Front Rudder – by Mark Reid
America’s Cup And Date
I guess writing your last column is akin to composing your own obituary. So, here goes. It is with a heavy heart and with sincere gratitude that I bid Bay & Delta Yachtsman adieu. I will be parking Front Rudder for the time being as I concentrate on projects that have spent too much time on the shelf.
It also gives Bay & Delta Yachtsman a chance to breathe and move in a direction that suits the publication, which is to focus on power boating and the amazing Delta region of the greater Bay Area. More importantly for the aspirants of the “Bay” portion of the magazine, it is vital for that writer to have boots on the ground there.
Over the last few years, my travels and life have taken me elsewhere, though my heart will always belong to San Francisco. But reality dictates. I know our publishing team will bring in a refreshing new writer to fill my pages and reinvigorate the amazing words and photos that encompass not only our print edition, but the online digital publication as well.
It has been a privilege to be able to contribute stories and antidotes here for the last nine years. Bringing my Front Rudder column at a point when stories of the America’s Cup were a mother of all necessities for a time, that many of us hoped would last for more than a fortnight.
Clearly, my passion lies with writing, reporting and covering the Auld Mug, but that moment has passed in large part here within these valuable pages. For me, in order to continue forward with my work in that industry it requires my undivided attention.
As I get older, maybe wiser and as with many of our lives in the last year and a half, the world has changed and I find myself wanting to travel more, writing with passion about the things that interest me the most. That is not only the America’s Cup and a swath of international sailing and yachting events like the Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Sydney Hobart and of course our very own Rolex Big Boat Series, but I have also been presented with the opportunity to develop a short story for the big screen and that will require attention to an endeavor that I have not attempted before.
So, it is with these few parting words that I say farewell, fair winds and sayonara to Bay & Delta Yachtsman Magazine. I wish them much success in the future! No doubt, I am not disappearing entirely and my words can and will be found in many different forms and formats.
I would be remiss if I didn’t leave like I started, with an America’s Cup update. Again, it is the fabric that has been interwoven into my life. From my first visit to Newport, Rhode Island in the early spring of 1980 to this exact moment in time.
There is a bit of a DNA trace as my great, great, grandfather, the Archbishop Benjamin Moore, who was a college professor to Alexander Hamilton and also administered last rites to him after his fateful duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. It was Hamilton’s son James, along with his son-in-law, George Lee Schuyler who were the founding members of the New York Yacht Club in 1845 and were part of the America ownership group that won the Royal Yacht Squadron Cup in 1851 which became the America’s Cup.
Anyway, as I have often written, America’s Cup history is American history in many respects. Our fortunes in naval supremacy, architecture and technology have replicated our possession of the old silver ewer. Unfortunately, that supremacy is now controlled by New Zealand and our own American Magic fell dramatically short of bringing the cherished prize back.
As you know hopefully, New Zealand defended the America’s Cup back in March in what started as a compelling match and ended in the same old story with the faster boat prevailing over the passionate Italians who made one or two mistakes too many while the Kiwis sailed perfectly.
In between then and now, the British through Royal Yacht Squadron Racing, now “Limited” have challenged the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to become the CoR. The Brits ruffled a few feathers as to whether the RYS’s incorporated racing “division” was actually a yacht club as required by the Deed of Gift.
Apparently, they have passed the bar in that respect, though the name change is a head scratcher. In theory, it would seem to have been a no brainer for the RYS to challenge as they are one of the oldest and most respected yacht clubs in the world.
The British effort is led by Sir’s James Ratcliffe and Ben Ainslie. Ratcliffe, who’s company INEOS was the chief sponsor of their America’s Cup challenge which fell short in the Prada Cup final getting basically crushed by Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.
The British proposal is basically this, they want to host an America’s Cup off Portsmouth in the Solent next summer in a one-on-one match with the financially vanquished Kiwis who are desperately short of cash…maybe (depends on who you ask or which “books” you look at.)
Then, no matter who wins, the Cup would come back to Auckland in 2024 for a traditional event with the AC75 foiling monohulls. The whole thing smells fishy and smacks in the face of tradition and maybe even the DoG.
