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

 

Bermuda © Roland Skinner

Bermuda © Roland Skinner

 

 

Second edition of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup confirmed

The next America’s Cup will be raced in Bermuda in June of 2017. The host venue was confirmed at a press conference in New York on Tuesday by Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner for the America’s Cup.

“In Bermuda we have a perfect international venue to demonstrate the excitement America’s Cup boats and teams can generate,” Schiller said. “The sailing conditions are near perfect. The race course on The Great Sound is a natural amphitheater with room for racing and spectators, amid a spectacular backdrop of islands and beaches. And the proposed America’s Cup Village at the Royal Naval Dockyard will be the heart of the event for the teams and fans alike.

“The 2017 America’s Cup will build on the successful elements that now define the event – close racing in fast, foiling catamarans crewed by the very best sailors in the world and delivered to an international audience by award-winning broadcasters.”

35th America's Cup - Venue Announcement Press Conference - New York (NY), 02/12/2014, Harfvey Schiller (Commercial Commissioner) The Premier of Bermuda, Mr. Michael Dunkey, JP, MP. (Photo © ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget)

35th America’s Cup – Venue Announcement Press Conference – New York (NY), 02/12/2014, Harfvey Schiller (Commercial Commissioner) The Premier of Bermuda, Mr. Michael Dunkey, JP, MP. (Photo © ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget)

Michael Dunkley, the Premier of Bermuda, said hosting the America’s Cup would showcase the island’s strengths.

“We are honored that Bermuda was selected to host the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. Being the home of the America’s Cup is an extraordinary opportunity that aligns perfectly with the heritage, profile, spirit and future of our island,” Premier Dunkley said.

“We thank the America’s Cup Event Authority for their confidence in us – and for their vision to evolve the experience for spectators and participants alike. There is no more vivid and hospitable setting than Bermuda to stage an event of this nature and for the next evolution of the sport. This announcement today marks an exciting new chapter for Bermuda too. That our futures are linked in such a meaningful way will make for a great partnership.

“From the very start, Bermuda’s bid was designed around our many strengths, including our near perfect sailing conditions, our temperate year-round climate for team training, our optimal location and time zone for visitors and television viewers alike, the intimate and unmatched setting offered by Bermuda’s Great Sound, our maritime legacy and innovation, and the spirit and hospitality of our people.

“Our vision for the Americas Cup in Bermuda is to deliver an unforgettable experience that will be nothing short of spectacular for the teams, sponsors and spectators alike – whether they be with us on-island or watching from around the world.”

Six teams have so far taken up the challenge of racing for the next America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in international sport. The defending champion is ORACLE TEAM USA, which won the last event with a spectacular comeback over Emirates Team New Zealand, who return as a challenger, along with Artemis Racing (SWE), Ben Ainslie Racing (GBR), Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA) and Team France.

“Racing in Bermuda will be an incredible experience for the spectators, both on-site and for those watching the broadcast, and for the sailors, it’s going to be very challenging,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper, Jimmy Spithill. “I’ve raced there several times and the variety of conditions means you can never let your guard down. We’ll all need to be at the top of our game to have success and that’s how it should be.”

Americas Cup Village 2017 Bermuda( © ACEA)

Americas Cup Village 2017 Bermuda( © ACEA)

Red Bull Youth America’s Cup
The second edition of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was also confirmed in New York. In the inaugural edition, over 40 national youth teams (aged 19-23) applied to enter the qualifying phase. The top ten teams raced on the America’s Cup course in the same AC45 catamarans the pros had used in the America’s Cup World Series.

The purpose of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is to provide a pathway towards a career as a professional sailor in the America’s Cup. In that, it has already proved successful, after just one edition.

“Sailors on the winning team in the first event, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, are now valued members of Emirates Team New Zealand,” said Schiller. “That’s an impressive proof of concept.”

