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With two America’s Cup event cancelled this year and with the next challenge for teams being just when they will be allowed into New Zealand to start practicing for the main event next year,  I started to think just who is the Greatest America’s Cup skipper of all time.

It is generally accepted, as far as heavy weight boxing is concerned, that Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay) is the Greatest of all time.

Other boxers along the way, the likes of Liston, Frazier and Holmes could also be called ‘great’ but it was Ali that stood head and shoulders above the rest. That is a statement that seldom raises a contrary opinion.

Most sports have their greats. Tennis (men) has Laver, Sampras or Federer, the ladies have Court, King and the Williams sisters. In that sport it is generally the winner of the most grand slams that is taken to be number 1 but then is that in the amateur era or Open era?

In soccer it gets all the cloudier with Pele the first genius or Beckham the greatest crosser of a ball (especially if you are English) who scored the goal Pele couldn’t quite manage, or right up to date, Ronaldo or Messi.

I suppose the first thing to decide is that just what is the equivalent of boxing’s heavyweight division?

With, for example Jim Ratcliffe’s GBP100Million support for INEOS being able to purchase an entire Volvo Ocean Race fleet, meet the costs of a top country’s Olympic sailing campaign over say, 5 or6 Olympics or fund SailGP for two whole seasons then I suppose the America’s Cup with a history significantly longer than the modern Olympic Games has to be considered up there ahead of the rest. In fact with a history approaching  170 years which makes it, as we all know, the oldest trophy in international sport it would be hard to argue against it.

Sure the Whitbread/Volvo has the names like Carlin, Connie and Blake to call on and the Olympics Elvstrom, Scheidt and of course Ainslie but nothing seems to have captured the non-sailors imagination down through the years like the Auld Mug.

I suppose that would be the first argument to settle but a hard choice to bet against. No other event in our sport has produced the national fervour or interest, the ticker tape parades for the winners, even a ‘Loving Cup’ for one of sport’s (and not just our sport’s) most gracious losers, Sir Thomas Lipton.

Down the years there have been many fine skippers, most recently perhaps Jimmy (Pitbull) Spithill.

His amazing two penalties against Chris Dickson & Oracle (yes he used to race AGAINST them) in AC32 then the return from the dead from 8-1 down to a 9-8 victory. Russell Coutts who, I think has won the most AC races and across three different teams. Big Bad Dennis – Dennis Conner, Mr America’s Cup who lost it in 1983 and then took it back in 1987.If there is anyone who epitomises getting back up when knocked down that surely is it. Before Dennis, and the first of the post war greats, there was Bus Mosbacher famous for chasing opponents away from the start line.

Then of course there was Charlie Barr, the first of the greats who defended the cup three times at the turn of the 20th Century. I am sure there are others who could also be called great with no doubt more than a modicum of national bias influencing the decision.

It could be a fascinating discussion responsible for the downing of many pints, G&Ts or drams along the way – or at the moment over some shared (virtually) cocktails. For my part I think Charles Barr, or Charlie as he was/is better known, although often missed, laid the foundation for the professional skipper who aggressively used the rules to his advantage.

In fact had the chain of challenges by the likes of Dunraven, Lipton and Sopwith not been maintained in the early years with thousands attending boat launches, then more thousands in spectator fleets that would rival a modern Sydney Hobart or Volvo start then “The Cup” would not have arrived after the end of the Second World War with it’s close to 100 year history and would lack much of its modern day mystique. 

Charlie Barr was brought up in Gourock within sight of where my own father was to later serve his marine engineer apprenticeship and he started life in the same profession of one who would become one of his great adversaries. He was actually an apprentice grocer in his early years, although unlike Sir Thomas Lipton he soon gave it up for other things.

His first involvement with the America’s Cup was as mate to his brother John on ‘Thistle’ the Royal Clyde Yacht Club’s challenger which was soundly beaten in their 1887. (One hundred years exactly before Connor’s hand was on the USA’s regaining of the cup from Australia)

Charlie returned to America when Thistle was sold to Kaiser Whilhelm11 and worked as a professional skipper. He eventually became a naturalised American in a time when all the crew were from the challenging or defending nation proved that America wasn’t quite so much against immigration then as it appears to be now.

In fact, that nationality requirement continued until the ‘guns for hire’ era of this century, a trend that Emirates Team New Zealand has attempted to reverse with the AC36 Protocol.

As a helmsman and skipper of note known particularly for his single minded and meticulous preparation and knowledge of the finer points of the racing rules, he would often drive his opponent away from the start line in much the same way modern match racers often attempt to do to this day.

Not just on the start line either as Heckstall Smith, a friend of Sir Thomas Lipton, remarked on how he maintained his concentration even when well in the lead, Bus Mosbacher did the same in the ‘50’s but as even Dennis Conner has been known to point out this was a technique originally perfected by Barr. The retired fishermen, primarily of Brightlingsea, Essex who made up most of various Shamrock’s crews also often talked about Charlie Barr.

He defended The Cup with Columbia in 1899 and unusually with the same boat in 1901 going on to keep The Cup securely in the New York Yacht Club’s 44th Street premises for a third time. 

I may be wrong but I cannot recall the same boat defending the America’s Cup on two occasions. That came about because having defended once Columbia was selected as the trial horse next time round but under Barr’s leadership, still managed to beat the newer ‘next generation’ boat as was therefore selected to defend again.

And he wasn’t just a short course skipper. He went onto skipper the schooner Atlantic in the Kaiser Cup setting a west-east record that took 75 years and a trimaran to beat and just two years short of a century for a monohull (Nicorette) to surpass. 

