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.

Tiger Woods' DUI arrest not really a stunning development

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AP

Tiger Woods' DUI arrest not really a stunning development

Tiger Woods’ DUI has led to an awful lot of hand-wringing by people who either enjoy his slow but steady fall from grace, or want it to be a sudden plummet from grace.

The first group – well, schadenfreude is very marketable stuff these days, because so many of us choose personal misery and the right to distribute it to others on a moment’s notice.

The second group is just wrong.

Woods’ iconic years are almost a decade behind him, and his reduction through hyper-celebrity and eventually to run-of-the-mill clickbait has been a slow and overly tortured process. We have clung to his myth far too tenaciously for either his good or ours, and the reaction to his arrest and mug shot are both predictable and tedious.

There is no cautionary tale here. All the longform pieces about his tortured soul have been exhausted, and the amateur psychological studies have just become well-worn paths to the same conclusion – namely, that he was a very big deal, and through time and erosion is no longer so.

He has won six times in eight years, and no majors. He has had one burst of exemplary golf since in this decade and the rest of the time has been at best day-to-day, and at worst a perpetual patient. He is not a tragic figure, he is merely someone whose body and soul could not keep up with the rigors he damned of them.

So in that way, today’s arrest isn’t really a stunning development. It is bad, because all DUIs are bad. It is sad, because he had the access to at-a-moment’s-notice drivers above and beyond Lyft-level.

But if we must categorize this, it is mostly a reaffirmation of gravity. He rose mightily, he filled the sky for a time with a spectacular aurora, but he did not achieve earth orbit, except in the prurient new world in which everyone is reflexively famous until we decide otherwise, and now he is in re-entry.

Compared to the height of his fame, it is a massive fall. But it didn’t happen all at once, and this arrest may not even be some gothic tale of rueful self-examination. It might have been just him getting plowed, refusing to acknowledge his impaired state and trying to drive when he clearly should not have done so. It didn’t have to be any more melodramatic from that.

In short, Tiger Woods’ DUI is bad enough, because all DUIs are objectively bad. He deserves no sympathy for a stupid choice, and he shall have none. But it is not a plot point unless you decide in your head that it is, in which case it isn’t his story but yours. You want him to be a disgraceful character or a tragic figure, and as is typically the case, it is probably neither of those two poles.

The answer, of course, is most likely Occam’s Razor – the obvious one. A guy got drunk and reckless. It isn’t more evidence of a tortured soul as told by his most avid followers and his fellow torturers.

Nevertheless, we will try. Even in the current social media age, some stories hold more helium than others only because we choose to pump more into them. Tiger Woods drove drunk, and now we will decide what it means. It’s another story that is more about the reader than the subject.

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

It’s lonely at the top, which is where Markelle Fultz sits on almost every 2017 NBA Draft board. The Brooklyn Nets should be set for the next decade with a big time scoring point guard. Instead, it’s the Boston Celtics who have no choice but to take Fultz with the No. 1 overall selection after a savvy trade that sent veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a stack of picks and players back in 2013.

Fultz can do it all. He’s deadly from the outside, he can take you off the bounce and he has elite passing skills to boot. In a draft packed with star potential, specifically at the point guard position, the freshman from Washington stands out well above the rest.  

It would take a major shake up at the top for Fultz not to have his name called first on draft night, but there are plenty of very talented players sitting on the board behind him. Here is a deeper look at the potential top overall selection.

The Positives:
Fultz has tremendous size, length and athleticism for an NBA point guard. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has a frame built to take on muscle. At just 19-years-old, he is already well defined physically and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger.

A crafty, high-end scorer, Fultz changes speed and direction well and has an advanced Euro-step for a young player. He averaged 23.2 points in 35.7 minutes a night for the Huskies while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He can score from all three levels, finish well above the rim and play through contact.

In his lone season in college, Fultz showed that he is not only a legitimate scoring threat, but he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. While Lonzo Ball is considered the true pass first point guard of the draft, Fultz had a higher assist rate (35.5 to 31.5) and lower turnover rate (13.4 to 18.2) than the star guard from UCLA.

Fultz rebounds well for his position, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game at Washington. He also has potential as a defender, posting 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, although he is a work in progress on that end of the floor.

Known as a high-character kid and tireless worker off the court, Fultz has the entire package. He can also play the lead or shooting guard spot, which will come in handy if the Celtics decide to pair him with All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.

The Negatives:
9-16 is a concern. Great college players should be able to will their team to victory, even if the talent around them is suspect. Washington was certainly worse off without Fultz down the stretch, losing their last six while he sat with a knee injury.

Shot selection and sloppy ball handling was also an issue this season. In Fultz’ defense, he played with a group that lacked overall talent and those issues might eventually disappear when he’s added to a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Fultz is a quality chase down defender, but he fell asleep on plenty of plays or didn’t show a consistent fight on the defensive end. Lack of focus allowed for plenty of back cuts. He also showed an inconsistent effort fighting through screens.

He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, like most young players coming into the league. Most of these issues can easily be coached out of him at the next level.

Projection:
Fultz has an advanced feel and tons of room to expand his game. On the court, he resembles another former Husky in Brandon Roy. Fultz is much further along than Roy was at the same age, but possesses both the ability to score from anywhere on the court, as well as rebound and set up his teammates.  

It’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top overall selection, but if they do, teams will scramble trying to move up to select him. He would fit perfectly in the Kings starting backcourt alongside sophomore Buddy Hield, but Sacramento lacks the assets to move from five to one, Fultz’ likely landing spot.