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Sunday, February 26, 2017
New Zealand's Readiness Questioned by Barker

Former skipper Dean Barker has questioned Team New Zealand's readiness for the America's Cup.

Barker is now CEO and skipper of rival syndicate Team Japan and has voiced some thoughts on overall preparations as they launched their new cup catamaran in Bermuda .

Qualifying racing starts in Bermuda in late May.

Team New Zealand are leaving their run to Bermuda late, deciding to do the bulk of their testing and training in Auckland. They want to keep away from prying eyes, but the trade-off is their ability to acclimatise to the Cup courses on the Great Sound.

Barker, dumped by the Kiwis in the wake of the 2013 Cup defeat in San Francisco, believes Team New Zealand, Team France and Britain's Ben Ainslie Racing could pay a price for failing to get used to local conditions in Bermuda.

Team New Zealand have only raced one two-day regatta in Bermuda since the British territory was controversially chosen by Cup holders Oracle team USA as the venue for the 35th edition of the regatta.

Oracle, Team Japan and Sweden's Artemis Racing, have had long-term bases in Bermuda.

Barker feels their extensive time on the Cup courses has been invaluable.

"It certainly helps to have a year of sailing in Bermuda under us and at the Cup it'll feel like we're sailing at home," Barker said as Hikara – which translates to "Flash of Light" – was launched.

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"We'll have a much better understanding of what to expect and the three teams who were based here will hopefully have an advantage over the other three."

Team Japan's new 50-foot foiling catamaran features traditional standing arm-powered grinding stations as opposed to Team New Zealand's pedal-powered approach that has four cycling stations in each hull.

Team France are the only syndicate yet to launch.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Team Bermuda - Shomari Warner

With a background in boxing and rugby, TeamBDA member Shomari Warner only got his start sailing last June.

The 23-year-old sees taking part in the 2017 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup as “a chance to be a part of history in Bermuda”. It has also proven to be a great opportunity for him to meet new people and discover exactly what he is made of – both physically and mentally.

Shomari is from Hamilton Parish and grew up attending Francis Patton, before later studying at Pickering College and Fanshawe College in Canada.

He has a brother and a sister and is currently training for the positions of bowman and main trimmer for the June regatta.

Who is the Bermudian you most admire? My Father. To me he embodies the meaning of being a man. Flaws and all.

Who is your sporting hero? Muhammad Ali because he was more than just a boxer.

If you weren’t on Team BDA you would be…? I would be working on the completion of my recording studio and forwarding my music career.

What would surprise people about you? I was actually hit by the proverbial bus. Luckily, I walked away virtually unscathed.

What do you do in your spare time? Workout, Box. Make music.

Somerset or St. George’s? Blue & Blue!!!!!!

What is your favourite Bermuda symbol or icon? Gombey. The Gombey represents the voice of the people who once couldn’t be heard. The Gombey is a celebration of culture and tradition.

What is your favourite or most used Bermudian phrase? ‘I Doan Een Know Buh’.

If you could choose a new first name what would it be? I like my name – my sister named me.

What are three songs you love right now? I Believe In Your Love by Charles Bradley; Champions by Kayne West; Proud Family by Tory Lanez.

What’s your favourite of ice cream? Chocolate Ripple.

Netflix binge watching? Narcos.

What is one movie you think everyone should see? Training Day.

What muscles do you have now that you didn’t have before? Vastus Lateralis (the largest part of the quadriceps in the thigh).

How many push-ups could you do before joining TeamBDA and how many can you do now? Before 40; now 50-60.

What DO you eat or drink now that you didn’t before? A lot more eggs.

What DON’T you eat or drink now that you did before? Soda.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Oracle Grinder Graeme Spence Lucky to Escape Injury

America's Cup holders Oracle have showcased the perils of the new catamarans with grinder Graeme Spence surviving a high speed fall into the water.

Oracle have only just launched the 50-foot foiling cat they hope will see them retain the Auld Mug when racing starts in Bermuda in late May.

Already the seas trials have had their dramas.

The new America's Cup catamarans are 20 per cent smaller but 20 per cent faster than the giants that sailed in San Francisco in 2013 when Oracle defended the trophy in this foiling 72-footer.

It was a huge moment of relief when the big Australian was spat out the back of the boat safely.

"You're very aware of everything that's around you," Spence said later.

