Monday, June 25, 2007

"Sailors Are Hot"

So says CBS anchor Katie Couric, who shared a few words and views at the induction ceremony Sunday night for the America's Cup Hall of Fame, after a day out to watch the racing.

Nothing to do with America's Cup Management here and now, the America's Cup Hall of Fame is part of the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island, the Herreshoff family being a thread that runs through more than a century of America's Cup yacht racing. Halsey Herreshoff, who has continued the tradition, sailed variously as bowman, tactician, and navigator in four successful defense efforts for the New York Yacht Club, and then the 1983 effort that failed. Here's Halsey, as photographed by Bob Greiser . . .

The Hall of Fame ceremonies go where they want, which on Sunday night was the Santiago Calatrava-designed l'Hemispheric in Valencia to induct two new members, Kiwi designer Laurie Davidson and French helmsman, entrepreneur, and bon vivant Bruno Troublé.

Russell Coutts was on hand to pay a tribute to Laurie Davidson and to remark that if he had listened to the designer every time out, "We might have gone faster."

Laurie Davidson

Here's a bit of what the Hall of Fame has to say:

Laurie Davidson played a role in the design of the New Zealand fiberglass 12-Meters that were among the top performers in 1987.
In the 1995 challenge in San Diego, Laurie was the designer of NZL [which] went on to win the Cup in five straight races over the American Cup defender.
In 2000, when Laurie was chief designer for Team New Zealand, it was asserted that designers for the other teams had used NZL 32 as their point of departure. But that year Laurie took another jump ahead and came up with what is now known as the “Davidson bow.” This is a forward overhang geometry that provides slightly greater sailing length within the rating. Again the Davidson boat won in five straight.

During the 2003 challenge, all the boats involved but one had the “Davidson bow.” The exception was the Italian Prada entry, which part way through the campaign had its bow modified to be similar to the other boats. Davidson was then chief designer for the Seattle USA challengers. The Louis Vuitton Cup was taken by the Swiss Alinghi, a yacht also resembling in important respects previous Davidson designs.
It is the feeling of the Selection Committee that Davidson was the designer chiefly responsible for taking the Cup to New Zealand in 1995 and keeping it there in 2000. Advances he made, particularly in hull shapes, have been emulated by AC designers ever since.

Here's Bobby G's shot of Laurie . . .

Bruno Troublé

Bruno, a Flying Dutchman and Soling champion, was skipper of two challenges for the America’s Cup led by Baron Marcel Bich. Bruno had been drafted from the 1976 French Olympic sailing team and did such a good job at starting he was promoted to skipper FRANCE I during the Challenger series in 1977. He then returned to skipper FRANCE III in 1980. In 1983 he participated in a challenge led by Yves Rousset-Rouard.
Bruno visited the New York Yacht Club when he was 17 while competing in a 505 World Championship in Larchmont. Standing in the model room of the Yacht Club, the atmosphere and history of the America’s Cup had such an impact on him that the Cup eventually became a significant part of his life. From sailor and lawyer, Bruno went on to create a PR agency in Paris (D’Day) and became the driving force behind the Louis Vuitton Cup for challengers.
As the America’s Cup has evolved from amateur to fully professional, Bruno has respected the traditions and found a balance between innovation, commercial involvement and the unique history of the Cup.

Here's another Bob Greiser pic, this time of Russell Coutts, Bruno, and Paul Cayard . . .

It was not an evening conducive to remembering quotes, but North Sails' Tom Whidden did remark something to the effect that, when the USA lost the America's Cup in 1983, it became the best thing that has ever happened to the competition, and "I'd do it all over again."

To the Kore

When Kaenon brought out its Kore line of sunglasses a few years back, they had an instant classic on their hands. Sure, the brand-new company had the advantage, in the sailing market, of being run by sailors, very good, well known sailors. And they had the confidence (and budget) to market through a campaign to place a Kore on every high-profile sailor they possibly could. It also mattered that people liked them a lot.

I've lost track of how many Kores I've been through. At the moment I'm down to one pair of black rims with G-12 lenses, but my favorites were the silver frames with C-28s. So when I tried to replace the last pair that went overboard (I was carelessly wearing them on the top of my head; they don't fall off when worn per-design) I was shocked (shocked, I tell you) to learn that Kaenon no longer makes the frames in silver.

This despite the fact that the most recognizable sunglass design in Valencia is the silver-frame original Kore. Not only here. In Alicante for the TP52 races, I counted six pairs in one crew.

Guys, don't wear'em. Save'em and sell'em on eBay. There's going to be money in it.

I've been thinking about this for a while now, but what got me going today was my morning Scuttlebutt with a Kaenon ad. I quote in part:

"It’s a question of style. Terry Hutchinson chooses the original, the tried and true Kore. Our original award-winning design. Straight-up performance. Brad Butterworth is going new-school with the new Hard Kore. A bit more attitude, a bit more style. An evolution that compliments the ever so clever and sophisticated Butterworth. Two different styles…one common theme."

But what do we see Team New Zealand's Terry Hutchinson actually wearing? Not the available black frames, but silver. And not just one time; all the time.

ADD NOTE: I came to the port for Race 3 and saw John (works for the other magazine) Burnham, who said, "After reading your blog this morning I felt even worse about losing my silver Kores when I broached my Shields. I didn't realize they were unreplaceable."

Steve (at Kaenon), we love you, babe, but I just don't understand what went on in that meeting where you dumped the silver frames—Kimball