PRADA Luna Rossa (Photo by ACEA 2013/ Gilles Martin-Raget)

Austrians Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, double Olympic Gold medalists in the Tornado catamaran, have entered the upcoming America’s Cup World Series Naples, scheduled Apr. 16-21.

The duo will sail under the banner HS Racing and race under the US flag in partnership with ORACLE TEAM USA.

HS Racing is one of nine crews entered in the regatta, which will also feature America’s Cup World Series leader ORACLE TEAM USA, second-placed Luna Rossa Piranha, third-placed Artemis Racing White, J.P. Morgan BAR, Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Swordfish and China Team.

Roman Hagara (Photo © Red Bull Content Pool)

“It is a dream come true for us,” said Hagara, 46, whose aim, along with tactician Steinacher and their crew is a top placing at the final event of the 2012-13 AC World Series season.

HS Racing’s crew also includes trimmer Herve Cunningham of France, bowman Graeme Spence of Australia and floater David Swete of New Zealand.

“We trained on the AC45 back in February in San Francisco and felt very good from the start,” said Steinacher, 44. “The boat is extremely difficult to handle at strong winds and it develops unbelievable forces, but we are happy to take on the challenge.”

Hagara and Steinacher were Gold medalists at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics. They are also the sports directors for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled Sept. 1-4 in San Francisco.

“It’s great to have Roman and Hans-Peter involved,” said ORACLE TEAM USA CEO Russell Coutts. “They aim to be serious competitors and this is a great platform to launch their America’s Cup aspirations.”

Emirates Team New Zealand© ACEA 2013/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Familiar names are lining up for the final AC World Series event, with sailors such as Dean Barker of Emirates Team New Zealand, Francesco Bruni and Chris Draper of Luna Rossa, Yann Guichard of Energy Team and Tom Slingsby of ORACLE TEAM USA scheduled to compete. Sweden’s Artemis Racing will be helmed by 23-year-old Charlie Ekberg, Sweden’s top 49er sailor and skipper of Artemis Racing/Swedish Youth Challenge for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. The Naples event will also feature the return of Mitch Booth to the helm of China Team, while Ben Ainslie will skipper his J.P. Morgan BAR team.

Team Korea, previously an America’s Cup World Series participant and Louis Vuitton Cup entrant, has withdrawn from further competition in the 34th America’s Cup. In a letter to the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the team indicated it has plans to enter the 35th America’s Cup.

Last year’s AC World Series Naples drew crowds estimated at 500,000, who were there in part to catch the debut of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013. Draper led his Luna Rossa Piranha crew to a thrilling win in the final fleet race. The victory kicked off celebrations among the tens of thousands of Italian America’s Cup fans lining the Naples waterfront to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

The conditions were as varied as any venue on the AC World Series. The fleet race finale was held in light wind and turned into a drifter at the finish. That occurred just two days after big wind and waves saw the AC45s powered up and leaping from the wave tops.

- Naples (ITA) - 34th America's Cup - America's Cup World Series Naples 2012 - Final day (Photo © ACEA 2013/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget)

 

Venice  (Photo © 2012 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Venice (Photo © 2012 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Fresh from record crowds and success in Naples, Italy, the America’s Cup World Series heads to Venice, Italy, for the penultimate regatta in the inaugural AC World Series. Racing takes place from May 15 to 20 and is part of a festival of sailing over nine days from May 12 to 20. The race course is one of the narrowest and most challenging in competitive sailing.

Having just won their first regatta in front of home country fans, first-time competitor Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) anticipates tough competition in Venice.  “Naples showed us that any of the teams can win on any given day,” said Luna Rossa’s skipper Max Sirena. “The racing is so close that you can’t afford to be off the pace for even one race or you will fall down the leader-board. Venice will be exceptionally tight putting a premium on boat-handling.”

More than 500,000 fans turned out during the week’s racing in Naples to watch the regatta. 70 hours of live coverage was broadcast globally, while over 350 media were accredited on site to cover the event, resulting in coverage in more than 850 media outlets.

Although Luna Rossa Challenge won the fleet racing competition, and Artemis Racing prevailed in the match racing in Naples, ORACLE Racing Spithill is now the AC World Series overall point leader overtaking Emirates Team New Zealand by just 1 point.