In some ways, we have seen this movie before when OTUSA and the Golden Gate Yacht Club held San Francisco financially hostage taking the America’s Cup to Bermuda by getting them to pay for much of the event. The difference is, that other than a few of us, no one in SF really cared or missed the fact that the 35th Defense was in the Atlantic rather than the Pacific. Well, in Auckland they do care. A lot! Also, the Government of New Zealand has provided significant financial support to the team, as well as constructed facilities and a Cup village to host the event. ETNZ has been utilizing much of the space for their headquarters rent free.
With all that said, read on Cup warriors, from me, here for the last time, and as always there are some juicy America’s Cup tidbits. Relish, enjoy and goodbye!!
A Brief Refresher For AC 37
It only seemed a wee bit ago when ETNZ announced that the RNZYS had accepted a Notice of Challenge for the 37th America’s Cup (AC37) from the Royal Yacht Squadron Racing (now Limited) represented by INEOS TEAM UK, which will act as the Challenger of Record for AC37.
“The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has received and accepted a challenge for the 37th America’s Cup from our long-standing British friends at Royal Yacht Squadron Racing,” said Aaron Young, RNZYS commodore. “It is great to once again have the RYSR involved, given that they were the first yacht club that presented this trophy over 170 years ago which really started the legacy of the America’s Cup. Along with ETNZ, we look forward to working through the details of the next event with them.”
A protocol governing AC37 will be published within eight months, including the provisions outlined in this release.
It has been agreed that the AC75 Class shall remain the class of yachts for the next two America’s Cup cycles, and agreement to this is a condition of entry. The teams will be restricted to building only one new AC75 for the next event.
A single Event Authority will be appointed to be responsible for the conduct of all racing and the management of commercial activities relating to AC37. The Defender and Challenger of Record will be investigating and agreeing on a meaningful package of campaign cost reduction measures, including measures to attract a higher number of Challengers and assist with the establishment of new teams. A new Crew Nationality Rule will require 100% of the race crew for each competitor to either be a passport holder of the country of the team’s yacht club as of 19 March 2021 or to have been physically present in that country (or, acting on behalf of such yacht club in Auckland, the venue of the AC36 Events) for two of the previous three years prior to 18 March 2021. As an exception to this requirement, there will be a discretionary provision, allowing a quota of non-nationals on the race crew for competitors from “Emerging Nations.”
There are a number of different options, but it is intended that the Venue for the Match will be determined within six months and the dates of racing announced in the Protocol if not before.
“The 37th America’s Cup effectively starts the moment the team crossed the finish line,” said ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton. “It is very exciting to have a new CoR to continue to build the scale of the America’s Cup globally. The AC75’s and the unprecedented broadcast reach of the exciting racing from Auckland’s stunning Waitemata Harbor have really put Auckland and the America’s Cup at the forefront of international sports.”
Though reports have now surfaced, ETNZ has refused to comment specifically on a reported $100 million package from the NZ Government claimed to have been rejected by the team. A 90-day good faith period of negotiation is in place between the NZ Govt and Auckland Council, which is expected to conclude at the end of June.
ETNZ is currently still within the exclusive three-month negotiation period with Government and Council, so it is premature to comment on commercial negotiations until they have concluded. However, we have only recently received the Government and Council position, which we will now carefully consider over the next two weeks.
But in the negotiating process, the relationship between ETNZ and the New Zealand Government can be a bit testy at times as when reports of financial improprieties surfaced last year and were finally addressed when the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), in consultation with host partner Auckland Council, has completed its audit into allegations made against Emirates Team New Zealand Limited (ETNZ) and America’s Cup Event Limited (ACE). The Beattie Varley report found that there was no evidence of financial impropriety or misappropriation of funds.
“It was important to work through the audit process and confirm that there was no financial impropriety or misappropriation of funds,” said Carolyn Tremain from MBIE. “There is no wrongdoing in this regard, and the process for resolving contractual disagreements is well established and we look forward to continuing to work constructively together on this matter.
“ETNZ and ACE have a different view from MBIE on whether the AC36 Event and Class Design Costs should be borne by the event.”
ETNZ and ACE CEO Grant Dalton said, “With the departure of the previous event managers, we have undertaken a thorough review of our personnel and we have the team to deliver on the event. We have engaged experienced and respected senior event professionals to lead the Event preparations.”
