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BMW Oracle Racing was a debacle
Team McLube

 



Boss
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May 21, 2007, 8:29 AM

Post #1 of 20 (66012 views)
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 The BMW-Oracle effort was a debacle. That is not to take anything away from Luna Rossa; they sailed very well. The good (?) news is that Oracle did not disgrace the USA flag by its effort - and that is because our flag was nowhere - nowhere to be found! Shame on you Oracle! But then again, I guess the Cup abandoned national efforts some years ago . . . Alas . . .




tailer
***

May 21, 2007, 10:39 AM

Post #2 of 20 (65891 views)
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I wouldn't call it a debacle since no boats broke or were swamped and no crew got gashed in the head and had to be off-loaded, but it certainly is a huge shock for a money-no-object challenger-or-record who had set-up such a big program.

Obviously the approach was different than others: more cold-blooded and with a single person as CEO, Skipper and helm.

Rich Roberts has a good observation that many other teams have become more nationally-oriented. (which likely was to support them in their underdog status.)

None of final 4 were sad teams and certainly BOR is just a big dissappointment.


mvs
***


May 21, 2007, 9:50 PM

Post #3 of 20 (65646 views)
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We may not have a boat in the cup, but back here in Oz we're enjoying James Spithill's endeavours. Sayonara Larry, better luck next time.


s12ssj
*

May 22, 2007, 9:15 AM

Post #4 of 20 (65324 views)
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As we've seen plenty of times in professional sport, money does NOT by chemistry and it was well apparent here. Looking forward to a NYYC entry next go around.


sailstoo
***

May 22, 2007, 8:34 PM

Post #5 of 20 (64994 views)
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Debacle...no. Disappointing...yes. US Boat...no. Also disappointing...yes. America's cup...better way back when...much better. Disappointing now. Hope Oracle stock goes to about a buck a share and there's no "American" Boat next time around.


trough
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May 23, 2007, 5:52 AM

Post #6 of 20 (64775 views)
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It would be a truly interesting case study to read how the best technical preparation and the biggest budget couldn't get them to the semi-finals. I suppose it was poor people/organizational management, which is the accepted answer, and obviously it is sailing where anything can happen. But an analysis of all "the little things that added up" would be really interesting.


antonypayne
**


May 23, 2007, 8:46 AM

Post #7 of 20 (64652 views)
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Hats Off to Larry for for committing the time, effort and expense of fielding a first class operation. I thought BMWOracle Racing was going to win the LV Cup. Let's hope Larry will be back next time. What might have changed the outcome? A red hot helmsman and tactician.



BruceC
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May 23, 2007, 9:52 AM

Post #8 of 20 (64611 views)
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How about a conspiracy theory.... Chris Dickson's national loyalty to New Zealand is greater than his loyalty to Elison? He simply did well and then choked on purpose when it was to New Zealand's advantage.


antonypayne
**


May 23, 2007, 10:07 AM

Post #9 of 20 (64604 views)
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In Reply To
Chris Dickson's ego is bigger than his loyalty to NZ. He's a professional sailor. This was his last chance to find the funding necessary to lead a team to an AC victory. He failed. He'll take his hard-earned money back to his farm in NZ and write a book. C'est la vie.....



BruceC
*

May 23, 2007, 10:56 AM

Post #10 of 20 (64581 views)
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YES! There is no doubt that Mr. Dickson has an ego as big as a truck. The only question will be on the book title: Will it be: "I Choked in Spain" or "How I Cheated the Richest Man in Yacht Racing". It is truly a shame and a pox on US Sailing to allow this outsider to bring down BMW Oracle.


antonypayne
**


May 23, 2007, 12:58 PM

Post #11 of 20 (64556 views)
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In Reply To
The Americas Cup needs the support of visionaries like Larry Elison. For 2007, Larry invested in the "tried and true"..... Let's just hope he'll be back. If so watch out for a helmsman and tactician team that would win any match race whether in an AC boat or a dinghy! The organization will continue be flawless as is everything Larry does. Larry's smart. He's on the boat. He'll know what to do.



GDEvans
**

May 23, 2007, 4:50 PM

Post #12 of 20 (64515 views)
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In Reply To
It is truly a shame and a pox on US Sailing to allow this outsider to bring down BMW Oracle.


It sounds like you actually believe that he went out there to fail. If there had been a US sailor available of the calibre and ability of Chris Dickson, then I am sure that Larry Ellison would have chosen to use them in preference. This team has been one of the best performing teams throughout the Acts and Round Robins, and all the serious sailing comentators' money was on them to be in the final against Alinghi.