America’s Cup World Series
All teams have been given an opportunity to host events in their home countries. At least four events are expected in 2015, including:

Season opener – To be announced – June 5-7, 2015
Portsmouth, Great Britain – July 23-26, 2015
Gothenburg, Sweden – August 28-30, 2015
Hamilton, Bermuda – October 16-18, 2015

Four to six events are expected in 2016, including a summer regatta in the USA in Chicago. A stop in Portsmouth, UK has already been confirmed for July 2016.

2017 – the year of the America’s Cup
In 2017, all teams will compete in their new AC62 catamarans, powered by highly-efficient wingsails and designed to fly above the water on foils at speeds near 50 mph. Racing begins for all teams with the America’s Cup Qualifiers where the teams are seeded – with bonus points – according to their results in theAC World Series. The top challengers then go on to compete for the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs and the right to race ORACLE TEAM USA in the America’s Cup Finals in June 2017.

Following the press conference in New York, the America’s Cup trophy was booked to fly to Bermuda for a ceremony on Wednesday.

Americas Cup Village 2017 Bermuda( ©ACEA)

Americas Cup Village 2017 Bermuda( ©ACEA)

ORACLE TEAM USA wins 34th America's Cup

ORACLE TEAM USA won the 34th America’s Cup in a winner-take-all 19th race, defeating challenger Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in today’s clincher. Led by 35-year-old skipper Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE TEAM USA won by the score of 9-8.

This is the second America’s Cup win for ORACLE TEAM USA and Spithill, which won the 162-year-old trophy in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010. Then 30 years of age, Spithill became the youngest to ever skipper a Cup winning team.

In the past week ORACLE TEAM USA has steadily improved its boatspeed to the point where it could hydrofoil upwind at 30-32 knots, incredible performance never seen before in the America’s Cup.

“It was a fantastic race. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Spithill, the two-time Cup winner. “We came from behind, the guys showed so much heart. On your own you’re nothing, but a team like this can make you look great… We were facing the barrel of a gun at 8-1 and the guys didn’t even flinch.

“Thanks to San Francisco, this is one hell of a day,” Spithill said.

ORACLE TEAM USA’s victory marks one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of sport. The team won 11 races to score the 9 points required for victory due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Just last Wednesday, Sept. 18, ORACLE TEAM USA trailed the series 8-1. With the challenger on match point, the defender closed out the series with eight consecutive victories.

This was the third time in the history of the America’s Cup with a winner-take-all final race. Previously, the defender won in 1920 and the challenger won in 1983. Both times the winner rallied from a multi-race deficit, but never anything amounting to eight straight wins.

“This was a wonderful match of teams,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray, who’s been involved with the America’s Cup since 1983. “In the case of a boat coming from behind, 3-1 down as was the case with Australia II in 83, the shoe is on a different foot this time around. Then it was the challenger behind and this time it was the defender. But in the end we had great competition between two great teams, evenly matched, battling it out to the end.”

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

One million fans visited the official America’s Cup venues at Piers 27/29 and Marina Green since they opened on July 4, and hundreds of thousands more lined the shores of San Francisco Bay to catch a glimpse of the flying, foiling AC72.

Dean Barker, ETNZ Skipper (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

34th America’s Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)

ORACLE TEAM USA – 9 (11 wins; ORACLE TEAM USA was penalized its first two victories by the International Jury)
Emirates Team New Zealand – 8

Race 19 Performance Data
Course: 5 Legs/10.07 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 23:24, ETNZ – 24:08
Delta: OTUSA +:44
Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.9 NM, ETNZ – 12.2 NM
Average Speed: OTUSA – 30.55 knots (35 mph), ETNZ – 30.55 knots (35 mph)
Top Speed: OTUSA – 44.33 knots (51 mph), ETNZ – 45.72 knots (53 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 18.2 knots, Peak – 21.3 knots
Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA – 9/7, ETNZ – 9/7

