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Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: OT: America's Cup

[ Edited ]

roustabout wrote:

San Francisco got a terrible deal on the America's Cup, one that I hope is a lesson to any future cities being asked to host (SF included.)

 

During the arm twisting leading up the the city committing tens of millions to support Ellison, a group of Cup supporters promised to hold fundraisers to cover the excess sunk costs for the city.

 

Those fundraisers have come up short;  if SF were smarter, that wouldn't matter:  they would have written language which basically codified 'put up or shut up,' to wit:  "ok, board of the America's Cup, each of you are individually liable for any fundraising shortfall in the following percentages;  these liabilities cannot be discharted by bankruptcy"

 

Only with that language signed by those asking for SF to host the race should the supervisors have agreed.  The money involved is chump change for Ellison, but not for the city. 

 

As far as the race itself goes, at least in reports that I saw, it seemed the Oracle team - talented as they were - arguably shouldn't have been permitted to race at all.  The cheating they were penalized for seems to be the kind of cheating that could have forfeited the race. 

 

From what I know of Ellison there is simply no way that anyone on the team was sneaking gear onto the boat without his knowledge and the knowledge of the other crew.


A couple of things:

 

1.  A member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (or whatever they are known as) reported to journalists that the city had believed that as many as twelve teams would be in San Francisco contending for the America's Cup.  Ultimately, there were only four teams in the elimination races, and one of the boats was damaged beyond repair with a crew member being killed ("Bart" Simpson, Tactician - Artemis) earlier in the year.  Apparently, not all of the races were held in San Francisco.  As I understand it, some races were held in Newport, RI, and some were held in Italy. 

 

If twelve teams had really traveled to San Francisco and stayed there during the entire series of races, the city would probably have done quite well.  Remember, the team consists of a lot more people than just the 11 sailors who run the boat during the races.  In addition, families often accompany the team members. 

 

2.  The boats on which the Oracle Team USA were accused of cheating were not the same boats that raced in the final series of 19 races held over the past three weeks.  The boats on which the American team was accused of cheating were much smaller AC45 catamarans with an overall length of about 45', compared to the 72' length of the AC72 boats that Emirates New Zealand and Oracle Team USA raced most recently.  Their wings were only about 70' tall compared to the 131' wings of the AC72 catamarans.  Team New Zealand reported the cheating to the America's Cup Race Committee and an investigation led to the "discovery" of plastic bags containing metal "tailings" and lead "Tailings" in the king posts of both of the Oracle AC45 boats.  The bags apparently disappeared after they were seen, but nobody knows who removed them from the boats.  In addition, a repair was made to a damaged carbon fiber strut on one of the two boats, and metal was used to effect the repair.  The result was an increase in the length of the strut of approximately 9mm (about a third of an inch).  This was ruled a violation, along with the illegal metal and lead tailings that weighed about one kilogram (2.2 pounds).

 

Two members of Oracle Team USA were suspended, and the team was required to pay a $250,000 penalty.  In addition, the team was docked two points (races) in the final regatta.  Everybody talks about the comeback that the Oracle team made when they recovered from an 8-1 deficit to win the Cup, but they forget that the team had to win 11 races, not 9, in order to keep the cup in America. 

 

I doubt very much if Mr. Ellison knew anything at all about the small bags of tailings, nor did the sailors.  Ellison might be somewhat of a risk taker by being an entrepreneur, but he is not crazy.  According to reports, he has invested almost $500 Million in defending the America's Cup.  It would be insane to risk it all for two pounds and a third of an inch on a boat that would not even race in the finals. 

 

My opinion. 

Distinguished Bibliophile
patgolfneb
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎09-10-2011
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Re: OT: America's Cup

I  hesitate to make any additional response.  I  do not claim to be an expert on America's Cup.  Over time I have read articles from Popular Science, Sports Illustrated etc.  

 

I have been called provincial in a previous post.  My right to comment challenged because I was not an America's Cup expert. I certainly did not apply a purity standard. 

 

I am a casual fan.  I follow KC Royals baseball.  Alex Gordon, one of their best players is from Lincoln Nebraska, and attended UNL.  Like almost anyone else following players from your home area enhances your investment and what I called rooting interest. 

