Stuffed

The Italians think it’s a farce, the Kiwis know it’s a lifeline. The Americans are saying that Patriot ‘deserves a next chapter’ and Jim Ratcliffe has acknowledged the obvious that they need to build a new boat to be competitive. Spithill hasn’t signed but 90% of the Italian design team is secured…quite what they signed up for is anyone’s guess?

The Cup rumour mill is in full swing. Has Simmer retired? Will Ben have a desk job? Is Giles in the picture? Is Deano the only option for Magic? Larry’s confirmed…until he isn’t. Ernesto is a dead cert for 2024. China are nailed on…and Jimmy is going there. Blimey. It’s all going on. And 99% of it is pure speculation. But what’s absolutely clear is that there is real excitement building for the next Cup. The Sail GP circuit will be a hotbed of rumours and we’ve only got 29 days to go until the first series in Bermuda.

©Sail GP

The Isle of Wight rumour won’t die. It’s the talk of Cowes at the moment. Everyone knows something. They spoke to so-and-so who’s really in the know and who’s related to so-and-so personally. And he works at that boatyard and they’ve been contacted by someone connected with that team and they’re building new sheds there. Dredgers are being sourced. It’s great. It’s a lifeline of rumour amidst the gloom of the pandemic and there’s a buzz in the air.

Old salts are opining that they’ll never get ‘them things’ down the River Medina and bright minds are starting to think of logistics – where the hell do you house the teams and the bases? Sadly, for the loveliest town on the Island, with the most attuned locals to sailing anywhere in Britian, space is an issue. The most likely scenario is that the boats are based in Portsmouth or over the river in Gosport and foil-towed up to the start line wherever that may be.

Starting them off the Squadron line for a blast around the Island would be the money-shot but if you want fair windward-leeward courses then you’re looking at either going south of the Island or west to Christchurch Bay. Neither is a particularly viewer-friendly option. The Solent itself in summer, in normal times, is awash with boats but it’s feasible with a westerly wind that a course could be set from the Squadron to Lymington and that would be one heck of an auditorium. Short tacking those monsters up the Green and then tide cheating to Lymington would be off the scale amazing. San Francisco on steroids. The Cup deserves an audience. It needs theatre. No wonder the Italians think it’s a farce.

The term ‘farce’ is derived from the French word for ‘stuffing’ – I kid you not – and the Italians have every reason to feel that they are being well and truly stuffed as the Great Game plays out. It’s a shame really as they seem ready and willing to go wherever gives them the best shot of winning but would they sign up to a deal that guarantees a return to Auckland in 2024? Highly unlikely. That’s not the Italian dream. They’ve got their own amphitheatre for farce in Porto Cervo and there isn’t a sailor on the planet that doesn’t think that would be an amazing venue for a future event.

So the probability meter is angling towards a one-on-one spectacle to delight the fans and swell Team New Zealand’s coffers unless an 11th hour deal with the Kiwi government can be secured. Looking at the New Zealand media, the America’s Cup is getting shoved down the agenda. Covid is still a very real issue that they are managing. A new harbour bridge is rumoured to be a priority. Affordable housing is more important. Jordie Barratt is scoring tries at will for the Hurricanes and Private Equity is buying into the All Blacks franchise. Life moves on quickly from the Cup and $100m of public money is better spent elsewhere. I can’t see Jacinda Ardern playing Florence Nightingale to Team New Zealand.

