AC-n-SF, Game Over or Game On?

10 Jun

By Kimball Livingston Posted June 10, 20145

San Diego-based Bernie Wilson is reporting for the Associated Press that San Francisco Bay is out of the running as a venue for the 2017 America’s Cup match, so you have to believe that, just maybe, San Francisco Bay is out of the running as a venue for the 2017 America’s Cup match. Or, this could be the final-final point of leverage. It’s not as though there haven’t been talks, very recently, at City Hall. And it’s not as though anybody thinks there is a better place to run the races.

But, as the Godfather’s folks would say, “It’s just business.”

Ask Ben Ainslie, seen above with a fellow sailing enthusiast, the Duchess of Cambridge, announcing that the elements of a British challenge have fallen into place.

But first, Bernie Wilson’s account” which reads, in part—

“Russell Coutts, the CEO of two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA, told The Associated Press on Monday night that one venue has been eliminated, and that he plans to reduce the field to two by the end of June.

Coutts wouldn’t confirm which city is out. But it’s been known for months that San Francisco — the hometown of Oracle Team USA — hasn’t offered terms as attractive as those offered by San Diego, Bermuda and Chicago to host the final rounds of the 2017 regatta.

Officials in San Francisco didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Bob Nelson, the chairman of the board of commissioners at the Unified Port of San Diego, confirmed that his city’s bid has advanced.”

The other potential venues in the line of chatter are Chicago and Bermuda.

Curious and curiouser.

Meanwhile, four-time gold medalist Ben Ainslie has made his America’s Cup challenge official. The word from the PR team:

Sir Ben announced his challenge with Yacht Squadron Racing, saying: “This is the last great historic sporting prize never won by Great Britain. It has always been my ambition to mount a home challenge. The time is right and I am hugely encouraged by the support we are getting, not least from the Duchess of Cambridge. I learned a great deal aboard Oracle in San Francisco and I would not be challenging if I did not believe we have a real chance of winning this time.”

the world’s most successful Olympic sailor after winning a fourth gold medal in London 2012, and quickly turned his attention to his long term ambition – winning the America’s Cup for Britain. In 2013, Ainslie became the first Briton to be part of a winning America’s Cup team in 110 years with ORACLE TEAM USA. He played a vital role in one of the greatest comebacks sport has ever seen, overturning an 8:1 deficit to Team New Zealand, and allowing the USA to retain the trophy. Now Ainslie is planning to take the trophy from the Americans in 2017, and bring the America’s Cup back to Britain with his team, Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR).

Sir Charles Dunstone, Chairman of BAR’s Board said: “This campaign is about righting a wrong. We have never won it. We have an amazing maritime history. The Cup has to come home, we have to do that.”

The team announced that it will be representing Yacht Squadron Racing, which is affiliated to the Royal Yacht Squadron, and it means that should BAR be successful and win the Cup for Britain it will bring it back to Cowes and the place where it all began 163 years ago. Royal Yacht Squadron Commodore, Christopher Sharples, said, “We are absolutely delighted to be working with our member Sir Ben Ainslie in his patriotic quest to bring the America’s Cup back to Britain. Since losing the original race in 1851, the Squadron have made a number of unsuccessful attempts to win the Cup, the previous and most recent occasion was in 1958. Sir Ben has impressed us with his incredible track record, his total commitment, his ability to build a most impressive management team and recruit some of the world’s top sailors and designers with the relevant experience.”

BAR has been in gestation since 2011, when Ainslie first started to look ahead to life beyond the Olympics. He spoke with ORACLE TEAM USA (OTUSA) CEO, Russell Coutts with the sole intention of trying to buy an AC45 multihull to compete in the 2012/13 America’s Cup World Series. Coutts had a better idea and instead offered him a job with the Americans. Ainslie subsequently negotiated both a role with OTUSA and his own World Series entry for BAR. It worked out well for both OTUSA and Ainslie, who gathered crucial experience; and as a result of circumstances, found himself substituted onto the US boat in the tactician’s role for the 34th America’s Cup.

The spectacular 9:8 OTUSA victory provided the perfect springboard for Ainslie to return to the UK and seek support for a British effort. The first meetings last October were with Sir Charles Dunstone and Sir Keith Mills, their unwavering commitment gave Ainslie the courage to push on to find other private investors to build a viable British challenge. Subsequent backing came in the form of Chris Bake, Peter Dubens, Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Ian Taylor and Jon Wood. Ex-head of the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV and a keen sailor, Lord Michael Grade was asked and agreed to take on the role as an independent board member alongside Linklaters Chairman and Senior Partner Robert Elliott.

The early investment was critical to building a successful team behind the scenes with the America’s Cup predominantly being a design contest. Following the 2013 Cup, the transfer market for the top design talent was predictably hot, but the private investor funding already achieved made it possible to attract several top names.

Ben Ainslie Racing Team Members

Investor Group and Board Members

Sir Charles Dunstone – Founding Shareholder and Chairman

Sir Keith Mills GBE – Founding Shareholder and Board Member

Chris Bake – Founding Shareholder and Board Member

Peter Dubens – Founding Shareholder

Robert Elliott – Independent Board Member

Lord Michael Grade CBE – Independent Board Member

Lord Irvine Laidlaw – Founding Shareholder

Ian Taylor – Founding Shareholder

Jon Wood – Founding Shareholder and Board Member

Management Team

Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) – Team Principal and Skipper

Jono Macbeth (NZL) – Sailing Team Manager and Sailor

Andy Claughton (GBR) – Technical Director

Andy Hindley (GBR) – Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer

James Stagg (GBR) – Shore Team Manager

Jo Grindley (GBR) – Head of Commercial, Marketing, Communications and Events

Design Team

Andy Claughton (GBR) – Design and Naval Architecture

Dirk Kramers (NED/USA) – Design and Engineering

Clay Oliver (USA) – Design and Performance Simulation

Rodrigo Azcueta (ARG) – Design and Computational Fluid Dynamics

Luc du Bois (SUI) – Instrumentation and Performance Analysis

Francisco Azevedo (POR) – 3D Modelling

Jason Ker (GBR) – Design and Naval Architecture

Matteo Ledri (ITA) – Computational Fluid Dynamics

Johannes Mausolf (GER) – Performance Prediction and Software Development

Benjamin Muyl (FRA) – Design and Naval Architecture

Simon Schofield (GBR) – 3D Design and Modelling

Benjamin Vernieres (FRA) – 3D Modelling

Sailing Team

Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) – Skipper

Jono Macbeth (NZL) – Sailing Team Manager

Andy McLean (NZL)– Sailing and Design Team Liaison

David Carr (GBR) – Sailing Team

Matt Cornwell (GBR) – Sailing Team

Nick Hutton (GBR) – Sailing Team

This article was syndicated from BLUE PLANET TIMES


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