Stan Honey Recounts Groundbreaking Career

(Sept 28) Sailor and technical innovator Stan Honey spoke to a gathering of global satellite navigation experts on the many and varied projects that have marked his work since the 1980s, though with sailing always at the core.

Read Story at Inside GNSS


Coutts Says He Expects to be Out of Next America's Cup

(Sep 27) Russell Coutts, a driving force in the America's Cup for over two decades, confirmed in Auckland this week that he did not expect to be directly involved in the upcoming America's Cup match, expected to be held in 2021.

"There's always a time to move on," the NZ Herald quotes Coutts saying. "I've never wanted to outlive my abilities and motivation."

Time will tell whether he can indeed stay away from an active role. 

Coutts has had a long and significant impact on the America's Cup, starting with skippering the impressively fast 1995 Black Magic challenge from NZ while also masterminding  the team's critical technical development.  After winning three times as skipper (twice for New Zealand and once for Switzerland), Coutts then guided the efforts of Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing team in 2010 and 2013, finally capping off his run serving as de facto regatta commissioner shaping the 2017 event from the organization side.

Read story at NZ Herald


Designer Doug Peterson dies, Age 71

Doug Peterson, who saw success from several sides of the America's Cup, died Monday in San Diego.  Peterson was 71.  An accomplished yacht designer before he ever came into the America's Cup realm, Peterson played key roles in the design of winning defender America3 in 1992, winning challenger Team New Zealand's Black Magic in 1995, and Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge in 2000 and 2003.  He was nominated to this year's America's Cup Hall of Fame class, where he will be among those honored in a ceremony this October in San Diego.  Peterson had struggled in recent years with cancer and related health issues, surviving to the very day that New Zealand won the Cup back.

Read story at Stuff.co.nz
Read Eight Bells at Sailing Scuttlebutt
(updated 7/3) Read obituary at the NY Times


America's Cup Preview:
Day 1

(June 17th) Four years later and Emirates Team New Zealand is again taking on Oracle Team USA for the America’s Cup, starting today. One win away from taking home the trophy in September, 2013, in San Francisco, the Kiwis could never get that last race into the books. Oracle Team USA started out struggling, but learned from the Kiwis and improved their boat and their techniques until OTUSA was faster upwind, faster through tacks, gave up less ground on the downwind legs, and was able to press all those strengths just enough to keep winning.

Now it’s AC35 instead of AC34. Is everything different? Or is anything different?

For one thing the challenger and defender have already raced each other, twice, on the same yachts they will use in the America’s Cup Match, racing officially in the Rounds Robin that determined the challenger semi-finalists. USA won both races. In the process of racing head-to-head, and against the four other challenger candidates, how much did NZL and USA reveal to each other about their performance?

America’s Cup challengers and defenders have historically been very keen to get any handle on the competition before the match, but it’s never been an official requirement in 166 or so years of Cup history for the challenger to race the defender in advance of the match. In fact, it’s unprecedented to have the defending and challenging yacht in a structured one-on-one race before what is supposed to be their historic contest begins.

On a few recent occasions there were furtive line ups among eliminated competitors and the opposition camp, frowned upon by race organizers or criticized in spirit by the fans, and often held out of sight of land. 2013 saw one only brief, and impromptu, lineup of the Kiwi AC72 next to the Oracle AC72. That probably communicated nothing of value considering how the first half of the AC34 Match went (or, maybe from the Kiwi point of view, they communicated exactly what they wanted Oracle to think).

What would have been the takeaway for that match had they really faced each other around the course a few times?  In theory, if you are the fast boat, that’s all well and good to confirm. But if you are the slow boat in some regard, then the sooner you find out about it, the better chance you have to do something about it.

Now, in 2017, the Defender has raced the Challenger already, plus the rest of the challenger fleet, and in addition to the obvious evidence of the results, and observations of the human factors, there is detailed telemetry from all the boats to shape their preparation, too.

So how will the Match go? The re-match of the Rounds Robin. And also the 2013 America’s Cup?

Did the New Zealanders show their entire hand in the Rounds Robin?

Does the Defender have more potential left in their boat than they showed, going 8-2 in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers (as the Rounds Robin were contractually known in tribute to the largess of the sponsor)?

The two campaigns can’t change their boats, have only their two wingsails each (the second one is allowed as a backup), and are each allowed only two pairs of daggerboards for the entire regatta. So they can’t make wholesale changes. But they can shift performance from areas of strength to protect areas of perceived relative weakness in the match up.

In addition to the technical assessment of performance, the two camps are willing to try to leverage the head games, too. Whether the psychological confrontation has quite the impact on the opponent that is sought is hard to say, but it’s as much a battle intended to control the media narrative, and direct their own thoughts, too. Expect it to heat up.

The main perception of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron boat is that it’s fast, good in a wide range of conditions, and their light air foils and techniques were the class of the Rounds Robin.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club boat hasn’t show many weaknesses, though maybe does better as the wind gets up in range.

For Oracle Team USA’s part, they were willing to suggest the Kiwis have good speed (possibly better, they hint, but do they really believe that?), and themselves are quick to point to Peter Burling’s youth as an inexperience factor in regard to Match Racing, and particularly in the America’s Cup.  Easy to say when you have Jimmy Spithill, the winner of the last two Cup Matches at the helm, both wins on multihulls, too.

It’s likely Burling pays that little heed, coming off true dominance of the 49er Class in the Worlds (four times), the 2016 Olympics (Gold Medal), winning the 2013 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (on the AC45 yachts), and going 8-2 himself in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers.

Peter Burling is 26 years old, and Nathan Outteridge, the second to last man standing in the challenger selection series, just a year older. All the other, older skippers went home first. Is it a young man’s game now at the back of the boat? Spithill is the old man this time around, 38 years old before the end of the month, no longer the young Australian, brilliant even as a teenager. If anybody can shrug the age factor off, surely it’s the scrappy redheaded fighter with the powerhouse organization behind him.

Today we get the chance to start finding out.

The lighter wind Saturday, 8-11 kts, probably favors the New Zealanders, giving them a chance to erase the one point hole they start in, courtesy of losing that last RR race to Spithill. It’s seven points to win the Cup, which would be eight wins for NZL, seven for the defender. See points standings

Sunday’s forecast is for slightly higher winds, mid-range, in the low teens, and the numbers have been generally strengthening the last few days. Those conditions probably favor the teams equally. Racing is then off until next weekend.

One of the critical aspects for the teams is correctly assessing the weather and selecting from their two sets of foils the pair best suited to the wind conditions. There are light air foils and mid-to-high wind foils, differing in their tradeoffs of drag versus the ability to lift the boat; to easily transition from displacement (hull in water) to flying; and of degree of difficulty in controlling the boat and maneuvering.

The crossover from “light” to “midrange” is a very narrow band of wind speeds, and a boat that gets it wrong will not be competitive that day. The foils have to be installed on the morning of the race, a daily high stakes decision.

So here we are, there are many cats to be let out of the bag on the first day of the America’s Cup, so to speak. The first side by side line up of the Defender and Challenger in the match won’t quite be the hold-your-breath moment of truth it was in the past when the opponents met for the first time in the first race, since they already have, but the competition will finally be seriously on, nothing to hold back, and with much left to learn. First Race set for 2:12 pm local time.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Series Day 4 - Semi-Finals
Friday, June 9

Friday Results:
Sweden's Artemis Racing beats Softbank Team Japan, winning their series 5-3, and advancing to the Louis Vuitton Playoffs Challenger Final against Emirates Team New Zealand.  First race tomorrow, Saturday, June 10, weather permitting.  See below for Race Report and more.
Race Program:
Friday's Races:
First Race start set for 2:08 pm local time

SF2 R8: SWE beats JPN
SF2 R9: JPN vs. SWE (not necessary)

Semi-Finals Series standings:
At the start of Friday Racing, Artemis Racing leads Softbank Team Japan 4-3.
On Thursday, NZL beat GBR 5-2 to advance to the Challenger selection final.
Each semi-final is a best of Nine Series (first to 5 points).

See more Semi-Final Results and Standings

Weather:
Friday: Wind S 17-18 kts with gusts to mid-20s (ACEA).  Wind SSW 17 kts with gusts to 26 (WindGuru). Winds SW 20-22 kts, partly cloudy (Wunderground).  Weekend Outlook:  the start of the Louis Vuitton Playoff Final on Saturday and Sunday includes  thunderstorms both days.

Friday Preview:
Sweden's Artemis Racing seemed to have lost the lead in their last Race against SoftBank Team Japan, but battled back with a gutsy approach to the upwind mark that ended up putting a penalty on SoftBank Team Japan and getting SWE the lead. It was a perfect distillation of a day that saw Artemis bag all three races, going from down 3-1 to up 4-3, one race from breaking through to the challenger final.  Dean Barker on JPN, though sailing well at points all day, left opportunities for Nathan Outteridge and he took them.  SWE pounced on a JPN OCS penalty in Race 5 and stayed (just) ahead the rest of the way.  SWE led off the line in Race 6, never giving up enough ground to JPN, and won. In Race 7, though JPN sailed well and pulled ahead on the final upwind leg, after an even start, SWE took what looked like a disadvantaged position that would have brought them into the upwind gate on port tack, having to duck JPN, and pressed into the circle surrounding the gate with the throttle down, winning the right to room at the mark that made all the difference in the outcome. It's the smart aggressive style that Outteridge and the Artemis crew have displayed the last several years in the AC45 boats. Can they do it one more day, one more race, and make the Final?