As Bob Dylan wrote, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears” and Ratcliffe’s golden opportunity is looking like the only deal in town. Buckle up for foiling in the Solent but remember, the Waszp’s were there first…here’s Britain’s brightest female sailing talent, Hattie Rogers, just off the Needles on the way to a cross-Channel foil last August…

20 thoughts on “Stuffed

  1. From Treccani Vocabulary (+ some addition in parenthesis): “A farce had the specific task of cheering up the audience at the end of a tragedy (… easy to guess INEOS Team’s feelings, now).
    Today the word indicates any comedy, theatrical, cinematographic (or sailing event…) which, devoid of artistic value, has the sole purpose of exciting the enjoyment of unrefined (but wildly rich…) spectators (… and CoRs).
    So, “farce”, out of any insulting intention, should be definitely an appropriate word to call it … 🙂

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  2. In the original Italian interview, the word used by Sirena is “Pagliacciata”. Farse is not really the correct translation. It’s more something related to the clown (pagliaccio) circus and used to describe something really really stupid.

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  3. Flattered! I don’t know that we have any better insight than anyone else but we just watched a video , 35 minutes long, with various ramblings about American Magic and Ineos. Some of their talk was good, a lot was unfortunately not focussed on the important thing about how a Team ultimately generates a win. Wife and me agree that unless Ineos wholly run the show, the UK will not win the Cup in 2022. All credit etc. to Ben Ainslie as Mozzy Sails pointed out but his success in being the only UK act in town for two cycles as BAR is also now a limiting factor. Getting finance, getting team members, getting facilities and designers, being the PR and the management and the skipper and the helmsman is too much for any one person now, no matter their great achievements in the past. So we firmly think Ainslie has to decide what he has to give up for the Team to win. Winning on every task as his responsibility is too much for one man. It is not the money Ineos would bring but their approach to Team building that matters. The approach has to be goal oriented. So, BAR we think, are pretty much in the place NZ was before they won any cup in the 1980s (when Sir Peter Blake put his own money $70000 deposit on entry to the AC ). We watched a documentary on Blakes winning approach. He copied the approach of the previous winning team under Koch!. In fact Blake went and asked Koch directly how to win!. Koch gave him 4 straight hours on what their US team did and why. So Team is everything. Systems are all. Innovation can blossom under that. Blake did not go with a single designer led approach at that time, mainly because the NZ person who wanted to be sole designer did not buy into the Team. The original winning boat design was sailor driven. Team and winning was so great a driver that Blake agreed to be ruled out of being on the boat in any capacity, saying it was for better people to crew and helm. He was not on the boat until very late on in the final stages of the Cup when Coutts asked him to join as crew to “gel” the team and improve the speed with which design and gear changes took place to the boat. As the Roman Armies pioneered in their military – one can only lead fully when one is truly prepared to serve. Team NZ this time around did not do the initial design through sailors and they did go with Dan Bernasconi so that looked like they had abandoned the Blake Team thing. That was inevitable given the radical nature of the AC75. But this time around they modified and refined Blakes approach by starting with a Team and a set of goals, bringing in the designer to work to the Teams brief, then factoring in sailor driven changes to the design. So our thoughts are not about who should be on the Team or skipper or frontman but about copying the Team NZ approach, copying much of what the Te Rehutai boat does (and probably looks like) and making it better. Now they are out of this 36th cycle of AC, Ineos should build two boats, identical, and sail both of them to compare and improve against each other, just as Blake did. Comparing the boats and changes to sail, foils, angles and comparing the crew performance. And at the end selecting the best performers, whoever they may be. Ineos Boat 2 was in reality their only working boat. Compared to the other boats Ineos Rita had some good kit and systems and in our view had the best grinder power generation, had the best foil flap system, had probably marginally the best afterguard set up with a dedicated tactician, and marginally the best smack down capability (to minimise speed loss as we saw when it hit the water at speed and came flying back up) with its radical flat squared off skeg. The rest of it might well have been the worst of al boats! So they should copy the approach of Team NZ in their next boats. The obvious No. 1 goal of Te Rehutai was to have the boat with the greatest possible wind power generation and it won that hands down. The No. 2 goal (and embedded goal to the No. 1 goal) was to have the greatest power to “weight” of any boat and again it won that handsomely. The subset or perhaps “consequence” of the achievement of goal No. 2 is that the genius of the design gave them increased power to weight at certain apparent wind and boat speeds, and we think that was down to the aerofoil lift of the hull and foil arm plus winglet shape with ground effect coupled with the “scoop” shape of the hull to funnel apparent wind to the massive low down sail area which no other boats had, so that was why we all saw the “kick” of acceleration that Te Rehutai generated soon after take off, which no other boat could match. With those two goals, almost everything else in the design and build was dictated and the execution of the final boat was wonderful to behold.

