FINALS UPDATE • January 25 to February 6, 2000
AmericaOne Completes Louis Vuitton Cup Finals
The Final Round of the Louis Vuitton Cup took place January 25 to February 6 in Auckland, New Zealand. AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Club’s America’s Cup 2000 challenger, lost to the Prada Challenge with a score of 4-5.
Going into the Finals, the AmericaOne Team had the benefit of months of training and preparation by some of the best shore crew, sailing coaches, and sailors in the world. With a relatively small base of support, the AmericaOne Team accomplished an admirable feat: After two weeks of exciting racing on the Hauraki Gulf, the best-of-nine series had become a mammoth historic occasion, forever remembered as the best Louis Vuitton Cup Finals ever raced.
The AmericaOne Team was fortunate to have many corporate sponsors, suppliers, families, friends, and guests in town. Twenty-five Founders’ Club members joined us daily aboard the AmericaOne hospitality vessel. Our spectator vessel was given special access to the racecourse waters.
Below is a summary of each race in the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals.
[January 25] First day postponed due to weather. The Race Committee acted in accordance with the Notice of Race Rule 14.4 (c) which states that racing may be postponed: When in the opinion of the Race Committee the wind is too variable, or too light, or too strong, or the seas too rough, to reasonably conduct a race to test the relative speed of the two yachts.
[Race 1, January 26]
AmericaOne lost to the Prada Challenge (ITA 45) by 24s. The series began with sunny skies and shifty winds ranging from 9-12 knots. In the pre-start, Francesco de Angelis, at the helm of Luna Rossa, was penalized for not keeping clear when ITA 45’s bow struck the stern of AmericaOne. Over the starting line, Prada went left and benefited from a windshift, which put them at an advantage by the first mark rounding.
With nearly equal speed the two boats charged around the 18.55 mile course and by the third leg, Luna Rossa had gained enough distance to complete its penalty turn, leaving no passing lanes for AmericaOne. The last leg would determine the outcome for the first race of the Finals. With each crossing USA 61 gained as it closed within one half boatlength. As the boats made their way to the finish line, USA 61 was unable to overtake ITA 45.
“I’ve been behind before and I certainly expected to lose some races in this round,” said AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard. “I think today was an interesting challenge for the entire sailing team.”
[Race 2, January 27]
AmericaOne beat the Prada Challenge by 1m 33s. The second race of the series evened the score to 1-1 and was raced in light, fluky conditions. The key to this race - and each subsequent race - was confident tactical decisions. AmericaOne Tactician John Kostecki expertly picked the right windshifts and USA 61 gradually gained a lead on the Italians from the start through each leg.
The turning point of the race came at the third windward mark when USA 61’s spinnaker tore. The AmericaOne Team quickly performed a spinnaker change and continued through the chop of the spectator fleet to pass Prada, which had sailed beyond USA 61 during the sail change. With a comfortable advantage established, USA 61 surged to the finish line to victory. “After yesterday’s race we knew what we had to do,” said Kostecki. “We had a nice advantage at the weather mark, so we went for it.”
Racing postponed due to lack of wind.
[Race 3, January 29]
AmericaOne lost to the Prada Challenge when USA 61 retired due to mast complications. Over the starting line both boats were even. Approaching the first windward mark AmericaOne led with 14s over ITA 45. Although the AmericaOne Team had some difficulty with the downwind leg, they kept in the hunt of ITA 45. Both teams were close throughout the upwind and downwind legs and AmericaOne overtook the Italian boat. Trouble was mounting onboard AmericaOne. Extreme wind shifts and two-meter swells were taking a toll on the rig of USA 61. After several minutes of hearing “noises that sound like cracking carbon” Cayard decided to withdraw from the race. “We had a very difficult day,” said Cayard after the race. “Despite difficulties with our mast we were pleased with the speed we saw in our boat.”
[Race 4, January 30]
AmericaOne lost to the Prada Challenge by 9s. A long night for the AmericaOne Shore Team saw them replace USA 61’s rig with USA 49’s. The AmericaOne Team had a four-second lead over ITA 45 over the line and continued to hold onto a slight lead throughout the race. Just as it was looking to be AmericaOne’s race, the two teams got into a gybing duel at approximately 200 meters from the finish. AmericaOne gybed astern of ITA 45, keeping clear, but incurred a penalty. With only seconds to the line USA 61 was unable to complete its penalty turn in time and finished the race holding a penalty. “We had things go against us yesterday,” said Cayard. “We learned and did a better job today. I’m happy with our boat and team performance.”