Barker has been good, his crew and shore team are experienced and know exactly the demands of winning a challenger selection series.  They haven't been down on speed, especially in middle to upper range winds. It's just been that last few percent of execution that they need to close the door.

JPN needs to sweep the day, Artemis needs one race. At least if both races are sailed.

The biggest wildcard for Friday is the weather. If the wind sticks at the higher end of the forecast, it might be over the mandatory wind limits of an average 24 knots (measured from 8 to 3 minutes before the start, in a rolling 30-second average). The Semi-Finals end today regardless. If no races get off the line, SWE is leading 4-3 and advances. If one race is sailed, and Sweden wins, then they have 5 points and advance. If one race is sailed and JPN wins, but the second race is not sailed this afternoon, then the score is 4-4 and JPN would advance, the tie breaker in that situation being the most recent winner. Before any howling starts about whether the Race Officer starts a race or not because of the wind limits, do note that under the Protocol the Race Officer has no choice about the decision.  It's a measurement, not a personal opinion. The wind limits do not apply after the start.

What's shaped up in sailing these new boats is not just how critical it is to avoid a mistake, how quickly a slip-up turns into a trailing position.  That's been true in the America's Cup for years. But on these new boats, with very little time to race them in earnest across a variety of conditions and tactical situations, it's very easy to make that critical mistake. The only silver lining is that it's very easy for the other guy to slip up, too. Perfect races are hard to come by. 

SF2: Artemis Racing vs. SoftBank Team Japan

SF2 Race 8:
Artemis leads back to the line, SoftBank below hoping to push them. Narrow lead at start for Japan, three seconds ahead at Mark 1. Five seconds at the first downwind gate. Solid wind, Artemis takes the lead on Leg 3. Into the upwind gate, Artemis has position, and Japan stays clear.  SWE maintains velocity, round quicker, delta is 19 seconds.  Sweden tends a growing lead, tries to cover JPN by staying in phase.  Artemis lead is not huge at 150m, but enough.  Japan hoping for an error or some way past. At the final upwind gate, they split. Margin is now 11 seconds, the final downwind leg and the finish coming up.  Artemis Racing wins Race 8, winning the Semi-Final 5-3, and advancing to the Final against New Zealand!


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Series Day 3 - Semi-Finals
Thursday, June 8

Thursday's Races:
(R5 and 6 Rescheduled from Wednesday)
First Race start set for 2:08 pm local time

SF1 R5: NZL (W) vs. GBR
SF2 R5: SWE (W) vs. JPN
SF1 R6: GBR (W) vs. NZL
SF2 R6: JPN vs. SWE (W)
SF1 R7: NZL (W) vs. GBR
SF2 R7: SWE (W) vs. JPN

Each semi-final is a best of Nine Series (first to 5 points).

Thursday Results:
Emirates Team New Zealand wins Semi-Final 1, 5-2, eliminating Land Rover/BAR.  Artemis Racing takes a 4-3 series lead against Softbank Team Japan with one day of racing remaining,  Scroll down for race reports.

See Semi-Final Results and Standings

Weather:
Wind SW 12-18 kts with scattered showers (ACEA).  Wind SSW 12-13 with gusts to 18-19 (WindGuru). Wins SW 15kts (Wunderground).  Friday's forecast, which earlier this week looked to be stronger than Wednesday, at last check was trending back into an acceptable range, SW 16-17 kts, though with gusts into the mid-20s.

Thursday Preview:
With up to three races in each series, this should be a pivotal day for Challenger selection. Both Semis standings begin the day at 3-1, NZL and JPN leading.  Two teams are at risk of going home by the end of the afternoon.

Emirates Team New Zealand had to enjoy Wednesday's postponement more than anyone, since it gave them an extra 24 hours to try and get their boat sorted following the capsize on Tuesday.  All the teams had damage to repair of some kind. On top of that, the demands of a three-race day, with limited crew substitutions, will put a lot of pressure on the sailors, and the effect of any early hardware issues will snowball.

Today's midrange wind likely puts the teams on an even footing against each other. Sweden and Japan have been very closely matched, with only a severe penalty on SWE in response to an extended boundary infraction taking them out of contention in their most recent race.

Emirates Team New Zealand will hopefully have their gear problems ironed out. Land Rover/BAR has continued to improve their sailing and boatspeed. But time to study and learn is gone, this is the big test today.

Land Rover/BAR vs. Emirates Team New Zealand:

SF1 Race 5:
NZL slightly late for the line, GBR on time at the start. GBR out to early 26 second lead at Mark 1 and downwind gate. New Zealand making small gains on the upwind leg, getting out of phase. Delta at upwind gate 11 seconds. Downwind, GBR still in lead, NZL gybes early to split at the bottom gate, the lead now 9 seconds. Upwind for the last time, GBR gains at first on a left wind shift, splitting with NZL. But in huge separation, NZL gets the lead, ahead by 21 seconds at the upwind gate.  Emirates Team New Zealand goes on to win Race 6.  NZL leads the 5 point semi-final series 4-1 now.

SF1 Race 6:
GBR holds NZL out at the start, small lead.  Lots of separation in the race, but GBR sails crisply, NZL less than perfect, and GBR defends the lead the rest of the way around the course. Land Rover/BAR wins Race 6 to being the series to 4-2 for New Zealand.

SF1 Race 7:
New Zealand leading on the final upwind, about 300m ahead, as they tack on the port layline, and both round the gate turning left.  Margin is about 30 seconds. Downwind, it should be just two gybes to the final gate.  Lead holding steady at about 500m, not much GBR can do here. They are facing elimination after just 17 races in the Louis Vuitton challenger selection regattas, despite being tipped by many as a favorite.  Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 7! They take the series by 5 points to 2 and will face the winner of SWE-JPN to challenge for the America's Cup against USA.

Artemis Racing vs. SoftBank Team Japan

SF2 Race 5:
Japan is OCS, SWE to an early lead. Japan tries to split with them upwind, downwind, SWE generally covers, maintains lead.  Japan is putting up a fight, but Artemis stays in the lead, 20 seconds around the last mark, and wins Race 6. Series is now 3-2 for SoftBank Team Japan.

SF2 Race 6:
SWE leads across the starting line, around the first Mark and the first downwind gate by 11 seconds.  Upwind, Artemis extends a bit, then Japan gains it back, 12 seconds at the first upwind gate. Still tight on the downwind, JPN staying close, but SWE holding steady about 100m in front.  Upwind again, Japan tacks early, hoping to get out of phase, but Sweden covers, the lead is 18 seconds at the final upwind.  Coming into the final downwind gate, SWE saves a gybe and adds to their lead. Artemis Racing wins Race 6, tying the series at 3 wins each.  Two more wins needed to take it, and one more left for today, so Artemis will  live to fight another day.

SF2 Race 7:
Nearly even at the line, JPN to leeward. Still about even, JPN with the inside as they turn downwind. They match gybes to the gate and then split, JPN turning right, SWE turning left, still even though SWE took an extra gybe.  Upwind, after they tack, Japan is sailing better on port, crosses easily ahead of Sweden and holds onto about 75-100m advantage as they work their way up the leg. Into the upwind gate, they hit opposite laylines, JPN comes in from starboard and turns left, leading by 11 seconds, SWE turns right. Downwind, they are separated, JPN out to about 110 before losing on a port gybe back to the center before they improve their sailing angle. They both lay the bottom gate cleanly, JPN turning left, lead is 7 seconds, SWE turning right, and they head uphill a last time.  Sweden is closing up, lead almost zero, but they come in the upwind gate, SWE again from port, JPn from starboard. Japan wants the left turn but Sweden has already entered the circle and gets right, forcing Japan out to give them room. Artemis truns inside, now both dead even coming off the left hand side of the gate.  Umpires flag JPN for the the rounding situation, giving Sweden a big boost. Lead is over 250m by the time JPN gets back to speed.  There is very little chance to recover here with the last mark coming up. Artemis Racing rounds well ahead and wins Race 7.  Artemis has come from down 3-1 at the start of the day to up 4-3 with two races to come tomorrow.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers:
Race Day 2
Sunday, May 28

Sunday's Pairings - Race Day 2:
First Race start at 2:08 pm local time.
Racing Complete

R7: FRA beat SWE ∆ :03 sec.
R8: USA beat GBR ∆ :39 sec.
R9: NZL beat JPN ∆ :33 sec.
R10: SWE beat USA ∆ :39 sec.
R11: NZL beat GBR ∆ 1:28 sec.
R12: USA beat JPN ∆ :54 sec.

See RR1 Standings and Results

Weather:
Winds SW 8-10 knots (WindGuru). Wind 13-14 knots WSW (Wunderground)

Day 2 Preview:
Land Rover/BAR and SoftBank Team Japan will be back on the water, after repairs for damage sustained yesterday in a pre-start collision.

Both team showed good speed in their debuts on Saturday, a welcome performance especially for the British team which had looked remarkably slow compared to the field during practice racing.

