ROUND ROBIN 2 UPDATE 6-18, NOVEMBER 1999
Racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup resumed on November 6 for Round Robin 2. Between rounds 1 and 2, AmericaOne used the time to make repairs, perform maintenance, and get USA 49 in race-ready form. The sailing team reviewed videos of daily racing, with AmericaOne Tactician John Kostecki and Team Coach Kevin Hall, and strategized for the upcoming races in Round 2. “The goal is to optimize boat performance in the second round,” said Kostecki.
Heavy wind and rain drenched the Auckland area prior to the start of the round. Many of the challengers elected to forego practice and stay onshore for fear of hull or rig damage on the Hauraki Gulf. What they didn’t foresee were the dramas in store for all of the challengers as the round unfolded, including weather-related incidents. “The only job harder than sailing is forecasting the weather in New Zealand,” said AmericaOne Principal Designer Bruce Nelson.
[Race 1, November 6] Our first race of the new round was against the Spanish Challenge (ESP 47). AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard and the AmericaOne Crew defeated Bravo Espana by 1m 15s. With shifting 15-knot winds and lumpy seas, the start left AmericaOne slightly behind to windward. Rounding the first windward mark, AmericaOne leveraged a significant wind shift, which gave USA 49 an advantage and the win.
[November 7, postponed due to excessive wind]
[Race 2, November 8] America True (USA 51) defeated AmericaOne by 1m 29s. Our second race was one the entire team was looking forward to: A race with our San Francisco Bay Area neighbors. Unfortunately,
AmericaOne was called over-early by the race committee and had to restart. “While it’s disappointing to lose,” said mainsail trimmer Terry Hutchinson. “It’s important not to lose sight of our goals for Round Robin 2 and beyond.”
[Race 3, November 9] AmericaOne won against FAST2000 by 3m 29s. AmericaOne sailed the course conservatively as the weather was getting worse by the minute. By the third leg waves had grown to two meters with a shorter, meaner chop. Conditions were similarly rough between Nippon Challenge’s Asura and New York’s Young America. It was during a series of tacks that, what was later called by Young America Skipper Ed Baird a “rogue set of waves,” pounded the carbon fiber hull and nearly broke USA 53 in two.
At that moment Baird recalls hearing the noise of USA 53’s hull twisting as it begun the almost inevitable plunge to the bottom of the sea. Water immediately began to fill the hull and, with the crew diving into the cold waters of the Hauraki, tenders from both syndicates pulled sailors to safety.
Amazingly their boat did not sink. It was towed to the dock and transported to a facility where it is undergoing repairs. Young America substituted their second boat for the remainder of the round and, as required by the rules, forfeited the next day’s race.
“I was out there,” said AmericaOne Sail Designer Robert Hook. “It struck me that AUS 35 (oneAustralia, which sank in ’95) and USA 53 are composed of the same combination of letters and numbers. I doubt anyone will ever call their boat any combination of those letters and numbers again.”
[November 10] Racing was suspended due to weather.
[Race 4, November 11] AmericaOne defeated Nippon Challenge’s Asura (JPN 44) by completing the racecourse after the Japanese team retired when its mast broke.
“On the second downwind leg, AmericaOne closed to a position of control,” said Cayard. “Very near the mark Nippon was penalized for crossing on port tack in front of us, on starboard. Twenty seconds later their mast came down. It was a tough fight until that point.” Asura was towed back to the Viaduct Basin. By the next day Nippon’s team stepped in a new mast and Asura was able to complete its scheduled match.
[Race 5 was a Bye for the AmericaOne team.]
[Race 6, against Le Defi Francais, was postponed due to insufficient wind.]
[Race 7, November 15] At last a rematch against Prada Challenge. Light and shifty wind conditions on the course found both teams close in pre-start maneuvering, but Prada positioned Luna Rossa on the favored side of the course, gained a lead, and finished ahead of USA 49 by 1m.
