacht" to that machine?

The definition of "yacht" that google will give you is:

a medium-sized sailboat equipped for cruising or racing.

And this is pretty close the definition applicable at a yacht club. A yacht club is a sailboat racing club. There are yacht clubs at every lake, bay, river, and other body of water where people sail and they organize races all summer long (and a few I'm the winter), largely on boats that are (relatively) affordable (as much as a sports car or ski boat anyway). The most popular racing yachts in the world are fairly small boats, like the J-24, that can be purchased secondhand for $5-50k.

A few billionaires also own giant powerboats that people call "yachts".
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:06 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a little sad, actually. All that money, and Ellison can't think of anything better to do with it than play-act as the villain from a Rodney Dangerfield film.
posted by Iridic at 10:09 AM on September 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


The technology has gotten in the way of the sport. They need to return to a more accessible design standard to allow more competitors into the qualifiers.
posted by humanfont at 10:10 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


>Billionaires should spend their money on space exploration rather than yachts. How can we make that happen?<

Clone Elon Musk?
posted by twidget at 10:15 AM on September 22, 2013


The political and financial stuff surrounding this race is (and always has been) pretty ugly, but if anyone has questions on the technical side, I have been involved with the design of one of the boats and will be happy to try to answer if possible.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:16 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


humanfont; the race has always been a technological contest between titans, as much a design competition as a sailing one.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:18 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


But in what conceivable sense can you apply the word "yacht" to that machine?

Yacht. Noun. Expensive boat owned by a rich fuckhead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:25 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The "scrappy underdogs" have a dictator's airline as their title sponsor.

With that and Ellison, I'd like to see the boats crash into each other, catch fire and sink -- with, of course, no injuries to the crews.
posted by ambient2 at 10:28 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is my understanding that the racing was conducted by relatively standard boats until Australia 2 won with its controversial keel design in 1983.
posted by humanfont at 10:32 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The period of the 12-meters was relatively brief in the history of the cup. There was nothing standard about the J-Class for instance.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:35 AM on September 22, 2013


Anything that keeps those billionaires from raping and pillaging the economy (even for just a day) is a good thing
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:41 AM on September 22, 2013


Ellison manages to pillage and race at the same time! This is why we hate him.

Mei's lost sandal: One thing I've been curious about is to what extent the design process of the wing was able to take into consideration the real-world conditions of the Bay. I mean, I guess there's always *some* educated guesswork involved, but that even fairly light wind conditions (by Bay standards) seemed to catch the sailors by surprise and force rescheduling of races was surprising to me. I used to sail when I was in high school, but just little Sunfish, so this is like watching Formula 1 cars when all I've ever driven is go-karts!
posted by rtha at 10:55 AM on September 22, 2013


A 100 million for a 13,000lb boat seems like a lot. Mei's lost sandal is the boat design dependent on exotic materials or could they reduce costs by limiting construction to cheaper materials.
posted by Mitheral at 10:55 AM on September 22, 2013


But in what conceivable sense can you apply the word "yacht" to that machine?

Rich assholes on a boat, pretending that they are doing hard work=yacht.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:05 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


rtha the fuck up with wind limits has a lot to do with the races not being as financially successful as planned. There were initially plans to move marks for light-air days that were abandoned because of costs.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:06 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


And abandoning races on days where wind has been over the limit is in part because the designs have been way more successful (faster) than originally anticipated. In the beginning the idea was to race in 3-30 knots of breeze but the boats are already pushing 50 knots boat speed in 20-25 knots of wind.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:10 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


material (and processing) costs are very high but not as high as personnel costs. The boats take huge teams of people to maintain and sail.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:11 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mei's lost sandal: what happened with the capsize? Was that something the designers thought might happen or was it just a stroke of really bad luck?
posted by annekate at 11:13 AM on September 22, 2013


I agree with everything said upthread, (short version, fuck Larry.) But, as much as I despise everything about this race, Jesus the boat are amazing to watch. I've come around from being a hater, the appreciating the spectacle for what it is; boat racings Concorde moment. We'll never see such expensive and fast machines again.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:15 AM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The capsize was partly ego-driven, partly design driven. They shouldn't have been out in those conditions so early in their program. The boat survived the capsize; the failure was that there was no recovery plan.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:15 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


blue_beetle: Billionaires should spend their money on space exploration rather than yachts. How can we make that happen?