34th America’s Cup Race by Race
Race 1 (Sep. 7): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :36
Race 2 (Sep. 7): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :52
Race 3 (Sep. 8): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :28
Race 4 (Sep. 8): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :08*
Race 5 (Sep. 10): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by 1:05
Race 6 (Sep. 12): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :46
Race 7 (Sep. 12): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by 1:06
Race 8 (Sep. 14): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :52*
Race 9 (Sep. 15): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :47
Race 10 (Sep. 15): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :16
Race 11 (Sep. 18): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :15
Race 12 (Sep. 19): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :31
Race 13 (Sep. 20): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by 1:24
Race 14 (Sep. 22): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :23
Race 15 (Sep. 22): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :37
Race 16 (Sep. 23): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :33
Race 17 (Sep. 24): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :27
Race 18 (Sep. 24): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :54
Race 19 (Sep. 25): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :44
(* ORACLE TEAM USA’s first two victories don’t count towards is scoreline as part of a penalty issued by the International Jury.)

ORACLE TEAM USA (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

As the sun sets on San Francisco and another America’s Cup the defenders keep the cup and look forward to the 35th America’s Cup and the new generation of sailing.

Sunset in San Francisco (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

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)

 

Oracle Team USA Spithill (Photo by George Bekris)

Oracle Team USA Spithill (Photo by George Bekris)

Coutts and Luna Rossa split the Newport Championships
Newport proved to be a statement event for the US defender of the America’s Cup as ORACLE TEAM USA was prominent in all areas of the leaderboard. Jimmy Spithill’s team earned the overall 2011-12 AC World Series Championship with a strong second place finishes in both the match racing and fleet racing in Newport. Spithill also claimed the overall season Fleet Racing Championship while Sweden’s Artemis Racing won the inaugural season’s Match Racing Championship.

“Consistency had been the key,” Spithill said moments before he was handed the newly commissioned AC World Series trophy. “We were the last team to arrive here, but we came out and performed under pressure. For us it was very satisfying to see us step up and the other guys fall back when the pressure came on.”

His veteran stable-mate very nearly stole the day in front of a capacity crowd of spectators at Fort Adams. Russell Coutts won the Newport Match Racing Championship over Spithill and almost took out the fleet race as well, but was denied that honor by Chris Draper’s Luna Rossa Piranha team, who took advantage of a penalty to the Coutts team to grab a lead they would extend to the finish, to grab the Newport Fleet Racing Championship. Coutts was under intense pressure in the latter stages of the race from the Italian Swordfish team, but just held on for second place.

Luna Rossa Team Pirhana celebrate Newport Fleet Racing Win (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Luna Rossa Team Pirhana celebrate Newport Fleet Racing Win (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

“Today just happened to work out for us. We got some nice breaks, but I wouldn’t give us too much credit for it,” Coutts said. “As a team, we’re really happy. Jimmy and his guys won the World Series and that’s what we came here to do… We’re always out there to win, we’re not there to just sail around the buoys – we want to win.”

For Chris Draper, the fleet racing win was a nice turn around after a difficult week: “We’ve had a tough week, the team’s been pretty down, but I’m pleased that both boats did well today. We needed that result to prove to ourselves that we could do it, so we’re happy.”

Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing placed fourth in the Newport Match Racing Championship this week, which earned his team enough points to win the Match Racing title for the season.

“It’s a nice milestone for the team,” Hutchinson said, his mood tempered somewhat by a poor fleet race on Sunday. “But I think we have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of areas we can do better. But we have 14 months to do it and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

The Newport event marks the end of the first season of AC World Series racing and follows previous events in Cascais (POR), Plymouth (UK), San Diego (USA), Naples and Venice (ITA). Regatta Director Iain Murray and his team have conducted 130 races over 30 days of racing in the six international venues. Over the time, only one day of races has been postponed due to weather.

Sunday’s racing was broadcast live, coast to coast, in the USA on NBC, marking the return of the Cup to network television for the first time in more than 20 years. The final day of racing in the opening two events of the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco in August and October will likewise be shown on NBC.

Racing will start anew next month with the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco from August 21-26. The new Ben Ainslie Racing will join the circuit as it comes to the host city of the 34th America’s Cup.

