America's Cup World Series Naples
Racing at the America’s Cup World Series – Naples gets underway this afternoon at 12:15 UTC, with the big dogs of international yacht racing lining up against one another for the first time this year.
The forecast for today is for some brisk 15-20 knot winds, gusting up to 25 knots with squalls and rain showers are forecast over the race course area.
Following the loss of Spanish-Italian GreenComm and French Aleph teams from the America's Cup World Series, so nine crews and seven teams are competing in Naples with both Oracle Racing and local heroes Luna Rossa both fielding two boats.
With the America's Cup World Series scoring running over a 2011-12 season - that started in Cascais last summer and will conclude in Newport, RI at the end of June this year - so after three events in Cascais, Plymouth and San Diego, Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand hold a lead of just one point over Oracle Racing Spithill.
|1||Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)||27||28||55|
|2||ORACLE Racing Spithill (USA)||26||28||54|
|3||Artemis Racing (SWE)||23||17||40|
|4||ORACLE Racing Bundock (USA)||18||18||36|
|5||Team Korea (KOR)||20||16||36|
|6||Energy Team (FRA)||19||16||35|
|8||Green Comm Racing (ESP)||11||12||23|
|9||China Team (CHN)||9||11||20|
|Artemis Racing||Terry Hutchinson (USA, helmsman)||Rodney Ardern (NZL, wing trim)||Morgan Trubovich (NZL, trim)||Andy Fethers (AUS, float)||Curtis Blewett (CAN, bow)|
|China Team||Fred le Peutrec (FRA, skipper)||Garth Ellingham (NZL, wing trim)||James Williamson (NZL, trim)||Tudor Owen (GBR, float)||Nicky Catley (NZL, bow)|
|Emirates Team New Zealand||Dean Barker (NZL, helmsman)||Ray Davies (NZL, tactician)||Glen Ashby (AUS, wing trim)||James Dagg (NZL, trim)||Winston Macfarlane NZL, (bow)|
|Energy Team||Yann Guichard (FRA, helmsman)||Arnaud Jarlegan (FRA, wing trim)||Devan le Bihan (FRA, trim)||Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI, trimmer)||Christrophe Andre (FRA, bow)|
|Luna Rossa-Piranha||Chris Draper (GBR, helmsman)||Francesco Bruni (ITA, wing trim)||Pierluigi de Felice (ITA, trim)||Nick Hutton (GBR, trim)||David Carr (GBR, float)|
|Luna Rossa-Swordfish||Paul Campbell-James (GBR, helmsman)||Max Sirena (ITA, skipper)||Alistair Richardson (GBR, wing trim)||Manual Modena (ITA, trim)||Emanuele Marino (ITA, float)|
|Oracle Racing Bundock||Darren Bundock (AUS, helmsman)||Tom Slingsby (AUS, tactician)||Kyle Langford (AUS, wind trim)||Simon Daubney (NZL, trim)||Simeon Tienpont (NED, bow)|
|Oracle Racing Spithill||Jimmy Spithill (AUS, helmsman)||John Kostecki (USA, tactician)||Dirk de Ridder (NED, wing trim)||Joey Newton (AUS, trim)||Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED, bow)|
|Team Korea||Nathan Outteridge (AUS, helmsman)||Giles Scott (GBR, tactician)||Troy Tindill (AUS, wing trim)||Mark Bulkeley (GBR, trim)||Matt Cornwell (GBR, bow)|
Barker is back with the same crew line-up as before as is James Spithill on his Oracle Racing AC45. However among the new faces with Darren Bundock on the other Oracle Racing boat is Laser World Champion (and fellow Australian) Tom Slingsby. The only remaining crewman of the original Coutts line-up we saw last year is veteran trimmer Simon Daubney.
All eyes (particularly Italian ones) will be on the two Luna Rossa boats, making their debut on the America's Cup World Series in Naples. These are being driven by two Brits - Paul Campbell-James and Chris Draper, both ex-49er sailors and both former winners of the Extreme Sailing Series. Among Draper's crew are two Brits also with previous in the Extreme Sailing Series - Nick Hutton and David Carr, but with the experience top Italian tactician (and yet another 49er sailor) Francesco Bruni. Meanwhile Paul Campbell-James has some of the same crew he sailed with on the Extreme Sailing Series last in particular Luna Rossa 'skipper' Max Sirena, and Alistair Richardson.
