AmericaOne Sets Benchmark for Louis Vuitton Cup
After three years of preparation by the AmericaOne design, sailing, marketing, and administrative teams, the day everyone’s looked forward to arrived on October 18: The first race in the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger’s Series. Under the leadership of AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard and Sailing Team Manager/Tactician John Kostecki, AmericaOne’s new International America’s Cup Class boat, USA 49, was lowered into the Viaduct Basin waters early in the morning for the first day of racing.
Although a win in Round Robin 1 counts for only one point (in rounds 2 and 3 points for a win increase in value), each of the 10 races sailed provided the team with a new benchmark for boat speed, performance, tuning, sail trim, tactics, and strategy. “I think our performance is evolving,” said Terry Hutchinson, mainsheet trimmer. “We think about what worked in a certain condition and then store that in the collective memory for future reference. We all spend so much time together that we share some of the same thoughts!”
AmericaOne’s goal in the first round was to use the valuable lessons of the testing process and apply new knowledge gained in each race. The more the team learns about USA 49, and its competition, in relation to boat speed and crew work, the better prepared we’ll be going into the semi-finals in January, 2000. Here’s how the team faired against each of the other syndicates.
[October 18, Race 1 & 2] Racecourse conditions for the first round were ideal: light southwesterly breeze and flat seas. First up was Bravo Espana. AmericaOne led at the start and controlled each lap, gaining time with every mark rounding, defeating ESP 47 by 1m 9s. One down nine to go.
“We had really strange weather against America True,” said Kostecki about Race 2. “We’ve learned a lot in variable winds and we were able to use that knowledge to win. It had to do with being ahead early and figuring out the wind.” USA 49 defeated America True by 3m 45s.
[October 19, Race 3 & 4] Day two dawned with light
northeasterly wind. The first race was easily won by
|against the Swiss
team, FAST2000, who were plagued
throughout the entire round with boat problems.
Race 4 against the Japanese wasn’t as simple. With a broken piece of deck hardware on USA 49, racing was delayed by the international jury. “Luckily, we were able to qualify for a postponement in the rules,” said Cayard. “We took the 45 minutes we were allotted, fixed the part and then went on to win the race.” The team defeated the Nippon Challenge Asura (JPN 44) and won with a comfortable 2m 26s margin.
[October 20, Race 5 & 6] Since there are 11 challengers and every team races each team one time, AmericaOne had a bye in Race 5. By the middle of the series things were starting to pick up on the Hauraki Gulf. Race 6 was against Le Defi’s Sixieme Sens (FRA 46). The wind speed at the start was 18 knots. AmericaOne used great boathandling in the heavier air to win by a 1m 26s margin.
[October 21] The fourth day of racing was called off by the race committee due to weather.
[October 22, Race 7] The most difficult race of the series for the team, the showdown against the heavily-funded Prada Challenge (ITA 45) was first up. AmericaOne left the dock confident in the ability to handle the boat well in a range of conditions.
The pre-start maneuvering was close. Prada gained control of the first leg, but AmericaOne kept pace and the two were neck-in-neck at each mark rounding. On the first downwind leg a shackle failure aboard Luna Rossa gave USA 49 enough time to gain control and overtake the Italians.
Minutes later Prada lost the spinnaker guy when a shackle opened unexpectedly. It looked as if this would be the seventh win for our team. Winds began to gust to 20 knots as AmericaOne continued to increase its lead going into the second windward mark rounding.
Less than 500 meters from the finish line AmericaOne’s brand-new spinnaker exploded near the head of the sail during a jibe. The foredeck crew worked quickly to free USA 49 from its nylon anchor, which was holding the boat in place while the Italians passed by. Another spinnaker was set, but there wasn’t enough time to regain the lead. Luna Rossa crossed the finish line ahead by 17 seconds.
“The race against Prada was the closest,” said Kostecki. “Being close to them, we learned about boat handling and sail trim. It really was the most educational day for us.”
