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98 is In The Building  Jan 8, 10:39

i-98As you may seen by now in the various media reports and on our main team website, early this (Monday) morning in Auckland, our logistics magician, Scotty Sandford (NZL), saw to it that our new ACC yacht, USA 98, was safely and quietly delivered into the boat shed at our temporary "summer training" base on Halsey St. in Auckland.

This was the successful culmination of months of tri-continent planning and finely-tuned execution by, among others, our ops jefe Laurent "Leroy" Esquier (FRA), logisitics/basing manager Grant "Guthrie" Davidson (NZL), yacht construction manager Mark Turner (NZL) and his intrepid gang in Anacortes, shore team manager Tim Hacket (NZL), and our marketing/pr team.

An excerpt from the communique Jane "Vale" Eagleson (USA), our PR maven, is sending today to team members, families and sponsor/partners about our latest campaign milepost....

USA 98 slipped into our temporary base in Auckland, New Zealand this morning under the cover of darkness after the long journey by road and sea from Anacortes, WA, USA. Scott Sandford, our New Zealand Logistics Manager, accompanied the boat for the final leg of its journey overnight from Tauranga, New Zealand to Auckland. Shrink-wrapped and strapped onto the flatbed truck, the boat arrived to the Viaduct at about 4:30 am. Boat construction manager Mark Turner and shore team manager Tim Hacket were at the base to unload the new yacht from the truck into the boat shed. Shortly after 5am, the boat was safely unloaded before the sun was even up.

Later in the morning, it was like the first day back to school after summer break. Team members arrived to work after their Christmas holidays excited and refreshed for the New Year. The arrival of the new boat had the guys pumped and the base was humming as the boat-building team, shore team and those sailing team here all pitched in to start prepping for next week’s sailing. Most of the sailing team arrives in New Zealand in the next week.

USA 98 will be launched for the first time next week and then the sailing team will conduct sea trials before race training begins. USA 71, which sailed in Auckland last month, will serve as the trial horse for the new race yacht. The team will focus on crew preparation for the 2007 Cup season with an intensive sailing program over the next 5 weeks.

So that's the latest -- the first (design), second (construction) and third (shipping to NZL) phases of 98's mission are accomplished, and so far so good. On with the fitting out, testing, and training.

This, too, is the first confirmation of 98 as our second sail number. Once, however, Luna Rossa announced a few weeks back that they had 94, it would have become obvious to most that the two remaining unclaimed numbers -- 98 and 100 -- belonged to BMWOR and Alinghi respectively. Now the world knows for sure, not that it's a big deal. But to those of you who thought our second boat was 94 or 96, better luck next time. ;)

Is 98 auspicious? Time will tell. But in the meantime, it can only be a good sign that number 98 is the atomic number for the element californium. And there is some elegance to the sequence 76-87-98.

98 en route from NZL's Port of Tauranga to Auckland yesterday Anacortes to the Port of Long Beach (California) in late December. [Thanks to the comment, below, from our keen-eyed reader "Dave" who pointed out the truckin' confusion.]

Arriving at our Halsey St. temporary base in Auckland early this morning.

At 0500 this morning, 98 is In The Building.

Happy New Year  Dec 31, 18:49

To all of our colleagues, families, friends and fans, best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Successful 2007.

Valencia, 1955. Photo by David Douglas Duncan.

Happy Holidays  Dec 24, 22:49

VLC 2240 Sunday

With this post we will take a few days break, and return early in the New Year refreshed and ready for the final AC 32 push. In the meantime, wherever in the world you are on this Christmas Eve or Day, from all of us connected with BMW ORACLE Racing our very best wishes to you and your loved ones for the holidays, and for a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year. And thanks for your continuing interest and support. --TFE

Valencia, December 2006. Photo courtesy of Valencia Life.

It's a Wrap  Nov 3, 16:57

Chris Bedford (USA, team meteorologist) was not kidding when he said that, after record high temps in October, summer in Valencia was finally coming to an end. Last night the winds howled and it rained cats and dogs. Today it's been cool, dark and rainy. One of the yachts did dock out to tick off some remaining items on the testing list.

It has been a very productive and successful session here since we came back from the short break in early August after the German Sailing Grand Prix at Kiel.

For a number of us the week started in a plane returning from SFO and the Allianz Cup. With all that, plus getting back here to finish up this session and pack up, it's been a busy final few weeks. No doubt we're all a bit burned out, and happy the long 2006 sailing session in VLC is coming to an end. But I sense an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and achievement. There's a brief official statement on our main team website.

De-brief meetings and pack up continue tomorrow and Sunday, with a number of people and certain key assets soon making their way to NZL for the upcoming "winter" training session there. Talk about the perpetual summer program!

