27/05/2017 - Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers, Day 1,Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget

27/05/2017 – Bermuda (BDA) – 35th America’s Cup 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, Day 1, Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget

 

– ORACLE TEAM USA win two from two

– Land Rover BAR collide with SoftBank Team Japan

– Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan win one and lose one race each

– Groupama Team France only team not to register a day one race win

– ORACLE TEAM USA and Land Rover BAR are joint top of Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers leaderboard after day one

Sir Ben Ainslie was forced to explain a highly dramatic collision in the first day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers on Bermuda’s Great Sound.

Having already seen some thrilling and action-packed racing in the first five of the six races that were run on day one, particularly from ORACLE TEAM USA who claimed back-to-back wins, the drama really unfolded in the final race of the day between Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan.

In what proved the biggest flashpoint of the afternoon, both teams were looking for the advantage going into the start box, before the two boats collided at speed, resulting in a penalty being given to Sir Ben Ainslie and the British team. Damage was sustained to both boats, with the Olympic legend’s boat taking on water after the incident.

In scenes similar to the final week of practice racing, in which Land Rover BAR hit Emirates Team New Zealand, Ainslie again found himself having to defend his actions when questioned after racing.

“To be honest, to me it appeared six of one and half a dozen of the other,” said the Land Rover Bar helmsman, whose team suffered defeat in their second race of the day having enjoyed a morale-boosting win over Artemis Racing earlier in the day in race four.

“The collision was obviously unfortunate but these things happen when you are racing these boats.

“You don’t go out there intending to cause damage and so on that front it is was unfortunate to see both boats with damage.

“Unfortunately I’m not a boat builder so I’m not sure about the extent of the damage just yet, but no doubt both shore teams will be working incredibly hard to make sure we are both ready for tomorrow.

“However, for me it was fantastic just to see us competing and up to speed with all of the others. I believe we have silenced a lot of our doubters and I am just incredibly proud of all of our team.”

Meanwhile, SoftBank Team Japan helmsman Dean Barker, whose team suffered defeat to Artemis Racing in their first race of the day, bounced back with victory in race six and was relieved that none of his team had sustained any injuries in the collision with Land Rover BAR.

“We were incredibly lucky that there were no injuries sustained by the guys,” said the New Zealand native. “Maybe they were still in a bit of shock when we started racing but the way they regrouped and got back into things was fantastic.

“Ben has apologised. Clearly it was their mistake because they caused it but it doesn’t stop the guys in the shore team having to have a big workload tonight to put things right.

“You know what is about to happen. You can see it coming in slow motion but there is nothing you can do to stop it.

“What would have been worse is if their boat came a little bit higher over our hull, that would have been really dangerous.

“Fortunately we were able to carry on with the race and limp our way home. The guys did brilliantly to regroup in reply to what happened and get on with the race.

“The first race against Artemis Racing was disappointing. We had good pace and obviously tried hard to keep ahead but ultimately we couldn’t.

“However, what was pleasing was how we bounced back and got that victory in the final race.”

Meanwhile, it proved a highly positive day for the Defenders of the ‘Auld Mug’, ORACLE TEAM USA, who comfortably beat Groupama Team France in the opening race of the afternoon, before coming from behind to overcome Emirates Team New Zealand in what proved the highlight race of the day.

However, despite seeing ORACLE TEAM USA sit joint top of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers standings with three points, alongside Land Rover BAR, skipper Jimmy Spithill was left far from content as he refused to rest on his laurels ahead of day two tomorrow.

“The lads aren’t happy tonight. We can definitely sharpen up a lot ahead of tomorrow,” said the two-time America’s Cup winner.

“Of course it is good to end the first day with two wins from two races but we have got to sharpen up on what we do out there.

“Consistency is the key in a competition like this and so there is a lot for us to improve on.

“However, as I said, it is pleasing that we managed to finish this first day of competition and come away with two race wins.”

Another helmsman who was left with mixed feelings was Artemis Racing’s Nathan Outteridge, having seen his side claim a victory against SoftBank Team Japan, before somewhat surprisingly losing out to Land Rover BAR in race 4.

“It proved a very tiring first day of racing,” said Outteridge.

“Our first race we started slowly but you could see how hard we pushed to get back into the race and when the opportunity came, we took full advantage.

“The second race against Land Rover BAR, we just didn’t get any opportunity to pass them. It was disappointing to lose the race but we will look at ourselves and see what we can do to improve.

