Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 18
Monday December 20
Cup Insider – Alinghi Red Bull Racing launches new Swiss-centric challenge for 37th America’s Cup
Swiss billionaire and high-performance sailing fanatic Ernesto Bertarelli is back in the America’s Cup after a hiatus of 11 years.
Previously, representing the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), Bertarelli’s Alinghi sailing team won the 31st and 32nd editions of the America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand (sailing for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron).
However, following a prolonged legal dispute, in 2010 a Deed of Gift match raced in giant multihulls in Valencia, Spain saw Alinghi lose to the US Golden Gate Yacht Club’s BMW Oracle Racing.
Despite widespread media coverage in recent weeks Alinghi have been tight lipped on rumours that they had teamed up with the SNG once again for a tilt at AC37 – scheduled to take place in 2024 at a yet unannounced venue in AC75 foiling monohull yachts.
Today, at a press conference in Geneva, SNG commodore Pierre Giraud and vice commodore Axel Meyer formerly announced the club’s fourth America’s Cup challenge, before inviting Bertarelli on to the stage to reveal ‘Alinghi Red Bull Racing’ the result of a new partnership with Austrian sports drink manufacturer and sports team owner Red Bull.
Yacht Racing Life – America’s Cup: Defender welcomes Swiss AC37 Challenger announcement
Emirates Team New Zealand has welcomed today’s announcement of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team as Challenger for the 37th America’s Cup representing the Swiss yacht club Société Nautique de Genève.
Alinghi have been one of the most successful and colourful teams in the modern America’s Cup, but after an absence of just over ten years, have burst back onto the scene with their new naming partner, Red Bull.
Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton highlighted the significance of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s Challenge on several levels.
“Ernesto and Alinghi have been sitting on the sidelines since 2010 and watching the America’s Cup through a number of class designs and iterations. Now that they have chosen to launch back into the America’s Cup, partnering with Red Bull, is a true testament to the success of the AC75 class and the boundaries of innovation, design and speed which appeals to a far wider audience than has been seen in the past.”
“Both Alinghi and Red Bull have been protagonists in bringing through the next generation of foiling sailors over the past 10 years.
“Red Bull itself drove the Youth America’s Cup previously in 2013 & 2017 – as well as the Red Bull Foiling Generation project. All the while Alinghi has been developing grass roots sailing in Switzerland in a range of high-performance foiling classes. By embracing the youth development culture they are now able to field a top level 100 per cent Swiss national sailing team which is a great example of the possibilities for many countries wanting to grow their national talent pool in the top levels of sailing.
“This will be further enhanced again in AC37 with the Women’s America’s Cup and the Youth America’s Cup.”
Sail-World – America's Cup: Luna Rossa announces Challenge for AC37 has been accepted
Luna Rossa Challenge has announced that the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has accepted the challenge of the Circolo Della Vela Sicilia and the Luna Rossa Team, filed on 1 December 2021 – writes Richard Gladwell.
In the coming weeks the Prada and Patrizio Bertelli team, led by Max Sirena, will continue to complete the team, Italian sailing website Farevela.net reports.
There are therefore four, and all highly competitive, teams challenging the defender Emirates Team New Zealand for the next America's Cup in 2024, Farevela says.
In addition to Luna Rossa and Alinghi Red Bull Racing, INEOS Team Britannia and the former American Magic will ensure a very high level of technology and competition.
Now all that remains is to wait for the announcement of the Cup venue, expected by March 2022, the report concludes.
Sail-World – ETNZ gives glimpse of 2024 strategy as seven AC37 crew line up at Sydney SailGP
The current America's Cup champions, Emirates Team New Zealand are maybe revealing something of their strategy for the 2024 America's Cup, with the deployment of seven crew sailing across two of the SailGP teams – writes Richard Gladwell.