Stop giving billions of dollars to greedy self-serving jerks who feel compelled to flaunt their conspicuous wealth to other greedy self-serving jerks, rather than use it to help humankind.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:17 AM on September 22, 2013


James May sailed on the Oracle boat in a "race" with Jeremy Clarkson from one side of New Zealand to the northern coast on Top Gear, and it sure didn't look like he was having much fun.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:25 AM on September 22, 2013


"But in what conceivable sense can you apply the word "yacht" to that machine?"

Yeah, the typical definition is more along the lines of "Throatwarbler Mangrove".
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:26 AM on September 22, 2013


Watching the actual sailing has been fantastic. No complaints about that. Putting cameras on the boats, especially.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:32 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The NBC Sports telecast has been much better than I anticipated for this. They have a lot of really interesting graphics to help explain all of the weird maneuvers and procedures. Between this and their high quality F1 and EPL coverage, they might be onto something there.

I was at Ft Mason earlier in the year and saw a couple of the boats doing random training, but no racing. I really wish I'd been able to see them at speed because seeing them on TV gives you the same sort of sensation as watching F1 where a quick zoom out will momentarily reveal just how fast they're moving and it stuns you.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:43 AM on September 22, 2013


There was nothing standard about the J-Class for instance.

Yes, but they were gorgeous.



Hmmm...how can we make yacht racing exciting again? I've got it! Someone dig up J.M.W. Turner!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:55 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the link. Simply amazing boats-- I saw one of the monohull boats used in the American's Cup when I was Australia once-- unfortunately it was just sitting at the dock. I'll definitely be tuning in to see these in motion.

The Top Gear episode wasn't these boats-- It must have been an earlier class, more like a traditional catamaran, albeit stripped down to the absolute minimum, I don't think it had the hydrofoils that could lift it out of the water (the ride might have been a lot nicer for him if it had in the rough seas).

Are the boats all exactly the same, or is it like Formula 1 where the governing body sets the rules and the teams engineers just push that to the absolute limit?
posted by Static Vagabond at 11:56 AM on September 22, 2013


The "scrappy underdogs" have a dictator's airline as their title sponsor.

surely "a close US ally's national airline"
posted by Bwithh at 11:57 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


There was nothing standard about the J-Class for instance.

Yes, but they were gorgeous.


Seriously. They should bring those back instead of these carbon fiber thinggies.
posted by The World Famous at 11:57 AM on September 22, 2013


The AC72 is a box rule. There are limits to various design parameters that can be tweaked. For instance there is a limit to wing area but within that limit, 2,3 or 4 element wings can be designed, with differing plan forms (outlines).
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:58 AM on September 22, 2013


They should bring those back..

Many people agree, and they have been, just not for the America's Cup: J-Class yachts.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 12:03 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


For being such remarkable pieces of technology - and they are - the racing itself is 'bog standard' match racing, which is funny. Awesome to watch, the level these people are operating at is, really, exceptional and a joy to watch. But for all the money and technology involved I half expected boats that could sail directly into the wind.

Mei's lost sandal: please explain cavitation. My understanding is that the boats are _so_ fast that the foils risk cavitating (when the water around them becomes so turbulent that bubbles form and... Then... Well, what? Do the boats just plopp back down? Do the foils self-destruct?

It's also kind of funny that these catamarans act just like catamarans, in that they turn poorly and gladly pitch-pole. These sloop/monohull sailors suddenly have to learn a whole different kind of boat handling. Maybe like going for NASCAR to formula-1 or to Ralley Car.

Oracle's progress over the course of these 13 races is to be commended and Ben Ainslie is the brain they needed (and will truly help him in his ambition to form a British team for AC35). I hope they can win a few more because aside from the crazy crazy boats the sailing itself is top notch, if mind-bogglingly fast (45 knots in a sailboat is just not ... not something I ever would have believed I'd ever see.)

