It's not a glamorous job, but getting the AC45s ready for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup Selection Series is critical work.
Ahead of the Selection Series for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup (happening on San Francisco Bay from Feb. 9-15 and Feb. 18-24), members of the San Francisco team American Youth Sailing Force ready the AC45s to be sailed by their potential competitors.
Philippe Presti (right) has been coaching Jimmy Spithill on and off since they were both a part of Luna Rossa's campaign for the 32rd America's Cup.
Though he'd rather be sailing, former Finn champion Philippe Presti has carved out quite a niche for himself as Oracle Team USA's coach. How do you make the world's best sailing team better? He's got plenty of ideas.
Philippe Presti is a well-preserved secret in Oracle Team USA’s arsenal of racing weaponry. The angular 47-year-old Frenchman is one of those extremely quiet unassuming types that it pays to watch out for. He’s the sort who sits back quietly observing the lay of the land, or the race course as the case may be, biding his time patiently for the right play. These characteristics that have served him well as a coach for the defense syndicate. A sailor at heart, Presti takes his coaching role seriously and modestly claims that he is only as good a coach as he is a sailor.
Emirates Team New Zealand (left) and Luna Rossa trial their AC72s on New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf in late November 2012. The platforms are virtually identical courtesy of a new technology sharing component of the AC72 rule.
While Oracle Team USA and Artemis Racing struggled stateside, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa made the most of the good summer sailing weather, and the new technology sharing component of the protocol for the 34th America's Cup to push forward their respective AC72 programs.
[Editor's note: This story was initially scheduled for the January/February 2013 issue of Sailing World magazine, but was bumped from the issue. It was intended to be posted to the website instead, but was misplaced. Our apologies.]
Watched intently by Northern Hemisphere spy boats and with their 30 allotted sailing days quickly dwindling, Emirates Team New Zealand wrapped up the old year practice racing their AC72 catamaran in Auckland against their sister ship and fellow America’s Cup challenger Luna Rossa.
The American Youth Sailing Force shares their enthusiasm and passion to represent San Francisco in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.
Selected by Oracle Team USA to represent San Francisco in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, the seven members of the American Youth Sailing Force are still pinching themselves that they’re potentially on the road to an America’s Cup career. For the first time there’s a path for youth sailors 24 and under to sailing’s pinnacle event, and this west coast-based team is ready with huge amounts of energy and passion.
Unlike the other three teams still in the hunt for the 34th America's Cup, Artemis Racing had to be built from scratch. Paul Cayard, shown with the team's first AC72, is the CEO of the challenger.
To be able to build, test, and optimize the two boats and three wings needed to compete effectively for the America's Cup, Artemis Racing and CEO Paul Cayard first had to build a team.
With some 30 years invested in the event, 53-year-old Paul Cayard is no stranger to the America’s Cup. As CEO of the Swedish-flagged Artemis Racing, Cayard’s taken on the task of building an AC team from scratch, a massive undertaking given the complexity of the boats, the nature of the racing environment on San Francisco Bay, the expense, and limited time within which to make it all happen.
Emirates Team New Zealand design team member, and catamaran guru, Pete Melvin.
When it comes to multihulls, few, if any, have the résumé to match that of Pete Melvin. He's designed some of the world's fastest boats, and won some of the toughest multihull championships. Now he's trying to help Emirates Team New Zealand win the America's Cup.
Pete Melvin is considered one of the world’s leading designers of racing multihulls. He’s also a multiple class world and national champion. His company Morrelli & Melvin has designed boats ranging from the record setting 125-foot PlayStation maxi-catamaran to two different world championship-winning A Classcatamarans. His partner Gino Morelli was involved in Dennis Conner’s ’88 Cup program with the Stars & Stripes catamaran, and in 2008 Pete began working with Oracle Racing as a sailing coach before moving into design analysis.
Navigator Kevin Hall sails on Artemis Racing's AC45. A modern day America's Cup navigator must be comfortable doing just about anything onboard the boat as the job's traditional responsibilities have become less and less critical during the short-course racing.
Kevin Hall's career in the America's Cup is a study in evolution and that's only accelerated with the advent of the AC72.
In the modern America’s Cup, the traditional navigator—even at it’s most evolved—is an endangered species. With the courses so compact and the boats so hungry for human horsepower, having one person dedicated to tracking the team’s progress around the course and keeping an eye on the competition is a luxury some teams may decide they can't afford. But if four-time America’s Cup veteran Kevin Hall is worried about his position being flicked off the race boat, you wouldn’t know it.
While it won't get them on the water any sooner, Shannon Falcone's Oracle Team USA-sponsored entry into the Red Bull Flugtag, using recycled parts of the team's demolished AC72 wing, helped lift morale and point the team toward brighter days.
These days, you don’t even need lemons to make lemonade. Well at least not directly. Some Countrytime and some water, and you’re good to go. Millions of kids do it each summer. Trying to put a positive spin on the disastrous pitchpole of Oracle Team USA’s AC72 in mid-October was much harder.
Brad Webb, lying down on the job, literally, if not figuratively. The AC45s and AC72s are beasts to sail, and they go so fast, that reducing windage, even on the sailors, is crucial to victory.
Oracle Racing's longtime bowman, Brad Webb, checks in on what the team has learned about the capsize of its AC72 and how the team members are keeping busy until the boat is ready to fly again.
Brad Webb is one of Oracle Racing’s longest standing crew members. He signed his first contract with the team in November 2000. He was bowman on BMW Oracle Racing ‘s monster tri USA-17 that was victorious against Alinghi in the 33rd challenge for the America’s Cup.
The AC72 is in the water, but Luna Rossa is quite a ways from getting out on the water and sparring with training partners Emirates Team New Zealand.
Steve Erickson, Luna Rossa’s Sailing Team Manger, is in charge of Luna Rossa’s technical and sailing development program and works in close co-operation with the Design Team. Following the recent launch of its AC72, Erickson got us caught up on next steps for the Team which relocated to New Zealand after the World Series events in San Francisco this summer.