Thursday, March 31, 2011

The People Plan: How To Move 200,000 Along San Francisco's Waterfront

The timing couldn’t be better, I thought, after being nailed earlier this week with another $65 parking ticket, the going rate in downtown San Francisco, and then enduring the frustrating task of trying to find inexpensive and accessible parking downtown to attend Thursday's unveiling of the draft transportation plan, the "People Plan", that addresses the City's plan to move up to an estimated 200,000 people daily to watch the 2013 America’s Cup events.

The document is one of the City’s first planning documents that was required by March 31 in the Host and Venue Agreement between the City and the Event Authority for the 34th America’s Cup.

Several hundred people including elected officials and VIP guests gathered for the public “unveiling” which was appropriately held outside in one of the densest traffic areas on San Francisco’s waterfront - the Embarcadero in front of the San Francisco Ferry Building.

Mark Buell, America’s Cup Organizing Committee Chairman told the crowd, “I can’t imagine any more critical element to this Plan than how we move people during the event. If San Franciscans care about anything, it’s traffic, it’s parking, it’s movement and I think today’s press conference as the beginning of this effort acknowledges how seriously we take this situation and how we want to get it right.”

The goal of the Plan is to figure out how to organize transportation in a very constricted travel area along the San Francisco waterfront in a way that supports other goals of the event such as sustainability and accessibility to a wide range of the public.

The People Plan which emphasizes transit and bicycles over the private automobile was developed around four organizing principles: resource efficiency, environmental sustainability, strategic adaptability and positive legacy. Stated Mike Martin, the City’s Project Manager for the America’s Cup, “It represents the first step in what we hope will become a public dialogue about these issues so that we can change strategies based on big days versus less well attended days during the Cup.”

While the People Plan is focused on planning for the Cup event, by bringing transit and bicycle systems together the City hopes to provide legacy benefits to the City beyond 2013. “New infrastructure such as capital improvements, new ways to operate and new ways to bring bikes to the waterfront are obviously great selling points for San Francisco tourism in general,” Martin said.

One suggestion is to close down areas along the Embarcadero and Martin said it’s an idea that’s got a lot of people excited. However he cautioned the idea needs further study. “Obviously there are challenges especially along the northern waterfront as businesses and residents there need access. The People Plan requires a really good dialogue with all these folks so that we understand all the considerations in a way that doesn’t cause more dislocation than it solves.”

Martin thinks the most compelling aspect of the Plan will be information: both in terms of peoples’ feedback on the plan but also feeding information to people who are coming from around the country or the area for the event to say, “this is how you get to the event” so they can plan accordingly.

He also cited the use of web tools to enhance the end result of the Plan, “We’ll be excited to us information technology that’s being developed to make platforms for people to really understand what they’re going to see before they even get here.”

Public Comment & Input Needed by May 31, 2011: The draft People Plan and other documents can be viewed at Members of the public and stakeholders are invited to review the Plan and provide feedback on the website of the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development ( or via email at

These comments will be used to further refine the Plan in advance of a September 30, 2011 deadline, as well as to inform further Event plans and EIR impact and possible mitigation measure analyses. The City currently anticipates that the Planning Department will issue the Draft EIR - an element critical to the America’s Cup 34 - for public review and comment in July 2011.

Photo 1: Mark Buell

Photo 2: San Francisco's Mayor Lee

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ACRM’s Abby Ehler Keeps It Afloat Shore Side

Two more teams, details of which will be released next week, have been accepted as competitors for the 34th America's Cup, bringing the total entries to 10 teams in the competition with a little over a week remaining before the entry deadline of March 31.

More teams means Abby Ehler’s job just got a whole lot busier. Ehler has been in Auckland since January working as shore manager for ACRM, one of the lucky few to work with the AC45 early on.

Abby is key to the daily operations at ACRM’s temporary home at the former Team New Zealand base in Auckland’s Viaduct Basin. She runs the shore logistics that keep everything - and everyone - ticking along. With five, and soon to be two more AC45s on the water, she’s responsible for scheduling the timing for teams to get on and off the water. With just one static crane available to the teams to lift boats in and out, scheduling is all important - everyone’s keen as mustard to get as much on the water time as possible, she says, and it take about half an hour to get each boat in the water, and same to retrieve from the water at day’s end.

She’s also the eyes and ears to what is going on having been on the ground since before the first AC45 was launched, helping wherever she can. “Some of the teams are quite new to the AC45 and as we’ve been sailing the prototype for two months now we’ve been able to pass on some tricks of the trade to give them all the assistance that we can.”