“However to get that first win on the board is really important. We had some strong performances in practice racing and so it was great to be able to bring that forward to today and get a first point banked.

“It was also pleasing to win in in the manner in which we did. We kept chipping away, put pressure on SoftBank Team Japan, and then, to get something, that feeling was really good.”

Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling was left satisfied with his team’s showing on the first day, having also taken one win from the day, overcoming Groupama Team France, before losing out to ORACLE TEAM USA in their second race of the day.

“It is really great for us to have got a win on the board,” said the youngest helmsman competing.

“Having taken that win, we always knew it was going to be tough taking on ORACLE TEAM USA. We put up a strong challenge and matched them throughout the race but they just edged us in the end.

“Having lost it late on was a little frustrating but I’m really happy with our first day on the water.

“We’re now excited to get back into action tomorrow and no doubt we’ll be racing hard again.”

Meanwhile, it proved a difficult day for Groupama Team France, who suffered defeats in both their encounters, losing to both ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand.

However, having faced two of the highly-fancied teams on the first day, helmsman Franck Cammas is remaining hopeful of an improved showing from the French team in the days to come.

“Today to have our first two matches against teams like ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand was a hard way to start the America’s Cup,” said Cammas.

“We knew those teams were among the best teams but we wanted to be closer to them than we were in the end.

“We have to work hard and try and understand why we weren’t fast today. We also need some big improvements in the maneuvers and so there is a lot to work on for us.

“We will try for sure to improve as quickly as possible. Every day is different and so we will see what tomorrow brings.”

Race results

Race 1: ORACLE TEAM USA beat Groupama Team France
Race 2: Artemis Racing beat SoftBank Team Japan
Race 3: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Groupama Team France
Race 4: Land Rover BAR beat Artemis Racing
Race 5: ORACLE TEAM USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand
Race 6: SoftBank Team Japan beat Land Rover BAR

 

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo © George Bekris)

 

In a thrilling winner-take-all final race, Emirates Team New Zealand unhooked itself from a starting buoy to win the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York with the high score of 52 points.

Another large crowd, estimated at 100,000, turned out on a sunny day and was treated to some very unpredictable racing. This after over 75,000 came out on Saturday.

Watch a recap here

 

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

No lead was ever safe on Sunday as the wind shifted through wide arcs from the west to the north and ranged anywhere from 5 to 20 knots.

“It was one of those series where everyone had good luck and bad luck, but we got our good luck at the end of the regatta,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby. “It was exciting and crazy at the same time. Today it was important to keep your cool and stay focused.”

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

The Kiwi crew, led by Ashby and World Sailor of the year and Red Bull Youth America’s Cup champion helmsman Peter Burling, was literally dead in the water at the start of Race 3. Crewman Blair Tuke had to jump in the water to unhook the starting buoy’s anchor line from the catamaran’s rudder. Making matters worse, the port hull was punctured by the buoy and water was leaking into the hull throughout the race.

“We saw the buoy coming at us with about 20 seconds to go,” said Ashby. “It wasn’t ideal but we were lucky in the end.”

 

The Kiwi crew’s luck came full circle on the next-to-last leg. They rounded the last windward mark in fifth place, about 42 seconds behind leading SoftBank Team Japan. But as all the crews began the downwind leg they sailed into a patch of no wind that engulfed the course.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

As the leg was perpendicular to the southerly flowing current, some of the crews were being swept over the course boundary. Land Rover BAR, Groupama Team France and SoftBank Team Japan all were penalized for crossing the boundary in the current.

The Kiwis, further behind, held in the middle of the course and when the wind filled in the Kiwis took off on their hydrofoils at 16 to 20 knots boatspeed, leaving the rest of the fleet gasping in disbelief.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

At one point during the final race ORACLE TEAM USA looked to be in position to win. Skipper Jimmy Spithill and crew won the start and led around the first two mark roundings. But Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan grabbed the lead by working the right side of the course while ORACLE TEAM USA struggled on the right side. In the end the reigning America’s Cup champion placed second in the race and second for the series.

“The crowd was insane,” said Spithill. “Today was great for the fans. In these conditions you have to roll with the punches and keep fighting. We wanted to win but we’ll take the second place. The Kiwis got a Hail Mary there at the end, but you have to take your hat off to them and congratulate them.”

Third went to Franck Cammas’ Groupama Team France, winner of Race 2. SoftBank Team Japan placed fourth, Land Rover BAR fifth and Artemis Racing sixth.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

Illustrating just how challenging the day was on the short, confined racecourse, Nathan Outteridge’s crew won the first race going away but was then sixth in Races 2 and 3.