Yes, perhaps I am a little biased being a Scot myself (don’t let the screen name fool you) and over the years read so many articles, books and so on about The Cup that I can’t remember when or their  titles, One I would mention though is “An Absorbing Interest”, the undisputed encyclopedia of the America’s Cup written by Bob Fisher, himself a Brightlingsea man and a good friend.

So three, three times winners in Coutts, Conner and Barr.

But wait, there is a forth three time winner who is often overlooked, certainly by the author of the sailing scuttlebutt article, and the only one who wasn’t just a great skipper, he was the only owner driver on the list.

Harold Sterling Vanderbilt was born into money, old railroad tycoon money, but he was no dumb rich kid. Yachting was his passion and he also defended the Auld Mug for the USA three times with Enterprise in 1930, Rainbow in 1934 and finally with Ranger in 1937.

He was also an accomplished bridge player with a number of books on the game to his name. 

However apart from keeping the Auld Mug bolted down in the New York Yacht Club over three challenges his greatest contribution to modern yacht racing were “The Vanderbilt Rules”.

I wonder how many club racers realize that up until 1960 there were no universal “Racing Rules of Sailing” as we now know them. In 1935 along with three friends he was instrumental in developing a set of rules which after a number of re-writes was eventually adopted by the then International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU).

I have a copy of his 1944 version and it is remarkable how similar to what we race with today although the pamphlet runs to only 12 pages and 18 rules compared to the just over 90 rules we have today. 

So national bias aside I have to say that taking into account the fact he wasn’t a professional yachtsman (although he ran a professional campaign - times three) I think he shades it from the others who had the relative luxury of being able to just focus on the event itself. 

Disagree with what I think? Jump in the thread! Almost as many candidates as the Democrats this time round.

Shanghai Sailor.

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Fuck, I thought for a moment that Braindead Handoncock was back.

I apologize...

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1 hour ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

Sorry to say, Pele teams  won 3 world cups,  Beckham 0        

I was comparing player to player, not team to team and i was referring to 

 by Pele and 

 by Beckham and he was hardly out of his teens. 

But to give away where my true loyalties lie my favourite piece of World Cup magic is 

 

 

 

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Dennis Conner. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, Fiji Bitter said:

Fuck, I thought for a moment that Braindead Handoncock was back.

I apologize...

I don't know whether to take that as a compliment or otherwise Fiji :lol:

And what are you doing looking at the Front Page, Shame on you - ha ha

Just trying to keep people entertained (and educated) in the absence of any real sailing.

Take care in the islands

SS  

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1 hour ago, Fiji Bitter said:

Fuck, I thought for a moment that Braindead Handoncock was back.

I apologize...

Filed under TL:DR 

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1 hour ago, shanghaisailor said:

I was comparing player to player, not team to team and i was referring to 

 

 

 

 

 

i've seen pele play live, past his prime, even then he was better than Becky..

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3 hours ago, Editor said:

He defended The Cup with Columbia in 1899 and unusually with the same boat in 1901 going on to keep The Cup securely in the New York Yacht Club’s 44th Street premises for a third time. 

I may be wrong but I cannot recall the same boat defending the America’s Cup on two occasions.

Intrepid defended in 1967 and 1970 and came within one race of defending again in 1974.  Courageous defended in 1974 and 1977.

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Nothing against greats like Barr, Connor and the others but there’s an argument to be made that over time AC helms have gotten progressively better as they’ve devoted increasing amounts of time to honing their specialties. The level of ‘professionalism’ has been a rising tide.

The 4 likely helms who will compete for AC36 are arguably the best, most-skilled, crop of all time. 

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Maybe should divide into classic and modern periods or something?  

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13 minutes ago, NeedAClew said:

Maybe should divide into classic and modern periods or something?  

Yes, and look-back hindsight matters too, even for the continuing careers of this current crop.

To add to my argument above, before now there have not been decent simulators (as JS remarked recently, a game-changer) or probably coaches the likes of Presti either. Barker may or not win a Cup (well, since 2000) but he too, going into AC36, is arguably better prepared than any helm in the last century ever was. Innate skill matters but the addition of intense learning and preparation matters a lot too!

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16 minutes ago, Stingray~ said:

Nothing against greats like Barr, Connor and the others but there’s an argument to be made that over time AC helms have gotten progressively better as they’ve devoted increasing amounts of time to honing their specialties. The level of ‘professionalism’ has been a rising tide.

The 4 likely helms who will compete for AC36 are arguably the best, most-skilled, crop of all time. 

Conner defended it, lost it, won it back, and defended it. In his prime, he was as good as anyone.

Every generation has its great AC skippers, but inter-generational comparisons are not necessarily apples to apples. They are interesting, however

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1 hour ago, sailsail said:

Dennis Conner.

Meh.

He had a good skillset when the AC game was transitioning from a summer pastime for gentlemen, to a cut-throat battle for full-time professionals.  One could argue that he gained his edge in 1980 and 1983 by being the "most professional" ("no excuse to lose") when others were not taking it so seriously.

He had a good boat in 1986-1987.  A fast boat always makes the skipper look fast.  Other teams were catching up with the professionalism but didn't have the financial backing and name recognition that helped him get it.

Beyond that... as much as I admire him, I don't think DC has (or had) the skillset to win, the way the game is played today.

He had a gimmick in 1988, wasn't competitive in 1992, and threw a desperation pass (switching boats at the last hour) in 1995 on the way to losing the Cup.

