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Thread: The Foiling 50's Are Coming To San Francisco

  1. #11
    You would think they would have all the team members ready to announce as well.

  2. #12
    Only 2 days in SF?

    WTF?

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dolphin View Post
    Only 2 days in SF?

    WTF?
    Doesn't sound like they will hardly get their foils wet.

    The will most likely be 3-5 days of practice/promo ahead of the main event.

  4. #14
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Chisholms Take

    Yacht Racing.Life's Justin Chisholm provide some indepth insight to the new program:


    New Zealand yachtsman Sir Russell Coutts is a man on a mission. The 56-year old Kiwi sailor – who has won more world championships than he can likely remember, along with an Olympic gold medal and five America’s Cups – is trying to transform professional yacht racing from its current niche status, into a widely-popular and self-sustaining sport.

    He has had this vision for quite a while now and tried more than once to drag the sport that he loves kicking and screaming into the mainstream spotlight. Now though with the glitzy launch on a balmy night in London on Wednesday of SailGP – a new international professional sailing league – Coutts looks set to see his long-held dream become a reality.

    SailGP will see six new professional yacht racing teams competing over five international events in the new league’s inaugural season next year. The crews will be made up of some of the most exciting young talent there is in the professional sailing world right now, including past America’s Cup sailors, Olympians and other high-performance sailing experts.

    They will be racing in what can surely be safely be called the fastest boats on the planet right now, 50-foot fully-foiling F50 catamarans, estimated to be capable of top speeds up to 54 knots (62 miles per hour/100 kilometres per hour).

    Five events are scheduled for 2019 – Sydney, Australia, San Francisco, USA, New York, USA, Cowes, England, Marseilles, France – but it is hoped to expand soon to 10 teams and 10 events each year in future seasons.

    Teams will be country based with strict 100 per cent nationality rules, while the boats will be greatly souped-up and strictly-equalised versions of the AC50s used to such good effect at the last America’s Cup in Bermuda.

    To pull all this together Coutts enlisted the help of his long-time collaborator, billionaire businessman Larry Ellison, with whom he won two America’s Cup with Oracle Racing – the team named for the global technology company Ellison founded and still runs.

    Coutts says Ellison was keen to get involved with the SailGP concept after losing the America’s Cup to Emirates Team New Zealand in Bermuda in 2017.

    “Larry called me and asked me if I wanted to do the America’s Cup again,” Coutts said. “When I told him I didn’t, he said he didn’t want to either and suggested we should do something new.

    “He loves sailing as much as I do and so we talked about the possibility of creating a proper professional sailing series. He agreed to underwrite it so that we could do it properly.

    “Larry’s belief was that we have learned so many lessons together over the last ten years that we have a really good chance of creating something successful.”

    “What we have with SailGP an idea totally without any handcuffs on. This is a blank sheet of paper and making what we believe are the best business decisions based on our experience and what makes logical business sense.”

    Coutts has made no secret over the years of his desire to create such a sustainable professional sailing league, but now believes that the experience gained in the three America’s Cup cycles will prove vital to bringing SailGP to fruition.

    “I think that if I had been doing this 10 years ago, I don’t think we would have been making as many of the right decisions,” he said. “Now we have realised what works: in a broadcast sense, in an events and hospitality sense, on the branding and how we market an event like this.

    “All of these things have evolved over time and it is hard when you are first getting into a new business to make all the right decisions, so I really think we stand a better chance at this today than we would have ten years ago.”

    During the last America’s Cup Coutts and Ellison tried to corral the teams into signing a framework agreement that would keep the Bermuda format for the next couple of Cup cycles. Now though he believes it could never have worked as well as he expects the new SailGP concept will do – for two main reasons.

    “We knew five years ago that it needed a strong nationality component,” he said. “Larry feels really strongly that the racing needs to be close if it is going to be compelling. If the racing is spread out and one boat is much faster than another one, then it kind of destroys the racing.

    “[With the America’s Cup teams] we would never have agreed a nationality rule in that format and they would never have agreed to go one-design. We would never have agreed a lot of the things we are doing now.

    “What we have with SailGP an idea totally without any handcuffs on. This is a blank sheet of paper and making what we believe are the best business decisions based on our experience and what makes logical business sense.”