[Race 8, November 16] AmericaOne beat Aloha Challenge’s Abracadabra by 2m 52s. After winning the start by one second, AmericaOne took control of the course, rounding the first mark 40 seconds ahead. As the race continued, the winds increased to 15 knots and AmericaOne’s lead remained unchallenged.
[Race 9, November 17] AmericaOne was defeated by Stars & Stripes by 2m 46s. Both boats suffered causalities throughout the match. Stars & Stripes broke its boom vang and AmericaOne tore both a genoa and a spinnaker. “It was frustrating to have the genoa break and lose a race,” said Cayard. “The upside is that we had a great fight and came away better for the experience.”
AmericaOne’s race was the only one completed that day. In each of the other four matches at least one of the boats withdrew due to damage. “When you’re surfing down on lots of water,” said pitman Josh Belsky. “You hope you come out OK. [It’s] the closest you can come in the America’s Cup to sailing in the Whitbread.”
[Race 10, November 18] AmericaOne won against Young Australia’s by 5m 39s. “Our team’s handling of the boat, from the pre-start to taking the main down after the race, was very solid,” said Hall.
[Race 11, November 19] AmericaOne won convincingly against Young America by 1m 46s. By controlling the New York Yacht Club syndicate during the pre-start, AmericaOne was able to force them over the line early and into an unrecoverable situation. Once the starting gun was fired, the crew aboard USA 49 continued to stay ahead with “crisp team work,” according to Kostecki.
[Race 6, November 20] AmericaOne won against Le Defi Francais by 48s. After a close pre-start and first windward/leeward, the AmericaOne Team stretched its lead along the course to win.
With the second round of racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup behind the AmericaOne team, what is the general team consensus? “We take each race one at a time,” said Hutchinson. “And learn from each start, each tack, each gybe, and every maneuver because this will allow us to ultimately be successful.”
Until the start of the next round, AmericaOne will focus on two-boat testing. “We know the big picture is making the semi-finals and then getting ready to win the first 10 races in January,” said Cayard. “That is what’s important.”
Round Robin 3 of the Louis Vuitton Cup is scheduled for December 2-12, with five matches (one per syndicate) scheduled per day. Dec 13-24 are reserve days. A win in Round 3 is worth nine points. Pairings will be drawn on December 1 and posted on www.americaone.org. At the conclusion of Round Robin 3 the top six syndicates in points standings will advance to the Semi-Finals in January.
Round Robin 2 AmericaOne Sailing Team: Bill Bates of San Diego, CA, mast/sewer; Josh Belsky of Hood River, OR, pit; Curtis Blewett of Los Angeles, CA, mid-bow; Gavin Brady of Annapolis, MD, runner/navigator; Paul Cayard of Kentfield, CA, helm; Sean Clarkson of Middletown, RI, main assist; Lexi Gahagan of Wilmington, DE, runner/navigator; Mike Howard of Malibu, CA, grinder; Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, mainsheet; John Kostecki of Fairfax, CA, tactician; Morgan Larson of Santa Cruz, CA, traveler; David McClintock of Portsmouth, RI, upwind trim; Bruce Nelson of San Diego, CA, traveler; Jim Nicholas of San Diego, CA, grinder; Carter Perrin, Houston, TX, downwind trim; Greg Prussia of Oroville,
CA, bow; Russ Silvestri of San Francisco, CA, downwind trim; Phil Trinter of Lorain, OH, grinder; Morgan Trubovich of Newport, RI, downwind trim; Matt Welling of Bay Shore, NY, grinder.
Paul Cayard: At the Helm
AmericaOne ended the second Round of the Louis Vuitton Cup in good form: Three wins in a row topped-off with USA 61’s first day of sailing! Everyone is pumped-up as we head into the break between rounds. Our agenda is to focus on our newest boat for the 2000 America’s Cup and we plan to maximize our time two-boat testing out on the Hauraki Gulf.
I think our last four races, even the one we lost to Stars & Stripes when our genoa tore, really saw us hit our stride. Our starts were sharp, our crew work crisp, and our tactics awesome. This is about the right place in the series to have things start clicking into place. Early in the campaign we consciously sacrificed time spent on crew training and racing in order to focus on developing boat speed. We came out of the blocks in Round Robin 1 with the speed we wanted and have used the racing in Round Robin 2 to refine the crew work and the starts.
