Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 162: Red sky at night, sailor's delight.

Let's just get this clear before we go any further together: I know nothing about sailing. Nada, zilch, zip, zero, diddly-squat. I've been on a sailboat exactly one time and it was one of the least fun things I've ever done. I'm pretty sure the fact that we were racing and I was expected to actual work didn't help the matter any. And feeling slightly seasick was a real pisser. Oh and almost getting hurled over the side of the boat sort of sucked.

Photo from HERE.
But it's America's Cup time and this shit doesn't happen that often—less than the Olympics, in fact. The last Cup was held in 2010. Because I'm not a sailor or a wealthy entrepreneur, I really didn't know what exactly the America's Cup was (besides an expensive boat race)—but Wikipedia is wicked smaht and gives a great quick and concise explanation of what this prestigious competition is all about.
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging for the cup. The America's Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sport. 
The trophy was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was won by the schooner America. The trophy was renamed the America's Cup after the yacht and was donated to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) under the terms of the Deed of Gift, which made the cup available for perpetual international competition.  
Any yacht club that meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the Cup. If the challenging club wins the match, it gains stewardship of the cup.  
The 34th America's Cup finals are happening right now in San Francisco with the Cup's defender being the Golden Gate Yacht Club. The GGYC's racing team, Oracle Team USA defeated a Swiss team in 2010 to take the Cup. They are being challenged by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's racing team, Emirates Team New Zealand.

But the race finals have been overshadowed by death and controversy. Wait... what? This sounds interesting... almost like one of my television stories. Add in some infidelity and you've got yourself a daytime soap drama. Some say the race is cursed... Back in May, a sailor with Sweden-based Artemis Racing, died when a large catamaran capsized on San Francisco Bay and trapped the man under the boat for 10 minutes. And then US was accused of "juicing" their boats and got caught. Oh and the whole race is costing San Fran a butt-load of money.

The 72-foot catamaran style boats used for this race are some of the fastest boats on the planet. In 2007, the average top speed of an America's Cup yacht was 10 knots or 11.5 mph. The boats this year are averaging 40 knots or roughly 46 mph. At 43 knots, the 72-foot catamaran will sail its entire length in one second. So that explains why these guys are wearing freaking helmets! If you're wondering how the America's Cup qualifies for "Balls of All Sizes," now you know—these guys must have giant balls of steel.

As it stands right now, the Oracle Team USA is down three races to one to the Emirates Team New Zealand. But with the two point penalty assessed prior to the race start for boat doping or "making illegal modifications to its boats during exhibition races in 2012 and earlier this year," the USA team needs to win 11 races to New Zealand's nine. But there's still time!

The racing will continue as needed through September 21st and the races can be found on NBC Sports Network afternoons from 3:30-6pm ET. Now I definitely have to watch.

[Source: Billionaire death race]

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