“We got a little bit of luck in the first race and managed to hold on, but we had some terrible moments in the last two races…” said Outteridge. “You can’t get people to come watch sailing if you don’t bring it to them. That’s what we’ve done here. When the America’s Cup is in Bermuda next year, in super high-tech boats, we’ll get some amazing racing.”

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series now moves onto Chicago, June 10-12. After that it heads to Europe for events in the U.K. in July and France in September.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York Final Standings

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 52 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 50 points
3. Groupama Team France – 44 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 42 points
5. Land Rover BAR – 42 points
6. Artemis Racing – 40 points

 

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings
(After six events)

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 244 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 236 points
3. Land Rover BAR – 227 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 203 points
5. Artemis Racing – 201 points
6. Groupama Team France – 194 points

 

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

 

4/07/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin - Race Day 5 - ETNZ Vs Artemis Racing (DNS)

Emirates Team New Zealand today scored its fourth point in four races of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series.

Skipper Dean Barker and the Kiwi crew sailed the course unopposed because its scheduled opponent, Artemis Racing, is still assembling its AC72. Yesterday, the Swedish team said it hopes to be on the water by next weekend.

About today’s race:

Emirates Team New Zealand sailed the five-leg America’s Cup course
Course length: 9.89 nautical miles
Elapsed time: 25 minutes, 56 seconds
Total distance sailed: 11.44 nautical miles
Average speed: 26.52 knots (30.5 mph)
Top speed: 40.62 knots (46.7 mph) on the final reaching leg to the finish
Wind speed: average 15.78 knots; peak gust 19.7 knots

Quotes from Rob Waddell, grinder for Emirates Team New Zealand:
On the day’s race: “It’s always a good day to bring the boat in and not have anything major happen to it. It’s a fast and exciting boat, but there’s risk there. You have to make sure everything runs smoothly, and we’re looking forward to getting more racing under our belt.”
On his position grinding on Pedestal 2: “We named our crewmembers based on the pedestal, but we quite like names like ‘freestyler’ and things like that. So we might have to get more inventive than ‘Pedestal 2.’ Where I stand on Pedestal 2 is more in the aft end of the boat so I tend to be more tied up with wing trim. But you end up going throughout boat. I think a skill of the crew is knowing what to prioritize and what’s important and when to do it.”
Waddell won a gold medal in the single sculls in the 2000 Olympics, and he commented on the physical exertion compared to grinding on an AC72: “They’re both physical. The new AC72’s a really physical boat. It’s equally demanding as anything I’ve done in a single scull. I guess the difference is that in the scull you’re doing a 7-minute sustained push. You don’t really stop in the 30 or 40 minutes of racing the AC72, but it’s very loaded, very heavy and lots of it. You come off wishing you were fitter, stronger, faster, but you do what you can.”

Quotes from David Carr, grinder for Luna Rossa Challenge, guest commentator on the host broadcast:
“Difference between a foiling jibe and non-foiling jibe is about 100 meters.”
“Perfect foiling height is about one-half meter above the water.”

The schedule ahead:
Tuesday, July 16, Artemis Racing vs. Luna Rossa Challenge
Thursday, July 18, Artemis Racing vs. Emirates Team New Zealand
Saturday, July 20, Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Artemis Racing
Sunday, July 21, Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Luna Rossa Challenge

14/07/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin - Race Day 5 - ETNZ Vs Artemis Racing (DNS)

Opening Ceremony emcee Ted Robinson (left) and ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill talk about the America's Cup (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget)

The 2013 America’s Cup opened amid great fanfare and celebration today with the grand Opening Ceremony on the main stage at the America’s Cup Pavilion.

With the sailors of the four teams contesting the 2013 America’s Cup—ORACLE TEAM USA, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge and Artemis Racing—standing behind her, Lucy M. Jewett, recently elected to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, brought the opening ceremony to a close by saying, “Let the racing begin.”

Streamers help close the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 America's Cup with the sailors from the four teams on stage. (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget)

With those words paper streamers were shot from air guns, a flock of doves was released and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” rang out over the full house crowd that took in the Opening Ceremony, a fraction of the 30,000 visitors who toured the Park on a sun-splashed Independence Day holiday in the United States.

For the first time since 1995, the America’s Cup is being hosted in the U.S.