    Although they are each slightly different, the new SailGP F50 catamarans have been tightly equalised to the point where the fleet can to all intents and purposes be considered one-design from a performance and operational point of view.

    Battery power will be used to drive the flight control system which will be managed by a ‘pilot’ crewmember using a small joystick. The two grinders in the crew will the supply power to control the massive sail plan which includes a gigantic hard-wing mainsail and a conventional soft-sail jib.

    Another development is that the angle of attack of the rudder foils can now be dynamically controlled while racing, rather than set in advance as it was on the AC50s. This new functionality is expected to drive a significant performance improvement as well as making the boats somewhat safer to sail.

    “It’s at a price point so that it is achievable that these teams can grow brand equity over time and even if an owner tired of being involved, that team would continue to exist. It might be sold or traded, but the team would continue to exist – which how most other professional sports operate.”

    Coutts plans for the boats to continue to evolve technically as the new circuit matures and the sailors get more familiar with sailing the boats.

    We want to keep the tech element evolving,” he said. “We didn’t want to have one design boats that are going to stagnate for the next ten years. Quite the opposite. We are going to keep evolving them and we are going to accelerate that development through our in-house design team.

    “We might say for instance, what’s the best way to develop these boats to be able to race in a broader range of wind strengths? How do we make them faster in lighter winds? Well now we don’t have to say we can’t do that because we have a class rule sitting there stopping any development.

    “We can make the right decisions for the business based on what we think is correct. We can stagger those developments out over time so that we are not spending a whole bunch of money in one year – that would be fiscally irresponsible.

    “We can research and test changes properly before we roll them out. That way I think we stand a much better chance of success.”

    The SailGP organization is expanding fast, opening offices in London and San Francisco where Coutts says they are staffing up aggressively.

    “We have established ourselves in those two cities because we want to attract top talent to this – whether it be in graphics or television production or marketing or merchandising –whatever the elements are, we want to attract top talent to this to give it the best chance of success.”

    Only the British team was announced at the London launch but the other five team lineups – representing Australia, China, France, Japan and USA – are locked in and will be made public at individual country-centric events over the next three weeks.

    With an annual budget of five million US dollars per team, the cost of entry seems surprisingly low for such a high-profile global sporting property.

    “All I know is that we are not comparing ourselves to any existing sailing property. We absolutely want to be viewed as new. We don’t want to be viewed as a traditional sailing property, we are not comparing ourselves to anyone else in that market.”

    “It’s at a price point where I think there will be two or possibly three teams that are profitable by the end of season one, I am confident of that,” Coutts said, adding: “One might actually be profitable almost from the get-go.

    “It’s at a price point so that it is achievable that these teams can grow brand equity over time and even if an owner tired of being involved, that team would continue to exist. It might be sold or traded, but the team would continue to exist – which how most other professional sports operate.

    “That means you don’t have all these sailors and families one day waking up and suddenly it’s all over, because the owners have decided not to do it anymore. With most properties in sailing the team exists for a period of time and they might even build a significant brand, and then they’re gone tomorrow.

    “You can imagine a sponsor saying, well I was sponsoring something that I thought I liked the look of last year, but it has actually completely changed this year. I think that’s unacceptable and we have got to change that and make sure that this does work as a business model for the long term.”

    When asked the obvious questions as to whether SailGP has been created as a competitor to the hallowed America’s Cup and what he believes the organisers of the next edition in 2021 might think about it, Coutts shrugs and gives this steadfast response:

    “I don’t know how they will view it frankly. All I know is that we are not comparing ourselves to any existing sailing property. We absolutely want to be viewed as new. We don’t want to be viewed as a traditional sailing property, we are not comparing ourselves to anyone else in that market.

    “If there are any comparisons it’s to some of the other successful leagues in other sports – that’s what we are more comparable to I believe. Sure, we have to build to that, but the vision is not to emulate anything else in sailing, it’s to go with a totally new concept and build from there.”
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  5. #15
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Sail GP USA Details Released

    One Week After Historic Global Launch, SailGP Unveils U.S. Team, Details of Two U.S. Races


    The United States SailGP Team, L to R: Hans Henken, Riley Gibbs, Mac Agnese, Rome Kirby (skipper) & Dan Morris.