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2 minutes ago, Stingray~ said:

All true.

I like to look at more than Won-Loss records if the main point is about helm skills. For example, JS  aboard LR was arguably the best helm in AC32 (although Baird was excellent too) and yet JS’s boat still didn’t win in Valencia.

 

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1 minute ago, Stingray~ said:

 

Oops, was supposed to be an edit, not a reply :) 

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1 hour ago, pipboat said:
4 hours ago, Editor said:

He defended The Cup with Columbia in 1899 and unusually with the same boat in 1901 going on to keep The Cup securely in the New York Yacht Club’s 44th Street premises for a third time. 

I may be wrong but I cannot recall the same boat defending the America’s Cup on two occasions.

Intrepid defended in 1967 and 1970 and came within one race of defending again in 1974.  Courageous defended in 1974 and 1977.

Yep, if you go further back, there were a couple of boats in multiple Cups including the America herself.

Only one boat defended multiple times under the same skipper. Barr was one of the all-time greats, I bet if you could zap him forward in time and give him a chance to learn, he'd not only be a top skipper but manage a lot of the program as well.

FB- Doug

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Eric Tabarly.

He broke the 75 year old 228 ft "Atlantic" crossing, with his 58 ft foil assisted trimaran, no less than fifty years ago! This feat redefined the sport. Just look around.
He won the solo transat and several major races, solo and crewed. He challenged the status quo's box rules. He opened the doors to multihull racing. He inspired other prominent sailors. He proved that foilers are doable. Lastly, after him, the French dominated the offshore scene with their multihulls.

 

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7 hours ago, pipboat said:

Intrepid defended in 1967 and 1970 and came within one race of defending again in 1974.  Courageous defended in 1974 and 1977.

Glad you spotted the deliberate mistake - not!

Shows the danger of trying to rely on memory instead of checking the records and SINCERE thanks for the correction. I have sent an edit to the editor to correct the front page and his post above. 

Nobody's perfect but i should have checked.

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6 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Yep, if you go further back, there were a couple of boats in multiple Cups including the America herself.

Only one boat defended multiple times under the same skipper. Barr was one of the all-time greats, I bet if you could zap him forward in time and give him a chance to learn, he'd not only be a top skipper but manage a lot of the program as well.

FB- Doug

Actually NO! 

The Yacht America never actually competed as a single defender for the America's Cup although she was part of the 'fleet' of defenders in 1870 against a single British yacht (Cambria) but she didn't win (4th). As this was 19 years later than the One Hundred Pound Cup she would have been an old lady in racing yacht terms. 

She raced British yachts round the Isle of Wight and was awarded the "One Hundred Pound Cup" NOT the America's Cup and NOT the 'One Hundred Guineas Cup

The Cup only became known as the America's Cup many years later and the Yacht America never defended as a solitary defender.

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6 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Yep, if you go further back, there were a couple of boats in multiple Cups including the America herself.

Only one boat defended multiple times under the same skipper. Barr was one of the all-time greats, I bet if you could zap him forward in time and give him a chance to learn, he'd not only be a top skipper but manage a lot of the program as well.

FB- Doug

Actually NO! 

The Yacht America never actually competed as a single defender for the America's Cup although she was part of the 'fleet' of defenders in 1870 against a single British yacht (Cambria) but she didn't win (4th). As this was 19 years later than the One Hundred Pound Cup she would have been an old lady in racing yacht terms. 

She raced British yachts round the Isle of Wight and was awarded the "One Hundred Pound Cup" NOT the America's Cup and NOT the 'One Hundred Guineas Cup

The Cup only became known as the America's Cup many years later and the Yacht America never defended as a solitary defender.

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You passed right by the other interesting fact.....name the brothers, one of whom skippered a losing challenger and the other won it - the Barr brothers, can’t think of two brothers like that!

if we’re going to post World Cup clips then Gordon Banks denying Pele in 1970 needs to be there, as well as Cruyff in 1974.....and definitely not anything Beckham....

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Mudsailor said:

You passed right by the other interesting fact.....name the brothers, one of whom skippered a losing challenger and the other won it - the Barr brothers, can’t think of two brothers like that!

if we’re going to post World Cup clips then Gordon Banks denying Pele in 1970 needs to be there, as well as Cruyff in 1974.....and definitely not anything Beckham....

 

 

 

????? Did you actually read the article?

I quote : "His first involvement with the America’s Cup was as mate to his brother John on ‘Thistle’ the Royal Clyde Yacht Club’s challenger which was soundly beaten in their 1887."

 

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6 hours ago, Sysfx said:

Eric Tabarly.

He broke the 75 year old 228 ft "Atlantic" crossing, with his 58 ft foil assisted trimaran, no less than fifty years ago! This feat redefined the sport. Just look around.
He won the solo transat and several major races, solo and crewed. He challenged the status quo's box rules. He opened the doors to multihull racing. He inspired other prominent sailors. He proved that foilers are doable. Lastly, after him, the French dominated the offshore scene with their multihulls.

 

Apples & Oranges both in terms of event - AC and TransAt - and vessel 228' displacement schooner and 58 trimaran. That would be like putting Louis Hamilton in a Mini and me in a Ferarri then me claiming I was the better driver. (Poor analogy because he would probably still beat me.) And if we were going to go there what about Pascal Bidegorry, the only skipper to cross the 900Nm in 24 hrs barrier, or Ben Ainslie with 5 Olympic medals or ...or .... or!

Our sport is like that with more variety than just about any other. More mountains to climb if you like.