It’s the kind of job Ehler’s worked at for most of her life, and loves it. After finishing a sports degree at university in England (she’s originally from Plymouth), during which time she’d been doing a lot of sailing, for lack of anything better to do she followed her heart to boats and became a boat captain. She took a long break in 2001, and at 24 years old, was boat captain and bowman on Nautor (skippered by Lisa McDonald), the all-women team in the first Volvo Ocean Race.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” Ehler says, “I was desperate to do it again and you want to do it again because you think there are better ways of doing things. But now I’m older (and wiser - LOL) I’m happy to be shore side and have the occasional sailing project from time to time.”

After Nauter, Ehler also ran Enigma, a Reichel Pugh 76, owned by Charles Dunstone, winning the Fastnet in 2003 and competing in the Rolex Maxi Circuit worldwide. She ran the TP52, Santa Ana, British boat, which was campaigned through 2006 in the US & Brietling Med Cup Circuit, and also the Australian owned Farr 40 Sputnik, which was campaigned through 2007 including the Worlds in Denmark.

Ehler says that other than obvious changes brought about by improvements in technology, not much has changed in the way she does her job.

“Fundamentally boats are boats, they still need TLC, things still go wrong and things still need fixing. The biggest change is in gear, design and materials used. But the logistics are the same - the containers and chase boats are still there, and teams still need mothering," she says.

Now 34, she’ll be heading out on the World Series with ACRM, even though it means leaving her husband, a trainer, at home in Sydney, Australia. With her husband a former pro sailor, the couple is used to life on the sailing circuit which means a lot of time apart. “We adapt and Skype just gets used regularly!” Ehler says.

She’s already feeling a different thrill being involved in this next Cup event, “It’s far more exciting being involved in something new and that it’s moved to multi hulls has been a wake-up call. Everyone’s had to pull their finger out to either learn new skills, or they’re finding the boats a lot more physical than before. It’s put a new light on the America’s Cup - it’s a really good vibe. People are buzzing when they come off the water after sailing the AC45s.”

Ehler recalls being in Auckland working for GBR Challenge during the 02-03 Cup, "There was often a lot of moaning about doing 2-boat testing and having to sit out on the same tack for hours. The guys would take packs of cards or books out there to read. You certainly can’t do that with these boats - they’re exciting and you need to keep your wits around you.”

* Photos courtesy Gilles Martin-Raget

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


SailBlast recently helped organize the first event of an ongoing seminar series to address topics related to the America’s Cup 34 - the topic, “Unfurling Opportunities in the World’s Most Prestigious Sailing Event” (kind of wordy but we were reprimanded by ACEA for our initial use “America’s Cup” in the event title…).

The seminar was hosted by and targeted the Bay Area sailing community and industry. That it sold out in three days indicates there’s a thirst out there in our local San Francisco community for information on AC34… Held at the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the seminar featured speakers with experience and business acumen garnered from their work in the America’s Cup and other major sailing events.

John Craig, Principal Race Director for the 34th America’s Cup shared the proposed AC34 San Francisco waterfront activities such as the location for Team bases, media offices, AC34 administrative offices and other activities that will take space on the piers with access to the water.

Other speakers included Ashley Tobin, Start Line Strategies, America's Cup Counsel and Rules Advisor; Eric Holzheimer, Managing Director for Global Sports Access Inc., a corporate engagement company; and Howie Shiebler, Owner, Protector Boats USA. The event was moderated by John Arndt, Associate Publisher, Latitude 38, and event co-organizer.

Keynote speaker Gary Jobson needed no introduction. Gary spends a good deal of his life traveling the country doing what he does best, promoting sailing, so we were lucky to catch him on a west coast tour. He gave the audience just what they came for: solid ideas and advice on getting involved in AC34, and here's what he had to say...

* First, I applaud this group for making this program happen. The fact that you got 150+ people to show up here on a Tuesday afternoon and take some time out of your working life tells me this city is already engaged. Having said that, very important to spend some time and study what has happened in the past, in other sporting events including sailing - the Olympics, the Whitbread, the Volvo, America’s Cup - what has happened in the past? They all have things we can learn from and talk about.

* To get something to happen, you have to put something into it. In your own business, in your own life, think about what your skills are, think about what your products are, what you have to offer and maybe there’s something there for you. There’s going to be an awful lot of spin-off and money can come your way.

* Remember that nobody in this room is a competitor with each other. You are all on the same team and on the same boat. There’ll be plenty to spread around and you need to take that attitude.