“Welcome to San Francisco,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “It’s an honor and privilege to be the mayor of the host city for the America’s Cup.”

“I’d like to extend a big thank you to San Francisco for making all of this possible,” said America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay. “This won’t be remembered as the 2013 America’s Cup or the 34th America’s Cup, but the San Francisco America’s Cup.”

The Opening Ceremony featured cultural performances from the four competing nations. The U.S. was represented by the Recycle Percussion troupe, New Zealand by the Maori performing arts group Te Waka Huia, Italy by the tenor Pasquale Esposito and Sweden by the Voices of Sweden Choir.

Charlotte Schultz, David Chiu, Monique Moyer, Stephen Barclay and Valérie Chapoulaud (left to right) at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the America's Cup Park, at Piers 27/29. (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget)

Additional performances were from Misa Malone, from the cast of Beach Blanket Babylon, who sang “San Francisco,” and Nayah Damasen, an 8-year-old from San Jose, Calif., who sang the National Anthem. Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard and the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps ushered in the American flag and the flags of Italy, New Zealand and Sweden.

The park officially opened shortly after noon time with San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Monique Moyer, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco, Valérie Chapoulaud, the CEO of Louis Vuitton Americas, Charlotte Schultz, the Chief of Protocol for the city and county of San Francisco, and the ACEA’s Barclay, participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the entrance to the America’s Cup Park.

When the gates opened a few thousand people flooded into the park. As the crowd increased into the tens of thousands throughout the afternoon, the fans took in many of the exhibits and fan friendly lounge areas and concessions.

One visiting family was the Browns from Destin, Fla., who changed their typical summer vacation plans to visit San Francisco for the month of July.

“We’re very impressed with the venue,” said Alex Brown “My husband Jerry is very excited about the America’s Cup.”

“We’re looking forward to getting out on the water and watching the racing,” said Jerry Brown.

Tomorrow the America’s Cup action takes to the water with a fleet parade scheduled to begin at 11:00 am PT. The parade of some 45 boats is expected to include the AC72s, the foiling, flying catamarans developed specifically for the 2013 America’s Cup. The parade will pass along the city front to the America’s Cup Village, at Marina Green.

At 12:15 pm PT Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge and ORACLE TEAM USA are scheduled to participate in the AC72 Time Trials, which will be held over the five-leg America’s Cup course. The starts will be staggered by 10 minutes off the America’s Cup Village and finish off the America’s Cup Park with many viewing opportunities along the shoreline.

On race day afternoons throughout the Summer of Racing, the America’s Cup Pavilion stage will showcase local performing artists free to the public. The Opening Weekend features five local bands with the first of these performances on Friday, July 5, from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm PT.

The headliner act is New Diplomat, an American Alternative – Electronic Rock band. Featuring members from around the world, the band formed in 2010 and has since gathered a significant following, blending a combination of alt rock, indie pop and electronic music.

The opening act is The Five Hundreds, a San Francisco-based classic rock band that plays a mix of well-crafted original songs and high-energy rock and roll covers.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Lucy M. Jewett and Regatta Director Iain Murray (left to right) at the Opening Ceremony for the 2013 America's Cup. (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget)

 

Photo by Artemis Offshore Academy

 

In brief
•    130 days of competitive short-handed racing planned this year for the Academy Squad – a 20% increase on 2012
•    Academy recruits inspired by recent Vendée Globe, as 3rd placed finisher Alex Thomson extols the virtues of the Academy: “In England we are very fortunate in having the Artemis Offshore Academy for short-handed sailing.” 
•    Mark Andrews, Ed Hill and Jack Bouttell continue their solo Figaro training in France with Team GBR Finn coach Matt Howard and seven time Solitaire du Figaro veteran Nico Berenger. Read Matt Howard’s final report on his week with the Academy squad here.
•    Nikki Curwen kick starts her Mini training in Lorient with her sights firmly set on the 2013 Mini Transat
•    Academy graduates Sam Goodchild and Henry Bomby train at Pole Finistere, the elite French offshore training centre
•    Part-time Squad sailors training in double-handed racing to compete in the RORC’s offshore race programme

In full
The 2012/13 Vendée Globe race has proved to be record-breaking for the top three skippers, beating the previous 84-day record. At the age of 29, François Gabart (Macif) sailed into the record books as the youngest winner and fastest skipper ever to finish the race in an incredible time of 78 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds. The race was also the closest ever as just 3 hours later fellow Breton skipper Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) crossed the finish line to take 2nd place. Taking 3rd place to set a new British Circumnavigation record was Gosport based Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) who finished after 80 days and 19 hours on the course. Commenting at his press conference Thomson said: “In England we are very fortunate in having the Artemis Offshore Academy for short-handed sailing. They have supported the sport well and there are some good people coming through the ranks.”  