Oracle Team USA comes off of Day 1 leading in wins, but not in points, thanks to the bonus that GBR earned for winning the 2015-2016 America's Cup World Series.  Though skipper Jimmy Spithill was quick to say his team needed to do better, they still must be enjoying the way they saved a tack at the upwind gate and got under Emirates Team New Zealand to snatch the lead away for good, in what was Saturday's most exciting race.

ETNZ looked exceptionally fast at times, though sometimes their opponents made gains on windshifts and position.  Artemis Racing showed again how tough they can sail, with smart tactics and competitive speed, but gave up ground to GBR in their match getting caught on the wrong side of headers.  A course where the wind often seemed to go right put several teams at a disadvantage throughout the day, particularly if they chose a right turn coming out of the downwind gate.

Groupama Team France, who looked solid in the practice races, has found themselves well off the pace in their first two races. Will they have made significant adjustments for today's races?

A quirk of the schedule, which originally listed Race 5-8 for Sunday and now will see Race 7-12 is that though most teams will race twice, Groupama Team France will race only once (facing SWE) while Oracle Team USA will race three times (GBR, SWE, and JPN). Oracle's compensation is that this is the end of their RR1 schedule and they will have Monday off before RR2 begins on Tuesday.  France will be the only team racing twice on Monday.

Race 7:
SWE vs. FRA. Start on time.  FRA ahead, SWE trailing at the gun.  SWE accelerates and tries to pass to WW, but FRA eventually responds and holds them off, protecting the inside to lead by 2 seconds at mark 1.  SWE gybes better for the downwind gate and passes, taking a 12 second lead and turning left while FRA turns right.  Up the leg SWE quickly extends to 150m, then 200 and growing.  Again the breeze favors the starboard tacks.  FRA's turn on starboard cuts the lead to under 40m before the boundary comes up for SWE. Then with both on starboard, FRA keeps edging up to leeward of Artemis and takes the lead by 40m before hitting the port tack layline.  Coming off the layline however, FRA has to duck an oncoming Sweden still on starboard tack to avoid a dial-down situation, loses the lead briefly, but keeps her speed up and carries it to the starboard layline, tacking now for the left gate.  Artemis, downspeed a bit, needs another tack, too, and gives up a lot of ground to the French.  Groupama rounds 22 seconds ahead at Mark 3.  Downwind a 200m lead is holding steady for Team France.  Lead holding at 19 seconds at the final downwind gate, both turn right.  France tacks awkwardly by the boundary and SWE closes the gap. Artemis is chasing up the leg, in phase with the leader, lead 50-100m.

Both go to the port layline, France pinches to get around saving a tack.  Sweden overstood a bit though, so no change. After turning right, SWE gybes first, FRA stays with them, defending a 100m lead.  FRA sails slightly deeper angles, extending a bit as they approach the port layline for the final turn for the finish. France leads by 4 seconds with the last dash coming up.  SWE is showing slightly more speed, reeling them in, lead down to 70m, 60m, 50m, 45 m, and then  the finish line.  Groupama Team France wins Race 7 by 3 seconds!

Race 8:
USA vs. GBR. Land Rover BAR leads to first mark and downwind gate, they split, GBR left, USA right.  Oracle makes small gains up the leg, building just a 9 second lead. They split again at the upwind gate, USA right, GBR left.  Oracle extends while BAR is struggling after their bearaway. BAR again having trouble as they approach the downwind gate, sailing bad angles, giving away distance to USA. Now 33 second delta at Gate 4. Upwind, USA is sitting on a 175-200m lead, the boats mostly in phase. They both tack at the port layline, GBR downspeed, Oracle heading for the hills and gone. 32 seconds at the final upwind gate, but USA has a 400m lead and growing, with only the turn to the finish remaining. Oracle Team USA wins Race 8.

Race 9:
Start 3:06 pm. JPN vs. NZL. Drag race start, JPN just leading around first and second marks. Both turn left at Mark 2 and head up the leg on starboard tack. JPN a little higher, a little faster.  Three-quarters of the way up, Burling tacks early to get out of phase. Barker goes past the layline.  NZL isn't gaining much on the gamble yet.  Both need one more tack near the gate. NZL executes better and the lead is down to 3 seconds.  JPN turns right, NZL left.  Team New Zealand is slow on their bearaway and gives up a slight lead now to SoftBank Team Japan.

A slow gybe by NZL at the bottom of the leg gives JPN a 13 second lead to JPN. They split again at the bottom gate. Out of phase now on the final upwind leg, the lead goes back and forth, a matter of just a few meters. NZL finds gains on both tacks in the upper half of the course, and takes a lead of 100m/14 seconds around the final upwind gate.  NZL left, JPN right.  Good bearaways for both, but JPN is finding a much deeper angle and cutting the lead. NZL will round the mark without gybing, while JPN is slightly behind and will have to gybe themselves, leaving the New Zealand team too far ahead on the last leg for Japan to catch.  Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 9.

Race 10:
USA vs. SWE. Start 3:35.  Artemis Racing out to a small lead on Oracle Team USA, which they defend around Mark 1, MArk2, and upwind on Leg 3. USA trails about 100m in advantage, out of phase.  SWE makes a good gain on a lifted starboard tack at the top of the course, out to about 250m, overstands the port layline slightly, but lays the right-hand gate and rounds well ahead. 19 second delta at Gate 3.  SWE leads by 24 seconds at the bottom gate. SWE turns right, USA sets up for a close rounding turning left.  Upwind, despite being on port tack when the starboard has been paying, NZL is extending the lead a bit. USA sees this and tacks back to port in the middle of the course, not waiting for the boundary.  The right is clearly favored a bit and SWE comes back, too.  The lead has evaporated, barely 30 m with a cross threatening, but USA is a bit slow out of the tack and SWE is well past.  SWE tacks and both now on starboard with probably one more tack coming at the layline.  Artemis trying to lay the mark, USA tacks, looking like they drew a header on port, and SWE rounds first, turning left. USA goes for the righthand mark, bearing away and rounding 15 seconds behind now.  It didn't look like much, but Sweden is instantly out to a 400m lead on the final downwind leg, game over.  Sweden's Artemis Racing will win Race 10. Final delta is 39 seconds.

Race 11:
NZL vs. GBR. Start time 4:05 pm. ETNZ penalized for entering the start box too early. GBR to the wing mark first on the penalty, but NZL barely leads around Mark 2, 2 seconds ahead. Starboard tack is heavily favored and both try to maximize it. Halfway up leg 3, the wind clock further right, both boats can lay the upwind gate after only a second tack. NZL leads by 9 seconds.  Difficulty gybing by GBR after the rounding and NZL is out to a 400m lead downwind. Great angle DW for NZL and they might make the downwind gate without a second gybe, nearly 500m ahead. 49 seconds at Mark 4. NZL left, GBR right. By the final downwind leg the lead is over 1000m.  Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 11. This will be GBR's second loss of the day.

Race 12:
JPN vs. USA. Start time 4:34 pm. Time and distance start, even at the line, USA to windward. Both turn right at the bottom gate, 7 second lead to USA. JPN tacks first. Port tack is really headed. JPN tacks at the boundary. USA tacks in their path, about 90m ahead.  JPN tacks away once up to speed, and though USA has a better angle on starboard, they tack to cover.  Both bounce off the righthand boundary again, USA slightly ahead. Oracle seems to be steadily outpointing JPN now on starboard. Lead goes from barely 30m to over 250m.  JPN tacks before the port layline, USA tacks just on it, looks headed, but can barely make it, saving the tack, and getting a massive lead for their efforts.  JPN is struggling, USA sails off with the race. Oracle Team USA wins Race 12. Final margin is 54 seconds.

See Standings and Results

See Regatta Schedule


Match Races Provide Some Close Action on Round Robin Day 1

(May 27) Japan, Sweden, New Zealand, Great Britain, and USA all won races on the opening day of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers. Oracle Team USA was the only team to win both of their races, the rest splitting, except for France who lost both contests.

Land Rover/BAR and SoftBank Team Japan are assessing the aftermath of pre-start contact in their race Saturday. A preliminary report from the Jury characterizes BAR's damage as "serious" while a determination on Japan is still coming in. GBR was penalized on the course for the incident. However, the new rules allow only very limited redress, meaning that any serious damage sustained in the collision could be a big threat to a team's overall chances for the entire regatta, even if they were not at fault.

The Jury can allow Japan to postpone their Day 2 races in order to make repairs.  Since GBR was at fault in the collision, they will not receive additional time.

Richy O'Farrell, Shore Team Lead, Land Rover/BAR:
"We had a coming together with Japan in the pre-start, it looks like we had a bit of a side-slip and landed on top of them. So they punctured our hull from underneath, and we have done quite a lot of damage to the hull. Over the next hour or so we'll make a plan as to what we are going to do to fix it, and see how long it is going to take us. It's quite a lot of damage. A long night ahead, I'd say."

Ben Ainslie, Skipper and Team Principal, Land Rover/BAR:
"The boat is pretty badly damaged, with a sizeable hole in the port hull. It was a great effort by the team to get the boat around the course in the state that it was in. We were better off foiling with the hull out of the water, and we tried to keep the boat on the foils right into the harbor.

"We were lucky we did, by the time we got to the dock she was on her way down. It was all hands to the pumps and bailing. It's been about 30 years since I was bailing out Optimist dinghies, and it wasn't something I was expecting to do.