* Make things easy. I’ve been to 7 Olympic Games, done four for NBC and covered some others. The Olympics are to get into the venues, hard to go through security - it’s almost arduous. Make things as easy and accommodating as you can.

* Provide easy access to the water. If I own a charter company, or a sailing school, I will want to take people out sailing and be on the same race course at the same time - even if its for two hours. There’s going to be a lot of opportunities because people will want to get out onto the water.

* You have a lot of wonderful yacht clubs here in the Bay Area and I suggest that different yacht clubs adopt different teams and be accommodating particularly to the overseas teams - let them have a home and get them involved here in your racing and regattas.

* It’s a time to celebrate the history of San Francisco - I think it’s intriguing that the Transpac actually started here before the Newport Bermuda race started on the east coast, for example. Either way, you have a lot of history here and museums so take advantage of this.

* It’s important to advertise - locally, nationally and internationally. We need some cool logos and the Event Authority has to come up with that kind of stuff. We need a really good, special “look”.

* Celebrity tie-ins - when the celebrities show up it adds to the cool factor. Presidents have always been involved in the Cup somehow - President Obama had Larry Ellison and the Team to the White House on June 30 last year.

* Charity tie-ins - the success that the Leukemia Cup has every year here tells me something about this Bay and that people here do think about charity. I do encourage the sport of sailing to do some things outside the sport of sailing like the Leukemia Cup.

* The tie-in with Silicon Valley - the information super highway is right here and there can be all kinds of associated corporate hospitality etc..

* Promote alternative activities for visitors…three days of watching races and you may like to go do something else, or at least your spouse may want to - wine country, Monterey - whatever.

* Visitors will want to meet the sailors and I recommend skippers’ forums - actually seeing and hearing these guys, not hiding them - these sailors need to be public figures. That’s got to be part of their job so I’m giving them that message through you.

* I do think your leaders - Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts - need to be more public and be out there so we can get to know them a little better.

* Celebrate and cherish the history of the America’s Cup. The 12 years just past are archaic compared to these catamarans that we’re about to see. It’s been 160 years but each of these boats was the fastest and most sophisticated design at the time that they were racing, and the sailors pushed the boats at an unbelievable pace. There are really intriguing engaging stories so I would celebrate the past and think about how cool it is to have it in San Francisco, building upon what happened in Valencia, Auckland, San Diego, Newport, Fremantle and the Isle of Wight.

* Send ambassadors out into the country and around the world to talk about how cool it is that it’s in San Francisco. Get a group of half a dozen people together and ask everybody to speak six times, 36 presentations around the US inviting people to come - whether it be at boat shows, various club meetings - tell the world you’re open for business, to come here and what are you selling? You’re selling having a really great time. That’s why you want to come - the America’s Cup will be part of history.

* Commercial ideas - I’d like to see 20 Lasers out the front here, tacking back and forth, spinning around, or a bunch of windsurfers and kite boarders out there, showcasing our sport.

* Hosting conferences for all kinds of things - have a conference here during AC34 for your business and come watch the sailing at the same time.

* For advertisers, for sponsors, the question is, “Will my association with the America’s Cup improve the reputation and the visibility of my product?” and most importantly, “Will I sell a little bit more as a direct result?”

Jobson finished with:

“The ONLY way to do this is for everybody in this room to keep talking about it in a really positive tone and that will be infectious. It will make a big difference.”


Gary Jobson:

John Craig: &

Panel Discussion: &

Thanks to organizers Sylvia Faison Wilkerson, Event Organizers; Michelle Slade, Slade Communications; Vince Casaleina,; Roger Krakow, Rough House; and volunteers Paige Brooks, Shaolin Low and Stephanie Handler.

* GoSailingSF, based in San Francisco, is a 501c3 non profit group organized to grow the sport of sailing in San Francisco., or for more information.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Following the fireworks that started up again late last week regarding costs to San Francisco for the 34th America’s Cup, a public meeting was held at City Hall on Wednesday to clarify changes made to the Host City Agreement (HCA) by the Mayor’s office and other City officials subsequent to the agreement approved by the Board of Supervisors on December 14, 2010. The meeting was held at the request of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

The significant changes to the HCA involved infrastructure improvement to be performed by America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) and the long-term development rights that are to be transferred from the City to the ACEA. The controversial topic concerned that of base rent, payable by the Event Authority to the Port, which in the initial HCA was to be set at a fair market rent established through an appraisal process, but now is stated in the amended agreement to be set at fixed per square foot rental rates. Details of the 22-page report can be viewed here.