The Artemis Offshore Academy squad followed the race day by day and have found inspiration from the performance of these great sailors. The Academy is developing British short-handed sailing talent by providing an intensive training programme for aspiring sailors who want to follow in the footsteps of British Vendée Globe sailors Dame Ellen MacArthur, Alex Thomson and Mike Golding. The Academy programme is designed to bring these ambitious sailors up through the ranks into the demanding world of short-handed offshore racing, and in 2013 the Academy will one again be competing on the world stage in over 130 days of competitive racing, a 20% increase from 2012, with the Solitaire du Figaro, Rolex Fastnet Race and Mini Transat being the highlight events of the year for the Figaro and Mini classes respectively.

Academy graduates Sam Goodchild and Henry Bomby have recently begun their 2013 training at the elite Pole Finistere offshore training centre in Brittany France. Sam and Henry are training alongside the likes of Francois Gabart and Armel Le C’leac’h as they focus on the main event of the season, the Solitaire du Figaro. “The great thing about joining the Pole Finistere centre is that we’ll  train with many of the greats in Figaro and solo offshore racing to really develop our skills further and learn from the best of the best” explained Sam. Read Henry and Sam’s recent blogs about training at the elite Pole Finisterre here.
 


The Artemis Offshore Academy 2013 race programme. Download the programme here.

“The Solitaire du Figaro would be the highlight race of the year for me, but there is a lot to learn beforehand,” reported squad sailor Jack Bouttell, who is hoping to secure a place in the four-stage Solitaire du Figaro alongside Sam, Henry and Nick Cherry. The 44th Solitaire du Figaro will start from Bordeaux on the 2nd of June. “As well as the Solitaire du Figaro we also have the legendary Rolex Fastnet Race, followed by the Mini Transat in the calendar, these races combined with the other Figaro, Mini and double-handed events make it our most comprehensive race programme to date,” expanded John Thorn, Artemis Offshore Academy Performance Director.


Jack Bouttell © Lloyd Images

“The full-time Squad of Mark Andrews, Ed Hill and Jack Bouttell are currently training at the Centre d’Entrainement Méditerranée under the guidance of seven-time Solitaire du Figaro veteran Nico Bérenger as they prepare for their first solo race of the season, the ICOM CUP in March. While full-time Mini sailor Nikki Curwen has also moved to France to train in the Lorient Grand Large Mini group led by renowned solo coach, Tanguy Le Glatin, before she too moves south to Italy and prepares for the Roma Mini Solo,” explained John.  Read John’s latest blog here.


  Academy soloists Jack Bouttell, Mark Andrews and Ed Hill in La Grande Motte © Artemis Offshore Academy

Mini sailor Nikki Curwen, was born with Class Mini blood in her veins – her father Simon Curwen finished in a brilliant second place in the 2001 edition of the Mini Transat beating pro’s like Brian Thompson and Sam Davies. Simon still holds the accolade for highest placed British competitor.  Nikki is focusing on qualifying for the 4,020nm Mini Transat from Douarnenez, France to Pointe á Pitre, Guadeloupe in October: “The Mini Transat is the ultimate challenge – being on your own in a tiny little 21ft boat with no communication to land for over 30 days. The mental aspect and preparation is as great a challenge, as is the physical ability!”  Firstly, Nikki must complete her qualification miles – 1000nm racing in the Roma Mini Solo and the Gran Premio d’Italia, as well as 1000nm solo passage on her boat Mini 438. Nikki hopes to have qualified by mid-May, however, simply qualifying does not guarantee her a place on the starting grid, she will join the short waiting list of eager Mini sailors vying to compete , whilst spending the summer months raising the final part of required funding that she needs to compete, and follow in her Father’s footsteps.


Nikki Curwen and the newly refitted Mini 6.50 © Artemis Offshore Academy

Meanwhile part-time Academy sailors, Robin Elsey, Sam Matson, Dyfrig Mon, and Alex Gardner, will be training throughout the year in a double-handed racing season from Cowes, UK, as Alex reports: “Our double-handed programme this year is all focused towards doing the RORC Fastnet race in August, and hopefully the Tour de Bretagne in early September.”  For this group of sailors the first race of the season is the RORC Cervantes Trophy in May. “I am really looking forward to our first race, and at 140nm the race won’t be the longest of the year, but a perfect way to start what will be a pivotal season for me.”