 

The responses to my post typify attitudes I have criticized in the past.  I do not believe a litmus test should be applied before someone is going allowed to express an opinion, as long as they are not claiming superior expertise. 

 

Insinuating that I advocated for American purity is offensive.  I only pointed out with a single American as a crew member it lessened my rooting interest. I did not disparage the contest in any way or suggest it should be done differently. I have to wonder why out of my innocuous post the responders have chosen to make one line into an issue.  I  think it is ridiculous to mischarecterize my post in this manner. 

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roustabout
Posts: 3,628
Registered: ‎03-31-2011

Re: OT: America's Cup

"the city had believed that as many as twelve teams would be in San Francisco contending for the America's Cup"

 

A fairer phrasing is "San Francisco agreed to host the America's Cup after one of its leading businessmen told them there would be as many as 12 teams" - the number of actual entrants was down to four by the time the early heats started.  One team withdrew after the loss of their teammate and their vessel.  Another team withdrew amid acrimony over the cheating scandal and, if I recall correctly, a certain elasticity in the rules for the larger vessels which favored Oracle. 

 

What's galling in that second withdrawal:  the Cup will be refunding millions of dollars to Vuitton, one of their sponsors, because that sponsor had a contract which holds the Cup responsible for misleading representations about the race and its value. 

 

San Francisco needs the money far more than Vuitton does - again, I don't mind that they had race on the Bay but that the Supervisors accepted projections without a way of holding a wealthy syndicate responsible for shortfalls. 

 

Even had there been 12 teams this year, I don't know that San Francisco would have done well on balance.  I know a number of people who've been avoiding SF this summer, in part because of the races.

 

For those of us who live in the Bay Area or work in technology, "trust me, I'm Larry Ellison" is a punchline.  Rules don't apply to him, and the devil take the neighbors - he's rich and can afford fancy lawyers.  Years ago, he found it inconvenient to land his aircraft in accord with noise regulations in San Jose.  San Jose fined him for flouting their noise ordinance, and he sued them for enforcing it. 

 

Vuitton didn't trust him and has an enforceable contract;  it would be an excellent idea for municipalities to look into the accomodations they're being asked to make for events and teams.

 

As far as the cheating goes:  according to the SF Chronicle - ie, Ellison's hometown paper - the modification to the AC 45 vessel was at minimum 5 pounds.  Other weights may have been removed, but those remaining were over 2 kilos. In addition there was a very different length of a spigot in the king posts (the Oracle spigots were about 5 times the length of the competitors') and the manufacturer of the spigots is wholly owned by Ellison. 

 

In addition to the fine and the removal of three members of the team from the crew, one of the folks who's job it is is to understand these craft and who heard the detailed allegations has said

 

"I felt old, used and stupid ... our trust in the team had been betrayed"

 

As far as who-all would have known about the modifications?  On high performance vessels such as these, test sailing is done extensively.  Ellison famously micromanages his racing team and I simply don't credit an apology for the modifications that claims they weren't tested and the expert sailors testing them didn't know what they'd fitted and whether it worked well, and managed to hide the data from the boss. 

 

The modifications were substantial enough that another team, who'd been lent one of the boats in question, felt obliged to withdraw retrospectively from races run in the vessel. 

 

What I've read this evening suggests that had there been other competitors Oracle might well have been penalized more or forced to withdraw.

 

The final run of races were apparently great races by extraordinarily skillful crews.  I don't meant to say otherwise.

"no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.
Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012

Re: OT: America's Cup

While I usually respect journalistic sources like newspapers, over the years I have become quite skeptical of the quality of journalism in America.  That's why I decided to go directly to "the horse's mouth," so to speak, a couple of weeks ago when I learned about the cheating allegations in the America's Cup yacht racing events.  I downloaded and read the "Additional report to the AC34 International Jury regarding king post inspections" made by the "Measurement Committee" and dated August 24, 2013.  I also read the initial report.  The reports include diagrams and photographs of the alleged infractions.

I am not, in any way, an "expert" in yacht racing.  Like many others, I enjoy watching a competitive sporting event, and the America's Cup races are as competitive as any other team sport.  Like most sports fans, I have learned that it is difficult to fully enjoy viewing a competitive sporting event without some fundamental knowledge of the rules.  I did not, for example, enjoy watching ice hockey until I learned something about the rules of the game.  Now I enjoy watching ice hockey in-person, and on TV.