 

Quotes:
Loïck Peyron, skipper, Energy Team, reflection on the season: “After six events and almost one year of racing, we need to improve still in our match racing, but in the fleet racing we are happy to be third overall for the season, which is good. Now, we look forward to the racing in San Francisco in August and October.”

Dean Barker, skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand, on a tough day: “We had a nice start and we’re second at the first mark and then we just blew it. We made a couple of mistakes and fell back to fifth or sixth and from there it was very difficult to fight our way back through.”

Nathan Outteridge, skipper, Team Korea, on his team’s performance: “We didn’t have an ideal start, but we kept moving forward and on the last leg upwind we really nailed it and made up some places. I think we’ve performed better than we were initially hoping. This week I think we sailed the best we’ve sailed the whole time. So we’re really looking forward to San Francisco.”

2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard
(Team, Match Racing Points, Fleet Racing Points, Total Points)
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL…47 – 55 – 102 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand…41 – 52 – 93 points
3. Artemis Racing…50 – 32 – 82 points
4. Energy Team…38 – 36 – 74 points
5. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS…39 – 29 – 68 points
6. Team Korea…33 – 33 – 66 points
7. Luna Rossa Piranha…26 – 26 – 52 points
8. Luna Rossa Swordfish…15 – 16 – 31 points
9. China Team…15 – 16 – 31 points

AC World Series Newport – Fleet Racing Championship Final Results and Standings

Race 1     Race 2     Race 3     Race 4     Race 5     Total Points

Luna Rossa Piranha     3     8     5     5     1     53

ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL     1     1     1     3     5     48

Emirates Team New Zealand     6     2     3     1     6     40

Team Korea     8     6     2     4     4     36

Luna Rossa Swordfish     7     5     6     6     3     35

ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS     2     7     8     8     2     33

Artemis Racing     4     3     4     7     7     32

Energy Team     5     4     7     2     8     30

AC World Series Newport Match Racing Championships – Standings
1. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS
2. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL
3. Luna Rossa Piranha
4. Artemis Racing
5. Energy Team
6. Emirates Team New Zealand
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. Team Korea

 For More George Bekris America’s Cup World Series Action Photos click HERE

Helicopter Over AC45 (Photo by George Bekris)

Helicopter Over AC45 (Photo by George Bekris)

Newport, Rhode Island, USA, 30/06/2012

Emirates Team New Zealand win race four to break US winning streak

Jimmy Spithill’s ORACLE TEAM USA continues to impress in Newport, but were denied a fourth consecutive fleet race win by a hard-charging Emirates Team New Zealand.

“We had a good solid day,” Barker said. “It’s nice to win one and we have some good momentum going into tomorrow. The ORACLE TEAM USA guys are sailing well, but we’ll do what we can do and if we can win the race we’ll be happy.”

Newport delivered another perfect afternoon of racing conditions, with a sea breeze near 15 knots under sunny skies. Thousands took advantage of the warm afternoon to enjoy the sight from Fort Adams as well as in the hundreds of spectator boats crowding the Narragansett Bay course boundaries.

In fleet race three, Spithill threaded the needle at the start, barely squeezing between the Race Committee boat and two of his competitors, hitting the starting line as the gun fired at top speed.

“It was a risky start, but in this type of racing you really have to push things now and then,” Spithill said. “We knew if we got off the starting line well we’d have a shot for being top three in the race, so we’ve been pushing hard.”

From there, Spithill extended away while his rivals were engaged in battle behind him. Young Nathan Outteridge and his Team Korea crew had an impressive race in second place, holding off Emirates Team New Zealand, as Dean Barker threatened early, but couldn’t make the passing move and settled for third. Artemis Racing made its way up from near the back of the fleet to take fourth.

Fleet race four started like the previous one, with Spithill barging across the starting line to take an early lead. But this time Dean Barker’s crew had an answer on the first upwind leg, working a favorable path up the shoreline, away from the adverse current running down the race course, to take steal the lead. Loïck Peyron’s Energy Team too, passed Spithill and then Nathan Outteridge squeezed by on the next leg. But the ORACLE TEAM USA crew fought back to ease around the top mark just behind the Kiwis. Barker and crew held their position however all the way to the finish, with Spithill relegated to third, his worst result of the series.