“It is in all of our interests that we continue to work together to deliver a successful event,” said Tremain at the time. “The America’s Cup is an important event for Auckland and I look forward to working closely with ACE to deliver a world class event we can all be proud of.”
Sir Stephen Tindall, chairman of ETNZ said, “We are pleased to have this behind us, and ACE can now focus on putting on a great spectacle, and ETNZ on keeping the Cup in New Zealand.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been more than fair in her government’s approach to negotiations. For the island nation to pony up what they have pro-offered is significant given the devasting effect the pandemic has had on their economy, considering they were not able to really play host to visitors wanting to watch the America’s Cup.
For Dalton to hold the nation hostage in a vain negotiating tactic is a sad state of affairs, and so is the fact that he is also holding his sailors in check by limiting their free agency options and so, the story goes and the world turns…
The Latest From Auckland
And now, the NYYC has stunned many by submitting a Challenge and Evolutionary Draft Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
The challenge was accompanied by a draft Protocol for the regatta which would see that the Cup Match take place in New Zealand during early 2024, utilizing the AC75 class.
“The America’s Cup is at a pivotal point in its 170-year history,” says Christopher J. Culver, commodore of the NYYC. “The competition for the 36th edition was thrilling, and ETNZ representing the RNZYS was a worthy winner. However, the NYYC as the original trustee of the event and a participant in the most recent edition has serious concerns about the future of this great competition.
“The cost of a competitive campaign, the lack of continuity in the class and the inability to plan beyond the current cycle have combined to create a prohibitive barrier to entry which has manifested in the dwindling number of challengers and public interest,” said Culver. “While we await further details on the location, timing and conditions for the 37th America’s Cup, we want to emphatically signal our enthusiasm for a multi-challenger event in 2024.
“Our proposed Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup is the product of months of work and countless conversations with America’s Cup stakeholders, including current and former challengers and defenders,” continues Culver. “It includes the tools necessary to improve the long-term commercial viability and global reach of the competition, while remaining true to the Deed of Gift and to the spirit of one of the international sport’s oldest competitions. Other established teams have similar views on the future of the competition.” The draft Protocol put forward by the New York Yacht Club features several key concepts:
- A multi-event schedule time and location for the next four America’s Cup regattas, which will enable teams, corporate partners and media to plan in advance, think beyond single campaigns and maximize revenue opportunities.
- Enhanced and independent event management via the creation of an America’s Cup Board of Governors, which will provide continuity and impartial oversight.
- Consistency in design, starting with the confirmation of the AC75 as the class for the 37th America’s Cup.
- Stronger crew nationality rules to draw more interest and to promote friendly competition between foreign countries.
- Cost-control measures; a predictable and shorter, three-year cycle; consistency in platform; an increase in one-design components; and a limit of one new boat per Cup cycle, all of which will make the America’s Cup more accessible and sustainable.
“By issuing this challenge along with a protocol, we are presenting a path forward for the event, one that will provide it with the tools to thrive in the modern international sports marketplace,” says Culver.
The NYYC won the Royal Yacht Squadron Cup in 1851, created the recurring event in 1870 and successfully defended the Cup 26 times. In 1983, the Cup was won by the Royal Perth Yacht Club. The Club remained active as a challenger in 1987, 2000 and 2003 before stepping away from the competition. With the creation of the American Magic syndicate, the Club returned to the America’s Cup in 2021. The end result was not what the team or Club hoped for, but the inspired response of the membership to the campaign encouraged the Club’s flag officers to consider another challenge.
“Our challenge is inclusive,” says Culver. “I’ve spoken with representatives of both the RNZYS and the Royal Yacht Squadron to assure them that New York Yacht Club is ready and willing to come to the table to help bridge gaps, foster a transparent discussion to adopt some or all of the key components of our draft Protocol and, ultimately, create the framework for a multi-challenger 37th America’s Cup and a sustainable future for the event.”
RNZYS Says Thanks, But No Thanks To NYYC’s “Challenge”
A statement released by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron stated, “The RNZYS and ETNZ (as the current Defender of the America’s Cup) welcome the NYYC’s interest in the next America’s Cup, but questions their motives for such a presumptuous statement when entries do not open for some time.