Venice will produce the narrowest race course yet at any AC World Series venue, and the backdrop to the racing will be the entrance to the Grand Canal, the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Square.

“The magnificent waterways of Venice and its stunning Grand Canal will provide an exceptional arena for the AC45s,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “The mix of courses and the tricky winds will provide more challenging racing than ever.”

Event preparations are well underway in what will be a spectacular venue. “Venice has a great maritime heritage and we look forward to welcoming the world’s best sailors to our waters,” said Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni.

The racing area includes spectator access along numerous points on the waterfront, including the team bases in the Venetian Arsenal. Dating back to the 1100s, Arsenale di Venezia was originally a shipyard and naval depot, providing a uniquely historic home base for the world’s top sailors throughout the event.

The innovative regatta format includes a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing, and all-out fleet racing with identical AC45s on the line. The forerunner to the next generation of America’s Cup boats, the AC45 wing-sailed catamaran is the official boat of the AC World Series. While capable of closing speeds more than 35 mph, the AC45 remains nimble enough to handle the tight, tactical race course.

Racing Program and Schedule

The ACWS Venice Race Village opens to the public on Saturday May 12. The City of Venice will host an invitational event “the City of Venice Regatta” over the opening weekend. America’s Cup teams are invited to compete, but the results will not count toward the ACWS Venice scoring.

America’s Cup World Series racing begins on Tuesday, May 15, and runs through Sunday, May 20.

Racing will be held from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. alternatively on two courses: one in the open sea, in front of San Nicolo del Lido (the Lido Race Course), and one in the lagoon (the San Marco Race Course), between the island of Lido, the basin San Marco and Punta della Dogana.

The event will feature nine boats from seven countries, 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.

Artemis San Diego (USA,CA) America's Cup World Series (© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Artemis San Diego (USA,CA) America's Cup World Series (© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

 

Artemis Racing has advanced into the Semi Final of the AC World Series Match Racing Championship in San Diego, beating a red-hot Aleph team to join the final four. The last match of the day was a cat and mouse affair, the result in doubt until the very end, but finally, Artemis Racing prevailed.

“It was never over, until it was over,” said a relieved Terry Hutchinson, the skipper of the Swedish boat after racing. “It was dicey out there… We had to hang tough. It’s a testament to the team that we were able to get through.”

“We did a good job in both starts, had a nice lead, but it really didn’t count for much,” agreed Artemis tactician Iain Percy, speaking about the conditions. “You don’t always get dealt a good hand.”

The day dawned with a thick fog enveloping San Diego Bay but it had burned off by mid-morning, allowing a light 7-10 knot sea breeze to build. By early afternoon however, the fog settled in again, dropping the temperature and keeping the wind light and shifty in the bay.

Aleph In San Diego Match Racing (© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Aleph In San Diego Match Racing (© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Aleph skipper Pierre Pennec led his crew into battle five times on Thursday (although only four counted), bullying his way through the fleet from the lowest seeded pair. After dispatching China Team, Team Korea and ORACLE Racing Coutts, Aleph ran out of magic in the match against Terry Hutchinson and Artemis.

The final result was heartbreaking for Aleph, who saw the first attempt at the match against Artemis Racing abandoned just as Pennec and crew had overcome an early penalty to take the lead. An external technical issue had caused the race course boundaries to disappear, affecting the race on the water and giving the Race Committee no choice but to abandon the contest.

In the second start sequence for the match, Hutchinson and crew were again able to put a penalty on to Aleph in the pre-start, gaining an early advantage they would need to fight to protect all the way around the course. The final race was sailed in extremely light, variable and shifty winds, meaning the early lead Artemis Racing had built was never safe. In fact, on the final upwind, Aleph drew even during one cross, passing just inches behind, but Hutchinson held his nerve, and protected his narrow advantage to the finish.

“We were leading in the first match before it was abandoned,” said an exhausted Pennec, after completing his full dance card of races. “In the second start we had a penalty, but we did well with the windshifts to match them right up to the last mark, so it was a good day for us. I really wanted to beat Artemis, but it’s normal (they’re a strong team, higher ranked).”

