On course for Venice
From Naples, the America’s Cup World Series heads to Venice, Italy, for the penultimate regatta in the 2011-12 America's Cup World Series. Racing takes place over 15-20 May and is part of a festival of sailing over nine days from 12-20 May. 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, Luna Rossa Challenge 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 America's Cup 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.
As usual, the regatta format will include a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing, and all-out fleet racing for the AC45s.
Racing Program and Schedule
The ACWS Venice Race Village opens to the public on Saturday 12 May. 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, 15 May and runs until Sunday, 20 May.
Racing will be held from 1400-1630 local time alternating between 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.
The full racing format can be viewed here.