Louis Vuitton Cup Begins Today

Nine challengers begin the long journey to the America’s Cup

September 30, 2002

Issue 2, Sept. 30, 2002

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 Dufour, Harken, Offshore Sailing School.

If you think that you’re pumped up for the Louis Vuitton Cup to begin, just imagine what it’s like for the people who have been spending the last thousand days or so preparing to race. As the final few hours of the AC off-season draw to a close, and the best that designers, engineers, and billionaires can offer get tossed upon the altar of chaos theory, I’d imagine that there are some pretty profound thoughts going through people’s heads down in tomorrow land. Right now, I bet there isn’t a single America’s Cup sailor in Auckland who doesn’t feel, somewhere deep inside, that they’re on the winning team. We imagine that even the boys of Mascalzone Latino, the self-acknowledged underdogs, harbor images of themselves drinking champagne out of the Auld Mug.


A little over a month from now, one syndicate will be gone, and we’ll have a better feel for who managed to put together the best program. With that, we’ve pulled some last-minute quotes and news stories from all the challengers and the Kiwi defenders together for our second Grand Prix Sailor America’s Cup Edition. Our advice is to save these quotes in a folder somewhere on your hard drive and look at them at the end of round robins 1 & 2, the end of the quarterfinals, right through the whole shebang, and see how the prognosticators made out. We have a feeling that this series, like the last two decades’ worth of America’s Cup events, will be full of surprises, i.e., you ain’t seen nothing yet. Hang on to your hats, folks, the next few months are going to be fun. -Tony Bessinger

We are not here to win the America’s Cup,” said Mascalzone Latino syndicate head and skipper Vincenzo Onorato. “We are a strong group of friends, trying to learn and understand how this game works.” From a statement made during the christening of the Mascalzone Latino base camp on syndicate row.

We’ve got a good chance of being in the top four, but who knows? We don’t think it’s going to be as clear-cut as that. We’ve had some races with Oracle and One World, and they’ve been very close. There’s others, too: we haven’ t seen Prada with their new boats, we haven’t raced Stars and Stripes, we haven’t raced the Swedes and they look quite strong. I think it’s way too early to pick a heavy favorite.” Brad Butterworth, Team Alinghi, from an interview with Matthew Sheahan on the Louis Vuitton website, http://www.louisvuitton.cup


I think the Victory boat looks pretty fast. Mani Frers has done a nice job designing a good boat, probably with what he learned in the Prada syndicate last time. And they look like they have their act together. They’re sailing well and they’re pretty quick. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final four.” Dennis Conner in an interview with Newstalk ZB, a New Zealand radio network.

I’m cautiously optimistic, as we do have a tough road ahead of us, but I feel good about all we have done thus far.” Peter Holmberg, in an interview on the Oracle website,

Truthfully, we won’t know how we will match up against the other eight competitors until we get out there and start racing on October 1.” Dennis Conner, in his 9th America’s Cup campaign. From an interview on


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Larry Ellison’s campaign to wrest the America’s Cup from Team New Zealand has led the billionaire software tycoon to resign from the board of Apple Computer. The chief executive and chairman of Oracle will spend much of his time over the coming months in the midst of America’s Cup action, a world away from the boardroom of California-based Apple.” From a New Zealand Herald story by Peter Griffin.

Lawyer Sean Reeves has vowed to fight a bid by the wealthy America’s Cup syndicate OneWorld Challenge to make him pay the $1.7 million damages awarded against him by an American court. “What this litigation is all about is gagging me,” said Reeves in an interview with Helen Tunnah and Ainsley Thomson in the New Zealand Herald. “I am incredibly dangerous to these guys. I was on the ground all the time. I’m going to ensure the truth comes out.”


This has never been about collecting money for us. It’s been about vindication and stopping him.” OneWorld executive director Bob Ratliffe, in the same interview.

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This new challenge starts again from zero. It is a different challenge with a new team and new boats. We will try to be as detached as possible from the last Cup, and we intend to tackle this challenge with renewed energy and enthusiasm”, said Patrizio Bertelli. Francesco de Angelis confirmed by saying: “I cannot think of any element of the boat that we launched today that is not totally new, a result of the intense research and development as well as intensive training program followed during the past two years. Every time you participate in a sporting event you must rewrite the page from zero with the intent to better yourself from your previous effort.” From a Prada press release.

I think to a large extent, the sailing crew selects the sailing crew, and that’s what’s happened with James over the past few months,” said Peter Gilmour during a press conference at the OneWorld base on Sept.27. “He’s certainly a much better sailor than I was at his age, and I think everyone is confident with him helming the boat.