“There have been some valid points raised by NYYC, a number of which are already being considered in developing a progressive and forward-thinking Protocol between the Defender, INEOS Team UK and the RYS (as Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup) who are the two parties responsible for developing the next Protocol.”
The RNZYS/ETNZ position was backed up by the Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd and INEOS Team UK who expressed similar sentiments:
“As the Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup, we are working collaboratively with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand to write the Protocol that will define the rules moving forward.
“We are delighted to hear that the New York Yacht Club is interested in continuing participation in the America’s Cup and we will keep them informed as we move forward.”
National Sailing Hall Of Fame And America’s Cup Inductees
Sailing can provide a breakthrough moment that changes a child’s understanding. It can be a thought-provoking encounter that shifts a person’s perspective or an immersive experience that transports us to another place and time. Enter the National Sailing Hall of Fame and Newport, Rhode Island’s newest museum in the oldest of buildings. Relocating from Annapolis, Maryland to their new digs and throwing in the purchase of the old Armory Building which used to hold the America’s Cup Press Conferences and was the Media Center in the 1970’s & 80’s. The space is being developed into exhibit space in collaboration with the Herreshoff Museum and the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. The new museum is scheduled to open in 2022 and will be called the Sailing Museum.
Interactive educational exhibits will provide real-world applications of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) concepts that come alive through sailing. Visitors of all ages, non-sailors and sailors alike, will experience the magic that happens when wind and water meet.
Heather Ruhsam is the organization’s executive director. She also serves as the executive director of the upcoming Sailing Museum. A collaborative design effort was led by award-winning Healy Kohler Design. The Sailing Museum will offer sailing enthusiasts the chance to revel in their sport and new sailors to be enticed to take to the water for the first time. There will be six thematic areas beginning with the selection of a boat:
- Wind & Water
- The Making of a Champion: Mental
- The Making of a Champion: Physical
- Legends of Sailing: National Sailing Hall of Fame & America’s Cup Hall of Fame
The experience begins with Wind & Water, elements that sailors and non-sailors alike are familiar with. Here, visitors will learn about points of sail, ocean stewardship, the anatomy of a boat and evolution and principles of design, even designing their own boats. In the Making of a Champion areas, the mental and physical aspects of the sport will be explored, including navigation, tactics, leadership and decision-making, as well as agility, speed, strength and endurance.
In the Teamwork area, visitors will discover how sailing is a unique balance of all and brings people of varying skill sets together. In Competition, visitors will see what happens at the top of the sport when all these components are executed at the highest level. Iconic events from across the country and around the world will be showcased, along with the individuals who made their mark in them.
For sailors, they can select from one of seven boats on the screen; while those experiencing sailing for the first time will be given the option of a short quiz that will help them select a boat. For all, this boat will become their avatar throughout their museum experience, guiding them through the interactive elements, several of which will be specific to their selected boat.
Throughout the museum, the stories and accomplishments of the people who have shaped the sport will be shared. In the Legends of Sailing area, home to members of the National Sailing Hall of Fame and America’s Cup Hall of Fame, over 175 sailing legends will be honored under one roof connecting the past to the future. From designers and builders to coaches, mentors, artists, historians, Olympians, sailmakers and explorers.
The Sailing Museum will offer visitors a window into the most exciting personalities in sailing. Through them, new audiences will discover what sailors already know, that there is a magic that happens when wind and water meet. It has been the inspiration for innovation across the ages as humans have harnessed them to explore, trade, recreate and compete.
After a virtual induction event in 2020, the America’s Cup Hall of Fame induction ceremony returned to a traditional gala dinner held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. The event had to be postponed from March 8th due to the Level 3 “lockdown” that postponed the start of the America’s Cup. The fact that New Zealand was relatively COVID free is what made this event possible.
Unfortunately, the downside of the tight NZ border controls that made the event possible is that only one of this year’s two inductees was able to attend, New Zealand’s own Peter “PJ” Montgomery. The other inductee, Ed Baird, had to watch with envy from St. Petersburg, FL, but he was there in spirit and via video, and was introduced by his old teammate Brad Butterworth.
Herreshoff Museum President Bill Lynn said, “I wish Ed could be there and I wish we could be there too! It will be a very interesting gathering of AC enthusiasts and it should be a hell of a party!”