Maybe the best thing about this series has been the coverage I've seen over you tube - the images show clearly what the boats are doing. I have to imagine the interstitial pieces about sailing itself (basically, how boats work type stuff) have been well done too.

I met a sailing guy (who has won more regattas than anyone else in almost any room he might find himself in) a while ago and asked him what he thought of this. I only thought about the technical difficulty of the boats and the fact they're all sailed by New Zealanders anyway and he made the very good point that these boats will, after these races, be worthless. They are too expensive to own and crew and sail. Other America's Cup boats have gone on to careers as IOR racers or simply the baddest boat in their area. That will never be the case with these - and obviously that's kind of a shame.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:06 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cavitation: the pressure becomes so low on the top surface of the foils that the boiling point of water is reached. The water turns to vapor and the foil loses lift, the boat stalls. It is extremely violent at the site of cavitation, difficult for materials to survive.

The current foil shapes are supercritical, and can maintain lift for quite a bit longer than a standard airfoil, but around 50 knots seems to be the limit for these shapes before the water boils.

There are foil shapes that work over 50 knots but they are so slow in speeds less than that they can not be used here. The foil shapes can not be changed dynamically under the AC72 rule.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 12:11 PM on September 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


The Live Video link doesn't work. Maybe it will work by the time the coverage starts at 1pm PDT.

In any case, here's a link that will get you to the live coverage.
posted by eye of newt at 12:16 PM on September 22, 2013


Man, those J-Class boats are pretty.
posted by Urtylug at 12:23 PM on September 22, 2013


The foil shapes can not be changed dynamically under the AC72 rule.

Ha ha! But they can be changed dynamically? Could be... Is there an upper limit? I have to confess I find this, the technical side of this so mind boggling. I think I only ever saw my first moth (a foiling dinghy/small boat) maybe three years ago, it's just all so... Nuts. Great, but nuts.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:24 PM on September 22, 2013


This "race" is a fiasco! $100million "boats" that only a few people on earth can sail, or afford to build.

And this *always* happens! Some asshole billionaire talks some corrupt politicians and developers into selling local communities a bill of goods about all the benefits that they're going to receive from yadda yadda stadium, or race, or whatever - this, followed by lots of speculation and community upset about how the benefits won't come down, as advertised. Then, it gets built anyway, with the local community ponying up to make the asshole developers or race sponsors or whatever, more wealthy, while the community loses opportunity cost of the dollars spent. Then, it happens all over again, somewhere else.

I've been down on the Marina a few times and the crowds, if you can call them that, are puny. Larry Ellison is an asshole, period - but my saying that doesn't make any difference to him. What makes a difference to him is making more money and getting his way - and it fries me that this joke of a race ever got off the ground; that San Francisco will lose needed tax dollars, and that Ellison will walk away unscathed, except for a few more bruises to his reputation, which he doesn't care about anyway.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:44 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's the current speed record for a foiling boat. (albeit a different kind of foiling)
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 12:49 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fog's clearing here at the Sutro Baths but we can still hear the foghorns in the bay.

That the foils can create conditions for water to boil is crazy. Wow.
posted by rtha at 1:09 PM on September 22, 2013


The YouTube live feed seems borked. A virtualization of the race with live audio commentary can be found here.
posted by annekate at 1:10 PM on September 22, 2013


Also, the live video feed in the mobile feeds seems to be working fine.
posted by annekate at 1:22 PM on September 22, 2013


The wind speed limits are there to prevent cavitation. As has been said previously, the boats are just too good. And if they go fast enough, the rapid and massive change in pressure around the foil causes the water to boil, aka cavitation. When that happens, boat control is lost and risk to crew injury or death is too great to continue.
posted by braksandwich at 1:40 PM on September 22, 2013


Great post.
For those bemoaning the loss of the J Class Yachts I had the privilege of seeing 5 of them racing in Europe earlier this year. Self Link.
Like many I wish the America's Cup would revert to Monohulls and I believe it will after Mr. Ellison's ego had been suitably dented.
posted by adamvasco at 1:44 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


