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Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

September 6, 2013 – San Francisco Bay

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Emirates Team New Zealand's Dean Barker and Oracle Team USA's Jimmy Spithill are ready to go head-to-head on Saturday. © 2018 Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

The much anticipated — and much villified — 34th America's Cup, matching Larry Ellison's defending Oracle Team USA against challenger Emirates Team New Zealand in AC72s for the oldest trophy in sports history, starts tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. on the San Francisco Bay Nautical Octogon. The Cup finals offer one last shot at redemption for an event that has regretably fallen far short of expectations in almost every respect except for the AC45 fleet racing. That said, the anticipation for the first race of the best of 17 — or will it be 19? — Cup races seems to have built dramatically over the past few weeks. Big crowds are expected for at least the first race of what will be the biggest sailing event on San Francisco Bay since the fabled 1987 St. Francis YC Big Boat Series.

Most bookies have made ETNZ the big favorite. We wouldn't be so sure. Remember that Oracle's 90-ft trimaran was the perceived underdog against the 90-ft Alinghi catamaran in the 33rd America's Cup that was held in Valencia in 2010. But Spithill and crew confounded the experts by comfortably winning both races in the litigiously shrouded event. We got a feeling Spithill, aided by navigator John Kosteki, and the rest of the Oracle crew can do it again. We're not the only ones. Having just returned from a circumnavigation aboard his 49-ft Schionning catamaran Sea Level, Jim Milski, is picking Oracle. "I've watched them and I don't think the Kiwi boat is anywhere near as stable. I think Oracle will win."

It's not often that a team finds itself trailing in a sporting event before the competition has even begun. It happened to a University of California at Santa Barbara basketball team in the early '90s, when it was assessed a series of technical fouls before the start of the game because their fans refused to stop flipping thousands of tortillas onto the court. The famous 'Tortilla Technicals' incident. Now Oracle, thanks to the ruling of the International Jury with regard to their AC45 World Series shenanigans, starts the competition trailing -2 points to New Zealand's 0. While the Kiwis can take the Cup back to New Zealand by taking 9 races, Oracle will need to win 11 times to retain it. Which means it's entirely possible this Cup could be a 19-race enduro.

Oh, it's on! © 2018 Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

One curious but very real possibility is that the slower cat with the less-skilled crew will emerge victorious. Every sailor knows the truth of the adage, 'You can't win unless you finish.' In what could be as many as 19 hard-fought races between two teams that don't care for each other, it's quite possible that the winner will be the last boat standing — even if they had been trailing 0-10 when their opponent's boat mortally broke down. Since the immensely powerful but also fragile AC72s will be the weapons, this Cup is not going to be over until the fat lady sings.

We plan to observe the racing as part of the throng in the America's Cup village. We hope to see you there!

- latitude / richard

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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What's Your Pick?

September 6, 2013 – Everywhere

Jot down your prediction of the final score on today's paper. If you get it right, send us a photo and we'll give you a shout out in the magazine! Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

So which team do you think will win the 34th America's Cup? Write your prediction — including the final score — on a copy of today's paper (yes, they still exist!) as proof of your guess. When the event is over and the winner decided, send us a photo of the paper and we'll run your name in the magazine!

PS: Yes, we're aware someone could easily cheat just by saving today's paper, but hopefully our readers are more honest than that. Besides, it's just a bit of fun.

- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: Modern Sailing School

September 6, 2013 – Sausalito, CA

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Eight Bells for Dick Newick

September 6, 2013 – Sebastopol

As we look ahead to the start of America's Cup 34 on Saturday, which will, of course, be raced in the most revolutionary multihulls ever seen on a Cup course, we pay tribute to one of the legendary innovators of the modern multihull movement: Dick Newick passed away on August 28. He was 87.

The pioneer and his pup. © 2018 Courtesy Scuttlebutt

"Like most art that reconfigured the future," wrote Steve Callahan in an excellent Newick retrospective in 2010, "designer Richard 'Dick' Newick's creations threatened some as much as they enlightened others. At times, his trimarans' simplicity, structural reliability, and astounding speed seemed like grenades tossed into yacht clubs." 

Dick continued to design into his eighties, never losing his thirst for innovation. Beginning with his earliest multihull designs 50 years ago, the lines of his creations were gracefully aerodynamic, often inspiring reviewers to compare their elegant forms to birds of flight.

Like all Newick designs, Ocean Surfer is fast, sleek and lightweight. © 2018 courtesy

As the AC72s blast across San Francisco Bay tomorrow, wowing crowds around the world, we like to think Dick will be looking down from the heavens with a big smile on his face. Without the tireless convictions of multihull pioneers such as him, the sailing world might never have reached tomorrow's benchmark of innovation.

- latitude / andy

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Weekend Racing Preview

September 6, 2013 – North America

The water glitters with white caps and Knarrs on the Berkeley Circle. © 2018 Manon Baze

The International Knarr Championship, hosted by SFYC, continues through Saturday on the Berkeley Circle. After seven races, the three leaders are all Danish, with Soren Pehrsson continuing to pull ahead. The top local boat is Phillips Perkins' 3 Boys and a Girl in fourth place.

18-ft Skiffs
Kiwis are the defenders in the Aussie 18 regatta starting this weekend. © 2018 Rich Roberts

The Nespresso 18-ft International Skiff Regatta for the Mark Foy Trophy will be sailed after that other big race on the San Francisco Cityfront — what was it called again? — and should be highly entertaining for spectators, with 20 skiffs fleet racing in the typically higher winds of late afternoon. The boats will launch off the ramp at the AC Village on the Marina Green. This Saturday's practice racing will be followed by 10 counting races on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday (including the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge) and the following Saturday and Sunday. See for details.

SFYC, with Shawn Bennett on the helm and Melissa Purdy on tactics, will be among four U.S. teams in the all-amateur NYYC Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. Racing out of Newport, RI, in matched Swan 42s, 20 entries from 14 countries will compete on September 7-14. Follow the action at

Richmond YC's Totally Dinghy is coming soon, on September 14-15. For local Laser sailors, it's an event on Svendsen's Grand Prix series. Besides dinghies, Wylie Wabbits and multihulls are invited too. Register online by Thursday the 12th to avoid a late fee.

Conflicting with Totally Dinghy for road warriors in some of the fleets is Alamitos Bay YC's Olympic Classes Regatta, which also invites Junior Olympic classes. Held annually since 1961, the ABYC OCR has moved from its usual spring berth.

The Tiburon-based Kuai and the L.A.-based Samba Pa Ti are among eight American entries in the Audi Melges 20 North American Championship to be hosted at Port Credit YC in Toronto on September 13-15. Nine Canadian entries and one Japanese round out the 18-boat fleet.

Due to a scheduling conflict, the dates of October's Vallejo 1-2 have changed from October 12-13 to the following weekend, October 19-20. The change puts them in conflict with the YRA's Yankee Cup championship invitational on October 19, which will be combined this year with a new Sport Boat Championship. The sportboats, some of which are ineligible for a PHRF rating, will race under Portsmouth rule. See and

- latitude / chris

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