By losing the opening match to Aleph, China Team finishes in ninth place. The other teams to fall today, Green Comm Racing, Team Korea, ORACLE Racing Coutts and Aleph will race again on Saturday for places eight through five. On Friday, the four Semi Finalists will race in ‘best of three’ matches.

Oracle Racing in San Diego Match Racing (© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Oracle Racing in San Diego Match Racing (© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Results – San Diego Match Racing Championship – Qualifying Matches
Q1. Aleph beat China Team
Q2. ORACLE Racing Coutts beat Green Comm Racing
Q3. Aleph beat Team Korea
Q4. Aleph beat ORACLE Racing Coutts
Q5. Artemis Racing beat Aleph

Artemis Racing qualifies for the Semi Finals joining Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, and ORACLE Racing Spithill each of whom previously qualified via the seeding races on Wednesday.

Friday’s Semi Final Matches (first to two)
SF1. Emirates Team New Zealand vs. ORACLE Racing Spithill
SF2. Energy Team vs. Artemis Racing

 

Spectators in Race Village (© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Spectators in Race Village (© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget)

 

Team Energy in San Diego (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget )

Team Energy in San Diego (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget )

Winds were light to moderate on the bay Monday, ideal for a first test sail. Stronger winds are expected beginning as early as tomorrow. But in all range of conditions, the wingsailed AC45 catamarans are capable of generating breathtaking speeds, making for spectacular racing.
Among the five boats training today was the French Energy Team, with Yann Guichard taking over the skipper and helming duties for the racing in San Diego. The training sessions this week are critical for him and his crew to gel as a team.
“I’m feeling more and more comfortable. After all, it’s still a boat, it’s a multihull and I know multihulls quite well. It’s more impressive with the wing, but we have a few days of training here so that’s good,” said Guichard. “It’s a small race area, quite narrow and with nine boats competing, it’s going to be challenging. For the first weekend, there is a low pressure weather system coming so there could be strong winds. We’ll be training a lot to be ready for that.”
Racing in San Diego begins with the Port Cities Challenge on Saturday and Sunday (November 12-13). Representatives from the member cities will be aboard the race boats on Sunday. The event culminates with a public prize-giving ceremony at the AC Village following racing.
The championship portion of the America’s Cup World Series – San Diego runs from Wednesday November 16 through Sunday November 20, and includes fleet and match racing, as well as AC500 Speed Trial drag races. The teams earn points from their final ranking in both the fleet and match racing events towards the 2011-2012 America’s Cup World Series.
Live, streaming video coverage of the racing runs from November 16-20 on the America’s Cup YouTube channel. And for the first time, there will also be live streaming to mobile devices through the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
Beginning on the opening weekend fans can enjoy the show from the America’s Cup Village, which features food, merchandise, exhibits and entertainment. The AC Village is housed on North Harbor Drive, between Broadway and Navy Piers. From November 16, the AC Village will feature live music each evening.
The races of the America’s Cup World Series will take place just off these Piers, within the tight confines of San Diego Bay. Spectators will be able to take advantage of a number of good shore-side viewing points, including a public spectator area at the end of Broadway Pier. In the AC Village there will be live video with expert commentary on the big screen from Wednesday through Sunday. Entrance to the AC Village is a suggested donation of $10 to help support ocean conservation efforts.
With racing now just days away, the sailors, the city and the Port of San Diego are looking forward to the start of the competition.
“San Diego Bay has a proven track record as a perfect venue for this type of action-packed sailing,” said Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Scott Peters. “The Port Cities Challenge is really a community celebration and a perfect way to encourage residents of San Diego County to come to the waterfront, and cheer on their representative teams as the racing event gets underway.”
Racing at the America’s Cup World Series – San Diego is scheduled to start with a warning signal at 1:05 pm each race day.

 

Out on the Sound (Photo by James Avery)

Out on the Sound (Photo by James Avery)

 

 

With the second stop for the America’s Cup World Series in Plymouth reaching a thrilling conclusion on Sunday, with ORACLE Racing Spithill’s Fleet Racing Championship win punctuated by capsizes and collisions, attention now shifts to the next event in San Diego, November 12-20.