"The collision was unfortunate, we had a sideways slip just as Dean came in and got the leeward overlap. No one wants that, certainly in our position as we picked up a penalty and the damage. Thankfully, the most important thing is that no one got hurt."

Scroll down for detailed Day 1 race reports.


2017 America's Cup Racing: Qualifiers
Saturday, May 27:
Round Robin 1 Race Day 1

It's on! Four years of waiting and now the serious match racing returns to the America's Cup with the opening of the challenger selection regatta series.  Phase one begins today, the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers, a sponsor-friendly mouthful for two rounds robin among the 5 challengers and the defender (yes, the defender, we'll get to that later).  The teams will match race each other twice over the next eight days, eliminating one challenger, with the top four proceeding to the "Best of 9" format semi-finals series.

There's a lot of speculation to be finally answered on how these frighteningly fast ACC catamarans will fare in match racing, what tactics will prevail for boats that can remaining foiling through gybes and tacks, and how the crews will deal with the demands of keeping these new yachts going in the right direction while also match racing on a narrow course.  There have been practice races in recent weeks, but now the competitors will have to start showing their hand.

Weather looks good. winds west at 9-12 knots, skies clear, air temp 75d F.
Windguru Dockyard | Wunderground Somerset

Saturday Race Pairings:
First race 2:00 pm.
Approximately 30 minutes between starts.

R1: USA beats FRA
R2: SWE beats JPN
R3: NZL beats FRA
R4: GBR beats SWE
R5: USA beats NZL
R6: JPN beats GBR

Race 1:
Underway at 2:08 pm. Oracle Team USA out to early lead, 15 seconds over Groupama Team France at the first mark, 400m upwind, then 900m downwind, continuing to extend. USA will go on to a sizable margin of victory, finishing before FRA starts the last leg. Finish margin of victory (delta) is 2:11.

Race 2:
Underway at 2:37 pm local time.  Close match with SoftBank Team Japan leading by 60-80m on the first upwind leg, extending to 165m by the time they reach the starboard layline, but then Artemis Racing starts reeling them in as they head for the gate.  Both round to the left, delta is 11 seconds. Downwind, Japan is faster except when SWE gets the puffs first, lead out to 260m.  Both hit the port layline and gybe. JPN round to the right, SWE turns left, wind appears to be swinging.  JPN comes back across the course on port, maybe looking to cover, but the lead has shrunk, 120m as they cross, and SWE still coming.  Artemis just has more speed on starboard and hits the left side of the course, taking the lead.  It's now neck and neck trading tacks up the leg.  Nathan Outteridge on Artemis is saving tacks against Japan, and building to a 120m lead as they approach the starboard layline. 19 second delta for SWE as they both turn left. A quick downwind and they gybe for the finish leg, SWE pulling ahead, same number of gybes for each team, but Artemis accelerating a bit quicker. Artemis Racing will win Race 2.

Race 3:
Underway at 3:06 local time.  New Zealand screams out to an instant lead against France.  It's only 21 seconds at the second mark, but FRA looks slow and Emirates Team New Zealand is already 300m ahead and pulling away.  NZL is sailing much better angles on both tacks, takes the left gate, already leading by close to 600m, 1:13 delta at Gate 3. By the time France rounds, NZL is over a kilometer away.  The trend continues, huge lead for NZL, who win Race 3.

Race 4:
Start at 3:35 pm. GBR vs. SWE. Time on distance attempt with both boats late, screaming side by side at 40knots until Artemis, getting gassed, falls off slightly. 2 second margin at the first mark. At the first downwind gate, GBR turns left, Artemis turns right, 9 seconds behind. Maybe Outteridge has learned something in his first race? GBR slow to get out of the corner of the course, SWE comes across, passing 100m behind. Artemis tacks on ahead, makes a brief gain, but then the wind comes back for GBR and Ainslie is out to over 200m lead. Coming into Gate 3 GBR on the port layline turns right, SWE on the starboard layline turns left. Delta is 16 seconds.  GBR on the far left is sailing a great angle downwind, lead increasing to over 300m until the have to gybe back to the center.  The lead shrinks briefly, but then Ainslie again gets a good angle coming into the port layline and stays out in front.  Outteridge from the left side will take the right hand gate.  GBR has taken the left. Margin is 19 seconds as they head upwind again. Again, better angles for GBR, and lead is over 300m.  BAR overstands a bit on the left, while SWE tacks on the starboard layline, consolidating some gains. GBR turns right, SWE turns left, 17 second margin. But on the sort downwind leg, SWE gains on a better course, round 5 seconds behind, and a drag race to the finish, both touching 38 knots or more, but the lead not diminishing.  LAnd Rover BAR will win Race 4.

Race 5:
Start at 4:05 pm. NZL vs. USA.  Even start, NZL to windward, USA bears off and pulls slightly ahead, will get inside at the first mark, delta 2 seconds.  Emirates chasing to Mark 2, about 50m behind, but right one USA's tail. Both will turn left, lead is 5 seconds.  They head to the corner, NZL to ww and slightly behind tacking away before the boundary comes to avoid catching a penalty. 

Upwind it's dead even, just a matter of meters, before USA gets out a length or two.  USA tack early this time, both head up the course on port, NZL edges ahead, then USA falls off and the lead shoots to over 100m.  USA catches a lift coming off the righthand boundary, NZL crosses them, also tacking at the boundary, and Emirates keeps a 65m lead as they come to the port layline.  USA tacks, but NZL can lay the gate.  A big jump for the New Zealand team, Burling bears away, turning left, and Spithill will take the right, behind now by 20 seconds at the mark.

Downwind it's 300m for NZL, both will be able to do the leg in just 2 gybes. Emirates can lay the righthand gate, turning right. USA makes the left. Delta is again 20 seconds. New Zealand does poorly coming out of the gate as the wind veers and Oracle Team USA is within 100m, then 30, then even after they cross.  NZL tacks back, starts to gain from the left on starboard tack.  NZL is tacking better, USA not foiling as well as NZL through the tacks. Both tack short of the layline, but will try to make it work.  USA coming right can make the left gate, NZL can't make the right and has to tack.  USA shoots underneath, tries a luff and a protest.  Green flag, but USA gets an overlap at the circle, and will round inside, taking the lead. 

Seven second margin as they head onto the short final downwind leg.  65 meters slipping to 175 or more.  USA has to gybe, NZL might save the gybe, still is a bit far back.  USA rounds the mark wide, NZL just makes it, three second delta, but onto the final leg, reaching for the finish, USA is 140m out in front and though NZL is actually sailing a couple knots faster there won't be room to catch them. USA wins Race 5 by six seconds.

Race 6:
GBR vs. JPN. Start at 4:34 pm.  Damage to both boats from contact in the pre-start. Penalty to Land Rover/BAR gives SoftBank Team Japan gets the jump at the start, land JPN eads by 8 seconds at Mark 1. Lead is 8 seconds at the first downwind gate.  Both turn left.  GBR tacks first, JPN tacks at the boundary. 140m lead. They stay close the whole way up the leg, both turning right, JPN leading by 13 seconds. Barker adds 2 seconds on the downwind leg, Ainslie still following him upwind.  Little changes, Japan extends slowly, and Softbank Team Japan will win Race 6, their first of the regatta. Delta was 48 seconds.

See Standings and Results

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More America's Cup News:

Feb 28: Emirates Team New Zealand "Not Over" 2013 loss, seeks victory in 2017:
NY Times

Jan 31: Bob Grieser, noted America's Cup photographer, dies at age of 70:
Scuttlebutt Sailing

Dec 26: Analyzing America's Cup wingsails, technical article at:
The Marine Executive

Dec 21: Jimmy Spithill saves his arm following elbow complications, will skip Sydney-Hobart, but be ready for build-up to America's Cup 2017:
Sydney Morning Herald

Dec 17: Murray Jones comes back to help Emirates Team New Zealand, joining a returning Rod Davis:
NZ Herald

Oct 17: 2017 America's Cup schedule official confirmed. Qualifiers start May 26; Defense June 17:
See Schedule

Sep 13: Historic yachting firm Sparkman & Stephens has new ownership:
Marine Business

Sep 8: Young talented sailors drawn to foiling boats, on path to become America's Cup competitors:
NY Times

 

New York Yacht Club Announces Challenge for 2021

(Oct 5) The long-time holder of yachting's most historic trophy will return to the event as a 2021 challenger candidate.  The New York YC announced Thursday that they will submit a Notice of Challenge when the entry period opens this coming January, intending to compete with other hopeful teams for the chance to face Royal New Zealand YS for the America's Cup trophy.

The NYYC will be represented by Bella Mente Racing, an established program backed by John "Hap" Fauth that has been successful in several big boat racing events.  The effort will also be supported by the experienced Quantum Racing program, supported by Doug DeVos.  America's Cup veteran sailor Terry Hutchinson, affiliated with both Bella Mente and Quantum as a skipper and CEO, will also be leading the NYYC effort.  All are NYYC members.

Read NYYC Press Release

The NYYC successfully defended the America's Cup in 24 Matches from 1870 through 1980 before losing to the Australian challenger in 1983.  The club also fielded challenge campaigns in 1986 (America II, led by Jon Kolius), 2000 (Young America, led by John Marshall) and 2003 (Stars & Stripes, with Dennis Conner).