The America's Cup Race Management Committee formed an "International Jury" to investigate and adjudicate the allegations of cheating that had been lodged against the Oracle Team USA racing team and some of its members.  A number of facts were brought to light.  In fairness to everybody, I would like to enumerate as many of them as I can, and viewers of this thread can make up their own minds.

1.  The alleged infractions occurred in June of 2012, more than 14 months before the investigation and hearing were completed.  The races in question took place in Newport, Rhode Island, and not in San Francisco.

2.  The races in Newport involved ten boats, two of them from Oracle Team USA (OTUSA).  In addition to the American boats, entries were fielded by Emirates Team New Zealand, Team Korea, China Team, Energy Team (France), Greencomm (Spain), Aleph/BAR (France/U.K.), Artemis Racing (Sweden), and Luna Rossa Piranha (Italy). 

3.  The boats in question were not the 72 ft. giants that raced in the finals in San Francisco Bay.  They were the much smaller 45 ft. AC45 catamarans that the sailors were still learning to sail.  This technology is relatively new, and Team New Zealand had substantially more experience in sailing these types of boats than anybody else in the world.  In any event, the boats are sufficiently different from traditional racing yachts that everybody was on a steep learning curve.  Even the smaller  AC45 yachts still have a displacement of more than 3,000 pounds. 

4.  Unlike the AC72 boats, which were unique to each other in many respects, the AC45 boats, as I understand it,  raced under a "class rule" that required that all of the boats be identical in size, shape and weight -- that they be made by a common manufacturer.  Any differences in the boats, whether beneficial or not, could be considered a breach of the class rules. 

5.  These boats (all of them) are made, primarily, of advanced man-made materials like carbon fiber and graphite.  Outside of the aerospace industry, not a lot of experience with these types of materials is available to other endeavors.  Repairs, therefore, were sometimes difficult to make -- more so for some teams than for others.

6.  The king posts protrude from the underside of the boats and contain loops or rings through which taught lines pass to provide rigidity to the structure of a catamaran.  There are two different king posts at issue: the main king post in the center of the boat, and the smaller forward king post nearer the front of the boat.  They are made from carbon fiber tubes with "caps" containing a molded or machined ring through which the lines pass.  As I understand the term, the portion of a connection that is secured inside the primary carbon fiber tube is called the "spigot" (Not a water faucet).  It is not at all clear how increasing the length of of a "spigot," a connection part that is hidden inside of a carbon fiber tube, could, in any way, improve the performance of any catamaran racing boat.  On the other hand, it appears that lengthening spigots might serve the purpose of strengthening carbon fiber connections in order to improve safety by avoiding catastrophic failures.  This particular issue was not addressed by the Committee.   

7.  It appears that all of the ten teams that were racing in Newport experienced problems with their forward king posts.  The investigators found that all of them had been repaired.  It also appears that six of the teams experienced damage to their main king posts, and these teams included both of the Oracle teams and the New Zealand team, as well as the Artemis, Luna Rossa and Team Korea boats.  All of the damage had been repaired by the team ground crews.

8.  While effecting repairs, the Oracle teams increased the overall length of their main king posts by 7mm and 9mm, respectively.  This increased the length of the longer "illegal" king posts from 500mm to 507mm and 509mm, an increase of 1.8%, or about a third of an inch.  Nobody knows if this was deliberate or inadvertent.  Nobody knows if the alterations were done with or without permission because this type of repair did not require a written request, and nobody could remember whether Oracle Team USA had requested permission to make the modifications: "Approval for a repair involving external reinforcement is often given verbally, and is not recorded."  (Measurement Committee Additional report,, et seq.)  The Measurement Committee noted that the weight of the 3,000 pound+ boats could have been increased by between 1.76 oz. and 3.53 oz, or 50-100 grams, by these modifications.  Altogether, the main king post from Oracle Team USA boat #5 weighed 13.651 ounces more than the same brand new king post as a result of alterations that included additional resin used in an apparent repair.

9.  In addition to the Oracle Team USA boats, the Aleph (France) boat that later became BAR (Ben Ainsley Racing - United Kingdom) boat was also found to have an altered forward king post that was even longer than those on the American boats. 

