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LVC Finals Start Tomorrow at One

August 16, 2013 – San Francisco Cityfront

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Can Luna Rossa beat the lighning-fast Kiwis? For that matter, can anybody beat them? © 2018 ACEA / Abner Kingman

With the clock ticking down to tomorrow's first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals, the big question is: How much has Luna Rossa Challenge improved since their last match-up with Emirates Team New Zealand during the Round Robin series.

To the casual observer, it would seem that LRC's crew work improved steadily during the team's recent sweep of the LVC Semi-Finals (over Artemis Racing), and their boat seemed to be foiling more consistently than previously seen. But that's not to say the Kiwis haven't been improving also. Although not officially confirmed, skipper Dean Barker claims his boat set a new team speed record the other day in practice. 

Italian Skipper Max Sirena and Kiwi team leader Dean Barker wish each other luck. The same teams did battle during the LVC Finals during the last Cup. © 2018 ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

In any case, tomorrow's races (at 1:10 p.m. and 2:10 p.m.) should set the tone for the rest of this best-of-13 series. If the Kiwis clearly dominate, as they did in the early Round Robin races — with finish line separations of as much as seven minutes — the Italians may as well pack their bags (no pun intended). Except, of course, that with these boats, as with no others, the threat of catastrophic gear or structural failure is always a game-changing possibility. Although the Kiwis built two boats, our understanding is that their first is not a viable replacement, should anything happen to their principal warhorse. And the Italians only ever had the one boat, which is similar to the Kiwi's first-generation effort.

Another wild card during Saturday and Sunday's races may be light winds. One normally reliable source predicts only 6-12 knots along the Cityfront during the early afternoon — ironic, of course, after all the debate about top-end wind limits. 

As always, there will be big-screen video projections with live commentary at both the AC Village (on the Marina Green) and at the AC Park (at Piers 27-29). You can also hear commentary on VHF 20, and when the boats sprint beyond your view you can follow their progress in animation via the free America's Cup smartphone app. Taped-delayed broadcasts of this weekend's races can be seen on NBC Sports Network from 3-6 p.m. both days. (Video coverage should also be available after those broadcasts on the AC YouTube channel.)

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Experienced Journalist Wanted

August 16, 2013 – Latitude 38 World Headquarters

After more than seven years of being a fabulous member of Latitude 38's editorial team, LaDonna Bubak — not to be confused with Doña de Mallorca — is leaving Latitude at the end of the year to do what you'd expect: go cruising with her husband Rob on their Wauquiez 47 Gazelle. We are really going to miss her for so many reasons.

Rob has finally roped Latitude Editor LaDonna Bubak into continuing their North Pacific cruise. © 2018 Chris Gasperini

That means we're actively searching for a passionate and productive in-house journalist to fill her shoes. The position involves writing, editing, proofreading, photography and layout — and being able to do three or more of them at once while under the pressure of an inflexible deadline. The material could be anything from local sailing features to racing to cruising — whatever it takes. And the job requires contributions to the three-days-a-week 'Lectronic Latitude. If you're looking for a super casual and cushy job, this isn't it. If you're looking for a telecommuting position, this isn't it. If you're looking for a job in which you work 9 to 5, this isn't it. But for the motivated journalist, it can be extremely rewarding.

Latitude's World Headquarters is housed in an old building in leafy Mill Valley, and most of our staff have been with us 15 years or more. Everybody knows their responsibilities, so we don't micro-manage — we just expect you to do whatever it takes to get the job done well and on-time. We pay competitive wages and foot the bill for 100% of the health insurance coverage with Kaiser. And from time to time there can also be some great travel opportunities.
We welcome resumes from anyone local who meets our minimum requirements. NO PHONE CALLS! Anyone who calls is automatically disqualified. Just click HERE to read the complete job description, and to send us your resume and writing samples. 