Part-time Academy squad member Alex Gardner © Lloyd Images

This is an exciting time for all members of the Artemis Offshore Academy as training intensifies both on and off the water.  A series of interviews with the Academy sailors will be published online over the coming weeks to look at their campaigns in more detail.

Read Team GBR Finn coach Matt Howard’s final report on his week with the Academy squad here

Follow the Academy on Facebook and Twitter for real time news.

Artemis Offshore Academy 2013 Race Programme
ICOM MED CUP – Figaro – Solo – 6–12 March
Roma Mini Solo – Mini – Solo – 15–18 March
Solo Arimer- Figaro – Solo – 9– 13 April
Gran Premio d’Italia – Mini – Solo – 13 – 21 April
Solo Concarneau – Figaro – Solo – 4-9 May
RORC Cervantes Trophy – Figaro – Double-handed – 4-5 May
UK Solent 6.50 – Mini – Double-handed – 5-7 May
UK Fastnet 6.50 – Mini – Double-handed – 12-18 May
RORC Myth of Malham – Figaro – Double-handed – 25-26 May
Round the Island Race – Figaro – Fully crewed – 1 June
Solitaire du Figaro – Figaro – Solo – 2-23 June
Trophée Marie-Agnés Péron – Mini – Solo – 13-15 June
RORC De Guingand Bowl – Figaro – Double-handed – 14-16 June
Mini Fastnet – Mini – Double-handed – 23-27 June
RORC Morgan Cup – Figaro – Double-handed – 28-30 June
RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Marlo – Figaro – Double-handed – 12-14 July
RORC Channel Race – Figaro – Double-handed – 27-28 July
Cowes Week – Figaro – Fully crewed – 3-10 August
RORC Rolex Fastnet – Figaro – Double-handed – 11-18 August
Le Grande 8 – Mini – Solo/Double-handed – 18-25 August
Tour de Bretagne – Figaro – Double-handed – 1-7 September
RORC Cherbourg Race – Figaro – Double-handed – 6-8 September
Mini Transat – Mini – Solo – 13 October till approximately 23 November

 

 

Spithill and Oracle Team USA (Photo © Guilain Grenier/ORACLE TEAM USA)

Spithill and Oracle Team USA (Photo © Guilain Grenier/ORACLE TEAM USA)

ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL heads into Thursday’s start of the ACWS – Venice looking to extend its overall lead at the penultimate event of the 2011-12 ACWS season.

ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL leads the overall standings by 1 point after placing second last month in Naples. That helped skipper Jimmy Spithill and his four-man crew leap Emirates Team New Zealand into the top spot. Teams have been accumulating points in the two formats since the first regatta last August in Portugal.

Venice figures to be more than just a change of scenery. The 14th century Gothic architecture of the historic city will provide a photogenic backdrop for the speedy AC45 wingsail catamarans, and a tight racecourse will keep crews jumping more than normal on the athletic cats.

“I think it’s going to be a fantastic event from an iconic picture – racing in the canals of Venice is gonna be cool,” said Spithill, who at 30 years of age in 2010 became the youngest skipper to ever win the America’s Cup.

Spithill ©Guilain Grenier/ORACLE TEAM USA

Spithill at press conference ©Guilain Grenier/ORACLE TEAM USA

At today’s opening press conference Spithill recognized Italian soccer
star Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon by wearing a jersey of the Italian national
team. Buffon was goalkeeper for Italy when it won the World Cup in 2006 and also stars for Serie A club Juventus F.C. Spithill and Buffon traded jerseys yesterday after Buffon sailed on the canals with ORACLE TEAM USA.

“Gigi is a legend,” Spithill said. “He sailed with us yesterday. It’s great to be able to show athletes from other codes how athletic our sport is. These guys are blown away by what they see.”

ORACLE TEAM USA BUNDOCK holds fifth in the overall standings,
20 points behind Spithill and crew. Skipper Darren Bundock will welcome a new tactician to his crew: Russell Coutts, the team CEO and four-time America’s Cup winner. Coutts steps in for Tom Slingsby, who is taking time to focus on his Laser campaign for the London Olympics.