We had a great 10 days down here with 250-plus guests from the St. Francis Yacht Club. Our fondest admirers cheered us on every morning and evening, win or lose. It truly made an impact and was appreciated. The entire sailing community in New Zealand took notice and remarked that we had an exceptional group of supporters. Thanks to all of you who made the pilgrimage!
On the financial front, we have done very well in the last two months and reduced our funding needs down to $2M. During this round, we added three new sponsors (soon to be formally announced). I welcome these great companies to our family. It still amazes me to see how far we’ve come, especially when I think back to the start of this campaign facing $30M square in the eyes. A sincere note of appreciation to all of our supporters, private and corporate, for all that they have done to get us where we are ... which is ... in a great spot to win the America’s Cup and bring it home!
Stay tuned throughout the break, as we will continue the daily updates.
Founders’ Club in Auckland
Although the AmericaOne team has been in Auckland since late September, it wasn’t until the second week in November that we felt really complete. Over 250 Founders’ Club members made the trek to New Zealand to cheer on the AmericaOne Sailing Team in Round Robin 2 of the Louis
Vuitton Cup. Led by St. Francis Commodore Monroe Wingate and his wife Peggy Patrick Wingate, the group sojourned to the Southern Hemisphere to view racing on the Hauraki Gulf and the gorgeous local sights.
Besides touring New Zealand, the highlight of the visit was riding aboard the teams’ spectator boat. Each morning AmericaOne hosted the Founders’ Club for continental breakfast and coffee in our waterside Visitors Center. Views included the sailing team and shore crew busily preparing for the day’s racing. “We designed the Visitor’s Center with see-through plastic walls,” said AmericaOne COO Bob Billingham. “So our guests can watch the crew’s activities from carrying sails out from the sail loft to putting the boat in the water.”
Once the boats were loaded up, the team supporters cheered the crew off to battle. All of the crew were delighted with the huge cheers each day as they departed for the racecourse. No other team had such support.
“It’s neat that most of the Founders’ Club is in New Zealand watching,” said Founders’ Club member Bob Burrell. “It’s like the entire St. Francis is in town. It’s terrific to have this many people here.”
The week culminated with two Founders’ Club events: a dinner at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and a BBQ at the AmericaOne Visitors Center.
USA 61 Christened in Auckland
On a beautiful, crisp spring Auckland morning, AmericaOne unveiled USA 61, the newest of the IACC challengers — and the last boat to arrive — in town. Before a crowd of Founders’ Club members, international media, and friends and family, USA 61 was christened in the waters of the Waitemata Harbour and the champagne of Möet & Chandon.
"Now we have both barrels of our gun loaded.” said
AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard as he thanked the AmericaOne supporters in town for the special occasion.
Six officers of the Founders’ Club have provided significant support to the team over the last three years - Jan and Larry Finch, Lucy and Fritz Jewett, and Alexa and Tom Seip. Unfortunaely the Seips were not able to join us for the occasion. However, the four present at the christening provided a meaningful link between our base in Auckland and our home in San Francisco. “I thought it would be appropriate to have the ladies play a leading role in the ceremony,” said Cayard. “They have really stood out as leaders within the AmericaOne family.”
“It’s a great honor to be here speaking on behalf of a team that is very near and dear to my heart,” said Jan Finch. “This team is comprised of the finest group of people — dedicated and determined to win. This morning we welcome our newest addition to the family, USA 61, our high-test baby!”
Although the mid-hull and appendages were cloaked from view, the famous AmericaOne green shards were visible on the bow and stern. Möet flowed over the bow as it was christened by nine-time America’s Cup veteran Lucy Jewett.
