Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 2


Vanity Fair
Jake Gyllenhaal and AC75 co-star in new Luna Rossa fragrance ad

Jake Gyllenhaal’s latest mission doesn’t take him through mountains or the Marvel universe (or city blocks, as is the case with his real-life New York whereabouts). It’s by sea: where the harrowing meets the majestic, the water’s edge giving way to a looming red planet.

That is what Gyllenhaal the Fragrance Face encounters in the campaign film for Prada’s Luna Rossa Ocean, directed by Johan Renck (Chernobyl). It’s the newest scent inspired by the Italian sailing team, Luna Rossa, owned by the Prada Group chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli. If the fragrance itself conveys a plush sense of mystery—notes of iris and bergamot and vetiver that would seem at home on that black sweater—the mood is charged.

“It’s about interacting with the forces of nature and how they're overpowering,” Gyllenhaal says of his green-screen journey through the ocean blue. “We can harness them, but they will win in the end.”

Fragrance ads, even those starring one lone man, always seem to have a kind of romance at the core. There is the man-plus-beast phenomenon that recently took the internet by storm. Here, Gyllenhaal becomes one with the boat, which he calls it “beautiful” and “gorgeous” in a single wooing breath. It’s enough of an excuse to talk about all things aquatic, from lox orders and bathing rituals to his favourite boating movie of all time.

Vanity Fair: We’ve come to expect fragrances from fashion houses; less often are they tied to pro sailing teams. How does that framing shift the usual campaign narrative—less sex, more nautical vibes?

Jake Gyllenhaal: This story was interesting to me particularly because there are these standard cliches with which masculinity and men are kind of portrayed in this space. I like the idea of a sailor and an adventurer. Obviously it’s not venturing far from that idea, but it is about interacting with the forces of nature and how they’re overpowering. We can harness them, but they will win in the end. There’s something, to me, about being active—just being totally selfish. I love being active in anything that I’m doing. Rule number one as an actor is if you’re not in a scene, you can’t get in it, eat a bag of chips and say your lines. And it works! It makes for real behavior.

So the presentation of what Prada wanted to do, and what Johan wanted to do, was [let’s] put you on a boat, this beautiful boat and this expression of technology and artistry. It is really gorgeous, this boat, and it actually sails. It’s not just some idea of adventure. It’s for real—even though there's a fantasy part of it. I think the fragrance is about people who want adventure and want to be active, not only externally but also within themselves.


Emirates Team New Zealand
37th America’s Cup update from CEO Grant Dalton

So today, 17 August 2021 – being five months since we won the 36th Americas Cup and just one month from the Venue Announcement of the 37th America’s Cup – I think it’s a good time for an update.

I’ve heard it said that: ‘Emirates Team New Zealand would be better losing the 37th America’s Cup in New Zealand, than winning it offshore.’ Of course these are comments that come from outside the team and one expects from people with some sort of vested interest. I still find it astonishing that anyone would expect such a team as ours to set themselves up to lose.

You will have read several weeks ago of an offer by a private investor to financially help the team. To date, with time ticking, I have only had one conversation with him and no proposal. All that we are in possession of is an elaborate flow chart showing a complex but typical investment banking structured deal, through which tax can be minimised as the Crown and the private investor’s money flows through to a company owned and controlled by him. This structure is also based on the questionable premise that the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s status as a not-for-profit organisation would also be utilised. Emirates Team New Zealand and America’s Cup Event will have no part in any such tax structures and we are also extremely concerned that control over the team and the event would ultimately rest with private investors who have played no part in the achievements of the current team.

In the only conversation or communication I have had with this private investor he expressed confidence that the Government would significantly increase their cash contribution to the team and the event for the 37th America’s Cup, but we have not been privy to these discussions so have no view on whether that might happen. However, we have already said that given the current climate in which we all live, we accepted that the Government and Council’s offer was both final and made in good faith.

We need to remain hopeful that there is still a chance (albeit small), that a successful Defence is held in New Zealand. As part of continuing negotiations we have provided a draft Host Venue Agreement (HVA) to the Crown several weeks ago and are awaiting feedback. Finding the money for the event is crucial but the contractual aspects of accepting and advancing that money is of equal importance.

In the meantime we have been busy analysing the pros and cons of the other shortlisted countries. We received a significant number of expressions of interest and that has now been narrowed to three.


NZ officials did not refer multimillion-dollar yachting event bid to ministers

Christchurch has been let down badly by the Government over the SailGP yacht racing event and everything possible must be done to keep it afloat, city leaders say.

The January event would be part of a global multi-leg series raced by eight nations in high-speed catamarans. It has been put in jeopardy after Government officials refused MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine) places to sailors and support crews.

It would be Christchurch’s first major international event since the earthquakes 10 years ago, televised to a global audience of tens of millions of viewers, and forecast to bring millions of dollars into the region.

Karl Budge, head of the New Zealand event and commercial director for SailGP, said they had made the application for MIQ places through Crown agency Sport New Zealand, and the event’s “significant” economic benefits qualified it for entry.

It is understood that about half the approximately 160 men and women who would need to enter the country for the yacht racing are New Zealanders. All would be vaccinated.

Potential economic benefits of the event have been calculated at between $21 million and $28m to New Zealand, and about $9m to the Canterbury region. One recent leg raced in Bermuda drew 89 million television viewers.


How Tom Kneen won the legendary Fastnet yacht race

On Saturday 13th August, JPK 1180 Sunrise was named the overall winner of the legendary Fastnet Race, one of the world’s premier yacht races.