“Look, I’m certainly going to steer my share of the races as this goes on,” continues Gilmour. “But experience tells me it’s just going to get harder and harder to get James in as the series develops. This is a way of putting his feet to the fire a bit and letting him find his way. We very much look at this as a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s important that we have everybody ready to sail all of the time. This is the best way to achieve that with James.” From an article by Peter Rusch on

I’m not a super sailor or boatbuilder, but I have put together a group with skills and experience, built up a team, drawn up a battle plan and set a critical path analysis. I’ve developed a product which we are now about to prove when we go racing. I’ve planned for continuity with future challenges and what I am hoping is that we do well this time, and then be in a position to do better next time round. By then, we’ll have some record and my hope is that people will judge that and support us.” Team GBR head Peter Harrison, in an interview with Tim Jeffery of the Daily Telegraph, London.

Word out of Auckland today is that Team Dennis Conner, which was docked a point for using an illegal rudder during the last Cup, is about to submit to the Arbitration Panel an admission that they have breached the Protocol by hiring one of the declared designers and crewmembers of the defunct Illbruck AC team.’ From Tom Leweck’s Scuttlebutt

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We don’t want people to see the boat, it’s as simple as that. There’s no sinister implications in what we’re doing. It’s just we want to keep whatever it is we’ve got to ourselves.” TNZ spokesman Murray Taylor, in a Reuters story about the skirt that shrouds NZL-81.

On January 7th there is the mutual unveiling date. The day before is the mutual declaration date. The defender, which is Team New Zealand, declares a maximum of two yachts and we’ll declare two yachts – one of which will be a candidate for the defense. And each of the two finalists in the Louis Vuitton series then, at the same time, declare their yachts. Up ’til then, of course, they’ve got a couple of boats and they might be switching between them. But on January 6th they say, ‘this is the boat that I’m going to take through to the America’s Cup if I win the final trials.’ So on that day, the 7th we get to look at their boats and they get to look at ours and the public get to look at all of them. Then we keep the boats unveiled. They sit out on the hardstand each evening with no skirts on all the time that they are racing. Then after the Louis Vuitton series we can put them back in the shed and fiddle with them a bit within the limits that you are allowed and within reasonable limits. I mean, you can’t do 10 weeks of work in one week. Then we have another declaration in February. We declare the boats we are going to defend the Cup in and, of course, the challenger who has won the Louis Vuitton re-declares his yacht. Then we’re off and again the boats are exposed and there for everybody to see.” Tom Schnackenburg of Team New Zealand in an interview posted on

Trust me, I pinch myself every once in a while because I consider myself having the best job in the world – it’s great.” Ken Read, in an interview with’s Fiona McIlroy.

The website also has a sneak preview posting in its forums outlining the features of the new Visual Spectator, which is available at

1)Interactive 3D current weather map
2)Satellite weather photo and on course color weather cam
3)Interactive race tactics demonstrator. Helps explain a lee bow, slam dunk or inside overlap to your non-sailing friends.
4)Racing viewer includes:
Yacht Cam (3D close-up profile view of one yacht)
Helm Cam (3D gives you the helmsman’s view looking forward)
Free Cam (3D view from behind both yachts)
Upwind Cam (3D view looking upwind at both yachts)
Downwind Cam (3D view looking downwind at both yachts)
Course View (2D flat overhead view)
Aerial Cam (3D perspective overhead view)
Auto Cam (auto switches between the above views)
5)Display options include
Course wind
Lay line
Course marks
Yacht trails (wakes)
Distance Upwind
Race clock
Differential clock

The first round of racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup begins today, October 1 in New Zealand, with Alinghi racing Le Defi. You’ll find a full version of the schedule at

The Outdoor Life Network will begin its Cup coverage tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern. See for a complete schedule.
October 1:
Match 1 – Alinghi (SUI 64) – Le Defi (FRA 69)
Match 2 – Wight Lightning (GBR 70) – Stars & Stripes (USA 66)
Match 3 – Luna Rossa (ITA 74) – Oracle BMW Racing (USA 76)
Match 4 – Mascalzone Latino (ITA 72) – OneWorld (USA 67)
Off – Orn (SWE 63)

October 2:
Match 1 – Stars & Stripes (USA 66) – Luna Rossa (ITA 74)
Match 2 – OneWorld (USA 67) – Alinghi (SUI 64)
Match 3 – Oracle BMW Racing (USA 76) – Mascalzone Latino (ITA 72)
Match 4 – Orn (SWE 63) – Le Defi (FRA 69)
Off – Wight Lightning (GBR 70)

Grand 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 ([email protected]), Dave Reed ([email protected]), Stuart Streuli ([email protected]), John Burnham ([email protected])


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