May 05 2010

Zenzi: There goes the neighborhood . . . .

Published by under Boats

Zenzi, Under Sail A beautiful boat . . . .

This is Zenzi, purported to be owned by Larry Ellison (think Oracle and America’s Cup).  It anchored out in the bay in Cabo for a few days . . . and, we were neighbors.  Then she set sail.

How sweet it is . . . .

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Feb 08 2010

Bring It ON–The America’s Cup

Published by under Boats,Sailboat Racing

This was a big weekend for sports. There was, of course, the mother of all football games–the Superbowl. For sailing fans, however, the mother of all sailboat match racing, the America’s Cup, was at **GASP** 1am this morning.

Here is the shortened version of what has happened since the last event:

The Swiss team, Alinghi and owner, Ernesto Barterelli, beat New Zealand, and won the last America’s Cup. It was tight racing the whole series, and a real nail-biter with New Zealand beating the US team, BMW-Oracle (owner Larry Ellison), and then Alinghi beating NZ.

Of course, I was rooting for BMW-Oracle. They are based out of the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco–a venue that has hosted many races in San Francisco and has a great, non-stuffy sailor bar . . . so, I’m a fan.

Immediately after Alinghi won (seriously, within minutes), a fake yacht club owned by Ernesto Barterelli, filed a formal challenge–beating BMW-Oracle to become the challenger of record. The rules for the America’s Cup state that the Defending Team and the Challenger of Record must agree on the rules. The owner of Alinghi, Ernesto Barterelli, owned both teams, all the officials, and the rules went crazy in favor of him winning and keeping the Cup. (Stuff like, EB can change the rules at any time. EB can dismiss any team from the competition for no reason at all at any time. Anyone who used to be on the Alinghi team is not allowed to sail for any other team in the competition–meaning Russel Coutts.)

There has been something like 11 lawsuits, and 3.5 years, and all sorts of politics around the AC. At the end of it, Golden Gate Yacht Club was able to wrestle the Challenger of Record title away from Ernesto Barterelli, but what they got was a two-team match–not the 18 team match-racing that we all wanted.

The two teams agreed upon a unique set of rules for the boats. They are racing 90 foot by 90 foot multi-hull boats. That’s right–90’x90′. Alighi is fielding a giant Catamaran with traditional sails . . . and, BMW-Oracle produced a trimaran with a 185-foot standing vertical wing. Yes–a WING. The speed tests for the BMW-Oracle had it clocked doing 25 knots in 7 knots of wind. Uhmmm . . . . Yeah.

The rules are still pretty skewed. Supposedly, the Alinghi boat performs better in light wind, and the BMW-Oracle boat will be a killer in heavy wind, but doesn’t do so well in the light stuff. But, those are supposeds–no one really knows.

And, getting a race off is going to be tough. The sailing instructions say no sailing in winds above 15 knots, the Race Committee can call the race if the wind shifts more than 30 degrees, no racing is the swell is more than a meter high, and there is obviously no racing if there is not enough wind. This is a tough set of conditions to meet in Valencia, where the winds are shifty.

Personally, I want to see the boats race and hold together or blow-up, be a close race, or a blow out, or whatever they are going to do. The suspense is KILLING me.

The races today were cancelled. Not enough wind. So, they will try again on Wednesday at **GASP** 1am, again . . . .

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Feb 03 2010

BMW-Oracle Training–Final Days Before the America’s Cup

Published by under Boats,Sailboat Racing

This has to be just about the most beautiful thing on the planet. BMW-Oracle’s monster Trimaran racing along on one hull. Truly a thing of beauty . . . .

We are 5 days away. Racing will be about 1am on Sunday . . . .

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