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Birthday Baby  Jan 20, 13:13

We don't normally do birthdays or new babies on the BOB -- we could never keep up with them all. Today we make an exception as it is rare (if ever before?) that one of our team members has a child born on his or her birthday....

Congrats to Jon "Z" Ziskind (USA, sailing team) and wife Heidi on the birth this week of their son Crue, a brother for Zoe and a well-timed birthday present for Z. All are doing well, and we wish them every happiness.

Happy Turkey Day  Nov 22, 17:43

As Jane said in her latest Sail Mail (below), best wishes to all our American colleagues, families and friends on the occasion of the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, which of course kicks off a four-day weekend in the USA. It's business as usual here in VLC and at our winter base in AKL. And no doubt Mark Turner & Co. are hard at it all weekend at our boat building facility in Anacortes, Washington.


Helps to Have Good BMW Connections  Jul 19, 16:28

belgium-20flagThe Belgian National Girls Under-16 Hockey team played in the European Championship here in VLC last week. The parents of one of the girls, Mr Marc DeGroof, is a regional manager for BMW Group Belux. Marc arranged for the team to visit our Base after the tournament was over ("no, unfortunately we did not win but they played well").

Reached by phone back in BEL today he said, "The girls especially enjoyed the public interactive area [our ground floor "BMW ORACLE Racing Experience"] where they could learn about the Cup and test their strength and balance. I would like to thank you for the warm welcome you gave to the girls and their parents."

Making the best of good BMW connections while in Valencia last week: a
team photo of the nicely turned-out Belgian National Girls U16 Hockey
Team on our deck at the Team Base overlooking the Port America's Cup.

Father's Day 2006  Jun 18, 12:13

Here in Spain, as in many places around the world, it's Father's Day. Our team has the day off, and we hope everyone is enjoying it as it will be the last chance to relax a bit before Act 12 begins this Thursday (22 June) and runs through at least Sunday 2 July. At least, we say, because Monday 3 July is a reserve day in case racing is not completed by the 2nd.

It's two full weeks of racing with plenty of shoreside action as well. Monday and Thursday next week are also reserve days, so hopefully the teams will get at least a bit of a break either or both of those days. Regardless, it will no doubt be a long, hard slog. I guarantee you there is not a person on our team who is not keyed up for the start of racing this coming Thursday, when our opening-day opponents will be GER and RSA.

In the meantime, relax and enjoy the nice Sunday here in VLC, or wherever in the world you may be celebrating Father's Day.

Jake Halcrow (CAN): "I love my Daddy!"

Friendly Competition  Jun 3, 10:34

"This Cup is donated upon the conditions that it shall be preserved as a perpetual
Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries."
--America's Cup Deed of Gift.

Those simple but powerful words were penned in in 1857 1852 [see Historical Footnote post above], six years after the yacht America won that most famous race around the Isle of Wight. In today's highly mobile, networked global economy it is easy to forget that competition (friendly or otherwise) between foreign countries was a novel if not radical idea in those pre-Civil War days in the USA -- forty years before the modern Olympics.

From time to time during the Cup's history that concept of "friendly competition" has been severely tested. Last evening, however, the donors' spirit and intent were alive and well in the Port America's Cup.

Following an afternoon of intermural racing between our two teams, ETNZ invited us around for an adult beverage or two. "The invitation and acceptance," a senior ETNZ manager joked, "is clear evidence that Dalts and Dicko are getting old and going soft."

Truth is it's just another example of Cup world growing up a bit, or maybe getting back to the more fraternal times in Newport before the controversies of 83, 87 and 88 caused teams to wall themselves off from each other -- figuratively and literally.

Last night was a chance for many old mates regardless of nationality to catch up after a good, hard day at the office. The Kiwis present (and between our two teams we have something like 150 New Zealanders) had no trouble drinking a healthy quantity of Spanish beer, and for some it was a reminder of just how much we enjoy a good NZ Pinot Noir.

A fun, relaxed evening. With thanks to our ETNZ mates for the hospitality.