“Russell is a true legend in the America’s Cup and a great addition to our boat tactically. Russell has been thrown in at the deep end. He’s up front, pulling ropes and seeing how physical he’s made these boats! How often do you get to boss the boss around? Normally he’s used to be being at the back of the boat giving orders. Now he’s at the front coping with them.”

Racing in Venice will be a mixture of fleet and match racing. The final fleet race on Sunday, May 20, will award more points than the first six races – 30 points for first as opposed to 10 points – which should afford many in the fleet an opportunity to shake-up the standings.

“Most of the teams in Naples put in a lot of practice time. We’re seeing a bit of equalization going on where anyone can win a race,” said Team USA Spithill tactician John Kostecki. “It’s becoming tougher to get an advantage and be at the very top. That’s a good evolution and I’m sure we’ll see more of that to come in Venice.”

“I think the racecourse could be really tricky,” Spithill said. “The racing will be inshore, flat water, narrow lanes…the boundary will be the shoreline. That’ll be great for the spectators and I think we’ll see a lot of people.”

ACWS – Venice is the fifth of six stops on the inaugural America’s Cup World Series. The final event is scheduled for Newport, R.I., home to the Cup for 25 years, in late June.

 

2011-12 America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings
Team (Country) Match – Fleet — Total
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL (USA) 30 – 37 — 67
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 30 – 36 — 66
3. Artemis Racing (SWE) 33 – 21 — 54
4. Energy Team (FRA) 25 – 23 — 48
5. ORACLE TEAM USA BUNDOCK (USA) 26 – 21 — 47
5. Team Korea (KOR) 25 – 22 — 47
7. China Team (CHN) 11 – 13 — 24
8. Green Comm Racing (ESP) 11 – 12 — 23
9. Luna Rossa Piranha 9 – 10 — 19
10. Luna Rossa Swordfish 7 – 5 — 12
(After four of six scheduled events)

Venice  © ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

Venice © ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

The America’s Cup World Series has moved north. After the excitement of Naples, the next stop is Venice and this past week has seen the build out of the AC Village and team bases, as well as the first test sailing by one of the teams.

Within a week of the ship containing all of the AC World Series ‘materiel’ arriving in Venice, team bases were sprouting up, the AC Village in the Arsenale was taking shape, the television compound on Lido Island was being erected and the Italian team, Luna Rossa Challenge, had gone for its first sail with both crews.

With just one World Series regatta under its belt in Naples, Luna Rossa is out of contention for the 2011-12 AC World Series title. But that hasn’t made the team any less keen to be at the top of its game performing on home waters. It’s ‘Piranha’ crew, led by Chris Draper, won the Fleet Racing Championship in Naples – a sparkling debut. Now the team is hoping these early practice sessions will pay dividends in Venice.

America's Cup World Series Standings

America's Cup World Series Standings

At the top of the overall leaderboard, ORACLE Racing’s James Sptihill holds the slimmest of leads – one point – over Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand. Artemis Racing, with an impressive Match Racing win in Naples, has closed the gap in third place.

So it’s all to play for when the Championship Racing starts in Venice on May 17, in the penultimate event in the opening circuit. The 2011-12 AC World Series will then conclude in Newport, Rhode Island, home of the Cup from 1930 to 1987, at the end of June. And preparations are already ramping up there. It’s going to be an exciting few weeks in the 34th America’s Cup.

 

AC World Series Venice Village

AC World Series Venice Village

 

AC World Series crews have the opportunity to compete for €50,000 in prize money in the City of Venice Trophy on May 12-13. The invitational regatta, organized and announced today by the yacht club Venice Compagnia della Vela, marks the opening of a nine-day celebration of the America’s Cup World Series in the historic Italian city.

With €50,000 at stake, the City of Venice Trophy becomes an important prologue to the AC World Series championship. The new, two-day event consists of five, 30-minute fleet races, to be sailed on a course just outside Lido Island.

But the highlight will be Sunday’s long fleet race, which starts outside Lido Island and finishes just off St. Marks Square. The first team to finish at St. Marks Square will receive the City of Venice Trophy presented by Arzanà Navi as well as a cash prize of €30,000. The remaining €20,000 in prize money is distributed to the top three crews from the five 30-minute fleet races.

Download the Notice of Race for the City of Venice Trophy here

The results of City of Venice Trophy will not count towards the overall AC World Series rankings, but the generous prize money is sure to stoke competitive fires among the teams.

“This is a great opportunity for us to get in some meaningful racing against the other teams,” said Luna Rossa Challenge skipper Max Sirena. “We were always planning on sailing as early as possible in Venice, and now the City of Venice Trophy represents a great opportunity to participate in an additional very exciting and spectacular race.”

