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About scassani

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  1. scassani

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    In his obsession Coutts does not notice that spectators in the Cup area wave within a second of seeing themselves on the visual display. For all the boats being within sight from shore the entire time of the competition, these spectators' attention could as easily be directed to what is happening some miles away, on the sea or an arm of the sea. The confine of a stadium, bleachers and a screen allow Coutts to market the event in the only way people whose skills fall to selling things know to teach him: put faces together, build a crowd and sponsors will recognize an opportunity. Being out of sight from shore would take in the scale and variety of conditions of sail, water and wind that, when varied over a course, help skilled sailors show us the competition that comes of such skills. Coutts believes he has kept all the pieces and, in a way , he has. He succeeds in putting people together in a way that they will be part of an experience. What he sustains though is an interest that as easily takes in its own visage as that of the sailors on the water, what they do and how competitors do some things better than others, so long as they do them at just the right time. The stadium setting denies us the time needed if we are to watch more than a boat finishing first, another second and so on, through the field. It truncates the competition. More importantly, competitive sailing done in service to a marketing model dictates that the competition play out in small areas of shallow water. Hence the need to put boats in the air rather than over a keel. Coutts' vision of a World Sailing League took in competitive sailing but it did so as a means to salary professional sailors. Now that we've seen what such sailors do to earn their wage we are left to wonder whether we are as well entertained by what the visual display makes two-dimensional as we are surprised, and delighted, to see ourselves in its place.
  2. scassani

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    On reading through the succession of comments on the subject of broadcasting this weekend's Sail GP event I am left thinking the racing will not be shown on Sail GP's own web site. Nor will Sail GP make the event available for viewing on any well-known, publically accessible streaming service, such as You Tube. Amazon's Fire TV accesses both the Sail GP web page and You Tube; apparently I'm mistaken when I think I'll be watching the event this weekend, using a widely publicized and well-supported complement to traditional cable TV.
  3. scassani

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    NeedAClew writes: I freely stipulate there may be some gender based blindness here, but another thing I (female) do not understand is the focus on the SailGP team as "athletes ignoring the pain" as voice-overed in the video ads. Yeah, they are fit and it is nice to see buff bodies glistening (instead of SCOW), but this is supposed to be about sailing, boat racing? I mean, race car drivers have to have physical skills and endurance, but you think it is a fast car and he/she drives theirs better... Gender is not contributing to your perspective here. You place yourself apart from the marketing strategy Coutts believes will take he and SailGP where they need to be. Viewed from outside the strategy, as you see it, assimilating the genuine physical demand of sailing a performance sailboat with “ignoring the pain” shows itself to be what it is: hyperbole. The distance you put between yourself and the pitch Coutts would have work on you doesn’t allow you to see through the pitch. Distance, and not gender, keeps the pitch from having an effect. Viewed from inside the strategy, and this is where Coutts and those advising him betray a condescending attitude toward those whose eyes they would bring to competitive sailing, ignoring pain, shrugging off wear and tear, as these are made obvious by a sheen of sweat, show sailors to be anything but effete. That is the target Coutts carries over from selling America’s Cup campaigns. He will show professional sailors are every bit the steely eyed and sculpted heroes that ply their trade on ball fields, inside the ring or in the pits at a NASCAR race. Certainly the competition on the field and oval rewards our gaze, but, let that fight carry over to a fist-fight anywhere, and that is where the camera goes. As marketing teaches us about ourselves, fight satisfies as no informed gaze can. What Coutts relishes for professional sailing is the ease with which the audience for baseball, boxing and auto racing set aside “He knows the water and wind better than his competitor” in favor of “These guys don’t like each other.” That last quote calls for teaching a sailor a manner of introduction that shows he or she is ready to fight. Here is the manner: Begin by looking at the base of the camera stand. The camera approaches and on cue slowly raise your head to bring an unblinking gaze directly into the lens. Do not smile. After all, it’s not as though you are greeting someone. Compare this choreography with a sailor reviewing the latest weather report or she staring mindfully at a foil control the narrator tells us failed yesterday afternoon. It’s by means of making this comparison that I come to a good reason to say Coutts and his advisors condescend to let a bigger audience see competitive sailing. Is the attitude I speak to here directed towards competitive sailing? Marketing teaches us to say the event is not compromised by many who pass through the turnstile having little idea what to look for. Practice thinking this is a right thing to say leads us to worry it is not. NASCAR introduces ‘strategic yellow flags’ to slow a race before the leader’s gap on the field becomes dominant. Fans want to see close racing. “Racing is rubbin’.” Add interest mid-way in a nearly year-long season by publicizing a feud between drivers. Stage a vicious weigh-in the day before the fight. Boxing’s past is haunted by betting and mob influence. Keep this thought in mind and make-believe the day before no longer seems well advised. “Ali and Frazier hated each other!” And so they did, for most of their adult lives. But is that why the weigh-ins and their appearance together on the Tonight Show – “Look out Joe!” - went the way they did? I mention these bastardizations in the name of publicity out of a concern that the truncated courses Coutts and company introduced in AC34 carry much of the smell strategic yellow flags and scowling weigh-ins bring to what we call sport. The boats are fast, the courses short and the time needed if we are to see what we came to see is, well, it demands little of a day. That is the gist of what Coutts would accomplish on behalf of professional sailors everywhere. What they do is easy to follow and it’s over before you can ask “Why did Spithill think a luff would set his boat free?” The audience Coutts would bring with him doesn’t know what such a question asks. So they have no idea when to ask it. I worry the luff, and our reasons for anticipating the Bulldog doing it, might go the way of a too-long lead in a NASCAR race.
  4. scassani