A toast to friendly competition by a few of the 100 or so members of
both teams who gathered for a QLD at the ETNZ base last evening.

Clay Oliver (USA, ETNZ design team) and Juan K (ARG, BMWOR design team)
were sharing design and performance information (relax, Hamish) on forms
and shapes often found in Formula One.

A Penny for your Thoughts  Jun 2, 17:32

Few New Zealanders have packed as much into their lives as Penny Whiting. Best known as a yachtswoman and the owner-operator of the Penny Whiting Sailing School, she has also been a swimming champion, international surfing competitor, rugby coach, writer, celebrity speaker, mother of two, (and grandmother of two), America's Cup and Whitbread commentator, and Auckland city councillor.

An NZL Sailing icon, Penny also happens to be the mother of Carl "Tiny" Williams (NZL, sailing team). She's in Valencia this week and next for Tiny's birthday, and "to be sure all the Kiwis here in Valencia, regardless of team, are behaving themselves."

"I'm enjoying the entire scene enormously," she said before going out yesterday as 18th man on USA 76. "It's a terrific set-up here, and I look forward to being back for the grand finale next year."

Russell Green (NZL, business director) catching up with Penny
yesterday, and giving her a visual tour of the Port America's Cup
from the deck of our Team Base.

Looking across to the ETNZ base she said, "I had no idea there
are more Kiwis on BMW ORACLE than Team New Zealand."

Stu Clarke and Joe Spooner (both NZL, sailing team) spotted Penny
and came out to say hi and give her a welcoming hug.

Paul Wallbank (NZL, team trainer) had of course heard of Penny but
never met her. Penny is revising her popular layman's book on the
America's Cup for AC 32 here in Valencia.

Penny had heard from Tiny about the tough boxing workouts Paul is
putting the sailing team through (and some of the admin team as well),
which led to a friendly comparison of technique.

Then it was time for Max "Hello" Hoellerl (AUT, marketing department) to
get Penny suited up for her sail on 76.

Penny at the wheel of USA 76 during a break in yesterday's two-boating
with USA 87. Son Carl "Tiny" Williams proudly looks on.

Family Matters  May 23, 15:30

One AC truism oft repeated is, "You're only as good as your 'B' boat." Without a good second boat, and top crew to race it, your testing program is suspect and your training (especially practice starting) is compromised. And without two boats worth of excellent sailors, you lack the necessary depth of talent to succeed in these long, hard campaigns.

These days there is another given: "A team is only as happy as their families." In other words, family matters!

As the Cup has matured into a global, full-time business with larger and, on average, older teams, the care and comfort of our families, and having their full, enthusiastic support of the campaign, is more important than ever.

Senior management recognized this early on. Business Director Russell Green focused our attention on this important issue, and with the strong support of CEO Chris Dickson significant resource was allocated to family matters. A Family Committee of spouses was established to set strategy and help develop policies and activities in support of our families. Admin staff member Sofia Barraclough (GBR/ESP) was tasked by Russell and Base Manager Grant Davidson to work closely with the Committee and to provide follow-up.

It's working well, and like every other aspect of our campaign they, too, try to lift their game with each passing week. We greatly appreciate and value the work of the Family Committee, to say nothing of the support we receive day in and day out from our spouses and kids.

Families cheering the sailing team and USA 87 as they dockout on Saturday
for races 3 and 4 of Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 11.

The Family Committee meeting at our Base this afternoon. Clockwise
from lower left: Kelley Braun, Leslie Ehman, Sofia Barraclough, Sue
Dickson, Danelle Sofuku (Chairwoman) and Anna Salek. Missing in action
(with newborn son Jack): Bridget Baker.

Family champion: Cup veteran Russell
Green (Business Director, NZL).

Ties That Bind  May 16, 20:41

So we ended Act 10 today with two key wins over ESP and ITA/LR. Meanwhile NZL handed a second loss to SUI, meaning we win Act 10 on the tie-break countback without having to re-sail the match with ITA/39 that was abandoned when the wind pooped out two days ago.