Artemis Racing is back with Terry Hutchinson on the helm but in preparation for the arrival of their AC72 in the summer they have brought on some new talent including veteran AC and Volvo Ocean Race bowman Curtis Blewitt.
Energy Team is likely to be a strong performer, Yann Guichard back in the driving seat once again after his strong performance with the team in San Diego. Gone is Pete Greenhalgh and now among the French line-up is F18 World Champion Arnaud Jarlegan and Swiss Moth (and catamaran) sailor Arnaud Psarofaghis. Interesting that Loick Peyron is not on board - however the team is talking about fielding a second AC45 on the circuit at some point and they, like Artemis, are trying out some new crew on their AC45.
Both Team Korea and China Team have new helms. On the former Australian 49er World Champion Nathan Outteridge and British Finn no2 have stepped in as capable replacements for Chris Draper and Alistair Richardson, following their move to Luna Rossa. Otherwise the crew is much the same with long term multihull sailors Mark Bulkeley and AC bowman Matt Cornwall. The China Team line-up is all new with French former Tornado, leading maxi-multihull crew and ORMA 60 skipper Fred le Peutrec taking the helm.
Toting up the crew nationalities, the Kiwis still come out on top with 10, while there are nine Brits and nine Aussies sailing.
Racing will of course take place in the AC45s, but this time featuring the new wing extensions. These add an extra 4m to the wing's existing 21.5m air draft, or an additional 8sqm onto the existing 85sqm.
Yves Carcelle, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, a 30-year partner of the America’s Cup, had the opportunity to sail as a guest racer on board the AC45 wing-sailed catamarans. “It’s much more sport now on the AC45s than it was on the monohulls,” he said, after getting a close up view of the action. “Today it is a young man’s game to sail these boats. On board, the five crew have to be very, very fit. The movement and speed just never stops. It’s permanent action. At the end of the day, the sailors must be totally exhausted.”
At the press conference for regatta yesterday there were the following comments:
Paolo Graziano, President of AC Napoli, the Local Organizing Committee: I want to thank the crews and all the people who believed in this city. I think that we have performed really well, beyond expectations, in terms of the organization and the venue. Naples is showing the best of itself. I hope that, through this event, Naples can be seen for what it is: a beautiful city and an amazing place to hold important sporting events like the AC World Series.
Iain Murray, Regatta Director, 34th America's Cup: On behalf of all the America's Cup teams and organization, I want to thank Naples and all of the organizations who have come together to put on this event. This is a magnificent venue for sailing and we're looking forward to some very exciting racing this week. What Naples has done with the opening ceremony and the Race Village and the way the people have come out to support our event is fantastic. It's bigger and better than anything we expected - thank you.
Dean Barker, skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand: [Sailing the AC45s] is great, it's a different challenge to what we've experienced in the past. The adrenalin from sailing these boats in a big breeze is very hard to explain, but coming in after a day’s sailing it's pretty hard not to have a big smile on your face.
James Spithill, skipper, Oracle Racing Spithill: The game has changed, the racing is right next to the shore. It was exciting yesterday (Monday) to see the crowds and I think they will be even bigger next weekend. The exciting thing for the sailors is you can hear people cheering. It's like being in a stadium. That's one of the coolest things, to go around the course and hear people cheering… The Italian fans are the best in the world and they'll make this event fantastic.
Terry Hutchinson, skipper, Artemis Racing: Over the past couple of days we've had a lot of weather and rain moving through, so with the mountain behind the race course it wreaks havoc. But the forecast is more for the traditional sea breeze we were after. I think it's going to be a very challenging race course with all of the geographic effects around here. But that's part of the challenge, other than the other eight boats on the course, we have to deal with the weather. This will be one of those courses where the race isn't over until you get across the finishing line.