USA 61 was designed by two-time America’s Cup winner and AmericaOne principal designer Bruce Nelson and his 45-member design team including representatives from Ford, Hewlett-Packard, SAIC, and United Technologies. USA 61 was built by Westerly Marine Inc. of Costa Mesa, CA, where our first boat, USA 49, also was constructed. With preferred travel provider Air New Zealand, AmericaOne chartered an Evergreen Cargo flight for the largest cargo transport in the history of the company. Guest speakers also included AmericaOne COO Bob Billingham and St. Francis Yacht Club Commodore Monroe Wingate.
With Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Cup completed, the sailing team and shore crew have a lot to be thankful for. Without the support of our Founders’ Club and sponsors we couldn’t have had such a successful round. Here’s a look at what took place in Auckland in November
Telcordia visits AmericaOne
AmericaOne had the pleasure of hosting four representatives from Telcordia Technologies. John Far, Bev Adkins, Ron Martin, and Pat Cambell were in town in November to view the AmericaOne compound and operations, cheer on the AmericaOne Sailing Team in the Louis Vuitton Cup, and tour the greater-Auckland area.
Both Cambell and Martin rode on board USA 49 as 17th crew. “It was a ride of a lifetime,” said Cambell. “It’s amazing what those boats can do.” The 17th crew not only rode aboard USA 49, but they also rode on the spectator vessel and ferried between the two by AmericaOne’s 40-foot inflatable tender. The 40-foot tender is the only AmericaOne vessel authorized within 50 meters of USA 49 while racing. “The view is spectacular,” said Martin.
The entire Telcordia Technologies contingent joined the Founders’ Club at a BBQ in the AmericaOne Visitors Center.
Media Familiarization Tour in NZ
AmericaOne Marketing Director Gina von Esmarch hosted a contigent of U.S. media in Auckland for 10 days of touring the world-yachting capital. The trip was co-sponsored by AmericaOne, Air New Zealand, and the New Zealand Tourism Board.
The highlight of their tour was viewing the Louis Vuitton Cup races aboard the AmericaOne spectator vessel and touring the region and its diverse cultural and sporting venues. The three broadcast and two print journalists were in town to view racing and write features on the America’s Cup, sailboat racing, associated technology, and other destination-related features.
“The Louis Vuitton Media Center was very helpful for the group’s day to day business,” said von Esmarch. “By co-sponsoring a trip like this we are able to send the group back as new ambassadors for the sport and the venue.
Inevitably new stories emerge, which helps our long-term goal of increasing coverage of the America’s Cup to a larger audience. We hope to have them back again.”
BILLINGHAM’S ROAD SHOW
Immediately following AmericaOne’s successful completion of Round Robin 1, AmericaOne COO Bob Billingham took the show on the road to California. During the last week of October Billingham spoke to the memberships of the St. Francis Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, San Diego Yacht Club, and Long Beach Yacht Club. The tour was sponsored by Air New Zealand.
The presentation included exciting on-the-water slides taken by AmericaOne Photographer Sharon Green and video highlights of Round Robin 1 racing shot by AmericaOne Videographer Vince Casalaina. “I received a warm welcome at all the clubs,” said Billingham. “It was great to see such a high interest level in our campaign.”
If you’re wondering where you can get up-to-the-minute reports, results, standings, weather, and photos of AmericaOne racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the answer is www.americaone.org. “We want our supporters to easily find the commentary they’re looking for,” said AmericaOne Webmaster Jeff Mott. “We’ve updated the menu bar, added links to the official America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup sites, and The New Zealand Herald.
On the Daily Reports page, AmericaOne team members tell the day’s story in their own words, giving readers a personal insight into racing and shoreside activities. “It’s a really fun way to learn about AmericaOne,” said Mott.
When racing is called off for extreme weather conditions — as it often was in the first two rounds — Editorial Consultant Dana Paxton provides feature stories on the AmericaOne team, giving readers another look at the interesting people involved. “People ask me all the time what it’s like to work for an America’s Cup syndicate,” said Paxton. “So tune in to the website and read all about it.”
For in-depth looks at the America’s Cup, Peter Henig from the Red Herring, gives his unique commentary on the event and surrounding developments. Best known for introspective pieces, Henig’s reports guarantee a perspective not found anywhere else.