“The debut of the AC45s racing in Venice will certainly be very interesting,” said Mayor Giorgio Orsoni. “To have the teams competing for a trophy that bears the name of the city adds prestige to an already important event. Special thanks for this must go to Arzanà Navi, which has chosen to support us.

“This two-day regatta, with the grand finale a unique point to point race from Lido to St. Marks Square, is a first step towards seeing Compagnia della Vela as a host for high level sailing. This is a beautiful way to begin this nine day event, which we hope will be memorable, both for Venetians and for those who want to discover a new face of Venice – one linked to its traditions and the sea, but also to technology and a lesser known part of the city, the Arsenale, where the catamarans berth after racing for the City of Venice Trophy.”

The weekend of May 12-13 also marks the opening of the public event village for the full nine-day festival, highlighted by the championship races of the America’s Cup World Series Venice.

Championship Racing in the AC World Series Venice runs from May 17-20 and here, every race matters. Venice is the penultimate event in the 2011-12 World Series and James Spithill’s ORACLE Racing crew holds the overall lead by just one point over Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand.

Nine crews from seven countries are competing in the AC World Series in Venice, including: Artemis Racing (Sweden), skipper Terry Hutchinson; China Team (China), skipper Fred Le Peutrec; Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), skipper Dean Barker; Energy Team (France), helmsman Loïck Peyron; Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), with two boats, helmsmen Chris Draper and Paul Campbell-James; ORACLE Racing (USA) with two boats, skippers James Spithill and Darren Bundock; and Team Korea (Korea) with skipper Nathan Outteridge.

Cardiff  © Nick Treharne

Cardiff © Nick Treharne

 

The UK round of the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series™ now in its sixth year will be staged in Cardiff the capital of Wales between the 24-27 August, 2012. In a three-year deal, Cardiff won the bid to host the UK event of this global sailing circuit that is only one of four events with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Special Event status, positioning the city alongside the other seven premium international sporting venues hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act in 2012. The host venue agreement with Cardiff City is backed by a Welsh Government grant for 2012-2014.

The Extreme 40 catamarans, raced by many of the world’s best sailors, will race on Cardiff Bay over four days with the event open to the public between the 25-27 August as the Extreme 40 fleet race in the circuit’s action packed ‘stadium’ format.

Executive chairman of the organising company behind the series, Mark Turner of OC ThirdPole, said: “The circuit continues to represent perfectly the developments in the world at large, with its balance of east and west, different cultures and languages and variety of conditions.

“Year on year the commercial value to the host cities of securing this event for the host venues has steadily increased, and this is reflected in 2012 developments. A pro-active and innovative host venue is critical to the success of the event, and we are very excited in this respect by the partnership with Cardiff and the Welsh Government.”

Cardiff Council’s Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure Cllr, Nigel Howells commented: “It’s great news that Cardiff has secured the Extreme Sailing series for the next three years, as a council we will do all that we can to support the event.

“Cardiff has proved time and time again that it can play host to a variety of world class sporting events. From top class football and rugby to newer events like Extreme Sailing. Since the opening of Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) in 2010 more and more watersport events are coming to Cardiff, which is helping to attract a new audience to Cardiff and Wales.”

The 2012 Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at 8 different international venues across three continents, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. Alongside other significant media exposure, once again a dedicated TV series will be produced and broadcast on up to 40 channels around the world, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Channel 4 (UK), Sky (UK), Al Jazeera, Fox (Latin America, Australia Middle East), ESPN, Sport+ (France), RAI (Italy).

As we enter the final countdown to the first Act in Oman, the 2012 team line-up will be revealed this coming weekend at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.

2012 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1 : Muscat, Oman 28th February-2nd March
Act 2 : Qingdao, China 17th-20th April*
Act 3 : Istanbul, Turkey 7th-10th June
Act 4 : Porto, Portugal 5th-8th July
Act 5: Cardiff, UK 24th-27th August
Act 6 : Trapani, Italy 13th-16th September
Act 7 : Nice, France 18th-21st October
Act 8 : Brazil 29th November-2nd December

Due to official Chinese naval activities in the port of Qingdao, Act 2 will now be staged between 17th-20th April instead of the 19th-22nd April as previously communicated

 

Extreme Sailing Series Boston  Artemis and Red Bull (Photo © George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing Series Boston Artemis and Red Bull (Photo © George Bekris)