[Race 5, February 1]
AmericaOne won against the Prada Challenge by 34s. After a one day break from racing to celebrate Auckland Anniversary Day, the Louis Vuitton Cup resumed in choppy seas with 15-21 knots of breeze. Off the starting line Kostecki picked the right side of the course and extended USA 61’s lead to the windward mark. ITA 45 attempted to challenge USA 61, but couldn’t pass by the well-performing grey and green machine. The turning point of the match came in the second downwind leg when USA 61 tossed a dummy gybe at Luna Rossa. They fell for it and spun out of control, broaching and losing precious time. AmericaOne then gained enough distance on the wounded silver boat to easily cross the finish ahead for its second win.
[Race 6, February 2]
AmericaOne beat the Prada Challenge by 9s. In steady 13-knot winds, AmericaOne chose the favored pin end of the starting line and established a four-second lead over the line.
It was at the first leeward mark that Prada made a fatal mistake. By attempting to take their spinnaker down on both sides of the bow, the Italians virtually “shrink wrapped” Luna Rossa causing them to slow down and veer off course.
With both boats approaching on port tack to the final windward mark, it was up to USA 61 to hold off ITA 45 to the finish. Down the last leg AmericaOne maintained and defended a two-boatlength lead over Prada to the finish line. Tennis legend Steffi Graf rode as 17th crew in this exciting race. “The crew did an awesome job of handling the boat,” said Kostecki at the completion of the race. “We capitalized on a few significant shifts during the race and I’m pleased to have tied the score with this race.”
Racing was postponed due to lack of wind.
[Race 7, February 4]
AmericaOne beat the Prada Challenge by 1m 6s. Exhibiting extreme grace under pressure the AmericaOne Team cruised up an advantaged right-side lift to ride to victory. After the previous day’s cancellation of racing due to lack of wind, the seventh race was a crucial win for the Team, putting them at 4 wins to 3 for the Italians.
[Race 8, February 5]
AmericaOne lost to the Prada Challenge by 37s. Prada’s win in this race evened the scoreboard to four wins each. The start of the race was aggressive, as each team battled for a win in order to continue on to the America’s Cup. Protest flags were flown as AmericaOne and Prada fought for control during the pre-start maneuvers. All protests waived, USA 61 and ITA 45 crossed the line, AmericaOne on the committee boat end and Luna Rossa taking the pin end of the line. At the top mark Luna Rossa rounded ahead of AmericaOne.
On the downwind run, AmericaOne showed good speed as the two boats converged, USA 61 gybed gaining the overlap. ITA 45 luffed and upon USA 61’s response the team was penalized for forcing Prada to alter course. On the final downwind run to the finish, USA 61 closed in on the Italian’s still carrying a penalty turn, AmericaOne finishing seconds behind. “I think we knew this was going to be a tough regatta,” said Cayard after the race. “The boats are even, the teams are pretty equal and I think it’s just and fitting that it comes down to a ninth race.”
[Race 9, February 6]
AmericaOne lost to the Prada Challenge by 49s. In the ninth and final race both teams were determined to win the series and the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Off the line AmericaOne chose the favored side of the course, but lost out on a significant shift, which ITA 45 benefited from. Approaching the first windward mark, USA 61 sailed out close to the starboard layline and its speed was adversely affected by the spectator chop. The next lap around the course was a test of patience, which the AmericaOne Team passed well. Kostecki and the tactical team continually made small gains. By the last windward mark the wind had settled into one direction and eliminated any chance of an advantageous windshift for AmericaOne.
“I’m very proud of AmericaOne and the road that we paved,” said Cayard. “We did it a different way and came very close to winning the series.”
At the completion of the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals, the Team was welcomed into the Viaduct Basin by an enormous crowd of fans, family members, and friends. Lining the docks were children with American flags and visitors from around the world who had come to Auckland to cheer on America’s greatest hope of returning the Cup to the U.S.
“What we saw today was the value of a couple of years of preparation by Prada versus not as much by us,” said Cayard. “They deserved to win. They did an awesome job in some really difficult conditons.”