On reread I am late to the thread. Ignore me.
posted by braksandwich at 1:46 PM on September 22, 2013


On the YouTube link in the FPP I'm getting
Laptop: "This video is not available. Sorry about that."
Mobile: "Not available in your country" (I'm in the US).
posted by Songdog at 1:54 PM on September 22, 2013


The YouTube link is busted, sorry about that. But the official smartphone apps (iPhone & Android) seem to have a live video feed that works.
posted by annekate at 1:56 PM on September 22, 2013


You have to use a proxy server like Hola to watch on YouTube in the US.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 2:03 PM on September 22, 2013


BTW, Ken Read, on of the commentators in the AC took third in the last Volvo Ocean Race, one of the most bananas sailing races in existence. I highly recommend the documentary series on YouTube about the last Volvo
posted by braksandwich at 2:04 PM on September 22, 2013


I haven't had any of the connectivity problems people in the US seem to be having, which I think is a shame - the broadcasts are good, really well produced.

On the Sailing Anarchy forums they have been posting alternate feeds for the races...link to forums

This last race was, yet again, crazy. I would never bet on Oracle winning the cup, but their continued efforts to not lose it are very very impressive.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:07 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why the fuck are there ad breaks in the middle of a goddamn race? It's not like these things take hours. Run the ads between races, dipshits.
posted by rtha at 2:37 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the youtube footage is only available after the race is completed?
posted by gingerbeer at 2:40 PM on September 22, 2013


Competitive sailing can be very exciting, you just need experienced and well-informed commentary.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:04 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Found it on cable on NBC Sports HD—the program guide had it listed as "Equestrian".
posted by Songdog at 3:20 PM on September 22, 2013


"Welcome aboard the Musashi, Mr. Dangerfield."

"Thanks, Larry! Nice rowboat you got here."

"The technical term is 'superyacht.'"

"Super, huh? You ain't kidding! Last time I saw a raft this big, it was launching fighter jets. Say, where's the john on this thing? I gotta sink a bismark!"
posted by Iridic at 3:57 PM on September 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Found it on cable on NBC Sports HD—the program guide had it listed as "Equestrian".

Horses & boats are way up on the list of rich-fucks-only hobbies, so it makes sense.

As an Oaklander, I bellow a full-on <NELSLON>HA-HA</NELSON> at 'Frisco for getting suckered into Larry Ellison's masturbating-with-boats boondogle.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 5:29 PM on September 22, 2013


(Thank you for the Sea Fever quote in your post title -- a lovely song in John Ireland's setting, one of my favorites.)
posted by ariel_caliban at 6:33 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


To all you boat-haterz, our 19' trailer-sailor ($3k with motor and trailer) is kept at a yacht club. So it's a yacht. The most fun you can possibly have under 8 mph, while fully-clothed.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:05 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sorry to interrupt the dick measuring over who can hate Ellison more but the Emirates Team has been doing crazy stuff too:
Nearly Capsizing
Digging the bow in and losing two overboard.

personally I hate Harlan Ellison more than I hate Larry Ellison
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:17 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is not the first catamaran in America's Cup history. The 1988 Defense of the America's Cup by Stars & Stripes S1 and H3.

Dennis Conner lost the cup in the early 80s andand regained it in 1987 with a traditional monhull design, but New Zealand decided to make one of the largest sail boats ever, challenging again the year later. Originally Conner et all protested; however, when the protest was overruled and the boat was allowed to compete, Conner's team responded with a pair of catamarans that basically outperformed every aspect of the Kiwis' boat. Conner won handily, however he barely showed what the boats were capable of - otherwise the races would have been even more lopsided. Decent article here. Different decent article here.