Darren Bundock, skipper, Oracle Racing Bundock: We've had some very good racing in practice in San Francisco (against ORACLE Racing Spithill), a little too intense at times, as we had that collision. But now there are eight teams we have to beat. We're fourth overall so we need to get past Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing and if we can beat all these other teams here that means we've got Jimmy as well and we'd be happy with that.
Nathan Outteridge, skipper, Team Korea: I saw that Russell Coutts had posted on Facebook that ‘America’s Cup – Speed Trials’ (the iphone and ipad app) was out, so I had a spare few minutes and downloaded it. I was thinking I haven't had much practice on the real boats, so I'd practice on the game at least. I've got my time down around 31 seconds now, so I've improved about four seconds. I need to get out on the water practicing, but this is the next best thing.
Yann Guichard, helmsman, Energy Team: I hope we are ready. We didn't train on the AC45 in the winter, but individually we continued to sail in our own projects. Loick Peyron set a new record for fastest around the world. And on my side I launched the MOD70 and I've been sailing five days a week since January and there's also been an opportunity for the Energy Team crew to come and train on board the 70 foot trimaran with me.
Fred Le Peutrec, skipper, China Team: It’s a great opportunity we have to sail on these fantastic boats, against these great teams. It's only our fifth day on the boat all together. We're still a very new team, there is only one guy who was with us last year sailing on the boat so we are working step by step, concentrating on manoeuvres and our own work on board more than the results - we'll see after.
Max Sirena, skipper, Luna Rossa: I started my career working on the bow, and now I'm in the cockpit with an important role: It's a big honor for me and it's time to show if I can live up to that. It's a new era and you need the best athletes to be among the best. I was with ORACLE Racing during the last America's Cup, so I have some experience with the wing and one of my jobs is to transmit that to the crew.
Chris Draper, helmsman, Luna Rossa Piranha: I think the biggest thing for Paul and me is (adjusting to) the enormity of the Luna Rossa experience. The support we've received is amazing and we're grateful for that, but it does raise expectations a little bit. We have some very wise and smart people in our team who are quick to point out this is our first event, we have not raced in the AC World Series as a team, so we're trying to keep our expectations in check.
Paul Campbell-James, helmsman Luna Rossa Swordfish: The AC45 and the Extreme 40 are very different boats. The style of racing is similar - close and tight, fast racing, but the boats are the biggest change. What gives us confidence is that Yann (Guichard) and Chris (Draper) have done a lot of their catamaran sailing in the Extreme 40s and they did very well in the AC World Series last year, so that gives us a bit of confidence."
Racing will get underway at 12:15 UTC with the first warning signal five minutes beforehand. The schedule over the next few days is as follows:
Wednesday 11 April: Two 35 minute fleet races starting at 12:15 UTC. Results from these form the seeding for the following days' match races (1st = Seed 1, etc)
Thursday 12 April: Match racing (15 mins) starting at 11:30 UTC. Seed 8 v Seed 9 (winner is 'M1' - loser is 9th place), Seed 2 v Seed 7 (winner is 'M5' to semi-final 2, loser is 7th place), Seed 3 v Seed 6 ((winner to semi-final 2, loser is 6th place). These will be followed at 12:15 UTC by two 35 minute fleet races.
Friday 13 April: Match racing (15 mins) starting at 11:30 UTC. Seed 1 v M1 (see Thursday - winner goes to semi-final 1, loser is 8th place), Seed 4 v Seed 5 (winner goes to semi-final 1, loser is 5th place. These will be followed at 12:15 UTC by two 35 minute fleet races.
Saturday 14 April: Match racing (15 mins) starting at 11:30 UTC. Semi-final 1 (loser takes 4th place, winner goes to final), Semi-final 2 (loser takes 3rd places, winner goes to final), Finals. These will be followed at 12:15 UTC by two 35 minute fleet races.
Sunday 15 April: AC500 speed trials starting at 11:50 UTC. Each boat gets two runs). These will be followed at 12:55 UTC by one 35 minute fleet race.
A graphic representation of this....Click on image to enlarge