SF Port’s Special Projects Manager, Brad Benson presented on the status of available Port properties and discussed the need to expend a minimum of $55 million on a broader variety of improvements which includes the potential for additional long-term leases and provides for the transfer of long-term development rights to the Event Authority on up to five Port properties including Piers 19, 23, 27, 29 and 80, in addition to the four Port properties- Piers 30-32, Seawall Lot 330 and Piers 26 and 28 previously authorized under the December 14 agreement.

The outcome? While Deputy City Attorney Rob Maerz stressed the need to look at the changes in totality, not isolation and noted that all provisions in the HCA are in the best interests of the City, the Budget and Finance subcommittee did make a recommendation that the Board of Supervisors review the HCA again at their meeting next Tuesday, March 22.

**In other City-Cup related news, the first draft of the City’s AC34 “People Plan”, should be unveiled by the end of the month. The document presents a big milestone in the planning for AC34 according to City sources. The People Plan is the piece of the action that will be interesting - and impactful - to everyone in the Bay Area as it covers transportation planning for the City during the Cup, such as how people will get around downtown and to the viewing areas to watch the racing in 2013.

Stephanie Handler contributed to this post (

Photo credit:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


SailBlast caught up with Paul Cayard after Katusha’s win at the ORACLE RC44 Cup San Diego. We talked about what’s happening at Artemis Racing and how the Team is coming together…

How’s the transition from the RC44 to the AC45?

PC: I have only sailed the AC45 the one day down in New Zealand. Terry Hutchinson is the guy to ask about multi hulls because he’s done a big transition program. He’s been training on the Extreme 40 for a few months now. The little bit of multi hull sailing I did do when I was in NZ was very interesting. I steered the boat for about three hours and it requires a lot of focus and concentration. Essentially you’re trying to sail the boat with the windward hull just skimming the water and it’s a very narrow groove to keep the boat in and the boat’s going very fast all the time so things happen quickly. I’m sure when you’re good at it, it becomes second nature but for me at this point it was just total concentration. I was quite worn out. I said to the guys, “Gees, if we race four or five races a day like this we’re going to be exhausted.”

Will you helm at all in the next Cup?

PC: No, I’m not thinking of steering at all. Terry’s going to be the helmsman and I’m the CEO. We’re all trying to be utilized in our highest and best use. With my experience, I think I’m in the right spot being the CEO and leader of the team. Terry’s a very accomplished sailor and in his prime, he’ll do a great job of being helmsman. I will sail some because I also plan to have a pretty active role in helping to develop the boats because that’s the experience I have. We have excellent people - we’ve hired Iain Percy for example, who is a double gold medalist in the Star and the Finn, we have Santiago Lange who is a double silver medalist in the Tornado - we have some very good athletes on the Team and that’s their job to concentrate 100% on being good sailors. If I’m doing my job well as CEO for the team I don’t have time to put that much time into sailing. There comes a time when you have to let certain parts go and concentrate on what you do and what you bring to the team and being a CEO is what I’m doing this time.

What’s the Team’s near term priority?

PC: We now have our AC45, which is getting rigged up and will be launched about March 19 in New Zealand. We’ll spend a month there training and getting used to the boat. We’re beginning the construction phases of our AC72, however it won’t be launched until early next year. We have a huge R&D project going on - our design offices are based in Spain. There’s a big body of work going on over there with about 40 people. We have 65 people on the team now so we’re a truly operating team. It’s been a big job gluing the team together with the management, communications and all the administrative functions that you have to have to run a company like this. We were a virtual start up so we have a lot of legal things - we have Melinda Erkelens on board as legal counsel who was previously with ORACLE, Chris Perkins as CFO who was with America One and ORACLE, and Bob Billingham, COO who was also with America One and ORACLE. We have an experienced management team but still it’s a start up and interesting issues this time with the World Series being sailed in different parts of the world. As a team we operate in different jurisdictions with a big part of the team in Spain but eventually we’ll be racing in the US…you get the picture. Administratively and managerially coordinating the group and contractually having things buttoned up is a big amount of work unto itself. That’s the body of work that nobody watching the race ever thinks about.

Has organizing a team necessarily become more sophisticated?