With a second and a fourth place finish, Nathan Outteridge’s Team Korea climbed off the bottom of the leaderboard and now sits just two points out of a podium position.

“It was much better today,” Outteridge said. “I think we got what we deserved. We had some better starts and gave ourselves a chance in both races. There was a bit more breeze so we were really able to be more physical on the boat. The guys on our boat are awesome when the breeze is up, there’s never an issue with the crew work on our boat. Today has given us a good chance to get right in there and if we sail like we did today, we have every chance of getting on the podium and that’s what we’re here for.”

Meanwhile ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS withdrew from the first race of the day at the halfway point with equipment problems, after hitting one of the turning mark boats.

 

“I never did like the anchors on those boats,” Coutts joked. “But at least the hull that I was sitting on missed it!”

Coutts went in for repairs, and although he made it out for race four, he was late to start and never in contention, with the last place finish dropping the team to the bottom of the leaderboard.

Before racing started, the teams engaged in the AC500 Speed Trial. Here too, Spithill proved the class of the fleet, his second run setting the standard ahead of Energy Team and Team Korea.

Racing starts at 1430 on Sunday with the final of the Newport Match Racing Championship between the two ORACLE TEAM USA crews.

“It’s a high-pressure race,” Spithill joked. “For whoever loses, it’s going to be brutal!!”

Then it’s the fifth and final fleet race to determine the Newport Fleet Racing Champion as well as the overall 2011-12 AC World Series Championship. There are 30 points on offer to the winner of race five, meaning the Newport fleet racing title is wide open.

Sunday’s racing program is live, coast to coast in the United States on NBC, beginning at 1430. This means it will not be shown live on YouTube.com/americascup in the United States. However, the race replay and highlights will be posted after the live broadcast has concluded.

AC World Series Newport – Fleet Racing Championship Results

Race 1     Race 2     Race 3     Race 4     Race 5     Total Points

ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL     1     1     1     3           38

Emirates Team New Zealand     6     2     3     1           32

Energy Team     5     4     7     2           26

Artemis Racing     4     3     4     7           26

Team Korea     8     6     2     4           24

Luna Rossa Piranha     3     8     5     5           23

Luna Rossa Swordfish     7     5     6     6           20

ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS     2     7     8     8           13

AC500 Speed Trial

1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL – 24.77 knots
2. Energy Team – 24.00 knots
3. Team Korea – 23.79 knots
4. Artemis Racing – 23.72 knots
5. Luna Rossa Swordfish – 23.59 knots
6. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – 23.54 knots
7. Luna Rossa Piranha – 23.48 knots
8. Emirates Team New Zealand – 23.17 knots

AC World Series Newport Match Racing Championships – Standings

The top two teams will race in the Final on Sunday
3. Luna Rossa Piranha
4. Artemis Racing
5. Energy Team
6. Emirates Team New Zealand
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. Team Korea

2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard (after five of six events)

1. ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill…84 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand…80 points
3. Artemis Racing…71 points
4. Energy Team…65 points
5. Team Korea…56 points
6. ORACLE TEAM USA Coutts…53 points
7. Luna Rossa Piranha…34 points
8. China Team…31 points
9. Luna Rossa Swordfish…21 points

 More Images by George Bekris HERE

Team Emirates New Zealand Going Over (Photo by George Bekris)

Team Emirates New Zealand Going Over (Photo by George Bekris)

 

The cheers for ORACLE TEAM USA began at the first turning mark today and continued through the end-of-day birthday celebration for team skipper Jimmy Spithill, who turned 33 years old.

Spithill and crew won the opening fleet race, followed moments later by Russell Coutts and crew in second. Afterwards, both crews won their quarterfinal matches 2-1 to advance to tomorrow’s semifinal round of the match racing championship.

The first day of ACWS – Newport could hardly have gone better for ORACLE TEAM USA.