But the article was clearly about America's Cup skippers - i don't recall Tabarly ever doing the AC :P

 

7 hours ago, sledracr said:

Meh.

He had a good skillset when the AC game was transitioning from a summer pastime for gentlemen, to a cut-throat battle for full-time professionals.  One could argue that he gained his edge in 1980 and 1983 by being the "most professional" ("no excuse to lose") when others were not taking it so seriously.

He had a good boat in 1986-1987.  A fast boat always makes the skipper look fast.  Other teams were catching up with the professionalism but didn't have the financial backing and name recognition that helped him get it.

Beyond that... as much as I admire him, I don't think DC has (or had) the skillset to win, the way the game is played today.

He had a gimmick in 1988, wasn't competitive in 1992, and threw a desperation pass (switching boats at the last hour) in 1995 on the way to losing the Cup.

He also had a gimmick in 1983 - 3 rating certificates where, depending on the weather forecast, they would take ballast out of the boat or put it in which meant they could change the sail sizes too. 

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If were sharing Soccer vids,

Zidanes 2002 goal is my best, he knows exactly what he's going to do the moment the ball leaves his teamates boot. Vision, audacity and skill perfectly executed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFfomw-Z4uE

And for the AC,  Jimmy Spithill has to rate highly. His press conferences in 2013 piled so much pressure on DB. 1-8 to 9-8 Comeback, legend.

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1 hour ago, Chapter Four said:

If were sharing Soccer vids,

Zidanes 2002 goal is my best, he knows exactly what he's going to do the moment the ball leaves his teamates boot. Vision, audacity and skill perfectly executed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFfomw-Z4uE

And for the AC,  Jimmy Spithill has to rate highly. His press conferences in 2013 piled so much pressure on DB. 1-8 to 9-8 Comeback, legend.

Nah - his wanking at the presser wasn't the pressure, the pressure was a quicker boat out on the water... 

Burling was the consumate 'don't-give-a-fuckery' player that made Jimmy's behaviour in pressers even more laughable and clearly rattled JS ("fucks sake" etc)... he generally has only one mode.. aussie cockiness... it's almost about as pathetic as fuckface David Warner's antics...

Eh boyzzzzzz

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2 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

But the article was clearly about America's Cup skippers - i don't recall Tabarly ever doing the AC :P

Actually, according to the history books, Tabarly acted as a navigator for Baron Bic on "France" in 1970, for just 1 race.

It was Bic's first challenge, and after loosing 2 races against Gretel II, he decided to face defeat and took the helm himself, hoping that an already famous Eric Tabarly would turn things around.

That definitely did not work out very well as they got completely lost in a thick fog, and finished something like 2 hours behind Gretel. :P

PS. I am sorry for @Sysfx, @Tornado-Cat, and @Rennmaus.  :)

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Fiji Bitter said:

Actually, according to the history books, Tabarly acted as a navigator for Baron Bic on "France" in 1970, for just 1 race.

It was Bic's first challenge, and after loosing 2 races against Gretel II, he decided to face defeat and took the helm himself, hoping that an already famous Eric Tabarly would turn things around.

That definitely did not work out very well as they got completely lost in a thick fog, and finished something like 2 hours behind Gretel. :P

PS. I am sorry for @Sysfx, @Tornado-Cat, and @Rennmaus.  :)

 

 

Why sorry, dear? ET stays one of the all-time greats.

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3 minutes ago, Fiji Bitter said:

Actually, according to the history books, Tabarly acted as a navigator for Baron Bic on "France" in 1970, for just 1 race.

It was Bic's first challenge, and after loosing 2 races against Gretel II, he decided to face defeat and took the helm himself, hoping that an already famous Eric Tabarly would turn things around.

That definitely did not work out very well as they got completely lost in a thick fog, and finished something like 2 hours behind Gretel. :P

PS. I am sorry for @Sysfx, @Tornado-Cat, and @Rennmaus.  :)

 

 

Wow - even way back then the pros were doing guest appearances. Thanks for the info Fiji. He was indeed a great man and all over the love of the first Pen duick. Ironic that he should meet his end by falling off/being knocked off (nobody really knows as he was reportedly alone on deck when he went over the side) that boat off the Welsh Coast.

 

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3 minutes ago, Rennmaus said:

Why sorry, dear? ET stays one of the all-time greats.

Overall certainly but as a navigator getting lost in his one AC race hardly qualifies him as an AC great :-)

He remains one of the greats i would have loved to have met. Him, Elvstrom & Blake top my list of those I would have loved to have met. Oops - thread drift.

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2 minutes ago, Rennmaus said:

Why sorry, dear? ET stays one of the all-time greats.

Just teasing Rennie, I entirely agree.

He has also been a great skipper, mentor and inspiration for countless French sailors.

Just a pity that he was a bit introvert, or maybe just just shy, and also tragic that he departed way too soon. His spirit and Pen Duick will live forever.

 

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6 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

Actually NO! 

The Yacht America never actually competed as a single defender for the America's Cup although she was part of the 'fleet' of defenders in 1870 against a single British yacht (Cambria) but she didn't win (4th). As this was 19 years later than the One Hundred Pound Cup she would have been an old lady in racing yacht terms. 

She raced British yachts round the Isle of Wight and was awarded the "One Hundred Pound Cup" NOT the America's Cup and NOT the 'One Hundred Guineas Cup

The Cup only became known as the America's Cup many years later and the Yacht America never defended as a solitary defender.

I apologize my post gave the impression that I was claiming the schooner AMERICA had defended the America's Cup in a match race. You're right, she was part of a fleet that raced against the first challenger and while she did not win that race, she did beat the challenger.

