4 May 2007After three-and-a-half years on the America’s Cup class circuit, South Africa’s Team Shosholoza remains the darling of the international sailing media. But the name increasingly being mentioned in specialist sailing publications is that of Jason Ker, principal designer of the team’s campaign yacht RSA 83.It came as no surprise then that Ker – like most of his Shosholoza teammates an America’s Cup first-timer – has been nominated for the prestigious Seahorse Magazine’s “Sailor of the Month” accolade.“Take a good young IRC designer and put him in charge of a small AC Class design team with an even smaller budget,” the nomination reads. “Offer him two new boats and then switch to a single boat campaign, meaning radical modifications to Boat 1 to stay competitive against teams with 20 times your design budget.“Well, the new kid’s doing pretty well, and tacticians in the top teams are taking care to treat Shosholoza with respect.”As principle designer for Team Shosholoza, Ker assembled and headed up a team of South African and international experts, most of whom were based in South Africa, for the first phase of a design process which started in September 2004. This was soon after the team had returned from the opening Acts of the 32nd America’s Cup in Marseille, France and Valencia, Spain in 2004.RSA 83 was launched a full seven months earlier than the next new boat designed and built to the Version 5 rules for the 32nd America’s Cup. It was intended as an early first boat to give the South African sailors a better chance to compete in 2005 and also to give the design team a good starting point from which to develop further.The hull of RSA 83 was built in a boat yard in Somerset West outside Cape Town and revealed to the South African public on 22 April 2005. The 2007 America’s Cup rules stipulate that the hull of the campaign yacht be built in the team’s home country.The hull was then shipped to Valencia, where the keel and first mast were fitted and the yacht officially launched on 19 May 2005.South Africa chose not to build a second new campaign yacht, based on the excellent performance of RSA 83 and the team’s very tight funds. However, fairly substantial modifications were made to RSA 83 over the 2006/07 European winter to eke out more speed from the boat and ensure that the South Africans’ remained competitive for the Louis Vuitton Cup, which it certainly has done.“The bow has been made much finer, so it goes through waves rather than over them,” Ker said of the changes to RSA 83. “We have added a bowsprit which is designed to enable the spinnaker to be attached as far forward as the rules allow, which would otherwise not have been possible as we’ve made the bow shorter.“The keel fin has had some minor adjustments. There is a new rudder, new bulb, loads of new sail designs, and the mast was new near the end of 2006.“In each case we found a performance gain that was worth the little money we could find to spend on it,” Ker said. “For us that’s a very important criterion. We can’t afford to chase after every tiny improvement we can think of, so we focus on only the best value ones – which are also not necessarily the cheapest.”Ker believes the newly modified RSA 83 is clearly faster than she was before. “The manoeuvrability is also substantially improved, so it has been easier to get good starts.”Shosholoza’s performance in the Louis Vuitton Act 13, and in the Louis Vuitton Cup so far, have certainly confirmed this. By Thursday, the South Africans were lying 7th after four flights of match races.When asked if he would tackle an America’s Cup campaign again, Ker’s reply was hardly surprising: “I would certainly want to do it again, yes, I’m addicted to it.”Ker described Shosholoza’s design team as “a small group of highly intelligent and effective individuals who have worked very well together as a team, improving sails, appendages, rig, hull and structures,” adding that he hoped the nomination by Seahorse would be seen “as recognition of their combined efforts.”SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
Shanghai’s Juneyao Airlines has become the first airline to operate under a new “Connecting Partner” model that allows smaller regional carriers to sign up with Star Alliance without paying full membership fees.The deal offers Star Alliance Gold Status passengers benefits such as lounge access, fast track security, additional baggage and priority check-in but not necessarily frequent flyer reciprocity.But the additional connectivity made available by the deal is only part of the story. It is also the first plank in a new strategy by the 28-member Star Alliance to expand its options by allowing regional, low-cost or hybrid airlines to link into its network without having to become a full member.Juneyao began operating in 2006 and now flies more than 10 million passengers annually on 62 Airbus A320 family aircraft. It operates from Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports and flies more than 80 domestic routes as well as international services to Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Thailand, Japan and Korea.It will connect in Shanghai with Star Alliance members Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana, Austrian, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines.Between them, the Star members operate more than 1,600 weekly services — 811 of them international —from the Chinese city to 64 destinations.“With Juneyao Airlines as a Connecting Partner we have achieved two important goals,’’ Star chief executive Jeffrey Goh said. “First, as an alliance we can offer regional airlines an attractive way to connect to our global alliance network, without requiring full membership.“Going forward, this will enable us to strategically enhance our network.“Second, with Juneyao Airlines we strengthen our market position in Shanghai, a city which is already served by 17 of our member airlines and which will now offer even better connectivity to our customers.’’Stars says the connecting partners will be carefully selected and be required to high operating standards.The model also allows the partners to enter bilateral commercial agreements with individual Star members that can include frequent flyer benefits.In the case of Juneyao Airlines, frequent flyer members of Air Canada, Air China, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines and United will be able to earn and burn miles when travelling on the Chinese airline.Star is celebrating its 20th birthday with a network that offers more than 18,400 daily flights to 1300 airports in 191 countries.Its main competitors are the oneworld and SkyTeam alliances.
Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market audrey watters A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#start#startups Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts XING founder Lars Hinrichs has launched a new pre-seed investment company, HackFwd. Although HackFwd provides financial support and mentorship to tech startups, HackFwd is not an incubator. In other words, rather than expecting startups to relocate to the company’s headquarters in Germany, HackFwd meetups will be distributed – something that might be very beneficial for European startups.According to the website, “We looked carefully at current VC models and realized they didn’t really cater to very early stage businesses. VCs can’t support small investments, which leaves a finance gap. Also, VCs don’t have the time or expertise to give strategic or creative input. This leaves an advice gap.”In addressing both this finance and advice gap, HackFwd provides startups up to 191,000 in funding, as well as support with legal and administrative requirements, talent-search, promotion and marketing. The goal: “Our start-up and support process accelerates the route to beta, profitability, and success.” Founders retain 70% equity with 30% going to HackFwd. While this is higher than some similar programs (YCombinator and TechStars take around 6%), the HackFwd program lasts a year, rather than only a few months. In an interesting twist, 3% of HackFwd’s cut is returned to the founders, for them to distribute in turn to advisors who helped them along the way.In their desire to help support “Europe’s most passionate geeks,” HackFwd will compete with other early stage investment opportunities in Europe, including SeedCamp. And even if you aren’t a European startup in search of some early-stage funding, a visit to the HackFwd website is well worth a visit, just to look at their infographic on the startup feedback loop (excerpted below).