10.  The additional length of the spigots could easily be attributed to an over-zealous ground crew member(s) trying to effect a stronger repair.  It is difficult to imagine how the additional spigot length could affect the performance of the boats, and might have been employed simply because the crews were not very familiar with carbon fiber, and were having problems with the king post joints becoming disconnected.  The spigots of increased length were made of metal.  This part of the Jury's findings is not clear.

11.  The deliberate addition of extra weight to the king posts was a more egregious matter.  Although the initial reports estimated a weight of approximately 1 kilogram, the final Jury report settles on a value of 1.7 kilograms or approximately 3 pounds, 12 ounces to the king posts of the American boats.  Both boats had metal "tailings" added to the inside of the king posts in order to lower the center of gravity, which could certainly affect the performance of the boats.  These were deliberate acts of cheating, and were known to only a small group of the Oracle Team USA ground crew.  One sailor, who is known as "Sailor X" because he was eventually cleared of all knowledge or involvement in the cheating, was the only member of the sailing crew who was initially accused by the Committee. 

12.  According to Sail-World.com: "The amount of additional weight added was miniscule, and it is equally hard to understand why it would be located outside of the prescribed correction weight area, however the point is that it was a breach of class rules for the AC45 - which is a one design manufacturer supplied class."  (http://www.sail-world.com/Asia/pda.cfm?Nid=113661)

13.  After a full hearing, the Jury assigned blame and assessed penalties.  The personal penalties are as follows:

-- "Bryce Ruthenberg is excluded from further participation in any role in the 34th America’s Cup. RRSAC rule 69.1(c) requires the Jury to inform his National Authority (Australian Yachting Federation) and the International Sailing Federation, which bodies may impose further penalties; however, in view of his full, frank and early admissions, the Jury will recommend that no further action be taken."

-- "Andrew Walker is excluded from further participation in any role in the 34th America’s Cup. RRSAC rule 69.1(c) requires the Jury to inform his National Authority (Yachting New Zealand) and the International Sailing Federation, which bodies may impose further penalties."

-- "In light of his age and inexperience in an America’s Cup environment, the fact that he had no involvement in the work done and his truthfulness during the hearing, together with his sincere efforts to acquaint himself with the Class Rules since the matter came to light, Kyle Langford is warned to use his best endeavours not to be involved with any activity that may be in breach of a rule in the future. The Jury is not required to make a report to any federation."

-- "Matt Mitchell is excluded from sailing on a Yacht competing in the Match for the 34th America’s Cup until 4 races have been completed. RRSAC Rule 69.1(c) requires the Jury to inform his National Authority (Yachting New Zealand) and the International Sailing Federation, which bodies may impose further penalties; however, the Jury will recommend that no further action be taken."

-- "Dirk de Ridder is excluded from further participation in any role in the 34th America’s Cup. RRSAC Rule 69.1(c) requires the Jury to inform his National Authority (Koninklijk Nederlands Watersport Verbond) and the International Sailing Federation, which bodies may impose further penalties."

(source: JURY CASE AC31, JURY NOTICE JN116, Allegation of Gross Misconduct, DECISION and PARTIAL LIFTING OF THE CONFIDENTIALITY ORDER)

In addition to these sanctions against persons, the Oracle Team USA was penalized two points (races) in the America's Cup Finals held in San Francisco in September of 2013. 

Whew!

If you think the controversy is over, think again.  Emirates Team New Zealand appears to now be accusing Oracle Team USA of bringing an illegal computer aboard their AC72 boat during the finals races, and that's why the American team was able to gain a substantial advantage over the New Zealand boat and win nine straight races. 

Stay tuned!

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bobstro
Posts: 3,847
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
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Re: OT: America's Cup

Hockey's back in a few days. That I'll care about.

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: OT: America's Cup


bobstro wrote:

Hockey's back in a few days. That I'll care about.


For sure!!