In Reply To
America's cup...better way back when...much better. Disappointing now. Hope Oracle stock goes to about a buck a share and there's no "American" Boat next time around.


Better way back when ...
... the rules were so twisted against the challengers that it seemed impossible for them to win for nearly a century and a half
... the teams would pay huge sums of money relocating sailors to get around the nationality restrictions
... the teams spent more time and money in the courtroom settling race outcomes
... espionage took up more news columns than the racing

If that's your idea of better then I'm obviously a fan of a different sport to you. The boats in Valencia represent the latest state-of-the-art designs, honed over 5 generations into spectacular racing machines. There are such small differences in the performance of these boats that it is difficult to choose between some of the teams. I had the good fortune to spend a day racing on a generation 3 boat, and I can honestly say it was my best day sailing ever - how many other boats let you sail upwind at 7.6 knots in 6.7 knots true wind speed and an apparent wind angle of 22 degrees? (I have a photo to prove it!).

Dropping the nationality requirements has brought a number of teams into the cup that would not otherwise have been there - just look at Chine and South Africa. In the "good old days" sailors were relocated to their new country at vast cost to the teams, and were given accelerated nationality registration by the governments. Everybody knew what was going on, but everybody chose to ignore it. Surely it is better now where all teams are open to anybody - they sail under the flag of the yacht club that sponsors them. I am looking forward to the British team "Origin" next time round - with the sailing talent we have at the moment I know there will be a lot of British sailors on board, but will be happy to welcome on board sailors of all nations if it means we can get the cup back to "Blighty"!

I recently returned from a week Valencia. The event venue is spectacular, with good access to the team bases for spectators. You feel a lot more a part of the event than you did last time round in Auckland, where you were separated from the bases by a strip of water. Access to the cup is superb - not locked away in some snooty yacht club for only the members to see. And the TV and online coverage has been superb. Many of the teams have said they would not be there if the cup was outside Europe, due to the reduced publicity the event would attract.

I am glad the US team is out - but only for the reason that you guys had the cup far too long! It's our turn now in Europe! I'm supporting Luna Rossa against the Kiwis as I want the cup to stay here a little longer.

I'm sure Larry has earnt so much over the years that his personal fortune would not be dented too much if the Oracle stock drops to $1. He is one of the richest men in the world, and cruises around in a $200M 453' yacht, which I'm sure he didn't need finance to buy! I hope he's back next time round. I hope there are a few more US boats next time round.

But we're not giving "our" cup back without a fight! Good luck!


psuchunk
***


May 24, 2007, 5:41 PM

Post #13 of 20 (64411 views)
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    It's not that the showing of BMW Oracle was a debacle... it's that having the highest budget and self-proclaimed best crew set our expectations too high. I was extremely disappointed. This is the first America's Cup I have followed since I got into sailing. And I was excted and the showing of BMW Oracle during the round robins confirmed the expectations that this would be the year that the Cup came back to America. It was not a debacle. Our boat has the fastest downwind design I have ever seen. Our crew performed well - the kite was set quickly and the jib hardly luffed at all on the upwind tacks. But, thanks to the biggest ego I have seen, courtesy of Chris Dickson, the sailing suffered a catastrophic blow of prestart mistakes and being out-tacticianed by Luna Rossa, our campaign in the semi's came to an abrupt halt.

However, I still am holding out hope. Since so many syndicates have arisen (China, Germany, South Africa, etc), I think the next America's Cup will be held soon... maybe even next summer... to allow those teams another shot and capitalize on the stir created by this year's defense. So, we have another chance... maybe even a chance to make the boat more American than it is now... to come back and put up another strong showing (don't forget how well BMW Oracle sailed in the round robin's and prior acts). So, don't get too down on American sailing. We're still strong. We can still race well. We can make the boat better and have an even better showing in the 33rd America's Cup... when ever it is.

I think the outsourcing of the American flag has been the only debacle of this campaign. We need to put more Americans on the winches and more American ingenuity behind the helm. Have faith. Take some risks... and for the love of the sailing gods... don't screw up the pre-start.


antonypayne
**


May 24, 2007, 7:00 PM

Post #14 of 20 (64407 views)
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You're so right about the pre-starts. That's when the helmsman and tactician hurl these giant AC boats into the spectator fleet and use some yachts as pegs. It's the most exciting part of match racing. You need a ruthless skipper and an owner that's willing to throw financial caution to the wind in order to win. Larry has these traits in spades. He has to recruit a skipper that's as competitive and as ruthless as he is. He's already passed on Paul Cayard and John Kostecki.


southernman
****


Jun 22, 2007, 3:14 PM

Post #15 of 20 (62741 views)
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A3 and Bill Koch made RO's look good. But then Bill had some other things going on....
No mention of Cayard's lack of presence......my opinion a profound imfluence in the bottom line.