- latitude / richard

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August 16, 2013 – Cyberspace

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© 2018 Harken /

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Kingpostgate Slogs On

August 16, 2013 – San Francisco Bay

Some things start small and seemingly innocuous, but grow big and nasty. Just ask the ghost of Richard Nixon about his early denials of having anything to do with the little burglary at Watergate. Or Anthony Weiner about his emphatic denials about having anything to do with photos of his junk being sexted to women. Or the San Francisco Fire Department, which ever so slowly and agonizingly confessed to having twice run over the young Chinese girl who survived the Asiana plane crash, thus besmirching their reputation.

We'd like this whole mess of Oracle Team USA having illegally modified their AC45s and the accusations of cheating to just go away so we can get on with the Louis Vuitton Finals, the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, the America's Cup Finals and the Superyacht Regatta. But the mess and the accusations won't go away. A big reason is that Oracle's Russell Coutts, unfortunately, sounds as prevaricating as Nixon, Weiner and SFFD.

In today's Chronicle, Tom Fitzgerald asked Coutts why Oracle Team USA employees would take it upon themselves to break the rules, if the payoff was insignificant and the risk of punishment so great?

"That’s a really good question," Coutts responded.

As Coutts is the honcho of the OTUSA America's Cup effort, does anyone believe that he doesn't know exactly what was done to the AC45s, who did it, and why?

"We don't know the facts," Coutts went on to say, causing the Bullshit Detector app on our iPhone to red-line and the phone to catch fire in our hand.

Excuse us, Mr. I Think Everybody Else in the World Is a Brain Dead Moron, but do you really think anybody believes your responses? Or that they don't make you look like a complete idiot? But maybe that's why you have been reported to get paid more than $1 million a month.

Coutts told Fitzgerald that he had "a fair idea" who might have been responsible for the illegal modifications, but couldn’t identify them because of state employee-confidentiality rules.

A friend ran that statement through the Bullshit Detector on his Android phone, and the less expensive smartphone simply vaporized. One of the best ruses politicians use to explain why they can't give you an explanation for a simple — but devastating question — is that it breaks some phony confidentiality rule and/or gag order. 

We still can't get our head wrapped around this whole mystery/scandal, as no explanation seems to make much sense at all, but we do know that the longer OTUSA pussyfoots around in giving a believable explanation, the worse they look and the more suspicions grow. As they say when you're caught flagrantly breaking a rule during a race, if you gotta eat shit, you may as well take big bites.

- latitude / richard

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Weekend Racing Preview

August 16, 2013 – San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago

SFYC's Summer Keel starts today for Melges 20s; other classes race Saturday and Sunday. The O'Pen Bic HIgh Wind Slalom runs today through Sunday as part of the AC Open. The last Friday night Laser races of the summer at Santa Cruz YC are tonight.

Nicolas and Derek Schmidt sailed the Express 37 Escapade in last year's SSS Half Moon Bay Race. © 2018 /

More Bay Area races this weekend include the SSS Half Moon Bay Race, with 61 boats signed up (registration is now closed), YRA's WBRA #6, Sequoia YC's Summer #5, Vallejo YC's North Bay Challenge #5, and Encinal YC's Small Boat Summer #2, all on Saturday; and Presidio YC's Baxter/Judson #5 and Monterey Peninsula YC's Jack and Jill Race on Sunday. EYC's Gracie & George doublehanded women skippers' race has been rescheduled from this Sunday to next, August 25.

As part of China Camp's Heritage Day celebration tomorrow, the Frank Lawler Cup Regatta will race from San Rafael's Loch Lomond Marina to China Camp in Sailing Education Adventure's Picos and Catalinas.

The Chicago Match Race Center kicks off the USA Match Racing Grandslam Series this weekend. SoCal's Dustin Durant, representing Long Beach YC, will be among the competitors.

Vanguard 15 racing
Mat Peyron and Jeff Mayhew sail a downwind leg in a windy Vanguard 15 Thursday night race. Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Thursday evening Laser and Vanguard 15 races on August 29 at Treasure Island Sailing Center have been canceled due to the scheduled closure of the Bay Bridge. The V15 fleet is encouraged to sign up for Tuesday Night Team Races instead. Weeknight racing at TISC continues through September 26.

- latitude / chris

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