[October 25, Race 8 & 9] Next up: Aloha Syndicate’s Abracadabra. After winning the start by 7s, a short tacking duel ended with AmericaOne taking control on the first beat. Kostecki picked the windshifts wisely on the first run and Continued page 2
ROUND ROBIN 1 UPDATE 18-24 OCTOBER, 1999
assisted the team to maneuver into a strong three boat length lead, which was never challenged, winning by 1m 8s.
Race 9 was a defining moment for the team. In a pre-start maneuver Star’s & Stripes fouled AmericaOne. The umpires tagged Team Dennis Conner with a penalty for colliding with AmericaOne’s transom when helmsman Ken Read attempted to duck below AmericaOne’s stern.
With water pouring into the hull of the boat through a gash inflicted by Star’s & Stripes, boatspeed on the first windward leg was diminishing with every pounding wave. AmericaOne continued to crawl around the course, but it was evident that the incident has caused a major repair for the shore crew. Although AmericaOne won, the jury granted us a request for time to effect repairs to the transom. AmericaOne’s remaining matches were rescheduled for October 27.
AmericaOne shore team worked 18-20 hours per day for four days to repair the transom. Thanks to the Hewlett-Packard Design Jet 755CM on site, within hours of the collision, AmericaOne’s Principal Designer Bruce Nelson generated sections of the hull and printed them in full scale onto mylar sheets. The sheets were then transcribed onto wood frames, which served to build the mold of the damaged area. Carbon fiber and a core material were then laminated over the mold to bring the yacht back to original shape.
[October 28, Race 10 & 11] Days of waiting fizzled into the final day of racing. Race 10 against Young Australia, the syndicate with the ’95-vintage AUS 29, was almost a non-contest.
“Before the race we went upwind, then came down and did a jibe and then another jibe,” said Hutchinson. “At that point the bulb rope (on the mainsail) had separated from the mast and was working its way out of the track.”
AmericaOne led at the start, continued to gain distance over the Australians on each leg and won by a comfortable margin, but trouble was still brewing onboard USA 49. Bowman Curtis Blewett went up the mast and lashed the sail to the mast. It wasn’t enough. The mainsail and mast couldn’t withstand the enormous loads caused by the temporary repair.
The team started the final race of the series against Young America under only a headsail. “We couldn’t raise another mainsail, even if that was an option,” said Hutchinson. “The boom would drop on the wheels, causing more damage. It was a domino effect.” Cayard made the decision to withdraw from the race after the first leeward mark rounding.
The good news is that the mast will be ready for the second round robin, as will the sailing team. “We’re developing 49 to be as fast as it can be for the Challenger’s Series,” said Hutchinson. “So when we go out and race here we go back to our two-boat testing. If we get into trouble, we know how to set the boat up.”
“As a whole we’re happy with where we think we stand versus the other challengers,” said Kostecki. “We have a great boat and a great team. We went through some tough times and came out of them at a higher level.”
What will the team be working on during the time between Round Robins 1 and 2? “We hope to improve upon our weaknesses,” said Kostecki. “We have all the tools that it will take to win and now we just have to put it together and elevate our game to the top.”
Round Robin 1 Sailing Team: Bill Bates of San Diego, CA, mast/sewer; Josh Belsky of Hood River, OR, pit; Curtis Blewett of Los Angeles, CA, bow; Gavin Brady of Annapolis, MD, runner; Paul Cayard of Kentfield, CA, helmsman; Sean Clarkson of Middletown, RI, main assist; Justin Clougher of Newport, RI, foredeck; Lexi Gahagan of Wilmington, DE, navigator; Mike Howard of Malibu, CA, grinder; Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, mainsheet; John Kostecki of Fairfax, CA, tactician; David McClintock of Portsmouth, RI, upwind trim; Bruce Nelson of San Diego, CA, traveler; Jim Nicholas of San Diego, CA, grinder; Greg Prussia of Oroville, CA, bow; Russ Silvestri of San Francisco, CA, downwind trim; Ralf Steitz of Port Washington, NY, mid bow; Phil Trinter of Lorain, OH, grinder; Morgan Trubovich of Newport, RI, downwind trim; and Matt Welling of Bay Shore, NY, grinder.