 

   
© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget    
© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget    
 

Pack-up started in the Race Village on Sunday night and continues throughout the week, with the cargo ship HR Constitution being loaded with the lifeblood of the America’s Cup World Series, including the AC45 race boats, 102 shipping containers, 20 support boats, and one of the cranes used to hoist the AC45s into the water. The ship is scheduled to depart Plymouth Sound on Sunday and to arrive in San Diego by October 24, approximately three weeks ahead of the first race day.
 
“Each time we cycle through the pack-up and unloading, we’re able to find efficiencies and improvements,” said Peter Ansell, director of on-shore operations. “Logistically, it’s a complex exercise, especially with the tight deadlines between venues. We plan to be up and running in San Diego by the end of October, and ready for the teams to go sailing by November 8.”
 
As in Plymouth, where officials estimate over 115,000 took in the race action from up on the Hoe, racing in San Diego will be tucked in close to shore, allowing for a ‘stadium sailing’ experience for the race crews and spectators alike.
 
“San Diego is going to be a fantastic place, a harbor laid out perfectly like Plymouth,” said ORACLE Racing skipper Russell Coutts, who won the America’s Cup in the Californian city in 1995. “When San Diego hosted the America’s Cup (1988, 1992, 1995), the racing was a long way out to sea. That won’t be the case this time. This is going to be a great event.”
 
Official practice racing is scheduled to begin November 12-13, with the San Diego Match Racing Championship running from November 16-19 and the climax event, the Fleet Racing Championship on Sunday November 20. The always exciting Speed Trials will be held on the first day of the Match Racing Championship as well as the final Sunday. Live coverage of racing will start on Wednesday November 16.
 
Heading into the AC World Series – San Diego, Emirates Team New Zealand is the leader in the combined overall standings after two World Series events. The Kiwis hold a four point lead over ORACLE Racing Spithill, with ORACLE Racing Coutts and Artemis Racing on equal points in the battle for the third podium slot. Following a strong performance in Plymouth, Team Korea is just two points further back.
 

America’s Cup World Series Championship  
OVERALL STANDINGS  
Place Team Match Points Fleet Points TOTAL POINTS  
 
1 Emirates Team New Zealand 19 19 38  
2 ORACLE Racing Spithill 16 18 34  
3T ORACLE Racing Coutts 13 15 28  
3T Artemis Racing 16 12 28  
5 Team Korea 16 10 26  
6T Aleph 6 12 18  
6T Energy Team 10 8 18  
8 Green Comm Racing 8 9 17  
9 China Team 6 7 13

 

A wrap up of Plymouth in photos of America’s Cup Championship Series action courtesy of  Photographer James Avery.

Tilted Team Corum (Photo by James Avery)

Tilted Team Corum (Photo by James Avery)

.

Oracle at the Hoe (Photo by James Avery)

Oracle at the Hoe (Photo by James Avery)

.

Corum's Keel (Photo by James Avery)

Corum's Keel (Photo by James Avery)

.

French Crew on Aleph (Photo by James Avery)

French Crew on Aleph (Photo by James Avery)

 

French Capsize (Photo by James Avery)

French Capsize (Photo by James Avery)

.

French Crew on Capsized Aleph (Photo by James Avery)

French Crew on Capsized Aleph (Photo by James Avery)

 
Fleet (Photo by James Avery)

Fleet (Photo by James Avery)

.

Damage to China's Wing (Photo by James Avery)

Damage to China's Wing (Photo by James Avery)

.

Crane lifting boat for launch (Photo by James Avery)

Crane lifting boat for launch (Photo by James Avery)

.

Crane hoists boat for launch in Plymouth Harbour (Photo by James Avery)

Crane hoists boat for launch in Plymouth Harbour (Photo by James Avery)

.
 

 

Team Korea a AC World Series ( Photo by 2011 ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget )

Today was always going to see six teams knocked out of contention for the Plymouth Match Racing Championships title, but the big surprise was that both ORACLE Racing boats would be among them.

After beating China Team in his opening match of the day, Chris Draper and Team Korea pounced on ORACLE Racing Spithill when his team was struggling with a faulty jib clutch. Once Spithill fell behind, the Korean team never looked like giving up their surprise lead and went on to take an upset victory. Then, the Koreans dispatched Energy Team to move into the semi-final phase tomorrow; a best-of-three match against Artemis Racing.