PC: Yeah, like everything in life, the ante just keeps going up. I woke up one day in January and said, you know, I want to work on our management the same way one would work on design, or the way in which Terry is working on the sailing. I want to put that kind of effort into having the best management team in the America’s Cup so I’ve dedicated myself to that these past few months. We started with a retreat we did with a management consulting firm call Bonfire and we had a big all-team meeting a week or so after that. We had the top ten managers on the team for a retreat, had an all team meeting in Valencia for three days - we’re getting our act together. It’s a challenge because we’re very decentralized. All teams are really. It’s one thing if everybody would move to Valencia or move to San Francisco for a couple of years and just park there but it’s very challenging to keep that team atmosphere, efficiency, management and organization when you’re spread out all over the world.

Certainly it’s early days yet, but as a Bay Area guy, how would it feel if Artemis won AC34 & took the Cup to Sweden?

PC: I don’t know for sure what Torbjorn Tornqvist’s (Chairman, Artemis Racing), has told the Royal Swedish Yacht Club. My guess is that being responsible for hosting the next Cup is something that Torbjorn would take very seriously. There’s a huge commercial aspect to running a successful America’s Cup. If he feels like it can be done in Sweden, I am sure he’ll do it there. If he thinks SF has proven to be a great model he might entertain the idea of keeping it in SF. I’m not sure it’s necessarily a foregone conclusion if we win the America’s Cup that it’ll go to Sweden - but I have to be clear, I don’t know what commitment Torbjorn has made to the yacht club.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

AC45s TO FOUR TEAMS - Kostecki & Burns talk up new cat

Four new AC45s are now in final assembly/fit out in Auckland by America’s Cup teams and as announced Tuesday, Swedish-flagged Artemis Racing has taken ownership of one of these boats, which they are busy assembling and will likely begin testing next week on the Hauraki Gulf.

A draw during the Competitors Forum for the first three available boats (after the prototype) determined delivery priority. Artemis drew first and got boat 1, a yet undisclosed team drew boat 2 and ORACLE Racing drew boat 3. Mascalzone Latino received boat 4 which was available slightly late. The draw was among those who had purchased the first four boats, as the first batch of boats available after the prototype were just four in total. The next boats come on line in April as production continues.

A major benefit to getting a fleet of AC45s out on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf is that the teams will quickly start testing the new rules and trial match racing the new cats,which they're undoubtedly looking forward to. SailBlast recently spoke with John Kostecki (tactician) and “Fresh” Burns (design team) from ORACLE Racing about the AC45, match racing, and the differences they view between the AC45 and the Extreme 40.

“We started the AC45 by looking closely at the X-40,” Fresh explained. “At one stage we considered using that for some our very early testing to sail with it or even for a circuit but decided to go to a purpose built design. We looked at the features that were good in the X-40 and also the failings of those boats. Thank goodness we did because the 45 turned out brilliantly. It’s a great platform for racing, a great all-round performer and a great way to introduce the wing sail into multi hull racing.”

Kostecki said the biggest difference - and the most obvious - is the wing sail on the AC45 versus the X-40 with soft sails. Additionally, the AC45 is a new design so it’s a lot more modern, for example, he said, it has significant hull shape refinements.

Said Kostecki, “One big benefit with the wing is that it’s quite easy to trim because it all comes down to how the sheet load is balanced on the mast so physically, pulling in the mainsheet will be really quick on an AC45 whereas on the X-40s you have a hydraulic mainsheet and hydraulic only happens so fast so it takes a long time to get a mainsheet on an X-40. I think match racing the AC45 will be a lot easier than the X-40 and you’ll be able to accelerate a lot quicker because of the wingsail efficiency."

Regarding the wing sail, Fresh stated, “It’s well suited to multi hulls because in general multi hulls can take a lot of power - their righting moment is very high because they are wide. Wing sails are particularly suitable to generating more force, moreso than the average soft sail Your average sail can generate what we call a lift co-efficient of about 1-2 - a wing sail can generate 2, 2 ½, 3, 31/2…depending on how you configure them, which means for a square meter of sail or square foot of sail you can three times the load out of them. Similarly - which is also very good - when you “feather” them so they’re not actually generating any force, they’re really low drag, much moreso than a flapping sail - a comparable thing in a soft sail. So, they’re versatile and very, very powerful.”

On match racing, Fresh thinks there’s a whole new world of match racing that no-one has fully thought through or practiced yet but ... it’s coming.

"We’re looking forward to that,” Fresh said. “There’s been a few surprises for us with the 45 and all of them pleasant. One of them is that the boat turns and tacks incredibly fast. In fact the boys have had a number of times where they’ve tacked and they couldn’t get across the boat fast enough because they were flying a hull. “It could be really good match racing (LOL), which is surprising because it’s just not what you immediately think of multi hulls and classic match racing.”

