America’s Cup campaigns are usually won and lost in the years and months preceding the actual racing. It’s no secret that the Cup is largely a designer’s game, fueled by two key ingredients: money and time. Obviously, the more time the designers have to tinker with their plans, in theory, the faster the yacht becomes. This is compounded by the fact that the more time the sailors have with the boat prior to racing, the more refinement can take place, encompassing everything from onboard systems and sails to crew choreography through difficult maneuvers.
An amazing thing happened in the America’s Cup world this week: Boats have actually started racing, revealing some interesting performance and preparation information and yielding some gobsmacking images and video of the screaming-fast AC72-class catamarans tearing around on San Francisco Bay. While this is certainly a positive development, the waters are anything but ideal in this world of rarified racing.
Larry Ellison is America’s highest-paid CEO, with an annual salary at Oracle software of $96.2 million plus stock options in 2012 alone of another $90.7 million. But try as he might, Ellison can’t seem to buy success with all of that cash. Not only did he lose 22 percent of Oracle shareholders’ returns in the past fiscal year, according to The New York Times, but he also is the driving force behind what an increasing number of critics call the most disastrous America’s Cup in generations.
British Olympian Andrew “Bart” Simpson, who earned gold and silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Games before joining Swedish-owned Artemis Racing, drowned on May 9 after an Artemis AC72 capsized during a training run for the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay.
Simpson was trapped beneath the 72-foot multihull for about 10 minutes. Doctors attempted CPR but were unable to revive him. He was 36 years old.