The first Semi-Final between Emirates Team New Zealand and ORACLE Racing Coutts, brought two former team mates head to head, Russell Coutts and his fellow Kiwi and former apprentice Dean Barker. With each team scoring a come-from-behind win in the first two matches, it went down to the third before Dean Barker and the Kiwi team prevailed over the Defender in a close deciding race, to sail into the Final.

“We made it hard,” Barker said. “Those guys are pretty quick and start the boat well, and it was pretty close in all three races. But we’re a lot happier with the way we finished off the last race.”

With another big crowd enjoying the racing from the seafront of Plymouth, the crowd witnessed many dramatic matches, starting with Green Comm Racing’s contest against Aleph when Vasilij Zbogar pounced on errors by the French team to move to the next phase.

Aleph now sit out the racing tomorrow, and will be scored as ninth place in the Match Racing Championship. Green Comm Racing sailed well against Spithill, but never really threatened the reigning America’s Cup skipper. The Spanish team goes up against China in tomorrow’s matches to decide seventh and eighth.

Team Korea dominated China Team in their match, leading from start to finish. Then Draper came from behind to win his next two races, first against Spithill and then against Energy Team. Loick Peyron’s start was excellent but handling errors allowed the Koreans back into the game. Draper seized his chance to earn his spot in the Semi-Finals.

Three victories from three matches was a perfect score for a team with very little match racing experience. It also marks the second time that Chris Draper has handed out a match racing lesson to the Defender, having also toppled Russell Coutts in Cascais a month earlier. “I’ve nothing against ORACLE,” said Draper. “We are trying to improve our match racing skill. The changing format has given us some more opportunity. Our experience in match racing is limited but we have some smart guys on board.”

Spithill was generous in defeat: “Certainly Korea has caused some problems to ORACLE Racing but full credit to those guys. They hung in there. We had a few issues with the gear and we made a tactical error on the run. We got what we deserved.”

Tomorrow is another busy day as the Plymouth Match Racing Championships reaches its climax. First up is the best-of-three Semi Final between Team Korea and Artemis Racing, who sat out today’s competition after winning the fleet racing phase yesterday. Then come the matches to decide the minor placings, and then a best-of-three Finals.

AC45's fleet upwind sailing (Photo by Colin Merry)

Lighter breezes brought more players to the front of the fleet on day one of the Plymouth Match Racing Championship, with Artemis Racing winning two of today’s three fleet races. With the sun beaming down on Plymouth Sound, the crowd on the Hoe was treated to a day of upsets, passing moves, and come-from-behind wins on the waters below.

The fast-learning challenger teams showed they can mix it with the best when the game moves away from the strong wind boathandling of last weekend to the more subtle, tactical game of today’s lighter and trickier breezes. And Terry Hutchinson’s team on Artemis Racing were the class act of the day, with individual displays of brilliance from a number of the newer teams.

Aleph flying a hull (Photo by Colin Merry)

“We’re getting more confident in our starting and putting our boat in some good spots,” said Hutchinson following racing. “All in all it was just a good day. Boat speed is a good thing and it looks like we’re going pretty fast.”

Energy Team led for a good portion of the first race before losing out to Artemis Racing just towards the finish. In the second race it was Team Korea’s time to shine, moving through the fleet and past Emirates Team New Zealand for a morale-boosting victory.

“We had a good sequence with the wind shifts,” Team Korea skipper Chris Draper said. “With the course boundary, if you get out of sequence it’s hard to get back into it.”

Emirates Team New Zealand ( Photo by Colin Merry )

Emirates Team New Zealand blotted their copy book at the final start, crossing the line too early along with Aleph, with both the Kiwis and French forced to go back and play catch-up. Whereas Bertrand Pacé’s French team could make little impact, Dean Barker’s New Zealand crew found some great gusts and wind shifts to haul themselves right back up the fleet into second place at the finish behind Artemis Racing, in one of the more impressive performances of the day.

Surprisingly, both ORACLE Racing teams struggled on the day and sit in fifth and six place on the leaderboard. James Spithill and crew led for part of the first race but fell to finish third, in what would be their best result of the day.

Corum in front of the crowds ( Photo by Colin Merry )

The two teams who spent most of last night making various repairs to their boats ahead of today’s racing – China Team and Green Comm Racing – trail the leaderboard.