I recently got a photolithograph reprint of Thomas Lawson's "History of the Americas Cup" which is difficult to read because the print is small and blurry. But it's exhaustively detailed history of the early races.

FB- Doug

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Ainslie should not be mentioned at the level being discussed for the simple fact that he probably would not be where he is if he had been properly disciplined for the incident in the 2011 Finn World's in Sydney (https://www.smh.com.au/sport/swimming/angry-ainslie-annoyed-at-disqualification-for-cameraman-confrontation-20111211-1opta.html). 

This doesn't take away from his obvious talent as a sailor, but if he had been suspended, would his further accomplishments (Olympic and AC) have even happened?  Would the opportunities have been there after serving a 1-2 year ban?

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2 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

I apologize my post gave the impression that I was claiming the schooner AMERICA had defended the America's Cup in a match race. You're right, she was part of a fleet that raced against the first challenger and while she did not win that race, she did beat the challenger.

I recently got a photolithograph reprint of Thomas Lawson's "History of the Americas Cup" which is difficult to read because the print is small and blurry. But it's exhaustively detailed history of the early races.

FB- Doug

Hi Steam Flyer

I actually have a clear PDF copy of Lawson's. If you PM me we may be able to sort out a means of getting it to you. I doubt if it would attach to an email as it is 28Mb.

If you want the definitive history of the AC up to AC32 "An Absorbing Interest" by Bob Fisher is a pricey but complete history over 2 heavy volumes. Bob spent 3 months in the NYYC archives as part of the research and it is truly amazing. Worth getting and would keep you entertained for 2 lockdowns and trumps even Lawson's and as it is written in modern language is altogether easier to read. It's about GBP250 but in my humble opinion is worth every penny. Like Lawson's it had a limited print run but I understand is still available. 

CHeers

SS

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41 minutes ago, sailman said:

Ainslie should not be mentioned at the level being discussed for the simple fact that he probably would not be where he is if he had been properly disciplined for the incident in the 2011 Finn World's in Sydney (https://www.smh.com.au/sport/swimming/angry-ainslie-annoyed-at-disqualification-for-cameraman-confrontation-20111211-1opta.html). 

This doesn't take away from his obvious talent as a sailor, but if he had been suspended, would his further accomplishments (Olympic and AC) have even happened?  Would the opportunities have been there after serving a 1-2 year ban?

HA HA! Ben Aislie didn't ACT - he REACTED! 2 elements to this: 1) Coming down the final run he was impeded by said RIB which was filming another competitor. 2) The Organisers had included in the SIs that being impeded by a media boat was not grounds for redress. So a media boat could get in the way, cost you a regatta and you were screwed. He was severely disciplined for the incident, an incident where no more than the RIB driver's pride was hurt - he (the RIB driver or the cameraman directing him where to go) should never have been allowed on the race course.

I have driven some of the world's top photographers at Volvo stopovers and at times we were doing 20+ kts (45kts maximum one day) keeping up with the action often in huge loops to make sure our wake didn't interfere with these 70 footers - not little Finns -  (it was in the VO70 era) but always conscious of your wake especially when action got close. I have also umpired over 700 races where you are even closer and your head is on a swivel because your wake is even more critical.

Do you remember the guy on the Segway who tripped up Usain Bolt while he was celebrating his gold medal? Imagine the outcry if he had got in the way during the race.

For god's sake, in golf they even call you out if your camera shutter distracts a golfer - do it again and the stewards will ask you to leave. - same with tennis

Of course Ben Ainslie shouldn't have reacted the way he did but there were 3 parties to that incident - the RIB driver, Ainslie and those who wrote the SI's.

And he was properly disciplined by the way, the incident cost him the Finn Gold Cup.

In fact many events these days produce guidelines for media boats and their drivers these days. Frankly they shouldn't be needed as drivers that need to be reminded of the basics shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the race track.

I have attached a sample, i can't remember if they are from the VOR or the Sydney Hobart or maybe even AC but wake disturbance was

obviously perceived as a problem because they mention it twice in the guidelines and it clearly states in the first paragraph "At the same time, the boat's presence must not affect the competition.".

Clearly not handed out in Fremantle in 2011.

Anyway Rant over, if anything the incident did make many people aware of the impact of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and that it is completely wrong if attempts to get good material for the media materially affects the competition.

pressboat guideliens.pdf

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You are excusing bad behavior by deflection, using the SIs and the RIB driver.  The SIs are what they are, when you enter any regatta you agree to abide by the Rule of Sailing and the SIs/NOR.  I would say that most any other person would have received a suspension for a physical assault (He didn't just sail over and yell at the photographer, he jumped out of his boat, swam over to the photog boat, climbed in and grabbed him).  The British Governerning body chose not to suspend him because it would mean that he would have missed the next Olympics and a British shot at Gold.  Politics, plain and simple.

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3 minutes ago, sailman said:

You are excusing bad behavior by deflection, using the SIs and the RIB driver.  The SIs are what they are, when you enter any regatta you agree to abide by the Rule of Sailing and the SIs/NOR.  I would say that most any other person would have received a suspension for a physical assault (He didn't just sail over and yell at the photographer, he jumped out of his boat, swam over to the photog boat, climbed in and grabbed him).  The British Governerning body chose not to suspend him because it would mean that he would have missed the next Olympics and a British shot at Gold.  Politics, plain and simple.

They must have been democrats

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22 hours ago, sledracr said:

Meh.