Alinghi 100 in 8


The Publisher
*****


Sep 17, 2007, 6:19 AM

Post #16 of 20 (61671 views)
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Here is some additional commentary on the nationality issue of BOR:

Issue 2342
Here in the United States, the America's Cup is losing its appeal. If
Ellison wants the country to support his efforts he needs to recruit an
American team. Clearly Alinghi and New Zealand believed in American
talent. Ellison recently hired Russell Coutts to be the team's new CEO.
BMW Oracle Racing failed with Chris Dickson serving as skipper and
overall manager. Coutts will have a lot of pressure taking on the same
roles as Dickson.

Furthermore, itís about time that Ellison started flying America's
colors. It bothered me and many other American visitors in Spain that we
never saw an American ensign flying from the boat, or an American flag
painted on the hull or sails or over the team's immense compound. All
around the harbor huge national flags flew proudly from the roofs.
Italy, Spain, France, China, and New Zealand all had flags, but not the
United States. Francis Scott Key surely would be annoyed.

A BMW executive in the United States told me that at one point the
American ambassador to Spain visited the BMW Oracle compound and noticed
the lack of an American flag. So the ambassador sent an American flag to
Ellison, but there was never a reply. -- Gary Jobson, Sailing World
magazine, full story: http://tinyurl.com/2rkqg3

In Issue 2433
* From Jack Attridge, Marblehead, MA: (regarding story in Issue 2432) Bravo
to Gary Jobson for his story that included the absence of an American Flag
anywhere on BMW Oracleís compound or boats. Ever since I heard Gary tell the
story last month it has gnawed at me. To think that most of our countryís
freedom comes as a result of hard fought ocean battles and Larry Ellison
snubs not only our flag and country but our Ambassador as well is appalling.
I guess all the money in the world canít buy patriotism.

* From Matthew Reid: I so agree with Gary's comments regarding flying the
U.S.A. colors. I think it is arrogant/ egocentric of Larry to not display
them, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Obviously, he is trying to win
for the corporate country of Oracle. It reminds me of a saying Iíll try and
paraphrase, "Oh, he's always been an a-hole, money just gave him a chance to
prove it."

* From Tej Trevor Parekh: Jobson is darn right that nationality needs to
become a part of the AC game again. Think back to '83 and '87 when it was
USA against Australia (not BMW against Emirates or whatever). That was when
the AC was the most visible in the American media. The average American had
a vested interest in the match because it was their national pride against
the Australians'. President Reagan's bet also helped! I believe that it is
very important to get the world's biggest consumer market back into the
sport. I can't say that teams should be 100% home nationals, but 60 or 75%
might do some good to establish that nationalistic pride again. Look to the
Olympics: displaying large flags on the sails made things more exciting. The
World Cup of soccer is another good example. So, the 33rd Cup should have a
30% nationality rule, then a 60% nationality rule for the 34th. Alinghi
might have to do some recruiting locally and even give up their five guys. I
believe Peter Isler even said on Versus during the Cup that there are three
Kiwi teams: the American Kiwi team, the Swiss Kiwi team, and the Kiwi Kiwi
team! That should definitely change!

In Issue 2434

* From Andrew Bartholomew (US expat): Regarding the letter in Issue 2433
about AC popularity from Tej Trevor Parekh. Isnít nationalism a bit 20th
century? Who wants to encourage all that nationality testosterone in these
days of WMDs and misdirected political leadership? Letís accept
globalisation and encourage its positive side. The reality is that a German
car company sponsored a North American challenge, etc. and the best sailors
are in great demand, bringing the competition to the highest level. Let the
money and people flow; highlight the people, the teams and the many
challenges of racing. Then TV coverage and the US public will follow, or
not.

* From Peter Isler: (regarding Gary Jobsonís article in Issue 2432) Just for
the record, I am proud to have sailed solely with US teams in my five
Americas Cup campaigns. Yep, I definitely include my most recent adventure
with BMW Oracle Racing Team in that list. (And, no, I never referred to our
team as "another Kiwi" team on VERSUS). Where was the US flag? Well, for the
record, it was flying on its pole at the base along with the flags of all
the nationalities on our team. I wore it on the sleeve of my team gear (as
did Larry Ellison and Eric Doyle) in the racing, and when we raced and if
you happened to look up on our mainsail - there was an enormous "USA-98"
flying up there every minute we were underway.