Team Korea making repairs ( Photo by Colin Merry )

“We were happy to be back on the water after yesterday’s nasty capsize and we worked as hard as we could,” said China Team skipper Charlie Ogletree. “We were a little slow today. Condition today were much different (from the weekend) and the other teams figured out better tactics to handle it.”

Also taking in the racing today was HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who observed the action from on board the Race Committee boat for the afternoon.

The seeding races for the Plymouth Match Racing Championship continue on Thursday, with three fleet races scheduled. Racing begins at 14:10 local time (GMT+1).

All racing can be seen live on www.youtube.com/americascup.

Results – Wednesday seeding races in Plymouth Match Racing Championship

Place Team RACE #1 RACE #2 RACE #3 TOTAL POINTS
Place Points Place Points Place Points
1 Artemis Racing 1 10 4 7 1 10 27
2 Emirates Team New Zealand 4 7 2 9 2 9 25
3 Team Korea 6 5 1 10 3 8 23
4 Energy Team 2 9 7 4 4 7 20
5 ORACLE Racing Coutts 5 6 3 8 5 6 20
6 ORACLE Racing Spithill 3 8 5 6 6 5 19
7 Aleph 7 4 6 5 9 3 12
8 China Team 8 3 8 3 8 3 9
9 Green Comm Racing DSQ 0 9 3 7 4 7

Aleph and Team Korea ( Photo by Colin Merry )

Team China damages wing ( Photo by ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget )

© 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
Today the America’s Cup World Series teams prepared for racing in advance of the reformatted Plymouth Match Racing Championship.While the majority stayed ashore on a blustery day, Artemis Racing had a successful short training sail in the strong conditions. But China Team wasn’t as fortunate, suffering damage to their wing from a spectacular capsize.“Unfortunately the way the boat landed, the wind got under the wing and caused more damage. The boat then flipped over and over going downwind, from stern to bow, which was pretty exciting,” said Will Howden, a crew member on China Team. “A pretty nasty one but everyone is OK and that’s the main thing.”

Shore crew will be working through the night in an effort to get the team to the start line tomorrow: “Our technical team and ACRM will be working together to repair the boat,” said skipper Charlie Ogletree. “It will be a long night, but we think we’ll be up and running tomorrow… Our neighbors – Artemis Racing, ORACLE Racing, have all offered help, which is very nice.”

The three teams who had previously capsized in Sunday’s heavy conditions have all reported they’ll be ready to race Wednesday after making minor repairs. Team Korea, one of the teams to capsize, was able to finish the race, and even briefly considered participating in the following speed trials. Skipper Chris Draper says the key to minimizing the damage was being prepared in advance, along with the quick work of their chase boat crew.

“Our support crew did a great job in moving so quickly,” said Draper. “The thing is the wing is in danger of filling up with water and the longer the boat’s on its side the more likely the damage is going to increase. So there’s a double incentive to get the boat upright as quickly as you can – to preserve the boat and finish the race.”

The teams with minor wing damage were also able to take advantage of a new initiative where the organizers have provided a standby ‘pit crew’ to assist teams in repairs. This has helped smaller teams in particular make timely repairs.

Wednesday is the first day of the Plymouth Match Racing Championship, which begins with two days of seeding races ahead of Friday and Saturday’s finals.

“Following feedback from the teams, we’ve made some tweaks to make all of the races meaningful for each of the teams,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “Everybody will sail in the important seeding fleet races (three per day) on Wednesday and Thursday, and then we’ll have the final match racing on Friday and Saturday. This is a more exciting format for teams and fans alike.”

Importantly, even the ninth place team from the seeding fleet races can advance to the final by winning all of their match races. The winner at the end of the four days of racing is the Plymouth Match Racing Champion.

On Sunday, September 18, all nine race crews will line up for the Plymouth Fleet Racing Championship. This 40-minute fleet race is a winner-takes-all, fight for the title.

The teams collect points from the Match Racing and Fleet Racing Championships at each AC World Series event towards the overall America’s Cup World Series title.

Three AC World Series prizes (Match Racing, Fleet Racing, Combined) will be awarded at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season in Newport, Rhode Island on July 1, 2012.

All racing in Plymouth will be streamed live on www.youtube.com/americascup, beginning on Wednesday at 14:10 local time (GMT+1).