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While not skating, America's Cup

timv's picture
I just remembered that I've skated on Superbowl Sunday a couple of years in a row, and had made no plans to do it this year. It's nicer outside than it's been most days lately, but that's very faint praise considering what it's been like. Next year, I guess...

So what to do with myself between the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics? Oh look, the America's Cup starts tomorrow!


The first race is scheduled for 10AM CET on Monday, which will be 4AM tonight on my local time. It's reported that there's no US television coverage, and in fact there doesn't seem to have been much coverage of any sort. But there's free streaming video on the official site. I might see what's up, since most likely I will be.

The 33rd America's Cup appears to be a weirder-than-normal event, with no challengers round but with giant no-holds-barred boats. Alinghi has a catamaran and BMW Oracle has a trimaran and there was some mentions of technology such as computer-controlled sail shaping and rigid wings which have been prohibited before, but that's about all I know about it.


Marina Real Juan Carlos I Valencia, Valencia 46024
39° 27' 35.982" N, 0° 19' 52.896" W


timv's picture

Streaming now but looks like a loop

I have the live video going now but I think it's just showing a loop. It's a pre-race press conference where only Alinghi showed up. Maybe they're doing the WWE thing, but it seems as though the teams and their respective owners just genuinely don't like each other. One source said that the reason there are so few rules for the boats is because when they tried to draw up the rules this time out, the teams couldn't agree on any.

Oh, and it's a best-of-three competition. So despite the untold tens of millions spent building the boats, it'll be over pretty fast. And the boats are monsters, both with masts more than 200 ft tall. The powerboats that were supposed to chase during trial runs were having a hard time keeping up with them.

roadskater's picture

Like Human-Powered Sports, Refs Having a Hard Time Keeping Up

I think it's pretty funny when the referees in any sport have a hard time keeping up, but usually it's because a good referee tends to be older than a good player (and if the ref were that good, fast and wise, still, they might not be a referee but a player for bigger pay). But it's especially funny when the power boats of the race officials are having a time of it getting in the right position to officiate. I'm sure these boats are not underpowered and that they are plenty agile for the normal America's Cup. This AC sounds really strange. A testament to rich guys gone wild, I guess.

Same database company trying to buy a company that owns the vastly popular MySQL Open Source Multiplatform RDMS, too. I'm OK if they win the America's Cup, but hope they don't get to own MySQL.

timv's picture

Aw man, after all that...

Race one postponed until Wednesday, wind too light and too unsteady...

roadskater's picture

Masts Twenty Stories Tall Wow

OK. That's interesting stuff, I admit. Three races, two out and back and one triangular circuit, with the triangle as the second as I recall. It might be worth catching, especially with a good sound system connected.

Timv and I have often recalled the somewhat early days of ESPN when they broadcast all night USA time with audio from the boats and sparse commentary much of the time. There was enough information to know what was going on, and some audible chatter on the boats, with a little commentary now and then. It was awesome stuff for late night programming or writing, with the sounds of the boats creaking and the cranks clicking and the occasional sail ripping. Ah the good old days when music television played music and sports channels pretended they'd be covering sports from around the world all day and all night.

Since there are only three races, maybe this would be a good one to catch. Crazy to spend so much money and effort to race so few times. Seems like best of seven at least would be more fair, with 4 out and backs and 3 circuits maybe. Seems like not much will be proven here to me, but I'm not educated on the subject, indeed.

Thanks, timv, for the post. I've been thinking of posting on many subjects (pro cycling, Say it IS so Mark McGwire, death in your 50s on a bike, some good movies watched, Chinese solid-wood dreadnought guitars, Olympic long track speedskating, the slowest start I can recall for skating season in NC for me outdoors, some PBS documentaries watched, my supersweet 7" $34 digital television if they don't cheat on the rebate as they tried to so far by Digital Labs, how great Consumer Reports' Used Car Reliability Surveys are, The Who at the Super Bowl and the genius of "Who's Next" album, more). But I haven't. So thanks for rolling out a post to get us restarted. Some of our private email exchanges with eebee and others may yet find summarization here. Or not. We'll see.

Hopefully I'll catch some of that America's Cup. And if they run a loop, yay.

timv's picture



Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup remains on hold after the breezes off Valencia refused to cooperate to allow the scheduled first showdown between the two giant multihulls Alinghi 5 and USA to take place today (Monday).

