All you need to know about the America's Cup
Oracle Racing crews ready to hone AC45
Oracle Racing concluded last week with its first two-boat training session. While the team was running two AC45s – its own and the chartered Mascalzone Latino – for most of the week, Friday was the first day they lined up and dialed-up the intensity. And unpleasant weather added to the atmosphere.
The two Oracle Racing-branded AC45s will be prominent this week on the Hauraki Gulf when America’s Cup-style sailing the likes of which it hasn’t seen for eight years returns to the body of water this week with four AC45s expected to conduct training sessions.
The two Oracle Racing crews will likely see those of Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand. The teams, rivals down the road, are currently in friendly mode as everyone gives their new machine a whirl.
“We’re going to really start grinding away with our sailing,” said skipper James Spithill. “We’ve got the two boats going now with other teams out on the water; I think we’ve all be looking forward to this."
“Everybody’s in it together and we’re all helping each other out,” added team tactician John Kostecki.
Challengers fast out of the blocks
Artemis Racing launched its first AC45 over the weekend, which was christened by Kylie Jameson, wife of Phil Jameson, a former member of Oracle Racing. Shortly afterwards, Artemis Racing skipper Terry Hutchinson and a crew of four began what the team plans as a two-week trialing session.
“We’ve now had two full days of sailing and I can safely say that the AC45 is quite different than anything we’ve sailed before,” Hutchinson said. “It is also powerful and physically demanding, so it should make for some interesting racing.”
The two teams are expected to be joined by Emirates Team New Zealand. Kiwi boss Grant Dalton finally came public last week with the team’s entry, after Emirates Airlines committed to renew a sponsorship that has been in place for nearly 10 years.
Dalton said the team had paid an initial fee to America’s Cup Race Management to secure access to a supplied one-design AC45. The yacht and wing sail were delivered to the Emirates Team New Zealand base within the past two weeks for assembly by sailing and shore crews.
Emirates Team New Zealand goes public; eighth team accepted, more expected
The revelation last week of Emirates Team New Zealand as Challenger #2 was a welcomed announcement for the America’s Cup. Although the second team to enter the Cup when the entry period opened last November, Emirates Team New Zealand had remained silent with its intentions while team CEO Grant Dalton worked to raise the necessary funds. Dalton cautions that his work is far from complete and that they have a long way to go, but Team New Zealand is a well-established brand and its entry is good for the America’s Cup community.
The deadline for the first entry period is 10 days away, March 31, and America’s Cup Event Authority now confirms the acceptance of a seventh challenger, as yet undeclared, bringing the total number of teams for the 34th America’s Cup to eight: including defender Oracle Racing and challengers Mascalzone Latino (Challenger of Record), Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Aleph Racing, Energy Team, Team Australia, plus the one still-private challenge.
The latest entry has hopes at ACEA buoyed for upwards of two additional challengers before the March 31 close of the entry period. Additionally, there’s a late entry period that extends through the end of April.
San Francisco readies to put on a show for America’s Cup
The Marin Independent Journal last week published an editorial wholly backing the America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay. Marin County is located across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. The Marin Headlands are the northern boundary of the entrance to San Francisco Bay, and the county includes the waterfront towns Sausalito, Belvedere and Tiburon, all great sailing communities.
The editorial opened by saying, “Marin will have front-row seats for the 2013 America's Cup races and bayfront towns already are making preparations for the world's premier sailing event.”
The editorial followed on the heels on the forum Unfurling Opportunities, the America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay. The forum was presented by GoSailingSF.org, a community action group that aims to partner those who desire to sail with those who have the wherewithal. Among the presenters was John Craig, Principal Race Officer for the 34th America’s Cup.
Craig gave the first public presentation in San Francisco about what the course area for the Cup races would look like. He's planning on using every available inch of open water in the main bay and working with all the stakeholders to make sure that works.
The shoreside venues are complex and need to fill a lot of different roles - not the least is providing vantage points to see this exciting race without getting out on a boat. The 72-foot catamarans will be visible from many locations on Marin and San Francisco. We want to make sure that everyone who lives here knows the America's Cup is taking place on the Bay.
A preview of that racecourse could be offered in late April when America’s Cup Race Management, the independent body established to conduct racing for the America’s Cup, and the America’s Cup Event Authority stage dress rehearsals 25-29 April and 2-6 May of on- and off-water events associated with an America’s Cup World Series.
These test periods will focus on refining all of the courses, support systems and management procedures necessary to stage each AC World Series event and provide a superior experience for both the teams and spectators worldwide.
The first test session will include race course configurations that enable tight, tactical racing as well as umpiring and race management that allows for instant calls during fast-paced competition.
The second session, led by the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), will provide the first test of the next-generation broadcast images and graphics that change the way people will watch sailing on television.
The folks in Marin County will have special interest in the dress rehearsals. As the editorial concluded: “In addition to rolling out the red carpet for well-heeled visitors who want to watch the world's most expensive racing sailboats compete in San Francisco Bay, local officials also need to do everything in their power to keep this big event from turning into a daily nightmare for everyone who lives or works here.
“It is encouraging to see local officials in Southern Marin get an early start on planning for what will be a historic sporting event in the Bay Area.”
34th America’s Cup Entries
There are currently eight teams (the defender and seven challengers) entered in the 34th America’s Cup:
Defender: Oracle Racing/USA
Challengers: Mascalzone Latino/ITA (Challenger of Record)
Emirates Team New Zealand/NZL
Challenger #7 – Private
America’s Cup World Series 2011-2012
Event One: July 16-24, 2011
Event Two: August 13-21, 2011
Event Three: September 17-25, 2011
Event Four: October 15-23, 2011
Event Five: December 10-18, 2011
Event Six: February 17-25, 2012
Event Seven: April 14-22, 2012
Event Eight: May 19-27, 2012
(Dates subject to change)
Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Selection Series -- San Francisco
July 13-September 1, 2013
34th America’s Cup - San Francisco
September 7-22, 2013