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America's Cup

Monday, March 9, 2015

Judge Orders Seizure of Oracle Team USA's Winning Boat

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 4:52 PM

click image A vessel similar to the boat in question - ROBERT COUSE-BAKER / FLICKR
  • Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr
  • A vessel similar to the boat in question
Perhaps Oracle Team USA's windswept victory at the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco boiled down to pure skill after all — since the team doesn't appear to have any real luck. They've been sued again for the second time in recent months.

Upon the request of a disgruntled former-sailor for the Oracle Team USA, a federal court just ordered marshals to confiscate one of the team's Pier 80-docked boats, the Associated Press is reporting.

Sailor Joe Spooner is suing the team for one of Oracle's specially-crafted, 45-foot catamarans, tested in the San Francisco Bay in February as Oracle prepares to compete in the America's Cup in 2017.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

America's Cup Fiasco Reaches France -- Merde!

Posted By on Mon, Apr 1, 2013 at 11:59 AM

...tous les membres de l'assemblée se sont fait foutrement avoir  - VANCE CARDELL
  • Vance Cardell
  • ...tous les membres de l'assemblée se sont fait foutrement avoir

Readers wondering how the French are seeing the ongoing fiasco that is the America's Cup -- and how they'd translate the line "all the members of the Board of Supervisors were fucking played" -- have been granted a two-for-one special.

Last week, Le Monde ran a short story titled "Qui paiera la facture de la Coupe de l'America?" (Who will pay the bill for the America's Cup?). The article neatly encapsulated the ongoing tussle surrounding the incredible shrinking regatta: Organizers now actually embrace a revised prediction claiming the race will bring far less business to the area than initially pledged. They also claim that tax revenues from the scaled-down race will offset anemic private fund-raising.

This was not part of the original deal -- and no one pointed that out more  forcefully than Supervisor John Avalos. Here's how he put it:

See Also: Prior America's Cup Coverage

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Will Airbnb Stiff San Francisco During America's Cup?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Nice boats! Where are you staying? - VANCE CARDELL
  • Vance Cardell
  • Nice boats! Where are you staying?

Our across-the-hall colleagues at the Guardian have written a bit about how there seems to be a great degree of ambiguity regarding whether Airbnb is forking over the hotel taxes the city claims it owes.

It's always a pressing question whether a politically connected company is paying its fair share. But it becomes more so when a flurry of hotel taxes is now being relied upon to make up for anemic America's Cup fund-raising.

We've written a lot about this, so forgive us for being a broken record (and forgive us for using an analogy younger readers don't understand). But it's a risky proposal to assume that hotel and other revenues will be so much greater than usual during the America's Cup -- held in peak tourist season -- that the city will make up the money it spent to hold the event (which private fund-raisers have failed to amass).

It'll be even riskier if swaths of San Francisco visitors are using a service that doesn't contribute its fair share of hotel taxes.

See Also: Dueling Takes on Sinking America's Cup Report

Super Bowl, Other Mega-Events Don't Deliver Guaranteed Boons

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Friday, March 15, 2013

America's Cup: Who's on the Hook for Private Fund-Raisers' $5 Million Loan?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Somebody owes somebody else some money...
  • Somebody owes somebody else some money...

For those who may or may not enjoy watching syndicates of wealthy men race boats on the bay -- but definitely don't want the city to lose money on the deal -- this has been a beguiling week.

New projections put the expected public and private benefits of hosting the America's Cup way down from prior numbers -- but also pare back the anticipated city costs of hosting the event.

The latter is, ostensibly, good news. The private America's Cup Organizing Committee, tasked to "endeavor" to raise $32 million to compensate the city, is dead in the water. It met its benchmark last year of raising $12 million only via a last-minute influx of $8 million from the America's Cup Event Authority, which is putting on the race. At the time, this was characterized as an advance on future revenue-sharing.

In the year and change since, the ACOC has managed to only amass an additional $1.9 million in written donor pledges. And that cash advance from race organizers is now being characterized as a loan. This prompts the pertinent question of who will be left holding the bag for that loan if the ACOC does as well paying it back as it has thus far of raising funds for the city.

See Also: Dueling Takes on Sinking America's Cup Report

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

America's Cup: A Novel Take on Vastly Scaled-Back Expectations

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Think of the money we'll save! - VANCE CARDELL
  • Vance Cardell
  • Think of the money we'll save!

Most San Franciscans picking up the paper the day after the Super Bowl would be reading sad headlines about the 49ers' agonizing loss. That's bad. But, hypothetically, those headlines could have noted that the city had been spared an expensive and destructive post-win riot. That's ... good?

This is the scenario facing San Franciscans today. Readers of the San Francisco Business Times on Monday saw "America's Cup economic impact lowered to $780 million from $1.4 billion." Examiner readers today saw "Cup economic benefits downsized." For the most part, that's bad.