Race officer Harold Bennett (NZL) and the race committee team made considerable efforts to locate a wind which was settled enough and of sufficiently even strength across the proposed 20 miles first leg, but they proved fruitless.

An offshore breeze at times looked promising but it never quite mustered enough strength to spread out to sea to reach the start area. But the difference in the direction of that breeze and the direction of the very gentle air in which the Race Committee sat was considered too great for a fair race.

A big part of the back-story for this is that the two principals, holder of the cup Ernesto Bertarelli and challenger of record Larry Ellison, seem to genuinely dislike each other and have their personal bitterness and legal wrangling have turned the event into an economic lost cause. Details here:


The best-of-three regatta in Valencia, Spain, starts at 10:06 a.m. local time, or 4:06 a.m. in New York. The event begins the day after the Super Bowl, and just before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. International interest has declined so much that organizers gave away the television rights, officials of Bertarelli’s Alinghi team said.

"This is not going to be a windfall for anyone," Gary Jobson, the president of U.S. Sailing and the cup-winning navigator in 1977, said in an interview. "It’s going to cost them both a lot of money."

It's also the first time since 1988 that the America's Cup hasn't had a multi-round qualifying tournament to determine the challenger for the cup, a move that has alienated the rest of the sailing world, including potential competitors from New Zealand, Italy, and South Africa. That's another reason why the economic appeal of the event has been diminished so much.

One account said that the two teams, which negotiate the rules for each challenge before it begins according to the America's Cup protocol, hate each other so much that they couldn't agree on anything. So there just aren't any rules this time. The accidental upshot is that it's all being offered free, and it's almost certain to be a once-in-a-lifetime chance of seeing these bizarre, massively oversized, and insanely fast sailboats racing, if only for two or three races.

timv's picture

Same Larry Ellison

...chief executive officer of Oracle Corp. the fourth-richest person in the world according to Forbes, also the guy who commissioned the outrageous all-billet-aluminum Cobra from Kirkham Motorsports:


roadskater's picture

That Aluminum-Billet Cobra Car Stole My Life

Oh boy! I remember when you sent me that link via email. This one probably deserves and article of it's own! I expected to not get sucked in too badly but to just look at the photos. How wrong I was. I ended up reading a fair amount of the text and pondering the design choices in my feeble way. It is really interesting stuff.

roadskater's picture

No America's Cup Race Wednesday Before Noon CET 6AM EST

Looks like there's a delay favoring the early bird not the night owl in the Eastern Standard Time zone. The race won't start before noon they say, with the next assessment at 830 CET.

Also I note that if americascup.com is insufficient for some reason, eurosport.fr will have it, for those who are into live internet tv using sopcast or other means. Not sure if there is English language audio available.

Among the broadcasters are Great Britain’s BSkyB, TVE/Teledeporte and Canal 9 in Spain, French based Eurosport and Showtime in the Middle East.
timv's picture

Once again, a scratch

The initial worry was that, with the two-out-of-three format, it could all be over by now. Instead, it's looking like this could drag on for a while. Too little wind Monday, too much wind today.

But again, there's suspicion that teams are playing politics with the postponement too.

"If we capsize, it’s going to be a disaster," Alinghi crew member Ed Baird told reporters. The boat "will explode in a thousand pieces."

On the other hand:

This time, BMW-Oracle’s trimaran is better suited to stiffer winds, according to team chief executive Russell Coutts, who said Alinghi had sought to impose a maximum 15-knot limit on conditions to favor its catamaran.

"It’s not about safety, it’s about trying to get the wind limits that suit their boat," Coutts said Jan. 20. "We’ve sailed at more than 21 knots of wind" in training off the coast of the U.S., he added.

timv's picture

USA Wins!

I guess enough time has passed now that I don't need to worry about posting spoilers.

Quick wrap: BMW-Oracle easily swept the two-of-three series. The wing sail was something that Alinghi had no answer for. And a half a billion dollars worth of multi-hulled racing yachts are now obsolete and due to be mothballed after only two races.

The America's Cup returns to America, to the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco in fact. Italian squad Mascalzone Latino has been named as the Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup. The rules and venue for the next challenge have not yet been decided, but expect a more traditional event next time out, three years or so down the road.

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