With no sailing permitted amongst the established Cup teams until September 2022, SailGP offers the best racing for professional crews at this time. ETNZ's sailing crew were not race sharp going into the last America's Cup, and were at three wins apiece with challengers Luna Rossa after six races, despite the Kiwis reckoning their boat was 3kts faster than their competition.
"We have brought in Glenn Ashby to help with the coaching," SailGP Japan's skipper Nathan Outteridge, told the SailGP media conference earlier today.
"Getting Glenn to help us out, was something I have been working on for the whole season. Glenn is in Melbourne and rode his bike up this week to give us a few tips on how we can improve small things."
"It is not a rewrite of the program, as currently we are going quite well."
"But having someone like Glenn here to give us a few tips, and really help the younger members of our team - and give them the confidence to keep improving. If we can come through this event with a good performance that will build our confidence for San Fran."
Outteridge confirmed that he had moved Japanese Olympic representative in the 49er class, Leonard Takahashi-Fry, into the flight controller's position, replacing Francesco Bruni (ITA) - ahead of a nationality tightening nationality requirement ahead of Season 3. A top match racer, Takahashi-Fry is also eligible to sail for NZ under the AC37 Protocol.
SailGP – Spain in control on opening day in Sydney as Japan suffer huge blow from British collision
The Spain SailGP Team enjoyed a superb opening day of the Australia Sail Grand Prix | Sydney Presented by KPMG, sitting atop the leaderboard following a fine day of racing on Sydney Harbour.
Winning the opening race, Phil Robertson’s team remained consistent throughout the rest of the day to finish racing five points clear of hosts Australia in second, with the United States rounding out the top three.
There was even more huge drama under the sunshine in NSW, as a collision between Great Britain and Japan in the pre-start for race three ruled both teams out the race - and possibly out the remainder of the whole event.
The Australian crew led by hometown hero Tom Slingsby were not as impressive on the Harbour as they would have wished, but a strong performance in the last race of the day saw them rise into second place in the rankings - setting them up for a charge into the winner-takes-all FInal on Saturday.
In fine conditions in NSW, the action began superbly; one of the tightest races of the season was won by Spain, who put in a dominating performance to open the event with a vital victory.
The Brits caught up with Spain in the final stages, and thought they had won the race, but Phil Robertson’s team did just enough to win in a photo finish.
Spain kept up their form in race 2, finishing second behind Japan. A commanding performance by Nathan Outteridge’s team gave them hope for another excellent event, but that hope was dashed in the pre-start for race three as the Brits collided with Japan’s F50, causing serious damage.
SailGP – Australia win home event in Sydney to book Grand Final spot in San Francisco
The Australia SailGP Team booked their place in the Season 2 winner-takes-all Grand Final with one event to spare by winning their home Sail Grand Prix in Sydney on Saturday.
Tom Slingsby’s team delivered under the pressure, beating the United States and Spain in the three-team Final on Sydney Harbour to claim their fourth event victory of the season, moving onto 55 points to guarantee a spot in the all-important Championship decider in San Francisco.
The USA, Driven by Jimmy Spithill, also qualified for March’s Grand Final on their home waters with their second-place finish, while Japan - who remarkably finished fourth in Sydney despite missing an entire race on Day 1 due to their horror collision with Great Britain - look in a strong position to claim the last spot in the season finale.
It was Nathan Outteridge’s Japan, sailing in a hybrid boat comprising the hull of Great Britain’s F50 and their own wing and foils, who claimed the opening win on an incredibly windy Day 2 on Sydney Harbour.
New Zealand looked to have wrapped up the victory in fleet race four as they started strong, kitted out with the smallest wing and high-speed foils, and dominated much of the race. But Japan managed to catch up with the Kiwis, and pushed them close during the final race to the finish line.
Stuff – SailGP eyes more expansion as format proves a hit around world
While the America’s Cup continues to get bogged down with bickering, legal battles and controversial hosting scraps, SailGP looks to be going from strength to strength – writes David Long.
