America’s Cup Veteran Shares Views at Yacht Club

Sailor Gary Jobson, the tactician who helped Ted Turned win the America’s Cup in 1976 and now serves as a commentator on the sport, spoke to about 130 members of the Alameda-based Oakland Yacht Club and guests on May 18. In addition to sharing his love of the sailboat racing and some history, Jobson also gave his opinions on the upcoming 34th America’s Cup races.

Despite the death of Team Artemis crew member Andrew Simpson during a training exercise in mid-May, he predicts the races will be held with great fanfare this summer. “Many people are coming from all over the world to San Francisco Bay for the events, though the unfortunate event with Team Artemis has raised eyebrows,” he said.

While he can’t predict what Alameda Point-based Team Artemis’ plans for the races will be ultimately, Simpson says the teams from New Zealand and Italy (Luna Rossa, operating out of Alameda Point) haven’t had problems are should “be at the starting line this summer” in their AC72 catamarans. The New Zealand catamaran, for instance, has hit speeds of 50 miles per hour.

Still, the veteran sailor thinks the Team USA, aka Oracle Racing, has “an edge.” The group is led by Australian-born skipper and helmsman James Spithall, who’s knows how to “come from behind” to win.

“This is the most exciting part about the America’s Cup, because you simply don’t know who will win,” explained Jobson. “Each of the 72s has an advantage in different winds and conditions. I don’t know who’ll win, and they don’t know either… and the weather really affects the races, too.”

The America’s Cup commentator, who will be working with ESPN and NBC during the races, says he loves being out on the water to watch the action. But Jobson believes the TV cameras will do an excellent job recording the sounds and sensational activity of the Bay Area sporting event, set to run from July 4 through Sept. 21.

Janet Levaux