With the round robin part for the Americas Cup over and it nearing the business end of the oldest trophy in international sport, we are delicately poised for the final all out effort to crown sailings most worthy champions. This year the Americas Cup takes place in San Francisco and is proving to be hugely popular both because of the easy nature with which fans and enthusiasts can watch defending champion Team Oracle and their potential challengers practice and compete in these warm blue waters, and because of the drama and the controversy that has often been a feature.
On Saturday, with the heartbreaking loss of Andrew “Bart” Simpson, beloved crew mate and the skipper's best friend forefront in everyone's mind, Team Artemis bowed out in a highly emotional but proud moment after losing its last race against Italy's Luna Rossa after a valiant comeback. Artemis skipper Iain Percy who won two gold medals sailing with Simpson and who acted as best man at his wedding said “I'm hugely proud of our team. It's been a terrible period, he would have been so proud of us, considering this is something that none of us thought we'd be able to do two months ago when we lost him.”
The elimination of who were, until this tragic event, a very strong contender has set up the semi final between the ever strong Team New Zealand and Italy's Luna Rossa in the best-of-13 races beginning this coming Saturday at 1:10 pm. The winner of this highly anticipated semi final will then face defending champion Oracle Team USA in the 34th America's Cup beginning Sept. 7.
Overshadowing much of the Americas cup however, is the on going investigation into Team Oracle's boat tampering to the smaller AC45 catamarans during the America's Cup World Series regattas. 40 key team members are expected to be interviewed as part of its investigation into a potential breach of rules that could have severe implications as well as substantial bans from the sport.
On Thursday 28th July actor Tom Cruise and his son joined the Emirates Team New Zealand that has now won an incredible ninth consecutive race of the Louis Vuitton Cup. After watching this in form team beat rival Luna Rossa Challenge from the team's VIP vessel, both the Hollywood star and his son jumped aboard and joined the 11 man crew in near perfect sailing conditions for an exhilarating demonstration of what these incredible yachts can accomplish.
Tom Cruise said “it was absolutely incredible, we got to work with the crew, it was remarkable actually, we thought we were going to get on and we would go cruising to the slip, and next thing we know I was on this one he was on that one, on the grinder, it was a privilege!”
Both father and son had a competition to see who could get the top speed on a yacht that is capable of speeds of over 44knots (50mph) thanks to their 130-foot (40m) tall wing sails, the equivalent of a 13-story building! Skipper Dean Barker even went as far as to say that “We had a nice reach back under the Bay Bridge, so Tom jumped on the handle bars and did a better job than I did. It was a real boost for the team to have someone like him come along.”
Emirates Team New Zealand also announced recently that they would choose to advance to the Louis Vuitton Cup Final that begins August 17th in order to give them more time to upgrade the yacht having won the round robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Stay tuned to our blog for the all the latest news and updates as well as articles on everything sailing, from water toys and the best yachts to charter all over the world to gourmet food and iphone apps!
The second stage of the first ever America’s Cup World Series will take place this week at Piers 30-32 of San Francisco Bay. The first leg of the competition (which took place at the end of August) attracted more than 150,000 fans who were excited to watch a fantastic race between 11 of the best sailing crews in the world.
Despite being the oldest active trophy in international sport (first contested in 1851), the America’s Cup Final has not always attracted significant media attention or the sponsorship money that comes with it. For those of us who do not have significant sailing experience, watching the Americas Cup can be a slightly bewildering experience.
For readers who are not quite sure how the America’s Cup works, I will briefly explain the basic rules. The first yacht (the Defender) represents the yacht club that is the current holder of the Cup. For the 2013 America’s Cup Finals this will be Golden Gate Yacht Club, owned by the BMW Oracle Racing team. The remaining yachts (the Challengers) race for the other yacht clubs that will be challenging for the Cup. In 2013 these yachts will represent Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge and Team Korea.
Until recently, the organising committee behind the America’s Cup were not too worried about whether or not the race would attract a large global audience. However, two years ago officials announced that the competition will undergo a number of important changes in order to bring in some extra revenue from sponsorship and television rights. These changes are designed to help some of the less fortunate sailing teams who struggle to raise the tens of millions of dollars that are needed in order ensure a successful build and to race in the cup. This included the creation of the World Series format.
As of 2013, 72-foot AC72 wing-sail catamarans will be used for the America’s Cup races. This is designed to add both speed and an element of danger by using boats which move much faster and can capsize very easily. The races will also be held closer to shore, where wind patterns can be slightly less predictable and where they can be viewed by a larger crowd.
The World Series uses AC45 catamarans. The final World Series event will be broadcast live across America on NBC this Sunday.