    Larry's AC50 Circus

    NeedAClew writes: The real thing RC needs to prove is that he can run a break-even commercial enterprise now, then run one when it is subject to market forces, not run on subsidy. This observation is long overdue. Coutts' last exposed his idea to market forces when he, Cayard And Lagos set out in 2007 to build a World Sailing League. That precedent does not bode well for his current venture, especially so since Coutts seems to be travelling down the road of Apps as a way to demonstrate he brings an audience to professional sailing. Granting that this time the App is free, still, Coutts seems not to appreciate how poorly ACEA did on this subject. In market parlance, 'audience' is synonymous with 'market.' If breaking even is Coutts best, he having access to a non-competitive source of capital, followed by doing more of the same, this time the event earning its way to the finite hours available to sports broadcasting, calls for Coutts mastering a lesson he will not learn when tuition is free to him.
  5. scassani

    The new sailing twin skin setup

    The allegation of 'widow maker' as this term was used in discussions of repeated aircraft failures with loss of the pilot's life are not accounted for fully by talk of the aeronautics of Lockheed's F104 Starfighter. The planes designers were aware of the aircraft's demand for high takeoff and landing speeds. They did not fully understand the ease with which elevating the nose of the craft risked creating turbulence across the rear horizontal stabilizer. Turbulence compromised the effectiveness of the rear stabilizers and pilots' efforts to correct the situation by pushing the nose down met with varying and largely unpredictable results. The effort was begun by altering the position of the rear stabilizer. German pilots were first to call the plane 'widow maker.' Aeronautics played a part in earning this negative appellation; the rest of the story has to include mention of the plane's uncommon sensitivity to anything less than perfect maintenance of the propulsion, hydraulics and aero surfaces. A tragic series of aircraft failures was remedied after technicians from Lockheed took over responsibility for maintaining the plane from their German counterparts. Turn-around times suffered from what the Germans routinely achieved but at a terrible cost. In fairness to the Germans, they had not been advised that anything less than minutiae-level maintenance turned what was otherwise a 'sensitive' aircraft to fly into a plane that turned on its pilot without warning. It's no accident the US Air Force wanted little to do with Lockheed's 'missile with a man in it.'
  6. Would sail shape be equally effective for windward/leeward heel? Designing a sail around penetrating the oncoming air rather than pushing against it seems to call for different and potentially conflicting pressures.
  7. scassani

