Back to Auckland, Already

“You are back, already?” That is a familiar phrase for those of us on Oracle Racing

AmericaOne Sells to Oracle

Now that the dust has settled and the ink has dried, I can report to you what AmericaOne decided regarding its participation in America

Big Names Story

Flying home from Europe recently, I began thinking back over my career and my thoughts focused on my first Star World Championship. The year was 1978, the venue was San Francisco and the characters are now famous to all of us. For a change of pace I thought I would take a look back for this month

Post AC 2000

The soap Opera known as;

Kiwis are Still the Best

The bottom line… the Kiwi

AmericaOne Completes Louis Vuitton Cup Finals

AmericaOne Completes Louis Vuitton Cup Finals

The Final Round of the Louis Vuitton Cup took place January 25 to February 6 in Auckland, New Zealand. AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Club

Louis Vuitton Finals Wrap Up

This series did not end the way we had planned. The score told the story of an unbelievably tough regatta; the most competitive series of match racing ever staged in the America’s Cup. Our comeback from 3-1 and the broken mast, were answered by Prada’s comeback from facing a double match point. Each team bore its heart and soul several times throughout the twelve-day ordeal. But in the ninth and final race, Prada had the upper hand. We are very disappointed. We don’t accept defeat easily…in fact we take it on the chin. It is personal and the sting won’t be forgotten soon with the AmericaOne Team.

However, there is a lot to be proud of and much of this has been pointed out by people like you in the past few days. AmericaOne was the best team in the USA and came very close to beating the best that the world had to offer. It is a fact that Prada spent twice the money and time that we did toward the same goal. So how did we get so close? People, organization, determination, and passion. We had the best group that I have ever worked with in a Cup and it was an honor to have them commit to our campaign. No one came to work at AmericaOne for the money. They came out of respect for the group we had assembled and the belief in those people and their determination. This is the most satisfying compliment I have ever had and I want to once again thank every member of AmericaOne for their effort and commitment.

Also, we would never have gotten where we were without our corporate partners, many of whom are world leaders in their industry. What and honor to have the support and confidence of Ford Motor Company, Global Integrity, Hewlett-Packard, Intessa, SAIC, Telcordia Technologies, United Technologies, Visteon, Network Solutions, Lycos and Charles Schwab! Most of these companies had a very direct involvement in the technical program of AmericaOne and truly made a difference in our boat speed at the end of the day. AmericaOne was the only US team to gather over $20M of corporate support.

Our private donors are also very near and dear to us. Many come from the St. Francis Yacht Club, where I grew up in the junior program in the 70’s. Thanks to the leadership of Larry and Jan Finch, Fritz and Lucy Jewett and Tom and Alexa Seip, the Founders’ Club generated $8M. Much of this money came early and allowed us to make commitments to key people in 1996 and begin technical work that requires long lead time. The “seed” money concept of a start-up company was the model we used and it too was a critical piece of our puzzle.

What went right? Too much to list but I want to mention a few highlights:

* Bruce Nelson and his technical team did an awesome job of coordinating the efforts of 40 plus people, many of them representatives of our sponsors, and produced two excellent boats in USA 49 and USA 61. Prada was designed by the man who designed the Kiwi boat in 1995, so they had a strong starting point and an open checkbook for the past three years. We were basically equal to their performance…that was a big wall we scaled technically!

* The corporate sponsors made a selection from a field of six candidates in the USA and chose AmericaOne. We delivered on our prediction that we would be the best team from America. This is important to me because talk was cheap in 1997 but the proof is in the results.

* AmericaOne also set the standard for corporate fulfillment in the sport of sailing. It was an important goal of mine that we provide a valuable commercial experience for our corporate partners and I believe we have succeeded in this.

* I know that our private donors, who made the trip down to New Zealand, really enjoyed the America’s Cup experience and I am happy they could see first hand how the team operates. We had all our private supporters with us in name on the inside of the boat, another personal touch that I am proud of.

