Grand Prix Sailor--America’s Cup Edition

Stuart Streuli

Grand Prix Sailor is a 13-year-old racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine ( This AMERICA'S CUP EDITION is a weekly summary of Cup action, brought to you this week by Gill North America, C&C; Yachts, and Harken's Carbo AirBlocks.Alinghi to Challenge for America's CupA land-locked country will, for the first time, challenge for the America's Cup. Another sparkling performance by Russell Coutts and his Alinghi crew, including syndicate chief Ernesto Bertarelli, saw them gain a critical advantage with an Oracle/BMW Racing penalty in the pre-start, come back from a 30-second deficit on the second beat, and then fend off a furious, last-gasp effort from Larry Elllison's Oracle syndicate just boatlengths from the finish. The history books will record this win as coming by a 2:34 margin, and capping off a 5-1 series victory, but those who followed the action know this series was much closer than that. "The 5 to 1 score doesn't really reflect how tough the racing was," said Coutts. "We were behind many, many times."For the complete story, people who know foul weather gear. Trust Gill for innovation, quality, and value." www.gillna.comHasso Plattner InterviewOne of the world's wealthiest businessmen, Hasso Plattner, sat down for an exclusive interview with Sailing World magazine in late 2002. Plattner is an avid sailor, having competed in everything from 470s to maxis. His company, SAP, is also one of the five major sponsors of Team New Zealand. In this segment of the interview, Plattner talks about his company's sponsorship of Team New Zealand, and his personal relationship with some of the key members of that squad.Sailing World: SAP sponsors both Formula 1 and Golf, but in both of those cases you have a no-lose situation, sponsoring the event instead of individual teams or athletes. In this case you've picked a side.Hasso Plattner: Yes, it's interesting. We have a little bit [of an individual interest] in Formula 1, we sponsor the McLaren team and this year they didn't win so much, one race. There is an association with a winner. Here it is more pronounced. But I think if [Team New Zealand] lose, they will lose in grace and with drama, and I think that is not negative. It has nothing to do with our product, so it's just that we are on the wrong horse. I am not afraid. There are other areas where probably betting on a person and the win rate of a person in marketing might be more sensitive.For more from Plattner,; Yachts sail fast and cruise with style. Our light and strong vacuum bagged, oven-baked epoxy hulls allow us to have varnished cherry interiors without sacrificing sailing performance.A Bow for a Bow, The Interview (Part II)"It's purely the setting up. You measure twice. You always doubt yourself even though you've marked it, because unfortunately by that stage you're quite tired, it's usually the middle of the night when you're doing the cut. But there's nothing nicer that lifting the new piece up--everybody's standing around watching at this point--and putting the new piece in. When the new piece goes clunk, that's three-quarters of the project done. The bow is really as simple as that. Cut the old one out, put the new one on and taper up those basically. The biggest part in the bow is actually the painting and fairing side, getting the lines right. And especially with Prada, the colors have to look right too when she goes out of the shed."--Prada boat builder Sean Regan on the mechanics of replacing the bow on an America's Cup Class boat. For the second half of the interview,'s Carbo AirBlocks® **are a major, major breakthrough! The first significant strength-to-weight ratio advance in small boat blocks since the first plastic ball bearing block. To find out more: 5 Report:** After two strong races, Oracle has its momentum nipped in the bud as Alinghi comes from behind and passes on a downwind leg. The win pushed Larry Ellison's team to the brink of elimination from the Louis Vuitton Cup. 4 Report: In light and fluky conditions Oracle picks the shifts right on the first downwind leg and rolls to a 2:13 win. The loss is the first for Russell Coutts Alinghi team in three and a half months. 3 Report: A questionable penalty call during a furious luffing duel costs Oracle a chance at their first win. The loss puts them in a tough 3-0 hole in the Louis Vuitton Final. Said It, The Final Louis Vuitton Press Conference, Jan. 19"I'm not sure we ever had such a significant edge. I think perhaps in the first two races we had a little bit of speed on them, but I think the rest of the racing was very tight."--Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts"I think the guys sailed very well and some of the races we sailed exceptionally well, it's just that they sailed better. That is the best sailing team and the best sailing I have ever seen in my life."--Oracle/BMW Racing syndicate head Larry Ellison"When I started my professional career I really looked for something to bring me down to earth and have a normal life because when you are locked up in corporate life, it's pretty difficult to meet real people¿when I am on board with Russell, Brad, Simon, Warwick, and all the guys I am just another person, just one of the guys. When I do something right I am told I am right and when I do something wrong I am told I am wrong. It just allows me to have a perspective on life, I just love it and that's why I do it."--Alinghi syndicate chief and navigator Ernesto Bertarelli on why he decided to enter the America's Cup"I decided to enter the America's Cup just after the (1998) Sydney to Hobart because I have never heard of anyone ever being killed in an America's Cup race. I was sure I was going to die on the Hobart."--Ellison on why he decided to enter the America's Cup"Absolutely!"--Ellison when asked if he would be back to challenge for the next America's CupGrand Prix Sailor and Grand Prix Sailor--America's Cup Edition are weekly newsletters compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you'd like to subscribe, see Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger (, Dave Reed (, Stuart Streuli (, John Burnham (