He had a good skillset when the AC game was transitioning from a summer pastime for gentlemen, to a cut-throat battle for full-time professionals.  One could argue that he gained his edge in 1980 and 1983 by being the "most professional" ("no excuse to lose") when others were not taking it so seriously.

He had a good boat in 1986-1987.  A fast boat always makes the skipper look fast.  Other teams were catching up with the professionalism but didn't have the financial backing and name recognition that helped him get it.

Beyond that... as much as I admire him, I don't think DC has (or had) the skillset to win, the way the game is played today.

He had a gimmick in 1988, wasn't competitive in 1992, and threw a desperation pass (switching boats at the last hour) in 1995 on the way to losing the Cup.

i guess the NZ and Australia weren't taking it seriously, that's why they kept losing..

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49 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

i guess the NZ and Australia weren't taking it seriously, that's why they kept losing..

That's a bit of an over-generalizing snip of what I said, but... whatever.

I think at the time that DC was building a professional operation (1977-80-83), the Aussies were still trying to figure out how to coalesce around a set of practical goals.  Things like "who owns the design process?"  "how do we train, manage, and optimize full-time crew?"  Etc. 

Bob Ross's book "Being with Benny" gives a glimpse into the chaotic environment behind the scenes in a number of Bond's campaigns.  John Bertrand's book "Born to Win" similarly gives glimpses into... let's call it a "lack of focus".  

I think perhaps the difference was that the americans were single-mindedly focused on retaining the cup (and, as it turns out, myopically - they stayed stuck in an evolutionary rut in 1983, where others took an evolutionary role" where - the Australians, in particular, seemed to take the view that winning the challenger series was a big thing, and then falling apart in the actual Cup.   The history shows that the Aussies were dominant in the challenger series, and then tended to come a bit unglued against the defender.  And - up until 1983 - the pattern was that when they fell behind they came off their gameplan, started trying new/untested things, and it didn't go well from there.

I'd have to think a bit to recall the author, but there was a book that came out after the 1983 Cup called "teamthink" (IIRC).  It was written by the sports-psychologist who worked with the Australia-II team to tune up their heads and break some thought-patterns.  How to be comfortable being ahead of the americans, how *not* to freak out and lose the game plan when behind, how to stay focused on the big picture (winning the Cup, not just winning a race).  Etc.

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"Teamthink" is by Peter Mazany about the TNZ AC 1995 project management.

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5 minutes ago, Rennmaus said:

"Teamthink" is by Peter Mazany about the TNZ AC 1995 project management.

You're right.  Although, I "think" I remember a set of learnings in the book about the failings of the Aussie campaigns. 

Or I could be completely wrong.  Hey, it was the 80s, I've killed a lot of brain-cells since then. 

I'll have to see if I can find my copy of the book

 

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12 minutes ago, sledracr said:

You're right.  Although, I "think" I remember a set of learnings in the book about the failings of the Aussie campaigns. 

Or I could be completely wrong.  Hey, it was the 80s, I've killed a lot of brain-cells since then. 

I'll have to see if I can find my copy of the book

 

I can see if I find something in it tomorrow, but you'll probably beat me to it. 

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5 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

 

If you want the definitive history of the AC up to AC32 "An Absorbing Interest" by Bob Fisher

+1

I have a copy and it is a phenomenal work.

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4 hours ago, sledracr said:

+1

I have a copy and it is a phenomenal work.

 

4 hours ago, sledracr said:

+1

I have a copy and it is a phenomenal work.

You are indeed well read sledracer. I am on my third copy of Born to Win. Lent the first to a sailor, the second to a manager of a small team and after the hassle of finding (a now out of print) 3rd copy it stays in my study. Just after the AC in 83, an Aussie TV station worked with Thames TV (UK) of all people to produce a drama documentary mini-series called ‘The Challenge’. I recorded it on VHS & have since had it digitized. If you can ever find it, it is worth watching. The action is part actors, part real footage & they even cast actors who bore a resemblance to the main players

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2 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

 

You are indeed well read sledracer. I am on my third copy of Born to Win. Lent the first to a sailor, the second to a manager of a small team and after the hassle of finding (a now out of print) 3rd copy it stays in my study. Just after the AC in 83, an Aussie TV station worked with Thames TV (UK) of all people to produce a drama documentary mini-series called ‘The Challenge’. I recorded it on VHS & have since had it digitized. If you can ever find it, it is worth watching. The action is part actors, part real footage & they even cast actors who bore a resemblance to the main players

this it ?

 

 

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It's hard to compare apples to apples, even in the same era, because every event is different. Quality of competition is hard to judge from year to year. Conner, for example, nearly outsailed a faster boat in 83, and won a very competitive challenger series in 87. I wouldn't count '88 as an event decided on the merits of the crew, though "It doesn't say in here that the boat needs to have one hull" was a clever answer to Fay's gambit. I actually think one of his more impressive performances was in 2000 as a manager, where he very nearly made the LVC final with an outspent, one-boat campaign.

Barr and Vandy are worthy of consideration, but they won in an era without a challenger series and with the deck heavily stacked in favor of the defender (the challenger had to cross an ocean on her own bottom). Barr in particular, though, was ahead of his time as a professional sailor who dominated both inshore and offshore racing.

For my money I'd have to go with Coutts. He got his first win off Conner, so he ticks the box of knocking off the previous standard-bearer, and went on to win two more times in a row, never beaten in a Cup Match. Prada in 2000 was no slouch and TNZ in 2003 was better than the record indicated (though they were snakebitten by gear failure). Coutts also won two of those cups as the challenger, and annihilated the challenger field both times. I think he's as close to a Mohammed Ali as the America's Cup has. He sure seemed invincible in his day.