* Bob Billingham and his staff set up outstanding operational facilities both in Long Beach, CA and Auckland, NZ and did it very cost effectively.

* Everyone on the team, from the crew to the shore team, from accounting to food and housing approached their jobs as a competition with the individuals who held similar jobs on other teams.

* Time and again, after mistakes were made, we looked ourselves in the mirror honestly, made adjustments and came out the next day hitting on all cylinders. This is a critical trait for any successful team; and AmericaOne has it!

What went wrong? We did not win.

* Time was probably our biggest enemy. Construction of USA 61 was delayed when a sponsor withdrew. Our team operated for just over one year. Our competition operated for three years and was sailing their race boats for six months.

* A bit too much on the key peoples plates. Trying to stay lean at the outset meant a management structure that was small and probably overloaded.

Where do we go from here?

I have been overwhelmed by the e-mails and faxes of encouragement during the past 48 hours. Even though life for us these days is disappointing it seems that there is a large amount of respect for what we have achieved and an equally large amount of support for the continuation of AmericaOne. This is helping us recover.

I believe that after the appropriate digestive period, AmericaOne may challenge for the Cup again. We don’t give up easily and what we have built should be added to, not left to flounder. The assets we have are top quality and completely unencumbered. We have run a program that is flush…no debt. We have a very experienced team that should stay together. We must start very soon as all this talent can quickly disperse. I would like to think of the next few months as a well-deserved break between chapters rather than the end of a book.

I believe that we always handled ourselves professionally with class and dignity. These are traits, which are larger than any one of these events and are very important to me. It has been an honor and pleasure to represent all of you, our corporate partners, the St. Francis Yacht Club, and America. I thank you for this opportunity.

AMERICAONE LEADS THE LOUIS VUITTON CUP FINALS

Third Consecutive Win for Americans

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, February 4, 2000 – AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Clubs Americas Cup 2000 challenger, won its fourth race of the Louis Vuitton Finals against the Prada Challenge (ITA 45) by 1m 6s. Racing resumed today after Race 7 was cancelled yesterday due to low winds on the racecourse. Today’s win put AmericaOne in a strong position on the scoreboard with one win ahead of Prada in the best of nine series.

Racing got underway in a slight sea swell with winds at 15-17 knots. AmericaOne entered the startbox with starboard tack advantage, forcing Luna Rossa into a dial-up. AmericaOne taking control, initiated a second dial-up and pushed Luna Rossa towards the starting line. ITA 45 was forced to tack in order to avoid crossing the line early. Paul Cayard, at the helm of USA 61, tacked toward the committee boat while Francesco de Angelis, at the helm of Luna Rossa, sailed towards the pin in a dead even start. AmericaOne remained on the right side of the course, tacking at the starboard layline. USA 61 gained from significant pressure, lifting it towards the mark. The AmericaOne Team continued to stretch their lead over the Italians, rounding the first mark 12 boatlengths ahead of Luna Rossa. ITA 45 was able to gain some distance on the downwind legs but could not threaten USA 61’s position. The AmericaOne Team was confident and controlled the remainder of the race taking its third consecutive win.

“It is still an even boat race between the two teams,” remarked AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard. “There’s also a human factor that’s involved when competing in a high stakes game. I feel that factor is on our side.”

Finals

During the Finals the challengers will race one race a day in a best-of-nine series. The first team to win five races will win the Louis Vuitton Cup. Racing is scheduled to begin at 1:15 PM local time on a full-length America’s Cup course, three laps totaling 18.55-nautical miles windward-leeward format.