ROUND ROBIN 1 UPDATE 18-24 OCTOBER, 1999
AmericaOne Team Store Opens at Compound
When you arrive at the AmericaOne headquarters in Auckland, you enter through AmericaOne’s official Team Store, which opened October 16. The store is open every day from 9 AM - 5 PM and features an exclusive line of AmericaOne gear manufactured by lead yachting retailer Line 7 and many unique souvenir items imprinted with the AmericaOne logo.
“Customers can purchase the same gear as our sailing team wears aboard USA 49,” said Susan Ruhne, AmericaOne’s Merchandising Manager. “All of the replica crew gear is emblazoned with AmericaOne’s five official sponsors’ logo: Hewlett-Packard, Ford, Telcordia, SAIC, and United Technologies.”
Using Hewlett-Packard’s newest technology visitors to the store can print a custom AmericaOne poster from one of 20 images of USA 49 taken by renowned sailing photographer Sharon Green. As the Louis Vuitton Cup progresses, new images will be photographed, scanned in high-resolution and posted to the website for purchase twice a week.
In addition to the online poster shop and the replica crew gear, the shop has a casual line of gear and a variety of fun trinkets such as coffee mugs, wine glasses, key chains, golf sets (tees and ball markers), magnets, postcards, and AmericaOne flags. “We’re starting to see a lot of the AmericaOne flags flying around Auckland,” Ruhne says. “So support for us here in town is really running high.”
Marketing Team Sets Up Base at Media Center
Not only has AmericaOne moved its entire compound, training base, sailing team, and operations, but the marketing team, led by Marketing Director Gina von Esmarch, has also relocated to Auckland.
Von Esmarch and Jennifer McHugh, senior marketing associate for AmericaOne, have two new homes. Primary headquarters for AmericaOne press relations are at the Team’s compound, and the satellite base is in the Louis Vuitton Cup Media Center. The Center is located across the Viaduct Basin from the compound in the Auckland Maritime Museum.
Each day von Esmarch and McHugh keep track of AmericaOne progress on the racecourse, as well as each of the other 10 challengers. Using data supplied by the Media Center, such as video and statistical data, they are able to instantly relay information about the time between AmericaOne and its competitor at the start and each mark rounding (delta) to the VIP boat commentator.
Each day after round robin racing, a handful of skippers meet for a press conference where particular situations on the racecourse are dissected, and details are made available to the international media. It’s from this worldwide hub that AmericaOne fans, supporters and sponsors are relayed press releases, stories and profiles of the Team’s quest for the America’s Cup. See von Esmarch and McHugh at work at www.americaone.org.
AmericaOne Joins America’s Cup Opening Ceremony
The day we have all been waiting for arrived on October 15 — the kick off to the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Challengers Series of the America’s Cup 2000.
Thousands of cheering spectators, friends, and family greeted AmericaOne’s sailing team as they took part in the Louis Vuitton Cup Parade down Queen Street, in Auckland. Team members riding in official Ford vehicles were led in procession by banner holders Ben Fletcher and Samantha Falter, and flag bearer/sailing team member Russ Silvestri to a celebration that included each of the 11 Challengers.
The parade finished at the America’s Cup Village where each syndicate was introduced in front of 3,000 invited guests. Greetings poured from local government officials, the Auckland mayor, the governor of New Zealand and included traditional Maori performances, the New Zealand National Choir and yachting commentators Peter Montgomery and Gary Jobson, who gave an insightful and entertaining presentation on the America’s Cup with a backdrop of historical footage on the giant TV screen.
Our Sailing Team stood out in a crowd consisting mostly of red, white, and blue. AmericaOne Team members wore steel grey Line 7 fleece jackets, coordinating cargo pants, (both embroidered with sponsor logos) and grey Sperry sailing shoes. “The bright green of the slashes on the logo really catches your eye,” commented many a spectator.
One of the many highlights of the ceremony was drawing the pairings for Round Robins 1 and 2, which were selected by St. Francis Yacht Club Commodore Monroe J. Wingate and Skipper Paul Cayard. [For a wrap-up of racing and a schedule of Round Robin 2 races, see pages 1 and 2.]