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2 hours ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

this it ?

 

 

No it isn't but i will add it to my collection - also appears good.

The Challenge Mini-series is actually a total of around 4 hours of video and is a dramatized version of the events, some of which i am sure are exaggerated.

Just looked it up on 1MDb. It was a total of 6 episodes and came out in 1986/1987 I remember at the time i even put each episode in my diary to be sure not to miss any of it. Back then any sailing on the telly was rarer than hen's teeth.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Sisu3360 said:

It's hard to compare apples to apples, even in the same era, because every event is different. Quality of competition is hard to judge from year to year. Conner, for example, nearly outsailed a faster boat in 83, and won a very competitive challenger series in 87. I wouldn't count '88 as an event decided on the merits of the crew, though "It doesn't say in here that the boat needs to have one hull" was a clever answer to Fay's gambit. I actually think one of his more impressive performances was in 2000 as a manager, where he very nearly made the LVC final with an outspent, one-boat campaign.

Barr and Vandy are worthy of consideration, but they won in an era without a challenger series and with the deck heavily stacked in favor of the defender (the challenger had to cross an ocean on her own bottom). Barr in particular, though, was ahead of his time as a professional sailor who dominated both inshore and offshore racing.

For my money I'd have to go with Coutts. He got his first win off Conner, so he ticks the box of knocking off the previous standard-bearer, and went on to win two more times in a row, never beaten in a Cup Match. Prada in 2000 was no slouch and TNZ in 2003 was better than the record indicated (though they were snakebitten by gear failure). Coutts also won two of those cups as the challenger, and annihilated the challenger field both times. I think he's as close to a Mohammed Ali as the America's Cup has. He sure seemed invincible in his day.

Interesting argument Sisu. To be honest when i initially wrote the piece for the Front Page i actually considered calling it a draw. In each situation the four 3 times winners, Barr, Vanderbilt, Conner & Coutts would all be worthy winners of the greatest ever. Charlie Barr brought a level of professionalism in his preparation and steeliness on the race track for perhaps the first time. Harold Vanderbilt appears to have been serious about everything he did and he is the sole multiple Corinthian winner and gave us the prototype rules we all still play under today. Conner brought back the levels of professionalism of Barr only matched by Bertram with A2 in 1983 and lost the cup though an uncharacteristic error then like the true pro he was went straight out and won it back. Much has been said over the years (too much) about the winged keel and people forget Connor's multiple measurement certificates which in themselves resulted in a change to the rules.

As a sailor it would be hard to think of many better than Coutts but for me the likes of the way he left New Zealand or "didn't know anything about keelgate" does leave something missing elsewhere. That said i remember the UK Athletic Coach, Frank Dick saying that true champions have rough edges.

I think overall that Ben Ainslie is a better all round sailor than Russell Coutts but he has still to amass the cup wins.

Could you imaging the heat or length of the discussion if we widened it to best ever sailor instead of best ever AC Skipper? We'd be here all year and STILL not have a consensus.

What a great sport we have!!

See you on the water

SS

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27 minutes ago, Sisu3360 said:

He sure seemed invincible in his day.

In the minds of many Wussells dodgy behaviour post 2000 will sully his legacy for all eternity.

There is no broad public acceptance nor adulation here in NZ and he has not risen to the sporting pearly heights that many others have.

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Priscilla said:

In the minds of many Wussells dodgy behaviour post 2000 will sully his legacy for all eternity.

There is no broad public acceptance nor adulation here in NZ and he has not risen to the sporting pearly heights that many others have.

 

 

 

Yep. But pretty unjust IMO. 

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21 minutes ago, shanghaisailor said:

As a sailor it would be hard to think of many better than Coutts but for me the likes of the way he left New Zealand or "didn't know anything about keelgate" does leave something missing elsewhere. That said i remember the UK Athletic Coach, Frank Dick saying that true champions have rough edges.

 

16 minutes ago, Priscilla said:

In the minds of many Wussells dodgy behaviour post 2000 will sully his legacy for all eternity.

As a yank with a serious soft spot for NZ (I spent 5 wonderful months racing sailboats and tramping studying at UoA in my college years), I get it. I was making my case strictly based on on-the-water accomplishments. At least here in the US, we tend to discount a breathtaking number of character flaws in evaluating our athletes. Coutts definitely had a major hand in changing the overall complexion of the America's Cup, and not for the better, but he was a hell of a driver.

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13 hours ago, sailman said:

You are excusing bad behavior by deflection, using the SIs and the RIB driver.  The SIs are what they are, when you enter any regatta you agree to abide by the Rule of Sailing and the SIs/NOR.  I would say that most any other person would have received a suspension for a physical assault (He didn't just sail over and yell at the photographer, he jumped out of his boat, swam over to the photog boat, climbed in and grabbed him).  The British Governerning body chose not to suspend him because it would mean that he would have missed the next Olympics and a British shot at Gold.  Politics, plain and simple.

Weird thing is that you can find most things on youtube but search as i might using all sorts of keywords and i cannot find the video of the incident but i remember seeing it at the time. It wasn't pretty but he didn't exactly smack the driver in the teeth or anything like that. Most unusual! Cover up? I cannot even find any footage (that was so important for the RIB driver to get) of that final run where Ainslie claims he was impeded.