New Zealand Announcements for 2021 America's Cup

(Sep 29, Auckland)  Representatives of Royal New Zealand YS/Emirates Team New Zealand and Challenger Circolo della Vela Sicilia/Luna Rossa held a press conference Friday in Auckland to announce the major points of the next America's Cup.  Some highlights:

Yacht:
75-foot monohull, termed the AC75 Class, two boats per team permitted, to be racing in 2019 and 2020. Class Rule due to be released November 30th, 2017.  Specifics are still in flux as defender and challenger prospects negotiate the details.  Grant Dalton says the goal is: "Spectacular boats that go fast and have very close racing."  There are constructed in country rules that apply to building the hull, but tooling, materials, and some replaceable parts are not restricted by nationality.  First yacht may be launched March 31, 2019. Second yacht, February 15th, 2020.

Racing (compared to 2017):
Longer course, upwind starts, longer races, probably 45 minutes.  Racing in Auckland will not be within Auckland Harbor, which has proven to be too confined in previous events. Race location likely near Rangitoto/Takepuna/Milford, based on greater room and less interference with wind. Course areas to be announced by August 30, 2018.

Format:
The America's Cup Match itself will be a first-to-seven points (Best of 13) series.  Challenger Selection will use a repechage (second chance) format, similar to the 2003 process.

Preliminary Regattas/America's Cup World Series:
The preliminary events will begin in the second half of 2019, likely two that year and three regattas in 2020 including a December 2020 event in Auckland called "The America's Cup Christmas Race."  Locations for the other preliminary events are to be determined.

Additional Challenger Entries:
Prospective challenger candidates can submit Notices of Challenge between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018.  Late entries, with financial penalties, may be permitted. Challenging yacht clubs must have been in existence for the 5 previous years, and meet Deed of Gift requirements including an annual regatta and additional tests to establish that the entity is a bona fide yacht club. A USD $1 million payment is due upon entry, with a second $1M payment due November 30, 2018.  The late entry fee is also $1M USD.  There are provisions for a performance bond, and some amounts can be paid in installment.

Nationality Rules:
For all sailors, based on 380 days, applied for the period from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2020.  20% of the on crew (minimum three people) onboard must be nationals, and the remainder must respect permanent residency requirements.  In addition to reinforcing the meaning of the America's Cup competition as a competition among nations, one aspect of the nationality rules attempts to make teams look at their own country's sailors first. Nationality rules are not applicable to team members who do not race on the boat.

America's Cup Match and Related Regattas:
The Match will be held in Auckland in early 2021, following The Prada Cup Regatta (Challenger Selection Series) penciled in for January/February 20121. The whole purpose was to win it to bring it home, say organizers. No infrastructure exists at present and no host city agreement is in place.  Ideally an arrangement that groups the teams, like the Auckland Viaduct in 2000 and 2003, and the Valencia basin in 2007, would be preferred. Expectation of preliminary events being held at the venue starting in second half of 2019.  As a backup, if plans for the match and associated infrastructure cannot be executed in NZ, then the defense would be held in Italy.  To avoid prolonged uncertainty, the decision on locating the match, by requirement of the Protocol, will be finalized by August 30, 2018.  Were the Match to shift to Italy, the dates would also necessarily shift because of the Deed of Gift requirements.  After 2020, the defender will not sail with the challengers.

Organization:
Prada Group will be title and presenting sponsor for the 36th America's Cup, with the challenger selection series to be called the Prada Cup.  The challengers will organize and manage the challenger selection process.  The defender will manage the America's Cup match itself.  There will be a joint arrangement to handle commercial and broadcast provisions.

Fairness/Balance of Power:
The Protocol may be amended by RNZYS and the COR. The Class Rule may not be replaced.  Beginning three months after publication, the Class Rule may only be amended by unanimous consent of all accepted competitors.

Oversight will be similar to 2017:
Independent Regatta Director and Measurers, Umpires, Jury, and Arbitration Panel.

"We now allow teams to plan," says Dalton, hoping that establishing the parameters of the event relatively early compared to recent Cup cycles will help permit maximum team formation.

Why a monohull?
To attract as many good teams as possible to the event.

Strictness of design rule?
One-design elements, but room for development that can advance the sport. "As always, the Cup is a design competition as much as a sailing competition," says Max Sirena, Luna Rossa skipper.

Crew:
 Likely 10-12 crew onboard.

Cyclors or grinders?
Cyclors are not banned under current working version of the rule.

Cost control:
No wind tunnel or tank testing permitted, only computer-based Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) or full-scale testing on the water within the surrogate prohibition.  But plenty of room for development, depending on budget.  Dalton: "This is the America's Cup, it still needs to be at the forefront. If we dumb it down too much, it won't be at the forefront."  Surrogate yachts are not permitted. Only the hull of one of the team's two yachts may be altered.  Coordinated testing between teams is not permitted.  Two boat testing within one team is also restricted.

Likely budgets:
"Teams are going to spend what they want to spend," says Dalton.  Second boats for each team may be launched in February 2020, a year before the Cup.  Allows time to race and develop the boat, including race in the preliminary series.


RNZYS to Announce Details of Next America's Cup

(Sept 28) The Royal New Zealand YS, trustees of the America's Cup since their representative Emirates Team New Zealand won the trophy last June, will announce details of the next America's Cup match at a press conference at 10:00 am, September 30, in Auckland (which will be September 28, at 5:00pm ET in the US).

Expected to be confirmed are the timing of the 36th defense; the format for the Match and the challenger selection process, including any preliminary events; and the requirements for additional competitors wishing to compete for the right to challenge.  The New Zealanders have worked out specifics of the rules in agreement with the Italian Challenger of Record (COR) Circolo della Vela Sicilia, represented by Luna Rossa, whose Notice of Challenge RNZYS accepted at the time the Cup was won.

Information revealed to date centers on early 2021 for the 36th America's Cup Match in Auckland, and earlier this month RNZYS confirmed that a new high-performance monohull design will be raced.  A team of designers including interested challenger representatives is working to find a consensus on the details of the new Class Rule; the details may still not be finalized until the end of this year. 

Among the specific changes Cup watchers see coming is a return to meaningful nationality in the onboard crew, possibly requiring 80% of the sailors on the boat to reflect the country matching their club. Additionally a substantial "Constructed-in-Country" (CiC) element for each challengers yacht will ensure compliance with the intent of the Deed of Gift that defines the event.

Watch Online:
The announcement will be livestreamed on the Facebook pages of both Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa


Early Hints about Next America's Cup Announced

(July 19) The new trustee and defender of the America's Cup, Royal New Zealand YS, and challenger Circolo della Vela Sicilia (CdVS) have made their first public statements about the next America's Cup regatta since RNZYS's representative Emirates Team New Zealand won the trophy just over three weeks ago on June 26.

CdVS as Challenger of Record (COR) and RNZYS are negotiating the details, expecting the general arrangements to be memorialized in a protocol document coming in September, 2017.  Their statement Tuesday did not commit to the terms for the next Defense, but suggests that the timeframe being considered is early 2021, and that there will be an effective nationality element required for both the construction of the yachts and the composition of the sailing talent.  The absence of meaningful nationality in those regards has been a source of criticism of the event in recent years, even as the yachting technology and spectator experience were supercharged.

Statement from the Defending and Challenging Clubs, July 18th, 2017:

(The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Circolo della Vela Sicilia as the Challenger of Record (COR), together with their respective representative teams Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge, are pleased to announce that the Protocol establishing the parameters for the 36th America's Cup will be released in September 2017.

The proposed dates for the event will be further detailed in the Protocol but the Defender and the Challenger of Record are considering the possibility of the 36th America's Cup Match and the preceding Challenger Selection Series being conducted in Auckland in early 2021 during the New Zealand summer.

In recognition of the fundamental condition of the Deed of Gift that the Cup be preserved as a perpetual Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries, the Protocol will contain a "constructed in country" requirement for competing yachts and a nationality requirement for competing crew members.

(ends)

Additionally, it's notable that the statement makes a point to stress the nature of the competition as a challenge trophy contested between foreign nations, and specifically cites the primacy of the Deed of Gift and the sporting arrangements the Cup's donors intended.

This interregnum period in the America's Cup world is naturally full of hopeful anticipation, since with few particulars of the next event yet carved in stone it is easy for the Cup-minded person to expect the event will adopt a form that pleases them. Probably this is still the early wedding-planning phase and not quite the honeymoon even, but there are many reasons for now to be optimistic. 

Both sides have said the right things about their responsibilities and respect for the tradition and greatness of the America's Cup.  Additionally, they are long familiar with the America's Cup match and challenger selection series, under various incarnations of the rules and event formats, and have firsthand knowledge of what worked and, in some cases, what did not.

Indeed, ETNZ and Luna Rossa are the two oldest active America's Cup teams, having faced each other for the first time 17 years ago. Yet they have some basic differences, too, with diverse perspectives and experiences.  ETNZ is the one team that has worked hardest and most successfully to secure commercial sponsorship to make their campaigns happen, while Luna Rossa was funded primarily under the patronage of team leader Patrizio Bertelli, the man behind Italian fashion house Prada.

Counting nearly a dozen campaigns between them, in combination winning every challenger selection series since 1995, and supported by probably the two most passionate national fan bases in sailing, the new Defender and COR have the opportunity to build on the many great improvements that Larry Ellison, Russell Coutts, and many others have brought to the Cup in the last few cycles. There is much potential.


