Oracle catamaran capsizes on San Francisco Bay

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Oracle catamaran capsizes on San Francisco Bay

June 13, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) When America's Cup sailors said their fast new catamarans were cutting-edge and exciting, they were factoring in inevitable capsizes.Monday afternoon on breezy San Francisco Bay, it was no less than one of the most dominant skippers in America's Cup history, Russell Coutts, whose 45-foot catamaran went head-over-heels in a spectacular wipeout.Grinder Shannon Falcone was thrown through the wing sail and into the chilly water, and another crewman was thrown into the water. Falcone was examined by paramedics on the dock and taken to the hospital for precautionary X-rays. Sailors wear crash helmets and foul-weather gear when sailing the speedy boats.Coutts, the CEO of defending champion Oracle Racing, was racing skipper Jimmy Spithill as part of a media day to publicize the U.S. debut of the new boats. His boat was bearing away during the prestart maneuver when the bows buried in a wave and the cat lifted into the air and went over before coming to rest on its side.The catamaran was pulled upright by a support boat.Coutts almost capsized on Friday, the second day of Oracle's first testing session in the new cats on San Francisco Bay. The AC45s debuted earlier this year in New Zealand, where two capsized. The AC45s will be used for the AC World Series this year and next. The 2013 America's Cup will be sailed in 72-footers, which will be faster and more powerful.Sailors have known that getting up to speed in the new catamarans is going to be tricky and possibly dangerous.Coutts, a four-time America's Cup winner, was prophetic when he and Spithill spoke at a news conference earlier in the day about the risk-reward of sailing the cats."They're very demanding but also incredibly exciting," said Spithill, a 31-year-old Australian who is the youngest skipper to win the America's Cup.Said Coutts, a 49-year-old New Zealander: "Sometimes it helps to be a little younger, you know. You've got to get to the point of finding the edge and not going over the edge, and sometimes you're going to go over the edge. That applies not only in a sailing sense we're challenged as sailors like never before, probably, in these boats but in the design sense. These guys will tell you, that's one of the big considerations in the 72. Because the closer you design it to the edge, the faster it will go. But you don't want to go over the edge. Or preferably not over the edge."After sailing a monstrous, space-age trimaran to defeat Alinghi of Switzerland in 2010 to win the oldest trophy in international sports, Oracle owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison decided to contest the next America's Cup in catamarans on shorter courses to make the sport more TV-friendly. The cats replace the plodding monohulls that were used from 1992-2007."It's a complete change," Spithill said. "I think if you ask the average person about America's Cup, they think of guys sitting on the side of a monohull yacht, a heavy displacement yacht, going quite slowly around the course. These boats are the complete opposite. Everyone is wearing helmets for a reason. There's a significant amount of risk. They're probably one of the most athletic boats I've seen for the crew to sail. There's also a huge reward for sailing them well. They're the fastest boats out there at the moment. To get the best out of these boats, you have to push."The Oracle sailors joked about having an "old guy boat" and a "young guy boat.""We're trying to get comfortable with these boats. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks and I can tell you, I'm not sure if I'll ever get comfortable with these boats," Coutts said. "Anyway, I'm giving it a go. Basically, Jimmy and the guys are way better than we are in our boat right now. I'm pretty sure Jimmy and J.K. (tactician John Kostecki) get amused when we screw up. They had grins all over their face the other day when we almost capsized. Jimmy actually said to me, 'It's a pity you didn't capsize.' I don't know. we'll be certainly duking it out and trying to beat the hell out of each other just to try and get these guys ready to go and race the cup."Kostecki grew up sailing in the Bay Area."If these things are that much fun, the 72s are going to be wild," Kostecki said.The combination of the fast catamarans and San Francisco Bay is sure to be spectacular. The bay provides a natural amphitheater, ringed with famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the Transamerica Pyramid and Coit Tower.

Mo Speights calls Clippers out for complaining to refs too much

Mo Speights calls Clippers out for complaining to refs too much

The Warriors led the Clippers by 18 points after the first quarter on Wednesday night and cruised to a 115-98 victory.

Marreese Speights registered 15 points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench for Los Angeles.

After the game, the former Warrior was asked what the difference is between the two teams.

“First we need to start really just leaving the refs alone,” Speights told the Orange County Register. “Guys just got to sacrifice, do some other things than scoring, do some other things than your personal goals. Just try something new.

“They’ve been doing it here for four or five years and it hasn’t been working, so it’s time to try something new.”