Final Round Sailing Crew: Greg Prussia of Oroville, CA, bow; Curtis Blewett of Los Angeles, CA, mid-bow; Bill Bates of San Diego, CA, mast/sewer; Josh Belsky of Hood River, OR, pit; Jim Nicholas of San Diego, CA, grinder; Phil Trinter of Lorain, OH, grinder; Matt Welling of Bay Shore, NY, grinder; David McClintock of Portsmouth, RI, upwind trim; Carter Perrin of Houston, TX, downwind trim; Paul Cayard of Kentfield, CA, helmsman; John Kostecki of Fairfax, CA, tactician; Gavin Brady of Annapolis, MD, strategist; Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, mainsheet; Morgan Larson of Capitola, CA, traveler; Sean Clarkson of Middletown, RI, main assist; Ralf Steitz of Port Washington, NY, mid-bow; and Lexi Gahagan of Wilmington, DE, navigator.
17th crewmembers in the Finals: Race 1, Fritz Jewett of San Francisco, CA; Race 2, Bill Asselin; Race 3, Andrea Pucci of Italy; Race 4, Bob Hobbs of CT; Race 5, Tom Seip of Orinda, CA; Race 6, Steffi Graf; Race 7, William Hoyt of Woodstock, VT; Race 8, John Thomson of Port Washington, NY; Race 9, Lucy Jewett of San Francisco, CA.
Paul Cayard: At the Helm
This series did not end the way we had planned. The score told the story of an unbelievably tough regatta; the most competitive series of match racing ever staged in the America’s Cup. Our comeback from 3-1 and the broken mast, were answered by Prada’s comeback from facing a double match point.
AmericaOne was the best team in the USA and came very close to beating the best that the world had to offer. It is a fact that Prada spent twice the time that we did toward the same goal. So how did we get so close? People, organization, determination, and passion. We had the best group that I have ever worked with in a Cup and it was an honor to have them commit to our campaign. No one came to work at AmericaOne for the money. They came out of respect for the group we had assembled and the belief in those people and their determination. This is the most satisfying compliment I have ever had and I want to once again thank every member of AmericaOne for their effort and commitment.
Also, we would never have gotten where we were without our corporate partners, many of whom are world leaders in their industry. What an honor to have the support and confidence of Ford Motor Company, Global Integrity, Hewlett-Packard, Intessa, SAIC, Telcordia Technologies, United Technologies, Visteon, Network Solutions, Lycos, and Charles Schwab! Most of these companies had a very direct involvement in the technical program of AmericaOne and truly made a difference in our boat speed at the end of the day. AmericaOne was the only U.S. team to gather over $20M of corporate support.
Additionally we were fortunate to have two of New Zealand’s premier companies -- Line 7 and Air New Zealand -- supporting the Team.
I have been overwhelmed by the e-mails and faxes of encouragement. Even though life for us these days is disappointing it seems that there is a large amount of respect for what we have achieved and an equally large amount of support for the continuation of AmericaOne. This is helping us recover.
I believe that after the appropriate digestive period, AmericaOne may challenge for the Cup again. We don’t give up easily and what we have built should be added to, not left to flounder. The assets we have are top quality and completely unencumbered. We have run a program that is flush...no debt. We have a very experienced team that should stay together. We must start very soon as all this talent can quickly disperse. I would like to think of the next few months as a well-deserved break between chapters rather than the end of a book.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to represent all of you, our corporate partners, our private contributors, the St. Francis Yacht Club, and America. I thank you for this opportunity.
Charles Schwab and Network Solutions Upgrade Levels
In January, immediately after the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals, two important AmericaOne corporate partners — Charles Schwab and Network Solutions, Inc. — upgraded their sponsorship involvement with the Team. Both corporations received additional logo exposure on the boom of both USA 61 and USA 49. “The AmericaOne Team has been very fortunate to have received the kind of support we have had in the past few months leading up to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals,” said AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard.
USA 61’s Keel Unveiled at Reception
On January 21st during an international press conference, at the Team’s New Zealand compound, AmericaOne unveiled the keel of its second IACC boat USA 61 in front of a crowd of 500-plus guests composed of Team families, sponsors, private donors, fans, and media representatives from the Louis Vuitton and America’s Cup Association.
“The keel unveiling revealed three and one half years of hard work and dedication by the AmericaOne Design Team, technology consultants, and sponsors,” said AmericaOne Principle Designer Bruce Nelson. “I’m proud to show the design of a boat that has been an important element in getting us into the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals.” Nelson’s 45-member design team included representatives from Ford, Hewlett-Packard, SAIC, United Technologies, and Visteon. Prior to the unveiling AmericaOne greeted 200 VIP guests at the compound with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Speakers included guest emcee Gary Jobson of ESPN, AmericaOne Chairman George 'Fritz' Jewett, and AmericaOne Chairman and Founders’ Club Director Larry Finch.