Yet today's above-the-fold, Page One story in the Chronicle notes that "Cup costs down by millions." That's ... good?

It's certainly convenient. Without stumbling into the realm of conspiracy theories, with the private America's Cup Organizing Committee reeling in its attempts to "endeavor" to raise $32 million to offset city costs -- and on the very day of a hearing called by Supervisor John Avalos to check on progress -- here comes a report claiming far less private money is needed to satiate the city.

That city hearing is, at this very moment, under way. But a number of vexing questions still remain. And a number of misconceptions are still being bandied about.

See Also: The Cup Runneth Over

More America's Cup coverage

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

America's Cup: John Avalos Says "All the Members of the Board of Supervisors Were F**king Played"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Can't fucking believe it
  • Can't fucking believe it

News broke over the weekend that the America's Cup Organizing Committee, a private group tasked with fundraising to offset the race's public costs, is struggling mightily. Logically, public money not offset by private funds is simply public money expended -- in this case on a yacht race thrown by one of the world's wealthiest men.

Of course, as we noted earlier this week, this was the precise scenario warned of, repeatedly, by numerous budget-minded city officials not cheerleading the race. We noted this last year. We noted this three years ago. There's been no shortage of noting.

Now Supervisor John Avalos wants a hearing into how this circumstance, foretold repeatedly by the city's bean-counters and America's Cup contrarians, could have come to pass. And he's angry.

See Also: Losing Millions on the America's Cup Was Foreseen

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Monday, February 11, 2013

America's Cup: Losing Millions Is the Exact Scenario We Were Warned About, Repeatedly

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Let's all take a bath
  • Let's all take a bath

The news over the weekend that the city could be left holding the bag for millions the America's Cup Organizing Committee has failed to provide is a revelation in the same sense that it's revelatory that promiscuous couples in horror films tend to be killed off.

The very real possibility of San Francisco being made to cough up scores of millions of America's Cup dollars is, in fact, the exact scenario warned of by prudent city officials not cheerleading for the event. Just as so many filmgoers futilely shout "don't go in there!" to ill-fated protagonists, so San Francisco was warned regarding the America's Cup.

We went in there. And now it may cost us. And, in fact, it may cost us a bit more than the (dismal) figures bandied about over the weekend.

See Also: The Cup Runneth Over

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

America's Cup: Larry Ellison's Oracle Team Fined for Spying on Italian Team

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 8:48 AM

I spy espionage
  • I spy espionage

Larry Ellison's Oracle team has taken another tumble after being slapped with charges of espionage on a rival team.

While spying isn't unusual in the America's Cup, a international jury of sailing experts concluded that Ellison's sailing team went a little too far when they sailed a little too close to Italy's Luna Rossa 72-foot catamaran while it was practicing on New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf in November.

According to press reports, Oracle's cameraman came within 200 meters of Luna Rossa, breaking the race rules. Now Oracle has to pay a $15,000 fine, as well as hand over photos of the Italian team's boat. In addition, it will be suspended from five days of practice, which is something not even Ellison can afford.

See also: America's Cup: Team Oracle Boat Capsizes by Golden Gate Bridge (Video)

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

America's Cup: Team Oracle Boat Capsizes by Golden Gate Bridge (Video)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 7:39 AM

Boats in happier times - VANCE CARDELL
  • Vance Cardell
  • Boats in happier times
America's Cup experienced its first casualty yesterday when the Oracle Team USA's 72-foot catamaran flipped over, damaging parts of the boat beyond recognition.

According to race officials, the nearly $8 million boat capsized during during a practice run near the Golden Gate Bridge. Thankfully, there were no injuries among the 14 people on board at the time, but the $2 million wing of the new boat was was "damaged beyond recognition," team officials said.

Here's how Oracle Team USA tactician Tom Slingsby explains the incident:

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Monday, October 8, 2012

America's Cup: Straddled by the Big Boats

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Close encounters of the Artemis kind - PIERRE-YVEZ DROZ
  • Pierre-Yvez Droz
  • Close encounters of the Artemis kind

Sailing club members taking a boat out this weekend to observe the America's Cup races while  being dive-bombed by the Fleet Week aircraft were handed a good-sized pamphlet. It could have been titled "How to Navigate the Armada of Drunken, Inexperienced Boaters You Will Encounter."

There's no way to tell for certain, but the collective blood alcohol level on the bay was a lot lower than the writers of the pamphlet feared it might be. A couple of young guys zipping about on a boat called the "Smokin' J" were, in fact, very responsible and quick-thinking. And while there were certainly a lot of boats, it was hardly a parking lot out there.

Your humble narrator is no sailor. This was my third time on a sailboat since age 3. And, like that young voyage, this one involved a hefty dose of Dramamine and a subsequent dizzy nap below deck (I was jolted awake when our small boat rocked like a bathtub toy in the wake of a paddlewheel steamer -- a first for me). Another first was being passed like we were standing still by a pair of America's Cup catamarans.

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