Emirates Team New Zealand Wins the America's Cup: Challenge Accepted from Italy

35th Defense is Won By the Challenger. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is the new Trustee of the America's Cup, and now the 36th Defender, too.

New Challenger of Record (COR) is announced:

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron accepts the challenge of Circolo della Vela Sicilia, which becomes the Challenger of Record for the XXXVI America's Cup.

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is pleased to announce that it has accepted a challenge from Circolo della Vela Sicilia which was received immediately upon the victory of Emirates Team New Zealand in the last race of the 35th America's Cup.

As the first challenger, CVS will be the Challenger of Record for the 36th America's Cup and its representative team will be Luna Rossa Challenge.

The 36th America’s Cup will be open to further challengers from any organized Yacht Club of a foreign country under conditions to be announced in due course.

RNZYS, and its representative team, Emirates Team New Zealand, look forward to working with CVS and Luna Rossa Challenge to create an exciting future for the event by combining innovation with the traditional sporting values of the America’s Cup.

By the Commodores
Steve Mair, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
Agostino Randazzo Randazzo, Circolo della Vela Sicilia.


Click image to see Final Day Racing and Trophy Ceremony Photo Gallery from Steve Tsichiya Photo:©2017 R. Steven Tsuchiya.

Also, Photo Gallery: The Dockyard: Around the America's Cup Village during the Red Bull Youth America's Cup Finals


35th Defense of the America's Cup
Day 5
Monday, June 26

Defender:
Golden Gate Yacht Club, represented by Oracle Team USA
Challenger:
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by Emirates Team New Zealand

New Zealand leads the Match 6-1 to begin Day 5. NZL is on Match Point and can win the America's Cup with one more victory. The first boat to win 7 points wins the America's Cup.  See Scoring and Standings for more

Day 5 (Monday) Race Program:
America's Cup, Presented by Louis Vuitton.
Two Match Races

Race 9: NZL vs. USA - start 2:12 pm
Race 10: USA vs. NZL - start 2:57 pm*

Start times are local in Bermuda. Times are subject to change. Next races, *if needed, and weather permitting, Tuesday, June 27.  See Complete Regatta Schedule

Weather:
Wind SW 6-8 kts. (WindGuru). Wind SSW 8-9 kts (Wunderground).

Preview:
Emirates Team New Zealand has been here before. So has Oracle Team USA. So have America's Cup fans around the world. One...Win...Away.......

New Zealand has been on a quest to win back the trophy, for New Zealand, nearly 14 years. Three times as challenger now.  In the process, Team New Zealand reinvented themselves several times over, not entirely by choice.

So there is a tremendous lot of history on the line today, and a lot of the future, too. Let's not get ahead to the who, what, and how of hypotheticals.  One race at a time is the mantra for all sides.

Racing Preview:
Light wind again plays to NZL strengths, but Sunday despite being 9-10 knots most of the time, was inconsistent in wind and direction to the point of anxiety.  In a solid breeze, a decent lead might be safe, but not yesterday.  And the spotty wind blurred a clear understanding of how the modified Oracle Team USA yacht 17 stacks up now to the Challenger.  Saturday USA gained upwind, NZL was faster downwind.  Sunday, NZL seemed better when they were in the same wind going to weather, but USA made huge gains sailing off the wind. Much of it was private breeze and huge shifts. But was that the whole story?

Peter Burling on NZL sailed a conservative, defensive Match Racing style on Sunday, making efforts to stay in phase as much as possible. The one aggressive move of hooking Jimmy Spithill and USA in the Race 8 Pre-start paid off in a big way, though.  The pressure of being behind, and NZL covering, forced USA to try options that ended up hurting their fortunes even more. Expect Spithill to be buckled down a bit more today. And probably, given his nature, looking to go out with a fight, aggressive in the Pre-Start and all around the course. 

CupStats:
We are pleased to bring you some visual look at the relative performance of the Challenger and Defender.  See the CupStats page for comparisons of speed on each leg of each race of the 2017 America's Cup Match to date

Race 9:
Start at 2:12 pm. Oracle Team USA has a slight jump off an even start at the line.  To windward, USA gets ahead and sails in front of NZL, leading by three seconds at the first Mark.  NZL uses their position behind, though, to push USA to the right-hand boundary and time their gybe on the downwind leg, both boats about even now on Leg 2.  NZL sails slightly faster, slightly deeper, controls the gybe for the gate. NZL sails very deep, takes the right-hand gate after thier gybe.  USA gybes too, but declines to follow them. USA adds a downspeed gybe to the left-hand gate, comes off their foils, very slow in the water.  NZL comes back from the left-hand boundary, they are about 150m ahead when the boats cross in the middle of the course, NZL on port, USA on stbd.  NZL keeps going, allowing the split.  Gains for NZL on the right.  Wind is about 8.5 kts. Now they cross about 160m in front this time, NZL on stb.  Looks like a a header for NZL and a slow tack, USA closer to 130m behind. No covering taking place, USA allowed to stay out of phase the whole leg.  NZL to the stbd. layline, USA to the port.. NZL turns left. The header on port is hurting USA now. Delta at the first windward gate is 26 seconds.

On Leg 4, the lead is about 240m for NZL. USA gybes to starboard, NZL stays on port a while longer, finally gybing to cover.  USA is making big gains, the lead cut in half by the middle of the leg before NZL gets up to speed. Slow gybe for USA hurts, lead soon grows for NZL. 300m ahead after they gybe for the final downwind gate, and round turning left. Wind is about 8 kts., USA looking slow coming out of gybes. 35 second delta as USA turns right, and tacks soon after.  NZL gets in phase.  To the right-hand boundary and both tack.  USA seems to come out of tacks faster than NZL since this weekend began, slight gain, as the lead stays about 150m or so.  NZL to the starboard layline as USA tacks early. This might be setting up a dialdown or a close cross at least.  NZL can't quite lay the lefthand side of the gate.  USA to the port layline and past.  NZL will have to tack for the right side of the gate.  NZL rounds turning right.  USA will have to follow? But no, tacks in the gate for the left turn.  Lead is 320m to start the leg.

No room to catch up. No final comeback.  NZL cruising.

Emirates Team New Zealand Wins the America's Cup!


35th Defense of the America's Cup
Day 4
Sunday, June 25

Sunday Results: Emirates Team New Zealand wins both races. The America's Cup Match now stands at 6-1 for New Zealand, who are one win away from taking the trophy back to Auckland.

Defender:
Golden Gate Yacht Club, represented by Oracle Team USA
Challenger:
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by Emirates Team New Zealand

New Zealand leads the Match 4-1 to begin Day 4. The first boat to win 7 points wins the America's Cup.  See Scoring and Standings for more

Day 4 (Sunday) Race Program:
America's Cup, Presented by Louis Vuitton.
Two Match Races

Race 7: NZL vs. USA - start 2:12 pm
Race 8: USA vs. NZL - start 2:57 pm

Start times are local in Bermuda. Times are subject to change. Next races, weather permitting, Monday, June 26.  See Complete Regatta Schedule

Weather:
Sunday: Conditions 77d F, overcast. Wind SSW 7-9 kts. (WindGuru). Wind SW 8 kts (Wunderground).

Race 7:
NZL starts to leeward, a length ahead, USA to windward.  NZL first to Mark 1, 3 second lead. Downwind Leg 2, 40m lead for NZL, both on port.  NZL gybes for the right-hand gate, USA follows.  Wind is 8-9 knots. 5 seconds at Gate 2. Both gybe soon after rounding, now on port.  Speed is similar, NZL has better height. Tack to starboard, NZL covering, and NZL again is pointing higher. USA getting their wind blanketed by NZL.  USA tacks away, NZL goes to the boundary.  NZL again sailing much higher on the left side of the course now. USA goes to the right-hand boundary.  Lead is up to 280m. As USA comes back across, NZL up the course tacks early to stay in phase.  NZL to the port layline, tacks for the right-hand gate.  USA is lower, still trailing, will need an extra tack to round the left-hand mark.  32 second delta at the first upwind gate.

Downwind, the breeze is much better on the right. USA sails a deeper angle with more speed and cuts into the lead, from over 300m down to 230m.  NZL gets the wind, too, will sail deep, too.  USA has to gybe at the boundary, and starts losing on the left.  NZL will save a gybe, 300m ahead. Bottom gate coming up. NZL turns left. USA 40 seconds behind, takes the right-hand turn.

Final upwind Leg, NZL about 250-300m ahead. Wind is 9-10kts. NZL trying to stay in phase. USA makes some gains as the wind continues to be spotty.  A right shift does NZL no favors in trying to reach the final upwind gate, but they make it eventually and turn left. USA pushes harder near the port layline and saves some distance, turning right at the gate. Delta is 35 seconds.

On the Final downwind, lead is initially about 300m.  USA gets great wind, is screaming downwind, down to 225m in no time. They both gybe, and USA keeps coming. Lead down to 150m.  One more gybe to turn the last Mark and head to the finish. USA coming up fast.  NZL hangs on to win Race 7 by 12 seconds!  Emirates Team New Zealand leads the Match 5-1.