If I'm not clear, I'm surprised these are allowed now in the America's Cup. I haven't followed sailing in over a decade; however, I followed sailing so intently in the late 80s especially leading up to the loss of the cup, and the multiple years of controversy that followed, that I thought we would never see a catamaran broached as possibility for ever being allowed again, that if the subject was broached, that it would have been soundly rejected - hell - New Zealand basically spent years vilifying Conner for putting a catamaran anywhere near the Cup ever again... That it became the standard this year... I love it.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:25 PM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I went to see the America's Cup World Series (sort of a spin-off event) in Newport last summer. It was a blast, and attendance seemed pretty great (so I guess they ought to bring it back here, eh?) They were sailing AC45s, which as far as I can tell are basically smaller versions of what they're sailing here. Even those went monstrously fast, and in fact the Emirates team managed to capsize one of their boats while I was there watching. (And being a catamaran, they couldn't get it righted again, either - the current damn near took the thing right into the bridge.) A much bigger pack of teams, as well

Anyways, it's a shame to hear that San Francisco let Ellison talk them into spending a ton of money they won't get back, because aside from that, the people behind the America's Cup have done some great stuff to promote it and make it exciting and watchable.

As far as monohull vs. catamaran, I think I'd like to see the traditional America's Cup go back to traditional monohulls, but I'd also love to see them keep the ACWS (or some other spin-off event) as a catamaran race.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:17 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


How the design rule for the AC is decided upon is a bit arcane. The rules are set down in the Deed of Gift.

The winner, or 'defender' chooses a Challenger of Record with whom the design criteria and race rules are set for the next cup. The COR is the first challenger to present the defender with a challenge. These days it's set up so that the defender's preferred challenger is guaranteed to present the challenge, as often as not by being on the winner's support boat at the end of the deciding race. They can decide to race on any terms mutually agreed upon; Laser dinghies in Crater Lake if they like.

It gets interesting when the terms cannot be agreed upon by the defender and COR. Then the Deed of Gift reverts to a lowest-common-denominator set of rules, which is something like "90 foot boats with a single mast sailed on an arm of the sea for a best of three match". This is what took place last cup cycle when Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli were at odds over the terms of the match.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:10 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think I'd like to see the traditional America's Cup go back to traditional monohulls, but I'd also love to see them keep the ACWS (or some other spin-off event) as a catamaran race.--mstokes650

Really? It is exciting to watching how fast these things move and turn through the water. I can't imagine going back to the monohulls. Let the monohull race be the spin-off (that no one watches).

And it is not as though these types of ships can only run these short races. The French ship Hydroptere (former world speed record holder) was going to try to break the trans-Pacific record this year (it got moved to next year because of weather).
posted by eye of newt at 9:30 PM on September 22, 2013


So I went on an Ok Cupid date to see the boats, commented to my date that the all the boat stuff out there could seem silly, preposterous and foolish, but it had an exciting, amazing, fun side, too... (and then it dawned on me) much like dating.

I got a laugh; we'll see if I get a second date................................
posted by ambient2 at 10:42 PM on September 22, 2013


Oh god. It's like 1983 again, except this time I understand what is going on!

I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind when Australia won the cop (for the first time in 132 years, as I recall). This race changed our city. Fremantle moreso. Thank god we had a (soon to be humbled and jailed) millionaire willing to fund Australia II!
posted by Mezentian at 5:48 AM on September 23, 2013


I think the youtube footage is only available after the race is completed?

In the US it is blocked until after the race is completed, but it is available live in the rest of the world. I have had success using the Stealthy plugin as recommended by AskMe to watch the live Youtube streams in the US.

There is also an America's Cup iOS app that has live streaming video and it tends to be less glitchy than proxied Youtube.
posted by enn at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2013


YouTube link to today's race, match 16: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvLzTiQlOmI
posted by Westringia F. at 4:16 PM on September 23, 2013


I raced sailboats on SF bay for five years. I remember one particularly poingnant death where a twenty one year old woman slipped between the lifelines. This was on the return of the SF to Vallejo race and we were wondering why the boats behind us all stopped racing and were circling. One person actually reached her. He had ahold of her foulies but couldn't hang on. Her mother made a heartbreaking post the very next day to some listserv begging people to wear their life jackets.