Anything more than the 2 race DSQ would have been extreme when one considered other sports sanctions for rule breaking. For goodness sake a soccer player gets sent off for a cynical tackle and gets a 2 or 3 match ban. Any talk of 2 years ban either then or now is extreme, in athletics you don't even get that for drugs abuse.

Even google has many links to "photographs" but haven't yet found any to video - very strange.

Cheers

SS

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I seem to remember that he won a sportsmanship award in the UK a few months after the incident.  Anything to get a gold medal.

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Ah well found, that’s the one. Am sure there will be photos on there if people want to re-visit.

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7 hours ago, The Main Man said:

Ah well found, that’s the one. Am sure there will be photos on there if people want to re-visit.

No video though although there WAS video of the incident - anyone got a link?

 

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3 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

No video though although there WAS video of the incident - anyone got a link?

 

Someone paid a lot of money to get that video scrubbed off the internet ;-)

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11 hours ago, rh3000 said:

Someone paid a lot of money to get that video scrubbed off the internet ;-)

I think you might be right but not necessarily Mr Ainslie

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On 5/8/2020 at 4:56 PM, shanghaisailor said:

s a sailor it would be hard to think of many better than Coutts but for me the likes of the way he left New Zealand or "didn't know anything about keelgate" does leave something missing elsewhere. That said i remember the UK Athletic Coach, Frank Dick saying that true champions have rough edges.

Or know about Herbie, or lead gate

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14 hours ago, rh3000 said:

Someone paid a lot of money to get that video scrubbed off the internet ;-)

Hah the Milk Tray Action Man no dolls or chocolate figurines were ever produced but a witty piece of writing.

Ainslie, who won gold medals in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, had just crossed the finishing line in second place in the ninth race when he dived into the water, swam over to the boat carrying the television crew covering the event, clambered aboard like a malevolent Milk Tray chocolate action man and remonstrated with the skipper and one of the cameramen.

E976EE4E-62A6-4ED5-A3D7-0CAAE0F42C87.jpeg.2032a2a7d03cd89d1696addfe42eb3e0.jpeg

 

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On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2020 at 12:28 PM, sledracr said:

... there was a book that came out after the 1983 Cup called "teamthink" (IIRC).  It was written by the sports-psychologist who worked with the Australia-II team to tune up their heads and break some thought-patterns.  How to be comfortable being ahead of the americans, how *not* to freak out and lose the game plan when behind, how to stay focused on the big picture (winning the Cup, not just winning a race).  Etc.

 

On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2020 at 12:40 PM, Rennmaus said:

"Teamthink" is by Peter Mazany about the TNZ AC 1995 project management.

 

Upon a little digging, I've found my copy of Mazany's book and... wrong author, but (maybe) the same title.

The one I'm thinking of was written by Laurie Hayden, sports psychologist who had been brought into the Australia-II campaign to sort out the mental game for the Australians.  I "think" Hayden ended up writing a book called TeamThink, too, but regardless, the matter is touched on in Bertrand's book:

Laurie Hayden employed one of the most modern of all sport psychology techniques—mental visualisation. The basis of this is that athletes quite often move into an advanced zone or environment, in which they have never been before. Because—of the accent on—youth and strength, the Olympics is filled with top competitors who have never been there before. Likewise a challenging boat for the America’s Cup.

For most of my men the experience of an America’s Cup challenge, and being out in front, was going to be brand new. It’s quieter in the lead. Back in second place, where we nearly always are, the environment is quite different. The noise from the fleet seems to drown out the noise from the American boat, the sounds of the water are different, the words that we hear are often depressing, the atmosphere down.

Out in front it would be different. We would hear the rare sound of a foreign bow wave right behind us, the cries and commands of the American afterguard, the new urgency in their voices that no crew had ever heard before. The tension on our own boat would be high, but the feeling that we had all been there before would have to be part of our psychological makeup. Laurie knew all about this, and produced a plan for the mental visualization of victory in Newport.

Remember, you cannot go anywhere, if you have not first imagined yourself there. People achieve that which they have imagined themselves achieving over and over in their own minds. That which you have never even dreamed of is that which you will never attain. This was the psychological barrier we had to tackle. And no one knew more certainly than I how critical it was.

Because my boys were going to a place they had never been—to victory in the America’s Cup. Laurie and I discussed the fact that I, with no experience as skipper in Newport, must go into some really positive and powerful visualization. And we imagined the cries of the Americans, which we expected to hear. That all too familiar “YESSIR!” “OK, you guys, stand by to take their stern.” The familiar cry of the men from the U.S.A. rolling downwind from behind: “M-A-A-ST LAHN!” “OK, Aussies, we’re coming to get you.” All that stuff we would hear once we got into the lead.

And it was all designed to expand our comfort zone to an area where none of us felt unfamiliar. Laurie taught us to go into a trance, eyes shut tightly, each imagining his own little world in the battle—worn hell of a 12-Metre in a big sea, neck and neck with the enemy. We tackled the problem of the history of the America’s Cup and its psychological effect on the crew. Let’s face it, no one had been able to win it in 132 years. If we allowed ourselves, even subconsciously, to start wondering why we should win it, then we could find ourselves beaten by history before we even started.

The antidote to history is logic. Laurie and I worked on this thought pattern. The past has no bearing on this series of races, not in a tangible way. None of the other challengers will be with us in Newport. Our chances of success are not in any way affected by their antics in the previous 24 challenges. We are here. It is us against them, and the only significant aspect of the history of the America’s Cup is that we are about to change it in a very major sense. I told the crew, “Forget the past. Let the best team win, right now, only let’s make sure it is us.”

_/)_

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