This weekend’s Sydney round of the series was the first time many Kiwis got to watch the racing in a more viewing friendly time zone and they would have seen that this form of racing is just as thrilling, has all the big names, but comes without the off-water shenanigans.
Karl Budge, the man who transformed the ASB Classic tennis tournaments, is now the head of New Zealand event and commercial director at SailGP.
Last week it was announced that New Zealand would be on the SailGP calendar from 2023, with it alternating between Christchurch and Auckland and he revealed just how quickly SailGP is expanding.
For season three, which begins next year, the number of nations taking part will increase from eight to 10 and while eight rounds have so far been announced, more are coming.
“At the moment we can’t build boats fast enough and that’s our natural cap, just how quickly we can build them,” Budge said.
Sailing World – The Enduring E Scow
As the wind builds to 20 knots, eager crews on board 56 E Scows inch toward the starting line, sails flapping noisily. The race committee’s air horn sounds the start, and the fleet lurches forward, a densely packed swarm of white sails and low-slung surfboardlike hulls – writes Gary Jobson.
But then there’s another horn. It’s a general recall, and the fleet returns to the line one by one. For its second attempt at a clean start, the race committee takes drastic action and hoists the dreaded black flag.
Like scolded children, the fleet behaves, and five minutes later, 216 sailors shoot across the line toward the first mark of the course. New Jersey’s Little Egg Harbor is a choppy mess, which makes it tough-going on these flat-bottom scows. In less than two minutes, there’s a clear divide between the front and back half of the fleet. The faster teams surge into the lead, while the slower boats swiftly trail behind.
Among the front-runners in this race is 20-year-old Harry Melges IV, who had been penalized with a black-flag disqualification the previous day. Understandably, he is hoping for at least six races so he can discard his BFD score. Melges and his young crew of Kyle Navin, Finn Rowe and Ripley Shelley are sailing fast.
They find a clean lane and round the first mark in third, setting the asymmetric spinnaker and accelerating down the run in a veil of spray. They pass one boat easily, but the race leader has a six-length lead. The wind is gusty, but Harry IV, as everyone calls him, maintains a precise angle of heel. His crew is constantly working the boat and its sails while the boat planes, skimming across the harbor.
Once they reach the leeward gate, Melges, whose sail number is “I1,” is in the lead. The unique sail number designates that the boat represents Lake Geneva YC. Young Harry inherited the designation from his father, Harry Melges III, who carried it forward from his grandfather, Harry “Buddy” Melges Jr.
Yacht Racing Life – World Match Racing Tour announces 19 event global circuit for 2022
The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) has announced its 2022 world championship season with a 19 event schedule across 12 countries including new World Tour level events in Puerto Rico and Italy. 2022 will mark the 22nd consecutive season of WMRT, the longest running professional series in sailing awarded ‘Special Event’ status by World Sailing.
The 2022 WMRT season will comprise of ‘World Tour’ events and ‘World Championship’ events, opening with the iconic Ficker Cup and the 57th edition of the Congressional Cup hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club in California, USA.
All events are organised under World Sailing rules as Open match racing events, allowing both men and women skippers, as well as mixed teams to compete. ‘World Championship’ level events award higher points to the WMRT leader-board, and prize money of at least USD75,000.
Joining the 2022 season are two new World Tour events, the inaugural Island Match Cup in Puerto Rico (24-29 May), and the OM International Ledro Match Race (16-19 June), founded in 2009 by the Associazone Vela Lago di Ledro on Lake Ledro, Italy.
Long standing tour events Match Race Germany, Match Cup Marstrand and the Bermuda Gold Cup join the line-up for 2022 as well as the US Grand Slam match racing events in Chicago, Detroit and Oyster Bay, NY.
The WMRT 2022 Finals will be staged in Shenzhen, China at the Shenzhen Bao’an Match Cup, 6-11 December with a prize purse of USD200,000. The 2021 WMRT Finals, scheduled to take place this month in Shenzhen, was earlier postponed to 15-20 March, 2022 due to current border and quarantine restrictions in China.