By the time you realize you need a life jacket it's too late, go ahead and be a dork please. Wear you life jacket always. Sailing is quite dangerous, no matter the boat and that Christopher Cross tune is a fucking joke.

I love the engineering from this version of the AC, it's amazing in that it incorporates elements of aircraft above and below the water. Sorry SF [where I lived for twelve years] for the expense.

Anyway, that rant aside I wish they had raced monohulls. and raced a course that used the local geography more; not the the standard windward - leeward course. Currents in the bay add an extra element. I've been on races in the bay where there was a 5.9 knot current at the starting line. The local tide and eddy currents make it so you have to do some fun vectoring. Oh well.
posted by vapidave at 7:01 PM on September 23, 2013


Am I the only person in SF who doesn't give a fuck about America's Cup?
posted by mike3k at 10:43 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


No.

All the other people in 'Frisco not coming by the AC Pavillion don't give a fuck either. Journey on a Monday night sold out. Boat racing? The sound of crickets attends that pure 1%er wankery.

I heard on NPR a few weeks ago that San Francisco was planning on taking lessons from the America's Cup experience for the 2016 Super Bowl.

Which I find trippy because the actual game won't be played in 'Frisco, it will be played in Santa Clara (future home of the Santa Clara '49s), a bit of a shuttle-ride south of the Embarcadero. The Super Bowl theme park, that'll be in 'Frisco so that even if the City doesn't have a football team and the game is played in a different city altogether, it's still a "San Francisco Super Bowl".

At least regular people who buy beer and tip give a shit about the Super Bowl. I've seen more people at the Pavilion for the Jonas Brothers than for the Cup. Okay, most of them were 13yo girl who didn't buy beer either, Still...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:53 AM on September 24, 2013


...it's a shame the city is taking it in the neck because the racing, the actual sailing itself, is amazing.
This race, which Oracle is about to win, the start and the tactics that have been used, are going to be studied - by everybody who does this - for a good long while. It has been said over and over that winning the start, because the boats are so equal in speed, almost guarantees the win. New Zealand won the start, very very nicely, won the first and second mark and then got totally... screwed.

just - wow.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:34 PM on September 24, 2013


Maybe Oracle found a new way to cheat?
posted by Nelson at 2:36 PM on September 24, 2013


I take back what I wrote in the post. Tomorrow is the day to watch. Impossibly, Oracle closed the gap and it's winner take all at this point.

The past few races have been technically and strategically stunning.
posted by annekate at 2:43 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe Oracle found a new way to cheat?
posted by Nelson at 2:36 PM on September 24 [+] [!]


You wonder, but it seems like every day Oracle has been smoother today their win came out of (what looked to be) all around greater speed upwind. But New Zealand were really between a rock and a hard place on the deciding cross and - they lost it just as Oracle lost a couple races at the beginning. Forced to make a decision that was going to put them at a slight disadvantage, that then gets taken sick advantage of.

What's nuts is how similar this is to 'regular' match racing, all the tactics - only these races are about five times faster.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:43 PM on September 24, 2013


That was amazing. It's going to be a hell of a day tomorrow.
posted by enn at 2:44 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel the same way about the Americas Cup as I do about the Blue Angels. I recognize that they represent all kinds of bad things (power, money, scandal, jerks) but holy cow, it's an amazing spectacle. I do feel guilty about it but no, I don't. Going to skip work tomorrow and try to see the race!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:35 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, an NFL team costs about two orders of magnitude more than does fielding an America's Cup team, so I think it's pretty silly to pretend that the Cup is somehow unique among sports in being a playground for rich men. That's simply the nature of big-time televised sports.
posted by enn at 6:21 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


They did it! Amazing!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:39 PM on September 25, 2013


I can honestly say I didn't see that coming. Pretty cool though. I loved the fire boat going off in the background!
posted by annekate at 2:07 PM on September 25, 2013


Oracle's Path to Victory, a visualization of positions with wind info.
posted by Nelson at 7:20 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The comeback really was amazing. Now I hate New Zealand for not beating Ellison. Still hate Ellison more, though.
posted by rtha at 7:45 PM on September 25, 2013


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