    The five members of the U.S. SailGP Team are: Rome Kirby, 29, of Newport, Rhode Island (helmsman); Riley Gibbs, 22, of Long Beach, California (wing trimmer); Hans Henken, 26, of Coronado, California (flight controller); Mac Agnese, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (grinder); and Dan Morris, 30, of Newport, Rhode Island (grinder).
    One week after the league’s historic global launch, SailGP today announced the members of the United States SailGP Team, and revealed details of its two premier U.S. events, set to take place in San Francisco (May) and New York (June) of next year.




    The crew boasts an impressive track record in international racing, with a host of professional ocean racing and world championship honors between them. Kirby will be looking to add SailGP success to his 2013 America’s Cup win, while Morris has a World Match Racing Tour title under his belt. Agnese, Gibbs and former youth world champion Henken are all bidding to represent Team USA at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

    “This is a turning point in American sailing,” said SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts. “SailGP is setting out to redefine how top sailors compete and how fans worldwide watch them, with annual races in major cities and a nation-versus-nation format. Rome brings an incredible level of experience, and has built a strong team indicative of the burgeoning development pipeline in the U.S. This is a young, eager and talented group with a bright future.”

    Spearheaded by Larry Ellison and Coutts, SailGP will kick off its inaugural season in February 2019. It will feature five grand prix events and six national teams competing on identical wingsailed F50s – the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans. In addition to the United States, the six teams will represent Australia, China, France, Great Britain and Japan. Each team will have a five-person crew aboard 50-foot foiling catamarans, which are expected to break the 50-knot (or 60 mph) speed barrier.

    The intensely competitive, inshore racing events will be held in Sydney (February 15-16); San Francisco (May 4-5); New York (June 21-22); Cowes, UK (August 10-11); and Marseille, France (September 20-22).






    The SailGP event in New York will take place on the lower Hudson River, with the onshore Race Village located at Brookfield Place. It will feature Friday and Saturday afternoon racing just off the Battery and running north toward Rockefeller Park. In San Francisco, racing will take place in the San Francisco Bay, with the Race Village located on the Marina Yacht Club Peninsula. It will feature Saturday and Sunday mid-day racing on the city front racecourse.

    “It’s an incredible honor to represent the United States and compete for our country,” said Kirby. “We’re all lifelong sailors – it’s our profession and our passion. But until now we’ve never had the chance to go toe-to-toe against the world’s best international sailors over a full season of competition. SailGP brings something totally new to the sport. The race venues are spectacular but challenging, and there’s that extra edge you get representing the USA against other national teams. SailGP will bring the sport we love closer to fans and spectators than ever before.”

    Sanctioned by World Sailing, each grand prix event will consist of two competition days with five fleet races, culminating in a final match race between the two leaders. The final race in Marseille will feature a winner-takes-all, $1 million championship match race between the season’s top two teams to conclude three days of racing.
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  6. #16
    Looks like a solid crew.

    Good luck to them!

  7. #17
    "with the Race Village located on the Marina Yacht Club Peninsula."

    Marina Yacht Club?

  8. #18
    That is a pretty full load for the Gibbs lad, between all the kite-boarding, nacra and this!

    Must be genetic!

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Tuna View Post
    "with the Race Village located on the Marina Yacht Club Peninsula."

    Marina Yacht Club?
    I would guess it is a paper yacht club located between the GGYC and the StFYC. Hold it on SF City property and avoid the Port of SF political nonsense.

  10. #20
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    F50's : What We Know...




    After some cage rattling, we managed to scare up some answers:

    The Location for the SF Village will indeed be between the StFYC and the GGYC

    The setup will probably start for a week to 10 days ahead of time

    Boats will likely be craned into water from on site crane

    There will be 3-4 days of practicing before event

    US team will be in London the next week or so working out on a F-50 Simulator

    October 23rd-Nov 12th the US Team will be in Auckland do work out on the real McCoy

    Team members were invited to tryouts held back in August, with invites going out to potential team members in January

    Russell was key in the selection process

    USA coach will will be Tom Burnham
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