Volume I, Number 3
 

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Paul Cayard: At the Helm
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A Special Day


    PC at Podium
    Paul Cayard

July 19, 1997, was a very special day — the first day an America's Cup class yacht sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and docked at the St. Francis Yacht Club. For me this is the continuation of one story and the beginning of another. The boat now named AmericaOne was originally Il Moro di Venezia V, the boat with which I won the Louis Vuitton Cup in 1992, and raced in the finals of the America's Cup. Those memories make sailing her here, in the same water that I grew up sailing my Laser, very special to me.

Additionally, and more importantly, the AmericaOne team now has a great tool to use for crew selection, training, and sponsor and supporter outings. We also acquired two 30-foot rubber-sided tenders, a container of 40 sails and a spare rudder. Hopefully our friends across the bay will be getting a boat soon and we can have some very spectacular America's Cup racing in the best sailing stadium in the world.

At the helm piece….. 1998 has been a big year for AmericaOne. The risks we took by entering the Whitbread Round the World Race were handsomely rewarded. The win was a big boost to AmericaOne both in terms of exposure and building a winning team for the America's Cup. In April, we became the first team to gain the support of a major sponsorship in the name of Hewlett-Packard and that was followed by Ford Motor Company and Bellcore/SAIC stepping up to be numbers two and three. These sponsorships are significant not only for the technical and financial support that they provide but also for the stamp of credibility that they give to AmericaOne rather. Relative to our competition in the U.S., we are doing well in the race for funds. However, in an absolute sense, we still have a little more than a third of our funding yet to raise to meet our goal. As we head into the new-year, the pace is picking up dramatically. In one year's time, we will be in the thick of the Louis Vuitton Cup, fighting for the right to challenge the Kiwi's. We will be learning to maximize and leverage the tools that we are building right now, the tools that you have contributed to helping us build. Because the America's Cup is a challenge between teams, we all in this together. We will all share the frustration of losing or the joy and pride of winning, together, as team members. Construction begins on our first boat on December 1. Bruce Nelson, Ted Brown, Guy Buchanan, John Kuhn and the whole technical team which numbers over 30, are working round the clock to produce the line and select the shape of the boat that will win the America's Cup. Coordinating all the input for so many sources and boiling it all down into one design is a monumental task. Like most of the technical team, Bruce has shipped his family off to the in-laws for the holidays this year in order to concentrate on our boat. Our crew and shore team head to Auckland on January 1st for two months of training on site. We will be racing the Italians, the French and others, then back to California for a summer of testing our new boat against our trail horse, oneAustralia. Winning the America's Cup is largely dependent on how fast your boat is and that depends on how good a job we do in optimizing that boat after it is launched. Our technical team and sailing team will be working together during this period to make AmericaOne the fastest contender, with the most options for use during the races.

Of course, there are races to win on the water and the sailing team is starting to work together, in its entirety, in January. John Kostecki, Josh Belsky, Curtis Blewett, and Terry Hutchinson and I have all been sailing together this year but we will be joined by 10 more new crew members to advance our competence and cohesion which we need as a team of 16 for the America's Cup. The top teams will all have very well organized crews, so we will have to dig deep to push ourselves to reach our highest potential during the most critical races.

Our meteorologist, Roger Badham, is collecting data and refining his weather model and will be able to give us the most accurate forecast each day which will aid in our selecting the right sails and picking the correct side of the line to start on.

And the efforts go on…to all of the individuals and teams that contribute to America One's success: administration, board of directors, construction, design and technology, finance, founders' club, ground and sailing operations, sponsors, suppliers, legal, sailing crew, shore crew, and marketing. I want to tell you, and all of them, how proud I am of the effort and dedication that this team is putting forward to represent the St. Francis Yacht Club in the America's Cup.

In closing I would like to remind you that there is a large number of people, making an extra effort on behalf of America One to ensure that we are prepared to win races in New Zealand next year - something that all of our supporters can enjoy for many years to come.

Thanks very much and have a great holiday season.

A1 logo Offshore Training: On the Whitbread front, I spent one month with my team sailing more than 4,000 miles and as far as 63 degrees north latitude. The training is done in 5- to 10-day offshore trips. This allows us to train in the style of the race, 24 hours a day. We are mostly developing sails, and being offshore allows us to be very efficient because of not having to plan on getting back to any particular point at night.

Basically, we go wherever the wind takes us given the sails we want to test. We did go around the Faeroe Islands, which is very close to Iceland. On August 5, we’ll sail from our base in Gothenberg, Sweden, 900 miles to Cowes, Isle of Wight, and right up to the starting line for the Fastnet Race on August 9, through the finish line, and right back to Gothenberg — a 2,400-mile practice session.

A1 logo

Paul Cayard


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