    Team NYYC

    I'll add to the speculation that has dogged this subject for decades. Among the difficulties of committing to a mid-engine design are (1) The comparative difficulty and cost of tooling an evolving design, relying on off-the shelf-parts, and committing to a design that has too little in common with past efforts to provide an opportunity for cost-saving. A mid-engine configuration calls for an entirely new approach to designing the frame, suspension and drive train. Not much of consequence carries over from the front-engine car. To confront this challenge while maintaining production of the current design, if only for a year, suggests Chevrolet has more than fully recovered from the financial horrors of 2007. (2) Time after time Chevrolet has sampled its enthusiasts concerning their receptivity to an entirely new Corvette. In their response Corvette owners display an affinity for the past that equals that of the Porsche community. No Porsche owners shared the factory's interest in the 928 and 944 series of front-engine sports cars. Porsche marketing cited legacy; current owners of the 911 knew better and walked away. The number of current Corvette owners expressing delight for a mid-engine car of the same name is no greater. There may be some tolerance among younger owners but the bulk of the ability to pay and especially the ability to pay a premium for a new idea of what a Corvette should be is vested in owners sampling shows to be fifty-five years old and older. What interest there is lies largely in owners too few in number and too little in wealth to carry the cost of a fresh start to what makes a sports car a Corvette. Even if Chevrolet gets the engineering right, design and management presentations to the national Corvette Owner's Club bare an hostility to this change that could lead to resistance for resistances sake. A future that has a place for the Corvette will demand the car and with it, Corvette owners, abandon the bragging rights that go with displacement and horsepower. A dual overhead cam V6 of 3 liters and 310 horsepower will deliver more of what makes a 2600 pound, mid-engine sports car responsive than Corvette owners have known in the decades the plastic pachyderm has delivered performance at low cost. The Corvette will come into its own only to find the hot rod thinking that dominates discussions of the car's advantages works to deny the Corvette an opportunity to mature. Le Mans is a showcase for accomplishments Corvette owners fail to appreciate when the Chevrolet asks What's next?
  8. scassani

    Team NYYC

    So long as this thread has wandered beyond any semblance of it's subject... Stinger! Are we going to pass yet another year and the fifty-years old rumor of a mid-engine Corvette move no closer to reality?
  9. Would a foiling monohull use a spinnaker? I'm thinking the center of effort would be too far forward to mitigate through foil design...
  10. Doug, TC Follow up with a discussion of the effects of this approach on VMG. Thanks!
  11. scassani

    How to watch live races?

    NBCSN lists todays racing beginning at 11:00 am Mountain Daylight Time. The schedule updated only ten minutes ago to show racing in place of the Mecum Auto Auction.
  12. scassani

    trickle down

    Thanks Doug
  13. scassani

    trickle down

    Several months ago Bailiscus replied to my suggestion that the AC62's might foil on four points. When made to balance on two foils and twin rudders the boat's structure must absorb the torque that results from wind direction, velocity and the camber of the wing. As I recall his argument, these forces cannot be made to balance when two foils provide lift. The foil that provides righting moment will work against the foil on the windward side. No amount of trimming will work to offset continuous changes in lateral and vertical forces . The structure will twist to failure or it will be so heavy as to render the structure inefficient for racing. Is the four-point stability we've seen in the video unique to small, light boats?
  14. scassani

    trickle down

    With the ACWS 45's being modified to permit foiling, will the Speed Trial be restored to the competition? The prospect of a 45 balanced on all three at 30 knots or more and the crew effort needed to maintain the balance would make for some exciting imagery. Hopefully folks drawn to watch this part of the event would return for the next series of actual races.