Speights played for Golden State the prior three seasons and averaged 10.4 points per game during the Warriors' 2014-15 championship run.

He has been trying to tell his new teammates what they need to do to get to the Warriors' level.

“Tonight, they see it, they see everything I say. Everything I say in practice since I’ve been here, they see it. That’s how they (the Warriors) play...

"Move the ball really well, they get everybody involved, they play good team defense. And they capitalize off our mistakes. We turned the ball over a lot in the first quarter and they capitalized."

The Clippers were called for three technical fouls -- one apiece for Chris Paul, Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin -- and trailed by as many as 27 points.

The Warriors have now won seven straight games against their Pacific Division rivals and hold a 3.5 game lead over the Clippers for the top spot in the Western Conference.

The teams don't square off again until Jan. 28.

Speights also provided insight into what the scouting report is when you face the Clippers.

“It’s always been, especially with the Warriors, you play against the Clippers, you hit them a couple of times and their spirit is going to be down. That’s what happened, so we’ve just got to find a way to get over that hump.”
 

Why the Giants are likely done making big offseason additions

Why the Giants are likely done making big offseason additions

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Giants spent Monday huddled in a suite at the Gaylord National Resort, putting the finishing touches on the offseason’s big move. By Wednesday afternoon, team officials were scattering.

Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy headed back to San Francisco, where they’ll help introduce Mark Melancon at a Friday press conference. Bobby Evans and Dick Tidrow went off in search of a good BBQ joint. It was a relaxed group, one that knows the heavy lifting is done. 

The Giants are set in their rotation and bullpen, with any further additions coming as non-roster invitees. They would like more bench depth, but the lone open spot in the lineup is in left field, and there’s a commitment to give Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker a shot. 

There are several big outfield names left on the market, but the Giants are already at about $200 million in payroll, $5 million above the competitive balance tax. Because they’re paying the tax for the third consecutive year, any additional dollar spent would be taxed at 50 percent. 

So, say the Giants signed a Jon Jay-type. Jay got a one-year, $8 million deal with the Cubs, but it would essentially be a $12 million deal in San Francisco. The same holds true for the trade market, and while the Giants are open-minded about additions before spring training, it may be hard to find the right fit. 

The Giants checked in on Detroit’s J.D. Martinez, but Evans said any deal for Martinez or a similar veteran (Jay Bruce, who makes $13 million, is among those available) would have to include a significant salary being sent back to the other team to balance the books. It’s difficult to find the player who could be sent to a team like Detroit and balance out much of the incoming salary. Martinez is scheduled to make $11.75 million next year. The Giants have eight players making at least $11 million in 2017, but all but Matt Cain are locked into key roles. The three other players who could eat up a chunk of that salary — Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt and Matt Moore — are franchise building blocks.

Cain would be the only big salary that could be removed without leaving a new hole, but even if a team was willing to take it on (extremely unlikely) in some form, and you ignored the fact that Cain is competing for the fifth starter spot, there’s a zero percent chance the Giants ask their longest-tenured player to waive his no-trade clause and accept a deal to a rebuilding team.

This is all a long way of saying what you already knew if you were soaking everything in this week: The Giants have gone over $200 million in total CBT payroll for the first time and don’t intend to add much more to that number in the offseason. 

As a fan, it’s your right to make the argument that you buy enough garlic fries and giraffe hats and No. 28 jerseys for the Giants to keep pushing into Dodger-Yankee territory. But both of those teams have also signaled a desire to get back under the tax at some point, and the Giants can counter that they’ve been as aggressive as any big-market team over the past 13 months, shelling out $313 million to two starters, a closer and a center fielder, and giving massive extensions to fan favorites Crawford and Belt. 

As the Giants left National Harbor, they were thrilled to have picked up their first choice — Melancon — for closer. The important work is done, the payroll is about set, and the camp competitions will begin soon. The marquee one will be in left. Williamson and Parker will form a partnership for about $1 million combined. 

“I think at this point they need playing time,” Bochy said on our Giants Insider Podcast. “Parker has had a lot more at-bats in the minor leagues than Mac. What I do like about Parker is he cut back on the strikeouts, he laid off on some of those secondary pitches down below the strike zone and did a better job of that. Mac had to deal with a couple of injuries but he got on a good roll there. It’s nice to have two potential power guys, which is something we need.”

You can listen to the full Bochy podcast here. You can watch the Melancon press conference on Friday at 1 p.m. on CSN Bay Area. What you shouldn’t do, barring an unforeseen change in the organization’s thinking or the market, is expect another big splash.