DeanGibson
Posts: 2,196
Topics: 92
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Solutions: 18
Registered: ‎04-12-2011

Killjoys

[ Edited ]

deesy58 wrote:

While I usually respect journalistic sources like newspapers, over the years I have become quite skeptical of the quality of journalism in America.  That's why I decided to go directly to "the horse's mouth," so to speak, a couple of weeks ago when I learned about the cheating allegations in the America's Cup yacht racing events.  I downloaded and read the "Additional report to the AC34 International Jury regarding king post inspections" made by the "Measurement Committee" and dated August 24, 2013.  I also read the initial report.  The reports include diagrams and photographs of the alleged infractions.

...


As did I, as soon as I heard of it, before even deciding who to support (not that who to support alters the enjoyment of the race).

 

I wonder how many others who've posted here did so, before posting on the subject.  Not that it's required;  I'm just curious.

 

Gone are the days (if they ever existed) when sports participants were heros.  It seems that today's sports (all of them) news is a  litany of serious ethical "lapses" (or, in many cases, far worse).  I enjoyed the technology and skill of the America's Cup, while recognizing but not whitewashing any ehtics violations.  If one is joing to enjoy sports today, I think one has to adopt a similar attitude.  Sad but true.

 

I have a friend that asked me why I had not called her for lunch these past three weeks.  I told her I had been watching the America's Cup (aired live during my normal lunch time).  She replied, "That's not real sailing."  When I told her about the excitement of the technology and speed, she added, "All of my friends at the local yacht club, don't think it's real sailing either."

 

How is that related to some of this thread?  See my subject line.  Hey, if you can stand it, go watch one of the race videos on YouTube (see my link in a previous message), and go have some fun.

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DeanGibson
Posts: 2,196
Topics: 92
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Registered: ‎04-12-2011

Re: OT: America's Cup

[ Edited ]

deesy58 wrote:

...

If you think the controversy is over, think again.  Emirates Team New Zealand appears to now be accusing Oracle Team USA of bringing an illegal computer aboard their AC72 boat during the finals races, and that's why the American team was able to gain a substantial advantage over the New Zealand boat and win nine straight races. 

Stay tuned!


The live commentators in the early reaces were just awful, but in the later ones were adequate, but not great.  Example (also from Dean Barker, the helmsman of the New Zealand boat):  "The Americans ended up with the faster boat."

 

I found this humourous, since almost all of the speeds reported (from GPSes) on the two boats, show the New Zealand boat to often be slightly faster on the straightaway, even in the final race.  So, how did the Americans manage to win?  The answer I've come to is, "in the turns".  Originally, USA was just awful in the turns, dropping off of the hydrofoils in the turns, and taking some time to come back up to speed.  One report I heard, said that the USA team was studying videos of the New Zealand boat each evening to see how they were "tacking" and "gibing".  Remember, these were unusual boats to sail, even for very experienced, world-class sailors.  Example: for the first time in the America's Cup, sailors of both boats were commenting on the unusual situation (in sailing) of feeling a headwind while sailing downwind.

 

However it was done, it's clear from the last several races that Team USA clearly got the skill down to (as Deesy mentioned) to completely foil during a turn.  As a result, the acceleration out of the turn was impressive.  Both boats were also remarkably agile on the water, at both low and high speeds.

 

That's impressive, and if a computer program was used to do that, I'd really like to know what computer language was used ...

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deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012

Re: OT: America's Cup

In many of the races that were won by Oracle, the helmsman (Jimmy Spithill) used superior tactics to win a lead at the very start of the race.  Emirates team New Zealand, however, took a page from Spithill's book and turned the tables, winning the start of the last two races.  The Oracle boat was faster in jibing and tacking (turning) in the later of the series of races, even though they were disgracefully slow during the early races.  If the New Zealand boat had not almost capsized in one of the races, and if another race had not been abandoned due to the expiration of the time limit, the New Zealand team would have won the cup.  Clearly, luck played an important part in the races.  The Kiwi boat seemed faster in light winds, and the American boat seemed faster in stronger winds.  The weather was a factor in the races, and the Kiwis have nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of.  They performed admirably, and gave their fans a series of exciting races to watch.

 

I agree with the observation of the quality of the commentators, wondering whether the lead commentator knew anything about sailing.

 

 

DeanGibson
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Re: OT: America's Cup

Quote (in fun) from a local New Zealander I know:

 

It's one thing to be beaten by an American financed boat but to have an Aussie skipper at the helm, now that is too much to stomach!!

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