Kostecki said everyone's working really hard at making these boats interesting to match race, and open-minded to do whatever it takes.

"Right now we’re thinking of having a start and a really short windward leg and then go off on a reach. The first windward leg may only be a minute or two and then you go off onto a reach and these boats will be quite exciting on a reach (he laughs!), so then we’ll be coming down the city front…I think it’ll be pretty cool. I think off the wind there could be a fair amount of passing - a poor jibe could cost you a lot and you’ll be passed for example. You have to be open-minded, we’re going to change the race track to make it fun, to make it suitable for these fast boats.”

Sunday, March 6, 2011


It's more than a bonus that Mike Martin is tech savvy because in his new role as Director of Umpiring and Rules Administration for AC34, a job he officially starts Monday, he says his big push over the next few months will be working with Stan Honey to get the new technology we’ve all been hearing about up and running for the umpires to use.

“The big change in AC34 is the integration of the technology system," said Iain Murray, Regatta Director, America's Cup Race Management (ACRM). "That's where Mike's background as an engineer is invaluable.”

Martin’s near term priorities also include figuring out all the hardware, boats and communication equipment that his team will need for the rules testing that ACRM will be running late April/early May in Auckland in the AC45s (it’s expected that three or four additional AC45s will come on line this month).

The ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing AC34 edition published last week so it’s now the responsibility of ACRM - and specifically Martin - to hold those rules, maintain them and to recommend any desirable changes to competitors.

“With any set of new rules we are going to trial them and make sure they work - probably some modifications will have to be made,” Martin explained. “We have a radically different format than in the past with catamarans doing 35 knots, all on different configured race courses as well as shorter races, so the rules need to be different to address the characteristics of those boats.”

Martin explained that the testing will include setting up forced situations, for example, in a mark rounding where they’ll have a bunch of boats come into a rounding at once, to see how the new rules play out, then talk to the competitors and get their feedback. “I think it’s very different to the way rules are typically tested because most of the time you don’t have the opportunity for that format. We’re going to have the opportunity to have some of the top match racers in the world testing these rules and we have the ability to modify them.”

He says this new role is a little different than the experience he’s had on technical rules committees where he’d usually be concentrating on measurement and equipment rules but he’s embracing it. “I'm enjoying the opportunity to work with the racing rules. I think they needed updating especially for this new kind of format. I don’t have any history with the America’s Cup but I do have history with high performance boats.”

Martin, 46, grew up in Alexandria, VA, and has been racing since he was 11, on the Potomoc River and in Annapolis. He went to Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA), graduated in 1989 as a mechanical engineer, raced on the team there and won multiple national championships.

“We had a successful team with myself, Charlie Ogletree and Terry Hutchinson, it was quite the powerhouse team at the time,” he said. Martin won the Laser North Americans in ’85, and the Collegiate Single-handed championships in ’89, rounding out with a Finn campaign during and after college, moving to California in 1990 to Newport Beach for the Finn Olympic trials and never moving back.

He started sailing 505s and in ’99 won the World Championships crewing for Howie Hamlin. “I bought a 505 with the intention to drive but as it was really easy to find good drivers but hard to find good crew I wound up just crewing and sailing with some terrific sailors.” After his win in ’99, Martin started driving and found Jeff Nelson whom he started campaigning with in 2005 and finally won the Worlds in 2009 in San Francisco.

His favorite boat to sail? “I would have to say the 505, it’s high performance, it’s very good in a broad range of conditions. Ironically that’s the goal of the AC45 - high performance in all conditions,” Martin laughs. He’s also done a lot of I-18 skiff sailing, and with Howie Hamlin won the Worlds twice. “Sailing 18s is a lot of fun and obviously very high performance, it’s one of the few boats that will still scare me after all the sailing I’ve done, all the places I’ve sailed and all the conditions I’ve sailed in. It’s definitely a thrill.”

He hasn’t had a chance to sail on the AC45 yet but he plans on it. “We umpires need to as I think it’s very important for us to understand how the boat handles and what they are and aren’t capable of for example, in determining how hard someone tried to keep clear - whether they really could or couldn’t…”

And if you were wondering, Mike is married - for 10 years - to Stephanie Martin, Communications Director for America's Cup Event Authority.

*America’s Cup Chief Umpires for the past two Cup events were Bill Edgerton, Great Britain (AC33) and Brad Dellenbaugh, USA (AC32).

Top pic - Mike Martin helming in the 505 Worlds on San Francisco Bay, 2009