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    1. Deep in the heart of every Englishman is the longing to be able to stand at the side of the field and clap the winning opposition off the field.

      All Blacks always rated as most ruthless in history.

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    2. “That was inevitable given the radical nature of the AC75” … well, not only that but they not now really designing boats anymore. They are designing floating aerodynamic structures that hold the rig, foils and rudder together with somewhere for the crew to sit.

      I think the goals 1 and 2 in specific order would be to design the foils and rig/sails to complement, i.e. the much mentioned “package”. Everyone had the same foil arms (apart from the small end segment to which you were probably referring). PPLR had a pretty nice rig, as did ETNZ but ETNZ’s foils were very different to everyone else’s and somehow they solved the paradox of small wings working in a range of winds including at the light end of the allowed range.

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  4. Magnus, you are right about Bob Dylan, money is yelling and screaming at the Kiwis right now. Play it right, they will laugh all the way to the Bank. I have been puzzled for many years at the funding skills of the TNZ Management, they have had the most recognisable global brands on-board, but still struggled to secure long term cash for the team. Thankfully Toyota has been around since day one which is awesome, the fringes have been littered with wannabe sponsors with no long term surety. TNZ has to toughen up and secure long term relationships with global brands, be smart and assertive TNZ, because you are the BEST. Sony, Google, Tesla, Amazon, Ferarri and co would happily write a cheque. Go for it.

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    1. I wonder if we are just in a small bubble of AC and sailing fans… but does the big world outside care so much about the America’s Cup when there’s a lot of events and a limited amount of sponsor’s budget?

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  5. Hi Magnus, please allow me a add more, just reading Peter Telford’s feedback above, is interesting. When the Kiwis first entered the America’s back in 1985, the main focus on boat building was God speed, that carried on to Te Rehutai. To win the America’s Cup you got to have tonne of speed, and honestly you do look good when you have an advantage over your opponents. One of the characteristics of the All Blacks is doing the simple things right, passing the ruby ball at speed, taking the line at speed, a no look pass, and trusting that your team mates are right behind you to the try-line, all at speed. The knowledge is passed on to the younger generation to master. It’s built into the dna. The older generation from both codes are always there to lend a hand so the cycle of winning continues. As Kiwis we love the Americas Cup, we love our All Blacks and we love winning.

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  6. Many years ago in the Greymouth Star (a small NZ newspaper on the west coast of the South Island), they printed an article about a police event including the phrase ” a farce of detectives”. So they retracted that the next day and replaced it with a new phrase ” a force of defectives”. It’s all happening here in Te Wai Pounamu.

    Kia tu kaha, ki te korero.

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    1. Ha ha! Collective nouns, is that what these are termed? You could have a mob of crooks to go with the detectives!?

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  7. I wonder Magnus..how excited you would be if ETNZ had done a 1v1 deal with the billionaires at Prada or NYYC which excluded anyone else from competing for a fake Cup Match in Newport or Cagliari, where the winner had to defend in Auckland?
    Bringzing the Cup back to the UK takes on a whole new meaning when you don’t have to win the Match or even qualify for it, but the latest new billionaire to Sailing decides he wants to boost his ego by buying a challenger ticket to the America’s Cup.

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      1. How many where the 1v1 challenger had.not won the previous Challenger Cup?
        How many where the new to Sailing billionaire paid the defender to defend in the B’s home country because his team couldn’t beat the defender to win the America’s Cup?

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