Finals/Race 7 Starting Line-Up: Curtis Blewett of Los Angeles, CA, bow; Ralf Steitz of Port Washington, NY, mid-bow; Bill Bates of San Diego, CA, mast/sewer; Josh Belsky of Hood River, OR, pit; Jim Nicholas of San Diego, CA, grinder; Phil Trinter of Lorain, OH, grinder; Matt Welling of Bay Shore, NY, grinder; David McClintock of Portsmouth, RI, upwind trim; Carter Perrin of Houston, TX, downwind trim; Paul Cayard of Kentfield, CA, helmsman; John Kostecki of Fairfax, CA, tactician; Gavin Brady of Annapolis, MD, strategist; Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, mainsheet; Morgan Larson of Capitola, CA, traveler; Sean Clarkson of Middletown, RI, main assist and Lexi Gahagan of Wilmington, DE, navigator. The 17th crew person was Mr. William Hoyt.

Final Scores To Date:

AmericaOne / 4 points

Prada Challenge/ 3 points

Race 7 Postponed

Race Seven Postponed For a Day – No Wind on the Hauraki Gulf

After two consecutive days of thrilling racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals, the weather conspired to put Race Seven on hold. The Hauraki Gulf was flat, and no wind disturbed the calm seas through the afternoon. Race Director Vince Cooke had the boats wait on the race course for one hour before abandoning the race until tomorrow (Friday).

The best of nine Louis Vuitton Cup Final series is tied

AMERICAONE EVENS SCORE WITH CRUCIAL WIN

Tennis Celebrity Steffi Graf’s Debut as 17th Crew Person

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, February 2, 2000 -AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Clubs Americas Cup 2000 challenger, won its third race of the Louis Vuitton Finals against the Prada Challenge (ITA 45) by 9s. Steffi Graf, winner of 22 grand slam titles in tennis, rode onboard USA 61 as the 17th crewmember while AmericaOne claimed its third point and tied the series.

In steady 13-knot winds, AmericaOne chose the favored pin end of the starting line and established a four-second lead over the line. Both teams benefited from windshifts throughout the first half of the race as the lead shifted. It was at the first leeward mark that Prada made a fatal mistake. By attempting to take their spinnaker down on both sides of the bow, the Italians virtually “shrink wrapped” Luna Rossa with the spinnaker, causing them to slow down and veer off course. AmericaOne’s charging boat overtook the wounded silver boat and led to the next windward mark.

With exceptional boat speed and consistently confident crew work the AmericaOne Team kept their advantage down the second downwind leg and into the last leeward mark rounding. With both boats approaching on port tack to the final windward mark, it was up to USA 61 to hold off ITA 45 to the finish. Down the last leg AmericaOne maintained and defended a two-boatlength lead over Prada to the finish line. USA 61 crossed ahead of ITA 45 as the Race Committee raised the blue flag signaling AmericaOne the victor.

“The crew did an awesome job of handling the boat,” said AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard. “We capitalized on a few significant shifts during the race and I’m pleased to have a tied ballgame on our hands.”

Finals

During the Finals the challengers will race one race a day in a best-of-nine series. The first team to win five races will win the Louis Vuitton Cup. Racing is scheduled to begin at 1:15 PM local time on a full-length America’s Cup course, three laps totaling 18.55-nautical miles windward-leeward format.

Finals/Race 6 Starting Line-Up: Curtis Blewett of Los Angeles, CA, bow; Ralf Steitz of Port Washington, NY, mid-bow; Bill Bates of San Diego, CA, mast/sewer; Josh Belsky of Hood River, OR, pit; Jim Nicholas of San Diego, CA, grinder; Phil Trinter of Lorain, OH, grinder; Matt Welling of Bay Shore, NY, grinder; David McClintock of Portsmouth, RI, upwind trim; Carter Perrin of Houston, TX, downwind trim; Paul Cayard of Kentfield, CA, helmsman; John Kostecki of Fairfax, CA, tactician; Gavin Brady of Annapolis, MD, strategist; Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, mainsheet; Morgan Larson of Capitola, CA, traveler; Sean Clarkson of Middletown, RI, main assist and Lexi Gahagan of Wilmington, DE, navigator. The 17th crew person was Ms. Steffi Graf of Germany.

Final Scores To Date:

AmericaOne / 3 points

Prada Challenge/ 3 points