This year’s emcee duties were shared by Hall of Fame member Bruno Troublé and RNZYS Commodore Young, the grandson of one of New Zealand’s best known yacht designers. While perennial ACHOF emcee, Gary Jobson was missed as well, Mr. Troublé and Commodore Young were excited about the opportunity and worked diligently on their material.
AC Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chair Steve Tsuchiya was stuck stateside as well.
“Our virtual event last fall was wonderful, and it was a nice pivot necessitated by the pandemic,” said Tsuchiya. “This year’s traditional-style event will serve as a capstone to the 36th America’s Cup, and we’re thrilled that our friends at RNZYS helped us make it happen.”
Peter John Montgomery (NZL)
From Newport in 1980 onwards, Peter “PJ” Montgomery covered 12 America’s Cup series through a period of profound change as a broadcaster and as the “Voice of the America’s Cup.” His distinctive delivery and riveting commentary have captured, entertained and informed audiences, making him an instantly recognizable and popular figure in the America’s Cup.
Montgomery’s commentary captivated not just sailors, but millions of non-sailors, converting many into knowledgeable fans of the sport. This growth in the mainstream public’s interest in the America’s Cup fostered commercial and government support for the Cup, encouraging new teams and new countries to compete for yachting’s oldest prize. When Hollywood produced “Wind,” a feature length movie about the Cup, Montgomery was invited to play the commentator.
Montgomery helped convince Michael Fay to lead New Zealand’s first America’s Cup challenge. KZ-7 made an impressive debut in the 1986-87 series, finishing as a runner-up in the challenger trials. This promising start led to New Zealand’s long record of participation and eventual America’s Cup victories. Without his enthusiasm and strong support of sailing, it is doubtful that New Zealand would have entered the international world of sailing in the way it did in the latter part of the twentieth century.
Over his 50-year career, Montgomery strove for accuracy, earning the trust of his audience and the sport’s competitors. As a result, he has earned recognition in his home country and overseas, including “Sports Journalist of the Year” and several “Sports Broadcaster of the Year” awards. In 2021 he will be the first chronicler from New Zealand to be inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame.
Phillip Edward Baird (USA)
Ed Baird is a two-time winner of the America’s Cup, as coach of Team New Zealand in 1995 and as helmsman of Team Alinghi in 2007. In 1995, Baird’s guidance on match racing tactics and work as a tune-up skipper contributed to Team New Zealand’s success in San Diego where they defeated the defender, led by Dennis Conner, in five straight races.
Baird recalls, “My experience with Team New Zealand was incredible because it really opened my eyes to the levels people could reach. I thought I knew a lot of the better sailors in the world until I got onto that team and realized there was another substantial step up. It was also impressive to be in a group that was pushing the limits in many areas of the sport, but that was also on a very limited budget.”
Later that year, Baird went on to win the IYRU Match Racing World Championship as a further testimony of his exceptional racing skills.
For the next America’s Cup cycle, Baird was the skipper of New York Yacht Club’s ill-fated America’s Cup challenge in 2000. The Club had high hopes for winning the Cup, but fell into trouble when its fast but fragile boat, Young America, split in half during a race in Nov 1999. It was a crushing setback and the team never recovered.
During the 2003 America’s Cup, Baird and fellow Class of 2021 inductee, Peter Montgomery were co-commentators for both TV New Zealand and OLN’s coverage of the Cup series in Auckland.
After Switzerland’s Team Alinghi captured the America’s Cup in 2003, it hired Baird as a helmsman for the team’s defense in 2007. The 2007 America’s Cup was a close match, but Baird and Skipper Butterworth kept their cool against their former team and challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand.
The most exciting moment was at the end of Race 7. A sudden, late wind shift gave New Zealand the lead just before the finish, but the Kiwis had to perform a penalty turn before crossing the finish line. While New Zealand was completing its turn, Alinghi skillfully regained the lead and won the race by just one second to successfully defend the Cup with a 5-2 series score.
Baird was named the International Sailing Federation’s Rolex Sailor of the Year for the achievement and continues to be very active at a grand prix level, but also enjoys supporting his sons’ efforts to reach the top of the sport.
Thank you to the variety of media services that helped contribute to this report. So, that is that. You can still find me at email@example.com.