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Sailing Daily NewsPage
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Published Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

December 13 1999

Issue # 109

Marshall and Koluis address their problems

See (C)update daily for complete results

America True has decided to not sail any remaining races is Round 3.  America True skipper Dawn Riley said: "Since our position in the semifinals is locked, we are going to take a moment to enjoy the results of our hard work and then focus on preparing for the semis."  This means that once the French team sails the course and gains 9 points they will make the semifinals.

The finishing gun for the French will also be the final gun for the Young America team.  

This will give a semi finals lineup of: Prada, America One, America True, Nippon, Team Dennis Conner and France.

Two of the teams that failed to make the semi finals are American.  The Hawaii based Abracadabra team switched boats, and shuffled personnel in round 3 but could not make it.  The New York Yacht club backed Young America started fast.  However, a near sinking of one of their boats foreshadowed a series of poor performances that saw them eliminated.

Both teams were headed by men with prior America's Cup experience.  John Marshal has been involved with the America's Cup dating to the 1970's. Marshall made some interesting comments about Young America's failings.  The team made what Marshall termed, "... a fundamentally bad mistake..."  That mistake was to cancel sailing practice in June and July of this year and direct team resources to design work.  About this decision Marshall says, "A few seconds around the race course wouldn’t have changed anything. But having debugged these boats and ridding them of the structural problems early would have made a total difference. Out of that would flow a better sail programme, better tactics, better meteorology – everything in the programme is compromised when you don’t go sailing to improve it enough.”

Marshall also commented on the effect that the near sinking Young America USA 53 had.  When the team sailed USA 58 Marshall said: "The fear of the boat became a factor.”

The fact that Young America didn't have sufficient time with their boats as they didn't sail them until reaching New Zealand looks to be especially critical in this Cup.  Marshall gave his impression of the racing:"This is turning out to be a sailor’s regatta, a very tactical regatta, you need a lot of racing experience with your afterguard and if possible within your own programme to control that."

Essentially Marshall admits Young America bet on technology.  Once in New Zealand the technology failed and the team did not have the sailing skill to pull out the expected result.

Soon Young America will become a dormant team.  Marshall gives a précis of the plans:  "We’ll decommission the boats and try to put everything away carefully and conserve the assets, the intellectual property and the physical boats so they’re in good shape for the next Cup."

It would seem that Marshall has learned some lessons and plans to attempt to apply them to future Cup endeavors.

John Koluis skipper and leader of Abracadabra has Cup experience dating to the early 80's.  He gave one primary reason why his team was not successful: "I will say our problem is 100 percent lack of money."  

The effects of the lack of funds are seen in this comment: "We ended up cutting off the entire appendage research and the sail programme, and that's just not the way to get very far."  Due to the lack of research on appendages both USA 50&54 had the same underbody configuration.  Abracadabra really had 1.5 boats than 2.  Kolius still holds out hope for his teams potential saying: "The unfortunate thing about the way things worked out is that we will never know how fast these boats are."

In the end Kolius says, "... if someone said to me today, 'You have $10 million, go see what you can do with it', I would not have two boats.  I would have no boats 'cause I wouldn't do it."

Will Kolius be back in future Cups?  On this subject he says, "I've spent my entire adult life trying to raise money to sell a very very difficult product and it takes its toll."


Playstation:  Delivery is on

After waiting since October, Playstation will not attempt to break the Atlantic crossing record.   A low pressure system blocks the Great Circle route to England.

Playstation will have to sail around 600 miles extra due to this.  This extra mileage prevents a record attempt.

However, Steve Fossett and his crew will sail the 105 foot catamaran to England.  Departure maybe as soon as 1000 today.  This is dependent on winds in the New York area.  Current observed winds are NE @ 5 knots.  Playstation may wait for the wind to fill in.  The forecast for tonite is NE 10-20. 

Although Playstation will not be on the clock, it will be interesting to see how the 105 foot catamaran performs on her first ocean passage.