"The four foils that are in the water with you, so I just kind of froze a little bit and was quite relieved to realize I was out the back of the boat."

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said it was a nervous couple of seconds as they awaited Spence's fate in the water.

"Any time someone goes over the front of one of these boats in any situation, the chances of not getting hit by the four appendages in the water are pretty slim," Spithill explained.

"It's a real fear. Any time you hear or someone go over the front, it's a real bad feeling.

"That time from when you see him go over the front to when you see him pop back up on the surface and give the thumbs up always takes too long."

Team France skipper Franck Cammas nearly had his right foot sliced off when he fell overboard in a training accident on their test boat in November 2015 and he hit one of the rudders.

Cammas needed extensive surgery to save the foot. He remains in charge of the French syndicate and will helm their boat in Bermuda.

The new America's Cup catamarans are 20 per cent smaller but 20 per cent faster than the 72-foot giants that sailed in San Francisco in 2013 when Oracle defended the trophy with their remarkable comeback against Team New Zealand.

All the teams are practicing extensive safety procedures.

In the buildup to the 2013 regatta Sweden's Artemis Racing suffered a training crash where crew member Andrew "Bart" Simpson was killed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Artemis Racing Launch Magic Blue

Artemis Racing's new race yacht, “Magic Blue”, was christened today by Torbjörn Törnqvist's wife, Natalia, at a special celebration in Bermuda. The Swedish team is the fourth of six teams to launch their AC50, with teams from Britain, New Zealand, USA having launched during February.

The launch sees the culmination of more than three years of intense design and development work, which began almost immediately after the finish of the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco.

The new America’s Cup Class (ACC) yacht, which measures at 15m (or 49.2ft), is a development from the AC72s raced in San Francisco, retaining the wing sail and hydrofoils, which enable them to fly over the water at incredible speeds.

The design differences, or areas left for the teams to explore and innovate in the new Class, lie in the design of the appendages (foils and rudders), aerodynamics, and the onboard hydraulic and electronic control systems.

The hydraulic systems are required to be completely powered by human effort and combine traditional sailboat engineering with aerospace technology. Artemis Racing is thankful for support from a number of technical partners including Altair and Tactair.

The change of venue to Bermuda brings a host of new challenges with the varied, shifty conditions. The boats are flying and maneuvering better than ever before thanks to several years of additional development time along with supporting rules changes. This summer’s event is expected to be the most competitive and exciting America’s Cup in recent history.

The construction of Artemis Racing’s ACC began in January 2016 at Sune Carlsson Båtvarv, next to the team’s yacht club KSSS, in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden. The hulls were then flown to the US, and delivered to the team’s build facility in Alameda, CA, where the pod, beam and end plate were installed.

It was then shipped to Bermuda, where it was reassembled and the final installation of the hydraulics and electronics took place.

Monday, February 20, 2017
Spithill and Team Sail

ORACLE TEAM USA took to the Great Sound on Monday, sailing its newly launched America's Cup Class boat, "17", for the first time.

"We had a successful day," said skipper Jimmy Spithill dockside after the training session. "First impressions were great. The boat went really well, so everyone is happy."

The new boat was first revealed to the public on Tuesday evening last week, and touched the water for the first time to be christened "17" on Wednesday.

Monday marked the first sail for “17" and the team was on the water for four hours, completing a series of preliminary performance and safety tests.

"We had a good extended session on our first time out," he continued.

"Today was a perfect day for that first sail, 10-12 knots, so we wanted to take advantage of that and work out all the kinks."

Over 15 designers and 50 boat-builders contributed to the design and build of “17”, with more than 85,000 man-hours accumulated to date.

Team partners like Oracle, Airbus, BMW, Parker and Yanmar provided technical expertise and support to the in-house team.

"We've made a big step," confirmed Sailing Team Manager and tactician Tom Slingsby. "The boat was doing well, the new foils are quite nice, it was about as good a first day as you could hope to have."

For all the preparation on the test boats over the past two years, the new America's Cup Class boat has plenty of developments that require constant learning from the athletes on board.

"This boat may look similar to the old boat, but it's not. There are a lot of changes. We have a very different playbook for how we sail this boat and even then, it's constantly evolving."

Slingsby says the next step is to load the boat up in stronger winds before turning to full race practice mode.

"It would good to have a bit more breeze next time out and then we'll be into race laps and we're good to go with our race preparation."

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