Race 8:
Coming up. Emirates Team New Zealand hooks Oracle big time before the start. Big lead for NZL at the start. NZL leads by 12 seconds at Mark 1.  NZL by 24 seconds at the downwind gate. They split the gates, but NZL soon gets in phase and covers. It's about 24 seconds, 160m lead, upwind.  USA finding better speed, cutting into the lead. NZL pulls out a bit.  Problems on USA, boundary penalty at the port layline. Both turn right at the first upwind gate, 36 second lead for NZL. Downwind, big shifts, mostly helping NZL. Their lead extends.  They turn left at the bottom gate. USA turns right. Delta is 37 seconds.  USA off their foils in the rounding.

On the final upwind leg, the wind is a little spotty, but NZL is solidly ahead.  They are not in phase. USA comes across on port tack, making gains before NZL finally tacks at the left boundary.  But out of phase, the port tack is paying, and NZL gets their turn to open up a lead.  NZL goes well past the starboard layline, making sure to round. NZL turns left. USA will follow, but not close right now.

USA again is screaming down the final downwind leg, making big gains. 50m lead down to 300m.  But NZL gybes for the final Mark and the finish leg.  Finish Delta is 30 seconds.

Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 8!

New Zealand leads the Match now 6-1. Next race is Match point. Races resume Monday.


35th Defense of the America's Cup
Day 3
Saturday, June 24

Saturday Results:
One win for each team, NZL leads the Match 4-1.

Defender:
Golden Gate Yacht Club, represented by Oracle Team USA
Challenger:
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by Emirates Team New Zealand

New Zealand leads the Match 3-0 to begin Day 3. The first boat to win 7 points wins the America's Cup.
See Scoring and Standings for more

Day 3 (Saturday) Race Program:
America's Cup, Presented by Louis Vuitton
Two Match Races

Race 5: NZL (W) vs. USA - start 2:12 pm
Race 6: USA (W) vs. NZL - start 2:57 pm

(Start times are local in Bermuda. Times are subject to change.)
See Complete Regatta Schedule

Weather:
Saturday (updated Saturday 11:00 am): Conditions 77d F, overcast. Wind SW 8-10 kts. (WindGuru). Wind WSW 8 kts (Wunderground). The wind forecast has been steady since Friday as indicated above. At Saturday's Morning Briefing, however, Iain Murray, ACRM Race Officer, working from internal ACEA weather forecasts, had reservations on whether the wind conditions at race time were going to permit a start on Saturday.  The ACEA model shows winds WSW 9-12 kts. in the late morning dropping to 5-7 kts by 3:00 pm, veering further west, and continuing to weaken.

Sunday Forecast: Wind SSW 6-7 kts (WindGuru) looks less convincing.  If the Match has not concluded, expect ACRM to attempt racing on every day possible going forward. The forecast into mid-week is for winds 8 to 10 kts until Thursday when the long range, admittedly unreliable at this distance, now shows 14-15 kts.


Emirates Team New Zealand leading, Oracle Team USA gaining. Click image for Day 3 Photo Gallery. Photo: ©2017 R. Steven Tsuchiya.

Race 5:
Both boats setting up to bearaway at the line to start, USA to windward, NZL to leeward.  USA is about 2 seconds OCS at the gun, gets a penalty.  NZL leads 3 seconds at Mark 1.  NZL could have gone left at Gate two, but turns right to cover USA, who has gained on them downwind.  NZL is slow coming out of the rounding, and stays on the headed starboard tack, losing further. USA tacks first, and they are about dead even.  Conditions are light and shifty, making it harder for TNZ to keep things steady. USA going left.  Coming back back from the boundary, USA on starboard, there is a dial-down and USA crosses ahead, taking the lead.  To the left boundary, USA leading, tacks first. NZL with starboard uses the dial down to take the lead.  Protests from both and penalty to USA for not keeping clear.  But with wind in the 10 kt range, USA is looking more competitive on speed now.

Extra tack for USA, they round 26 seconds down at Gate 3.  Downwind, NZL seems to stretch out, lead from 20m to 400m at times, though spotty wind strength is a factor in that gain.  Bad gybe for USA at the left boundary, no hydro pressure at a key time, and both hulls in the water and they are down to 12 kts, NZL way out in front.  USA back up to speed, but NZL is through Gate 4, turning right. 57 second lead at the final downwind gate.

On the last upwind, NZL 500m ahead. Too much of a gap for Oracle to do anything about it. Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 5!  New Zealand leads the match 4-0. First to 7 wins.

Race 6:
Clear start, USA to windward, NZL to leeward.  USA is just far enough ahead to gas NZL on Leg 1, pulls ahead by a few lengths. Oracle leads at Mark 1, the first time in the Match. USA turns right with NZL following. 6 second lead for USA.  NZL tacks first. USA keeps going. 60-70m lead for USA. NZL to the right boundary, coming back Oracle crosses well ahead on port.

Big right-hand shift for USA pulls USA out into a larger lead. 70-90m, solidly ahead as they get to the upper end of the leg.  USA is not covering, but goes for the starboard layline.  NZL to the port layline. USA turns left, NZL turns right. Delta is 12 seconds. The right-hand side (on the downwind leg) has looked better for wind, USA seems to benefit. Lead is 210m for Oracle.  USA gets to the left-hand boundary and the wind direction hurts them. NZL has the right-hand side of the course, and sprints a bit, cutting the lead to under 80m.  USA gets to the right, but as they near the downwind gate, NZL gets a puff of wind, lays the gate, and is back in the lead. Both turn left, delta is 6 seconds.  USA tacks first. NZL lead shrinks as USA gets wind. NZL tacks short of the port layline, they face a dial down from USA near the gate, NZL is downspeed trying to pinch to the right-hand side of the gate, off foils, USA turns left, staying up. Big lead results on the final downwind, a short leg.  No room to catch up. USA looks to get on the scoreboard.

NZL has been faster on the downwind legs. They cut into USA's lead, streaking to the finish, but not able to make it close.  Oracle Team USA wins Race 6!  The Match now stands at 4-1. Finish Delta was 11 seconds.

Analysis:

Race 6 was a back and forth battle. USA started with a lead that NZL was able to take away upwind.  NZL passed, looking faster downwind, but the final upwind Leg 5 was pivotal.  Halfway up the leg, NZL leading let USA get out of phase, going to the left, and the New Zealanders actually gained on the right.  USA tacked again for the left side of the course, and NZL let them have it to themselves again. This time with a split, USA found a favorable bit of wind.

By itself, though, that wasn't enough to take the lead.  USA actually would have had to cross behind NZL by a fair margin.  New Zealand , on starboard, could have passed well in front of Oracle, but instead forced a dial down situation, sailing low at USA for some several seconds to do so. On the one hand, the dial down did ensure USA would be second; on the other hand it left USA a lot closer to the lead afterward.

After the dial down, NZL on starboard tacked to port below the layline, and too low to lay the protective circle around the left-hand mark of the gate that might have brought NZ rights to round inside at the gate.  NZL looked instead to lay the right-hand mark. Possibly NZL might have even crossed USA, but with USA's ability to hunt them, and the danger of a penalty if USA caught them with no place to keep clear, NZL had to play defense and duck USA's final dial down attempt.

The duck came too close to the right-hand mark. New Zealand had to pinch up to make the mark, needing to avoid instead having to make a tack in the gate that would have been a sure loser.  Though the boats both rounded opposite sides of the gates nearly in perfect synchronization, NZL was downspeed and went off her foils into displacement mode. For the few seconds it took to bearaway, round the mark, and get the hulls back out of the water, NZL gave up critical distance to USA. 

The final downwind Leg 6 is shorter than the longer Leg 4 where NZL caught USA earlier in the race.  NZL was able to make up 7 seconds on the Final Leg 7, going from 18 to 11 seconds back.

The first glance takeaway from Saturday's races is that USA has indeed found speed, especially upwind. Between techniques and some extension of daggerboard length, it's enough to put them in the mix in 10 kt. winds.  Race 5 was probably lost on a few bad breaks for USA.  Race 6 was won on good sailing and little going wrong for USA.  New Zealand had a few calls where whether they were being aggressive or non-aggressive it ended up hurting them, as events turned out.  Would closer covering on the final upwind have been better in the conditions?  Avoiding some dialups and chancing the penalty in others might have gone their way.  Easy to say that now.

New Zealand still shows good speed and technique, and sailed right back into the lead as much as Oracle did. AS long as they are thinking and still learning and getting faster, too, acclaimed comebacks might just be a matter of thinking on the right time scale.
 


Emirates Team New Zealand daggerboard profile. Photo: ©2017 R. Steven Tsuchiya.
See Photo Gallery of ETNZ following Friday's sail


Friday, June 23: Weekend Preview

Early Preview:
Light wind for Saturday expected to favor Emirates Team New Zealand, who have looked better in those conditions throughout the Louis Vuitton Qualifiers and Playoffs, as well as in the first races of the 2017 America's Cup.  Under 12 kts of wind New Zealand has been a bit faster; under 10 knots of wind, NZL has looked completely dominant, able to foil earlier, sail faster and tack at higher speeds, and stay up on the daggerboards longer.  So single digit forecasts look like the nightmare scenario for USA. There are at least two wildcards for this weekend, though. 