“I think we’ve really got to credit Philippe Presti (coach) and our support guys,” said Spithill, whose crew is aiming to wrap up the inaugural ACWS season championship this weekend. “The sailmakers have put some work in and Philippe has put in a lot of energy to step up as we go through.”

The fleet race began as scheduled at noon but the winds were light and patchy. On some portions of the racecourse the southwesterly seabreeze was filling, but other portions were in windless zones as the new breeze worked its way up the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.

Spithill and crew nailed the start perfectly at the windward end and led the fleet at the first turning mark to great applause from the estimated 5,000 or so spectators lining the shoreline of Fort Adams State Park.

Spithill led all the way around the race track to secure the win even though the crew’s one-time comfortable advantage was whittled to mere lengths approaching the finish.

“We got a good jump at the start, but the breeze didn’t quite settle,” said Spithill. “There were a lot of passing lanes and a little bit of stop and go. But I thought JK (John Kostecki, tactician) did a really good job to get us through the mine fields. We were constantly turning our heads, but it was a good one to get under the belt.”

For ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS, the start was the helmsman’s first live ACWS action since last September. Coutts admits to a bit of rust in his game, but he staged a furious rally to come from last place at the first leeward gate to second at the finish. Coutts worked the right side of the racecourse up the beat and found a fresh puff of wind that allowed him to overtake many of the competitors to the left of him.

“We were behind and kept plugging away,” said Coutts. “The situation developed nicely, but we chose some nice places to tack, too. We got a few breaks today and a bit of luck to find our way.”

In the match racing, Spithill and crew downed Team Korea (Nathan Outteridge) and Coutts’ crew defeated Luna Rossa Swordfish (Paul Campbell-James). Both ORACLE TEAM USA crews showed good form in the deciding third race, sailing away from their rivals to ensure advancing to the semis.

Tomorrow Spithill will face Artemis Racing and Coutts will sail Luna Rossa Piranha. Each match is a best-of-three, with the winners moving on to Sunday’s match racing championship.

“I haven’t raced these boats since September, so we’re just plugging away,” said Coutts. “I want to try and get a better result for Boat 5 this week, that’s the objective. We started OK in match racing today, but personally I didn’t have a great day. I made a lot of mistakes. It’s just a lack of match fitness.”

Spithill gets a shot at Artemis Racing and skipper Terry Hutchinson, who are leading the overall match racing championship for the season. Surprisingly, the two haven’t squared off at an ACWS match racing series since Round 1 in Cascais, Portugal, last August.

“It’ll be a tough race versus Terry, but we’re going out there with an opportunity to get both of our crews through to the finals,” said Spithill. “It’s great to see our teammates sail a couple of fantastic races.”

 

Crew Lists
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL – Jimmy Spithill (skipper/helmsman) John Kostecki (tactician), Dirk de Ridder (wingsail trimmer), Joe Newton (headsail trimmer), Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bowman)
ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – Russell Coutts (skipper/helmsman), Kyle Langford (wingsail trimmer), Simon Daubney (headsail trimmer), Matt Mitchell (runners), Sam Newton (bowman)

2011-12 ACWS – Newport Fleet Racing Championship
Team (Country) R1 — Total Points
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL (USA) 1 — 10
2. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS (USA) 2 – 9
3. Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA) 3 — 8
4. Artemis Racing (SWE) 4 — 7
5. Energy Team (FRA) 5 — 6
6. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 6 — 5
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA) 7 — 4
8. Team Korea (KOR) 8 — 3
(Scoring: 1st place = 10 points, 2nd = 9, 3rd = 8, 4th = 7, 5th = 6, 6th = 5, 7th = 4, 8th = 3)

Match Racing Championship – Quarterfinal Results
Match 1: ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHLL d. Team Korea, 2-1
M2: Artemis Racing d. Energy Team, 2-0
M3: ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS d. Luna Rossa – Swordfish, 2-1
M4: Luna Rossa Piranha d. Emirates Team New Zealand, 2-0