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

 

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

He’s done it! At 1738hrs UTC (1938hrs CET) on Monday 21st April 2014, the IDEC maxi-trimaran crossed the finishing line in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Francis Joyon has set a new reference time for the Friendship Route between Bordeaux (France) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). His race time: 13 days, 03 hours, 05 minutes and 19 seconds for the theoretical 4812 miles.

 

ALF0651Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon left Bordeaux on Tuesday 8th April beginning in the Gironde Estuary at 1433hrs UTC. This was merely four days after officially going on stand by with the support in particular  of the French football team, the Girondins de Bordeaux and Fabien Barthez among others. This new Friendship Route between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro was designed to bring together France and Brazil and come to the aid of charities in Brazil, as well as the ICM, the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute in France.

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

An average speed of 15.2 knots on the Great Circle Route and 18.1 knots out on the water

 

IDEC’s race time: 13 days, 03 hours, 05 minutes and 19 seconds to sail the 4812 miles of the theoretical route or 15.27 knots. In reality, IDEC sailed 910 miles more out on the water: 5722 nautical miles at an average speed of 18.16 knots. The explanation: Francis Joyon had to go around all the low-pressure areas from Cape Finisterre to the middle of the Atlantic. He had no hesitation in sailing 900 miles away from the direct route. Once again, Francis Joyon has managed to get the most out of his maxi trimaran to play with the various weather systems. He very often got up to around thirty knots…

The final 24 hours of sailing along the coast of Brazil were very demanding for the skipper of IDEC, who had to sail upwind for the final 120 miles to Rio de Janeiro. Exhausted after missing out on his sleep, Francis Joyon had to keep hard at it, carrying out changes of tack and many manoeuvres to reach the finishing line. These thirteen days of sailing were rather unusual as he had to sail a long way north to get to the west and this demanded a lot of effort. A few moments after crossing the line, Francis Joyon gave us his first impressions of this new record.

What Francis Joyon told us at the finish

His first reaction

I’m really pleased to have finished, as the final 24 hours were very testing. Physically I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept for two days because of the conditions, but also because there is really a lot of shipping along the coast of Brazil. You have to remain alert all the time. This is a particularly exhausting job.”

The final 24 hours at sea

The final hurdle was very stressful. Around midnight last night, I found myself in a huge storm, which was quite impressive… and the wind suddenly swung around 180 degrees. I went from downwind sailing to upwind sailing with the wind strength all over the place going from 10 to 25 knots in just a few seconds. Aboard a giant multihull like IDEC, these are challenging conditions. You have to keep manoeuvring, taking in reefs and making changes. And at the same time there is the threat of all the shipping between the coast and the offshore oil rigs. A tug came close to the boat, while I was carrying out manoeuvres for example. And with the wind coming straight at me, everyone knows that neither I nor the boat likes that. That’s why I’m particularly pleased to be here now in Brazil.

The time and the route

Before setting off from Bordeaux, I thought it would take around fifteen days. So thirteen days isn’t that bad, taking into account my route off to the west that was necessary to get around the lows in the Atlantic, then the width of the Doldrums (300 miles, editor’s note) where I was slowed down, but never came to a complete standstill. This route was excellent training for the Route du Rhum: when I finally got back on a southerly route in the Atlantic, I was only two days away from Guadeloupe! I sailed a lot of miles, a lot more than indicated on the theoretical route… and I learnt a lot. Each mile sailed, each manoeuvre carried out helps me get to know the boat. My time can of course be improved, if the weather cooperates allowing a more direct route.”

The boat

I’m really pleased as IDEC has shown that she is still fast and reliable. I didn’t break anything important. The little problems I had along the way were routine incidents and not that important. I’m going to be able to sort them all out by myself here in Brazil. They are only minor details. So there is nothing to worry about on that score.

For the ICM

Sailing to support the ICM and for charities is very motivating for me. It adds something spiritual to the mere sport of sailing.

REMINDER

This new record between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro was aimed at creating a friendly link between France and Brazil. It brought together ambassadors from both countries – personalities from the world of sport, the arts, business and the media to offer support to Brazilian charities and the ICM, the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute.

For this latest 4800-mile long route across the Atlantic, the big red trimaran hoisted the Sail of Hope, signed in France and Brazil by the ambassadors from both countries involved in this project. This sail will be auctioned for charity at the end of the year at a gala event in Paris with all the proceeds going to Brazilian charities and the ICM, the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute.

Joyon, the record hunter

Francis Joyon was the first sailor to win the Ultimate Trophy. He is the only one to have held the four following records at the same time:

-The Round the World Record: 57 days 13 hours 34 minutes and 6 seconds, February 2008 (still the record today)

-The North Atlantic Record: 5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds, June 2013 (still the record today)

-24-hour record: 666.2 miles sailed, July 2012

-Columbus Route Record (Cadiz – San Salvador): 8 days 16 hours 7 minutes and 5 seconds, February 2013

 

_ALF0730Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )

Francis Joyon Arrives is Rio , passing Sugar Loaf , to set the bar for the Friendship route (Photo © ANDRE FONTES /IDEC )