For a dozen sailors and marketing personnel the week began in SFO at the end of the Allianz Cup.

While there, Dicko was not only racing but as CEO of the
team kept in close contact with the continuing ops in VLC.

There was nostalgia in the air at the Allianz Cup last week, due in large part to the presence of Troy Sears' replica yacht America up from San Diego, which served as a VIP spectator boat. All good things come to an end, and after a nice week in our "hometown" of San Francisco it was time to return to our base in VLC.

On the long flight back from SFO to Munich, Mirko Groeschner (GER, marketing director) and your Ed. catching up on email. Lufthansa is one of the few carriers that has a live internet connection during long-haul flights -- not sure if it's a blessing or curse.

This week ACM held meetings for the TV rights holders from around the world. Wednesday night we took Marty Ehrlich (USA, third from left above) and his colleagues to "deenner at the Docks." Marty & Co. represent the esteemed Versus network (formerly OLN) that will be carrying the LVC semi-finals, finals and the AC Match live in the USA next May and June. ACTV vet and current Regatta Director, Dyer Jones (USA, at the far end of the table) joined us as well before heading off early the next morning to chilly Helsinki for the ISAF meetings.

Today in the rain and cold the shore and sailing teams shouldered the heavy lifting involved in the shut-down, here carrying sails in from the dockside storage to the sail loft...

...and from the Tender, which is also being prepared for storage over the Valencian winter.

One last lunch for the full team in the dining room here at the Base.

Logistician and crane operator Scotty Sandford (NZL, shore team) has been spending a lot of time in his "other office" this week.

Dicko did one last TV interview, cued by Jane Eagleson (USA, media relations) alongside the cameraman...

...while the spouses of our design team prepare a "French-Italian" dinner for tonight's session-ending team party being orchestrated by Russell Green (NZL, business director) and Mark "Squark" Bradford (AUS, sailing team).

Sad News  Sep 15, 00:10

Many on our team will have known Cy Gillette (Honolulu, Hawaii USA), who passed away last night at age 92. There is a post about Cy's many contributions to the America's Cup and our sport over on the Challenger Commission Blog.


100K  Jul 3, 09:17

Some of the over 100,000 visitors who have already enjoyed the BMW
ORACLE Racing Experience public interactive area at our Team Base --
year 9 students from Valencia's Caxton College last week.

Oracle Corp chief marketing officer Judy Sim (USA, left), relaxing with
guests from Scandinavia after yesterday's racing. Sunday saw 250+ VIP
guests at the Base to take in the final day of Act 12 -- unfortunately not
including our guys due to the damage suffered to USA 87 in the collision
caused by Luna Rossa on Saturday.

Also visiting the Base last evening, a champion offshore racing sailor who
was in VLC racing his TP 52 over the weekend -- HM King Harald of Norway.
His Majesty enjoyed an hour or so talking sailing with a number of our team
members. Above (from left): Russell Green, Cristine Ehman, King Harald, Ian
Burns and Birgit Maier.

Happy Birthday, BOB  Jun 14, 05:57


Hans Horrevoets  May 18, 16:08

Our team was saddened by the news today that ABN AMRO Two crewman Hans Horrevoets (NED) lost his life in the Volvo Ocean Race last night.

Many of our team members have been involved in past editions of this challenging race, and a number are involved in the current edition. While we realize there are inherent risks in ocean racing, we are nonetheless touched by this tragedy.

Our deepest condolences to his family and friends, the ABM AMRO team and the extended Volvo Ocean Race family.


Hope Springs Eternal  Mar 21, 07:32

Valencia's annual Rite of Spring, Las Fallas, ended in a blaze of fire, smelly smoke and noise Sunday night. The locals say you can switch to shorts and t-shirts after Las Fallas, and sure enough Monday dawned hazy, warm and a bit humid. Met man Chris Bedford assures us the haze is the result of the weather, not from last night's city-wide towering infernos known as La Crema.

Officially, Spring sprung in Valencia last evening at 19:26 (7:26 p.m.), the time of the vernal equinox.

In most if not all cultures, the vernal equinox is an auspicious day for new beginnings. As Alexander Pope said in An Essay on Man (1732), "hope springs eternal."

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

For more on the blessed ending of Las Fallas, check the nice article and photos on the official America's Cup website.

For more on auspicious beginnings, stay tuned to our team website and your favorite team blog.

Team members take a brief time out to commemorate the arrival
of Spring last evening in the Port America's Cup...

...and our ever-ready team photographer, Gilles Martin-Raget, springs
into action to capture the moment, alongside our marketing team's
boat "Henri Lloyd."