To win, the yacht and her crew had travelled almost 700 nautical miles: along a hairpin-shaped course, this edition of the race saw competitor yachts set sail from the Solent and head west along the south coast to the furthermost tip of Cornwall, before looping up to Fastnet rock, the remote island lighthouse that marks the southernmost point of Ireland. From there, it was a straight line back into the Channel to finish at Cherbourg.

The race is gruelling, but it’s not only damp and bouts of seasickness – there’s also a luxury element to the event via its sponsorship by Rolex. The 2021 Fastnet was the 20th anniversary of the brand’s association with the race, as well as its organisers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and Rolex sponsors a whole suite of racing events around the world.

The brand has also embarked on partnerships with titans of sailing like Sir Ben Ainslie and Sir Francis Chichester, so those setting sail from the Solent knew they were in good and storied company. GQ spoke to the Sunrise’s owner and captain, Tom Kneen, about the event’s dramatic start, where the race was won and lost, and whether yacht racing is really the right hobby for someone who suffers from seasickness.

GQ: Congratulations on being named the overall winner of the Fastnet Race. How does it feel?

Tom Kneen: I still don’t think it’s quite sunk in. It’s an astonishing thing that we have, in a very short period of time, managed to pull together a group of people that can make this work. I think you need a bit of luck in this game as well – we put ourselves in the right place, at the right time, for most of the race, but that’s really down to the navigators. So you make your own luck a little bit, by having the right people around you and making sure that everybody gets on and can work together properly, and that’s what we had for this event.

There was not a cross word on the boat for the whole race. And that’s eight people in a confined space with no sleep in pretty tough conditions for a long period of time, normally there’s some friction at some point. But everyone was very focussed on what we needed to do, and worked really well together. I’ve got a huge amount of support from a lot of people, and it’s really down to them that this has happened, more than me. But here we are, and it’s astonishing.

You weren’t the first boat over the line – can you explain how the overall winner is calculated?

I can try! We race under the IRC Rule, which is managed by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and not many people in the world know how the maths is done. Boats are weighed and sails are measured, your keel and your rudder and so on are all measured, and all your numbers are put into a computer and the computer gives you a rating, in the same way that you’d get a handicap in a golf game.

It all adds up to the amount of time that you give each other. So the boats that finish first have a much higher handicap than us, and give us time. And boats that are still racing now, we give time to them. So when you cross the line, you don’t have that moment of euphoria knowing you’ve won, because boats behind you could still win. We had a very nervous 24 hours after we won. It’s a brilliant system, because everyone is on a level playing field.

So in essence it’s more down to pure sailing skill than technology?

Yeah, very much so. It means that what you invest your money in isn’t as important as having the right people. We made some good decisions. We’re on a tight budget, but we made a last-minute decision to invest in some satellite communication, so we could get weather data while we were in the middle of the Irish Sea, and we also made a decision to re-rate our boat – we increased our handicap in order to adjust our mast.


The Irish Times
State to face €200m bill if it wins bid to host yacht race, officials say

The State would face a bill of more than €200 million to run the next America’s Cup yacht race in Cork if the Government wins a competition to host the event, officials have found.

The prospect of such large costs being incurred at a time of growing constraints on the public finances has raised the stakes considerably as Ministers await a formal cost-benefit analysis on the project.

“The host country is essentially liable to cover the cost of hosting the event. The case needs to be very strong and robust and has to stand up to independent scrutiny,” said a Government source familiar with the project.

Cork Harbour has been shortlisted, alongside Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and another location, to host the 2024 race for the oldest trophy in international sport.

But a Cabinet decision on whether to proceed with a final bid will depend on the overall cost of doing so. The Coalition is said to have an open mind.

Although Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has championed the America’s Cup project, the question of the State assuming a heavy financial burden to host the sailing contest is under close scrutiny in the Government given the pressures dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic are putting on the public finances.

The evaluation of bids will be carried out by Origin Sports, a London-based sports consultancy, whose chief executive Stewart Hosford is originally from Cork. He would not comment on potential costs but said hosting the race would provide “exceptional value for money”.

Mr Hosford, who knows Mr Coveney on a personal basis, said: “If Ireland is successful they’ll be successful on their own merit.”

Ministers are scheduled to discuss making a final bid in mid-September after they receive a cost-benefit assessment due soon from EY, the business consultancy. EY declined to comment.


Robb Report
This Hydrogen-Powered Chase Boat Is Coming to Make the America’s Cup a Little Greener

After winning the 36th America’s Cup in March, Emirates Team New Zealand has started building a secret weapon to help conquer the next event.

The victorious Kiwis have revealed a new hydrogen-powered foiling chase boat designed to support the AC75 racing yachts in the 37th America’s Cup. The goal is that more teams will jump on board and use support boats featuring this innovative, eco-friendly propulsion throughout the campaign.

The prototype, which is under construction at the team’s facility in Auckland’s North Shore, will be built with help from AFCryo. The Christchurch company is a strong proponent of green hydrogen and currently manufactures hydrogen production systems and composite cryostat in New Zealand. The vessel will be equipped with fuel cells, two electric motors, a battery and the all-important hydrogen tanks. As such, it can carry out support duties, such as schlepping spare sails or equipment, without releasing harmful emissions.

“It is our hope that we can make a seismic shift into hydrogen power and an emission-free statement for the industry,” Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said in a statement.