ROUND ROBIN 1 UPDATE 18-24 OCTOBER, 1999
In the month leading up to the first Louis Vuitton Cup race, the entire AmericaOne operation moved its base from San Francisco and Long Beach, CA to Auckland, New Zealand, to prepare for racing. It’s a very busy and exciting time — one that we’ve all imagined since AmericaOne’s inception four years ago. Here’s a sample of sponsor activities at our new home in Auckland:
Tech Center Relocates to Auckland
At the team’s base in Auckland, there’s a Visitor’s Center erected along the waterside of the compound. It’s a well-known landmark in town with its striking, white-tented profile that stands out among the other challengers’ compounds.
Most evenings the Visitor’s Center is filled with crew, staff and invited guests for dinner alfresco. The tent’s sides roll up to reveal a boardwalk along the water where visitors can have the closest available view of USA 49. It is also the site of the team’s Tech Center where Ford, Hewlett-Packard, Telcordia Technologies, and SAIC showcase their AmericaOne technology contributions through a series of interactive displays.
Highlighted in Ford’s display is their technological contributions for computational fluid dynamics. Ford also contributes technology for computer aided design, manufacturing, non-destructive evaluation, and advanced computer modeling.
SAIC provides a team of SAIC and Telecordia employees who support hydodynamic modeling and hull design, Velocity Prediction Program simulation of the hulls, and sail aerodynamic modeling.
Telcordia Technologies contributes performance analysis of two-boat testing, as well as design of experiments for testing and testing for software.
Visteon is supplying integrated telemetry and voice controlled instrumentation to continuously transmit numerous conditions and performance parameters in real time to the tender from the weather boats, including wind speed and direction, boat speed and pitch. The data is then used transmitted from the tender aboard USA 49.
AmericaOne Families Rendezvous with Team
On October 10, AmericaOne hosted its first Family Day in Auckland. With over 50 sailing team members and administrative personnel with friends and family in town, we easily filled the AmericaOne spectator boat, BJTiger, a custom catamaran/ferry, made in New Zealand.
The day began watching the sailing team prepare USA 49 and its training partner oneAustralia for a day of two-boat testing. Sails were loaded onto the team’s tender New Zealand Challenger and the two racing boats were towed out into the Hauraki Gulf. The “Family Flotilla” met up with
the two IACC boats already in testing mode and observed training. It was a great way to get together before racing began October 18.
Hewlett-Packard Welcome Mural
Visitors to the AmericaOne compound have an exciting experience waiting for them. The AmericaOne Hewlett-Packard Welcome Mural along the walkway in the compound was installed just prior to the start of Round Robin 1.
Designed to give visitors a visual history of the America’s Cup, it features an intimate look into the cockpit of USA 49, as well as historic yachting images, including the famous photo of Paul Cayard holding the Whitbread Trophy, The mural was designed by Creative-i Advertising and Interactive Media president Tom Antal and his team comprised of Chrissie Cooper, Greg Bosch, and Rick Mathieson.
The 180-foot long wall was printed in Barcelona, Spain, using HP’s Design Jet system. Thirty-five panels were sent to CA. and assembled, then shipped to Auckland for installation by Antal and his team.
“We wanted people to come into the compound and get fired up,” said Antal. “And get their blood flowing on their way out to the gorgeous view of the Harbour and AmericaOne’s boats.”
Design Contest Winner Celebrates in Auckland
A very lucky and very inventive AmericaOne fan made his own dreams come true on October 22 when he joined the sailing team as the 17th person for Race 7 of Round Robin 1 in the Louis Vuitton Cup. Terrel Silvers (Iowa Park, TX) won the ride aboard USA 49 for winning the AmericaOne Design Challenge contest by designing the best submission for a jib lock halyard. The contest was sponsored by Hewlett-Packard, Engineering-e.com, and AmericaOne.
A large equipment machinist and recreational sailor, the two-hour America’s Cup sail renewed a long-time love of sailing for him. “My first sailing mentor taught me everything 20 years ago,” said Silvers. “And I feel like I’ve come full circle with this sail aboard USA 49.”
Silvers and his wife Judy were awarded air travel to Auckland aboard Air New Zealand and a week-long stay at the Sheraton Hotel.
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