The Final Round of the Louis Vuitton Cup was an exciting and very busy time for the Team and our sponsors. Here’s a look at some of the activities that took place with our corporate partners.
During the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals representatives from Hewlett-Packard joined the team on the Hauraki Gulf as spectators aboard the AmericaOne Spectator Boat. Steven Angelo, HP program manager and Pam Byer, HP program manager, hosted a corporate BBQ in the AmericaOne Hospitality Center.
AmericaOne also welcomed a contingent of guests from Hewlett-Packard Spain on January 30 aboard the spectator boat. Andrea Pucci from Finsiel, Italy was a VIP guest of Hewlett-Packard U.S. and rode as 17th crew on January 27.
On February 8 Mark Winger from Hewlett-Packard’s DesignJet group in the San Diego office, and Rachel Cottonbrante hosted 75 guests in the AmericaOne Hospitality Center. Paul Cayard spoke on the integration of HP technology with highlights on the DesignJet involvement with the campaign, and boat construction and repair, and image enhancement via the online poster store. “It’s wonderful to have our corporate friends from Hewlett-Packard in town,” said Cayard. “Their contributions have been invaluable to the entire Team and our success so far.”
The HP DesignJet group was treated the next day to breakfast in the AmericaOne Hospitality Center, overlooking the Viaduct Basin, and a chalk talk with AmericaOne COO Bob Billingham, members of the AmericaOne Sailing Team, and a weather debrief by the AmericaOne Meteorologist Roger “Clouds” Badham.
On January 18 Kensington Swan hosted a BBQ for the AmericaOne Sailing Team. Both AmericaOne staff and crew met the Kensington Swan team for an evening in the AmericaOne Hospitality Center. The event was organized by Rob Noaks of Kensignton Swan.
On January 24 Ford New Zealand hosted a reception in the AmericaOne Hospitality Center. The group also viewed racing aboard AmericaOne’s spectator boat.
During the Finals United Technologies representative Dr. Bob Hobbs and his wife Donna Hobbs were guests of AmericaOne. They viewed racing from the USA 61 tender, which is used to tow USA 61 out to the racecourse each morning.
On February 4 AmericaOne welcomed U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand Carole Mosley-Braun to the compound to participate in welcoming back the Sailing Team after a victory against Prada Challenge. Ms. Mosley-Braun was accompanied by her son, the U.S. Consul, and the U.S. Vice-Consul. The group was greeted by AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard, who provided a tour of the base and introduced crewmembers to the contingent.
On January 21 AmericaOne proudly welcomed the Waiwera Water Company’s boat to the AmericaOne compound in Auckland, New Zealand. Waiwera Water’s president John Brown christened the catamaran from the AmericaOne docks in the Waitemata Harbour, with VIP guests and friends of the Waiwera Thermal Resort looking on. AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard spoke to the gathered crowd about the value of our New Zealand suppliers, especially Waiwera Water and thanked the company for their continued involvement in the campaign. “Waiwera Water plays a critical role in keeping our sailing team well hydrated on the racecourse,” said Cayard. “Thanks to them we have the best tasting water in Auckland fueling our team.”
Volunteers and Family Send Team Off Each Day
Every day of the Finals, the AmericaOne compound was packed with families, friends, staff, and volunteers who cheered USA 61 off the dock each day. Organized by AmericaOne Merchandising Manager Susan Ruhne and Muggins Badgley, a long-time volunteer, the group was given streamers, pom-poms, signs, banners, noise makers and flags to create a huge sendoff. Special thanks to the St. Francis Yacht Club members and Founders’ Club, who continually sent new “green” items to make our mornings and afternoons more festive.
America’s Cup Hospitality
During the America’s Cup AmericaOne will continue to welcome our corporate partners and suppliers through the AmericaOne Hospitality Program. In addition to keeping the AmericaOne compound in Auckland, New Zealand open to guests, we’ll be hosting VIP base tours, spectating of the America’s Cup aboard the AmericaOne spectator boat, Hospitality Center functions, and compound visits. Some our guests will be Air New Zealand, ESPN, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, Kensington Swan, Montana Wines, SAIC, Telcordia Technologies, United Technologies, and innumerable local suppliers and vendors. Call the New Zealand base at (+64 9) 359-9246 for info and reservations.
155-161 Halsey Street
Auckland, New Zealand
(64 9) 359 9246 Fax
(64 9) 359 9262
Editor: Gina von Esmarch
Editorial Consultant: Dana Paxton