San Franciscans eager for next summer’s America’s Cup will get a taste of what’s to come when sailing’s new regatta circuit glides into town this week.
Practice rounds took place today for 55 sailors from 12 countries on 11 boats that are contenders for the America’s Cup. The World Series races will give the teams a chance to test the waters, as it were, and find out if their boats and teams are up to the challenge.
“The challenge with the bay is it’s different every day, the tides, the wind, the fog. Not only that, but we’ve got other competitors to deal with,” Jimmy Spithill, captain of the defending champion and Bay Area’s own ORACLE RACING TEAM USA, said.
Conditions were probably good for the skippers but not so much for the hundreds of spectators who turned up at Crissy Field to get the first glimpses of the America’s Cup challengers practicing on the San Francisco Bay. This is the first time fans can see races like this from the shore rather than miles away. Emirates Team New Zealand and China Team each capsized. Five crews now have capsized since practice began.
“I’m looking forward to showcasing the America’s Cup World Series to people here in the Bay area. I think it’ll be pretty cool going to Marina Green and watching the racing. It’s a unique racecourse because we’ll be racing parallel to the shoreline,” said John Kostecki, ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL
Artemis Racing hit the water in San Francisco for the first time today with the team’s two AC45s. The boats were launched from the team base in Alameda.
Skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA) was at the helm of ‘Artemis White’ and fellow team member, and Olympic medallist in the Tornado, Santiago Lange (ARG) was helming ‘Artemis Red’.
“We have the same crew as the previous regatta in Newport. We have a new J3, the heavy-air jib; no surprise there. We’ve been developing some Code 0s and trying to figure out which one to use,” Hutchinson said.
The Artemis AC45s sailed in the midst of the ORACLE AC45s who were also out training. August and September are important months to be experiencing the conditions on the Bay, as they are the same months in which the America’s Cup Finals will take place next year.
“Sailing on the Bay today was an important milestone for Artemis Racing”, commented CEO Paul Cayard. “The Bay will become our field of play for the next 14 months. It is good to be here early.”
Wednesday’s match racing schedule features No. 6-seed Team Korea vs. No. 11 J.P. Morgan BAR, No. 7 Luna Rossa – Piranha vs. No. 10 Artemis Racing Red and No. 8 Luna Rossa – Swordfish vs. No. 9 China Team. Each match is a best-of-three.
Racing continues Thursday with two pairs of the match racing quarterfinals and the first two fleet races. View the racing lineup at ACWS San Francisco Regatta Format and additional event information at the ACWS San Francisco event page.
WHEN: Wednesday to Sunday
WHERE: Marina Green
PARTICIPANTS: Artemis Racing Red, Artemis Racing White, Ben Ainslie Racing, China Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Energy Team, Luna Rossa Piranha, Luna Rossa Swordfish, Oracle Team USA Coutts, Oracle Team USA Spithill, Team Korea
EVENTS: Match racing and fleet racing
WEDNESDAY: Match-racing qualifier
THURSDAY: Match-racing quarterfinals; two fleet-race qualifiers
FRIDAY: Match-racing quarterfinals; two fleet-race qualifiers
SATURDAY: Match-racing semifinals; two fleet-race qualifiers
SUNDAY: Match-racing finals; Super Sunday fleet race
START TIMES: 2:05 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 11:30 a.m. Sunday