However, even though Act 10 is over, we still need and want to sail the race with +39 on Wednesday, the reserve day. Why?

During these regattas we are also collecting Louis Vuitton ranking points among just the 11 Challengers, after excluding Alinghi's scores. Under that scoring system, ties at the end of a regatta between Challengers are not broken, and tied Challengers receive the same number of Louis Vuitton ranking points.

As of tonight, NZL, ITA/LR and ourselves are tied on 9 wins. If we do not race the ITA/39 match, each of our three teams would end tied for first (among the Challengers), and each would be entitled to 22 LV points.

So the plan is to race the remaining match with ITA/39 tomorrow at 1400. If we win, BMW ORACLE will be on 10 wins, making us the sole Challenger on top and winner of 22 valuable LV points. NZL and ITA/LR would each score 20 LV points as they will be tied for second among the Challengers.

Moreover, as Dicko said at the media briefing tonight, the more chances we get to race another team, the more we learn. Race on!

In the meantime, as I type this our team is hosting a BBQ here in the yard at our Base for some 500 of our family and friends -- including friends from the other teams, many of whom are in our new Base for the first time. Time to relax a bit, and go join in the fun.

The burgers are sizzling, the beer is flowing and the classic rock is rolling.
Party on!

Contribution to the Community  Mar 23, 12:52

From a terrific story in yesterday's Anacortes American online edition, about some of the partners of our BMWOR boat builders in their adopted hometown of Anacortes making a difference where it really counts -- with the local kids....

Students sailing ahead
BY KIMBERLY JACOBSON American staff writer

Carmel Whitham helps third-grader Nathan Rude work out a math problem at Fidalgo Elementary School March 7. Whitham is one of several international volunteers in the schools whose partners are here working on the BMW Oracle America’s Cup team. The hull was taken to Spain late in February.

“Excellent, that was great,” she says as he writes down the correct answer. She praises Rude as he completes the worksheet of math problems, helping him when he gets stuck.

Whitham, a volunteer at Fidalgo Elementary School, is planning to bring flash cards next week to do some practicing.

Whitham, who is from New Zealand, is one of several international volunteers in the school district whose partners are here working on the BMW Oracle America’s Cup boat. The first hull was transported to Spain in late February and work on the second will begin soon.

“Not only are they here building a boat, they’re making a contribution to the community,” said Jayne Branch, volunteer coordinator. “We feel really blessed these women have stepped forward and are willing to help in any way they can.”

Carmel Whitham helps third-grader Nathan
Rude work out a math problem at Fidalgo
Elementary School March 7. Whitham is one
of several international volunteers in the
schools whose partners are here working on
the BMW Oracle America’s Cup team. The hull
was taken to Spain late in February.

Read more....

Las Fallas Invite  Mar 1, 17:35

Teams received this nice invitation from ACM and V07 this afternoon, and we were asked to pass it along to our families....

Dear Family America's Cup,

To celebrate las Fallas the Consorcio Valencia 2007 and America's Cup Management are excited to invite you to the first America's Cup family get together:

Saturday 11th March from 11h to 17h at the Volunteers Centre.

We'll have activities for children organized around the theme of Fallas as well as food and drinks (including the traditional Paella prepared on site and cooked on firewood).
The activities for the children and cooking the paellas will start at 11h, snacks and lunch will be served respectively at 12h30 and 13h30.

Please feel free to join in, this is a great opportunity to bring together the international America's Cup community around Valencia's most celebrated tradition!

If you are interested please pick up your invitation at the Volunteers Centre, next to the ACM offices (see map attached). This will help us establish how many people will come and what is the age of the children to adjust the activities and prepare enough paella!

Please note that invitations are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

If you wish you can sign up by email replying to:
However you will still have to pick up the invitations to secure your places!

Pick up time at the Volunteers Centre for the invitation is:
From Monday 6/03 to Thursday 9/03 from 10h to 12h and Friday 10/03 in the afternoon from 15h to 17h.