At a recent regatta, my good friend Gary Jobson mentioned his upcoming
article in Sailing World and his "no American flag" thesis. Everyone is
entitled to their opinion (as we 'Buttheads see every day), but I told Gary
that I thought he was off target. Our team (the only US challenger!) was
started by an American - it represented an American yacht club - and that's
as American as you can get in the America's Cup. Sorry for you flag lovers -
but that's the way the Cup rules worked this time. Sure we had a
multinational team (as did all the top teams in Valencia), but had BMW
Oracle gone deeper into the series - and won, I think America's Cup fever
would have swept across the US... and the spectator fleet would have been
awash in Old Glory's. Everybody loves a winner. In fact, had we won - I'll
bet nobody here would be talking about flags now!




Pepe
**

Sep 18, 2007, 2:22 AM

Post #17 of 20 (61596 views)
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Flags? Nationalities? What the f*** dudes? Sorry, but nationalism has nothing to do with the AC. Nationalism is a domestic political tool used to manipulate populations so they support wars and supression, destruction and death. Nationalism and the America's Cup are two different games.

For those of you who think when "your" flag is flying on a transom that this gives you a share in the victory, well you are wrong. But those of us who have learned to be fans, and understand the sport and her rules to the fullest, or maybe support a team because we like certain attributes that team posseses, only then do we get the fullest benefit our sport can offer. But if one must insist on tightly weaving nationalism and sport, well, for that you have the Olympics.

Ever heard of Alinghi? I never noticed a Swiss flag on her transom, but I do know that in her clubhouse they have a big ugly trophy displayed! I think the accessory Mr Bertarelli chose, instead of a flag, was the better choice for his boat, his multi-culti team, and his global financial partners.

Pepe


The Publisher
*****


Sep 18, 2007, 12:07 PM

Post #18 of 20 (61517 views)
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* From Andre Lacour, Maui: I personally am in favor of having an American team represent America in the AC. Not some corporation. Is Larry Ellison and BMW Oracle the only hope for the U.S. to have a team? I would hope not. As a country, we have so much talent and resources out there, why should all our eggs be in Larry's basket. Lets get the game out of the courtroom, and out on the playing field where it belongs. Our sport should be about the best sailors, not the best lawyers.


Lima
***

Sep 19, 2007, 10:40 AM

Post #19 of 20 (61438 views)
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In Reply To
* From Andre Lacour, Maui: I personally am in favor of having an American team represent America in the AC. Not some corporation. Is Larry Ellison and BMW Oracle the only hope for the U.S. to have a team? I would hope not. As a country, we have so much talent and resources out there, why should all our eggs be in Larry's basket. Lets get the game out of the courtroom, and out on the playing field where it belongs. Our sport should be about the best sailors, not the best lawyers.



It will be interesting to see if this can ever happen, given the cost of campaigns and the market realities/multi-nationalism of corporate sponsors.

I can fully understand that Oracle (even as lead by Larry) would not want to be associated with strictly an American team since a lot of the sponsorship value is overseas. Oracle justified the cost of their sponsorship because their "marketing message" went to German, Swiss, Spanish, et al customers. In almost any case at these levels of dollars would be very much harder to justify if the target market is only a fraction of the size of the international one. This is particularly so in America, where sailing is so much less followed than in other countries.


The Publisher
*****


Jan 21, 2008, 6:37 AM

Post #20 of 20 (59454 views)
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* From John E. Beckstedt, Chicago, IL: I have been meaning to write this since July. So with all the recent 33AC competition commentary itís not too late for these short comments with BMW Oracle in the press again. I was fortunate to attend the first several AC Finals in Valencia, Spain. My hats off to Valencia for an amazingly well done event. But the real reason for the letter is the embarrassment I felt having BMW Team Oracle represent the US (forget they lost). It was the night after the first race and from the main bar/restaurant gathering spot you looked back west to all the competitors compounds and all the country flags; save one, our own; the good old USA. On Saturday night at the party and around the docks the only American Flag in site was on a US (I assume) girl's cap on the side, on Sunday after the second race the only one insight was on my 1998 Havana Cup cap crossed with that of Cubaís.

Every competitorís shed/compound had huge flags of their country waving boldly in the evening sky each night (and most days). Oracle BMW only had the white Oracle BMW Flag; shows no class Larry, none. It was a shame to be an American in Valencia; after all; it's called the America's cup. Where was our oversized flag and pride? Not at the Oracle compound!


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