Achieving Total Lightosity?
What can USA do to improve in low wind? The forecast has looked light all week and Oracle Team USA can read it, too.  Their survival depends on shifting everything for light air performance and they have spent the week making those adjustments. Will that pay off? Are there enough gains to be made to make them competitive?  Extensive changes to the daggerboards are not possible, just modifications to a small portion of the foils, but there is plenty of room to improve techniques for starts, tacks, and gybes.

Light, but how light?
Two, if the wind gets light enough, 7 knots, 6 knots, or less, and neither of the yachts can foil in the race, does that erase NZL's advantage?   The Race Officer needs to see an average of 6 knots to start the race, but, once underway, if conditions are inconsistent, the race outcome might be a roll of the dice.  Predictions for SW winds, more typical for the Great Sound race area, suggest that despite being at the low end of the range the breeze might be more coherent than the sometimes spotty SE winds that prevailed for racing last weekend.

Playing the Long Game:
And if Saturday looks soft, Sunday looks softer, seen from Friday as right on the edge of being raceable. But if the Match isn't settled by then, there won't be another week off.  Racing will pick up on Monday and every feasible day after that until a winner is decided. The forecast for the week gets better every day, into the double-digits on Tuesday and high teens later in the week. Much like San Francisco in 2013, the longer things go, the more they favor the defender.


35th Defense of the America's Cup
Day 2
Sunday, June 18

Emirates Team New Zealand Wins Two More Races, Leads Match 3-0

Defender:
Golden Gate Yacht Club, represented by Oracle Team USA
Challenger:
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by Emirates Team New Zealand

The Match is won by the first yacht to score seven points. Each race win is worth one point. Defender begins the match with 0 points. Challenger begins the Match with (-1) point. See Scoring and Standings for more

Day 2 (Sunday) Race Program:
America's Cup, Presented by Louis Vuitton
Two Match Races

Race 3: USA vs. NZL (W) - start 2:12 pm
Race 4: NZL (W) vs. USA - start 2:57 pm

(Start times are local in Bermuda. Times are subject to change.)
Next race Saturday, June 24.
See Complete Regatta Schedule

Weather:
Wind 8-12 kts, clear skies (ACEA).  Wind ESE 10-12 kts (WindGuru). Wind ESE 10 kts (Wunderground).

Day 2 Preview:
On Race Day 1 Emirates Team New Zealand showed that they definitely have a fast boat and good crew work for light air, able to out-sail, out-point, and out-maneuver Oracle Team USA much of the time. Still, everyone makes mistakes, and Oracle Team USA was right on top of Emirates when that happened. A gybe that dropped NZL into displacement mode on the final leg of Race 1 helped USA cut minute and twenty seconds off their huge deficit in just one leg. Spotty and shifty wind across the course in Race 2 let USA come from nearly a kilometer behind to less than a boat length, until USA’s own displacement mode gybe left the defender’s yacht 17 sitting still and the Kiwis off to the horizon.

What’s expected today is a slightly higher breeze, low double digits, still out of the atypical ESE instead of SW. These conditions should make it easy to get the boats up and stay up on foils. Yesterday’s 8-9 kt wind had holes of 6 kts or less drifting across the course, helping stretch and compress the lead. If today’s breeze is more consistent, there should be fewer cardiac incidents among the spectator crowd.

Emirates Team New Zealand showed that they are up to employing good Match Race discipline, covering their opponent and staying in phase where possible, splitting mostly just for the obvious advantage of laying a mark or gate and saving a maneuver. They got the best in both starts, one with an Oracle OCS penalty, the other with acceleration and position that made USA drop back before the first mark. Helmsman Peter Burling also executed a bold defensive move, tacking to port in the path of USA fast approaching the upwind gate. Burling just made it to the circle around the lefthand mark before Spithill, forcing USA to turn wide around NZL and follow, instead of passing.

Oracle Team USA didn’t show superior speed in the very light conditions, but they did demonstrate how aggressive they are willing to get in the pre-start. More so, though no one doubted it, they just keep coming. Spithill thrives on an underdog mentality. They didn’t sail perfectly, or both those races might have been in doubt until the last second despite NZ’s giant leads. This is starting to sound familiar?

Today’s touch higher wind, in addition to taking some of the erratic speed out of the equation, may be enough for the yachts to crossover to using their mid-range and up daggerboards, presumably with more evenly matched speed profiles for the two yachts. The teams have to commit in the morning on their daggerboard choices, though, so any weather surprises could have a decisive impact on the day’s races.

Are these the conditions that favor Oracle Team USA yet, assuming there are some? Long range forecasts, not completely reliable yet, hint at similar conditions next weekend, too.

Race 3:
NZL starts to leeward, USA to windward, nearly even.  USA with their highspeed boards is a little faster, but not enough to get in front of NZL and sail down before Mark 1. A protest from NZL on USA sailing down, but no penalty. With the leeward, NZL controls timing of the gybe on Leg 2.  USA slips a bit and ends up just behind.  NZL takes the left turn at Gate 2, USA turns right.  NZL is using their light air boards.  Upwind, a bit of a split.  USA's slower rounding of Gate 2 leaves them a bit down speed, but upwind NZL seems to be pulling ahead a bit. USA isn't helped by needing an extra tack to round Gate 3. 32 second delta.

Downwind NZL is extending to nearly 500m, but both boats are sailing well in the conditions of about 10 kts.  Downwind a slight gain for NZL, 42 seconds at the second leeward gate.

Upwind for the final time, USA makes a big gain as NZL struggles with a header. Lead down to 200m.  USA likes the left and tacks back to it mid-course as NZL keeps going right.  The long starboard tack back across the course seems to pay for NZL.  New Zealand heads for the port tack layline, Oracle is setting up for the starboard tack layline. Both tack short, won't lay the gate.  NZL will tack just short of the righthand mark and then turn left.  USA will go to the port layline and beyond, hoping to go right, but gets tangled up needing to avoid NZL who has just rounded.  USA protests NZL, no penalty. P ainful last few hundred meters at the top of the leg, with USA rounding 56 seconds behind, and turning right.  On the final downwind, NZL is 600m ahead, nearly ready to gybe for the last Mark by the time USA rounds the Gate 5.  NZL just needs to keep it going to the finish line.  USA screaming downwind at 35 kts, but there is too much ground to make up.  Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 3!  The Match is now 2-0 for New Zealand

Race 4:
Coming up.  Oracle reported some issue with one of their rudders as Race 3 ended. Hopefully support boats can fix it before the start of Race 4. 

Wind with -8:00 to the starting gun is still 9-10 knots across the course, 12.5-13 kts near the downwind end. USA to have port tack entry for Race 4, NZL to have starboard.

New Zealand having problems in the pre-start with getting their boards to lock into place. Oracle tries a little for a hook, but not too aggressively.  Off the line, better speed from NZL to windward, they get ahead of USA and sail down, forcing USA to sail further to leeward looking for clean air.  NZL leads around Mark 1. Both to Gate 2 in one gybe, NZL turns left, USA turns right.

On the first upwind, NZL gets a right shift, a little more angle.  USA is close though, 200m lead down to 100m lead.  NZL tacks mid-course to port to cover USA. They in phase on a starboard tack, but then USA goes early, trying to get out of phase.  NZL to the boundary.  Slightly better angles for NZL, though good VMG from USA.  NZL to the starboard layline, might lay the top gate.  USA down the course is trying for the port layline.

NZL lays the first upwind gate, turns left. USA tacks on the port layline. 43 second delta at the mark, USA turning right.  600m lead for NZL downwind. Bad gybe for NZL and USA makes some gains. NZL lays the gate and turns left.  USA will need an extra gybe and have to turn right. 33 second delta.  Big shift after they round, swinging left as they tack to port. Helping Oracle a bit.  But both on starboard and NZL further up the leg gets a much bigger lift, turns that into a 500m lead.  Wind is down a knot or two, and playing to NZL's performance. New Zealand turns left, big lead onto the last downwind leg. USA will turn right.  1:00 delta.

New Zealand sails away with it.  Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 4! NZ now leads the America's Cup Match 3-0.

Next Race is Saturday, June 24.
See Regatta Schedule


35th Defense of the America's Cup
Day 1
Saturday, June 17

Emirates Takes Match Lead with Two Race Wins

Defender:
Golden Gate Yacht Club, represented by Oracle Team USA
Challenger:
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by Emirates Team New Zealand

The Match is won by the first yacht to score seven points. Each race win is worth one point. Defender begins the match with 0 points. Challenger begins the Match with (-1) point. See Scoring and Standings for more

Day 1 (Saturday) Race Program:
America's Cup, Presented by Louis Vuitton
Two Match Races

Race 1: USA vs. NZL (W) - start 2:12 pm
Race 2: NZL (W) vs. USA - start 2:57 pm

(Start times are local in Bermuda. Times are subject to change.)
See Complete Regatta Schedule

Weather:
Wind 8-12 kts, clear skies (ACEA). Wind ESE 8-11 kts (WindGuru). Wind ESE 8-9 kts (Wunderground).

Daily Preview:
Light winds may favor NZL, but decision on light air versus mid-range daggerboards could be decisive.

Also see 2017 America's Cup Match Preview at left.

35th Defense of the America's Cup, Presented by Louis Vuitton

Race 1:
30 minutes to start and winds are ESE 7.0 to 10.3 knots across the course. Unlike the prevailing SW winds that have seen most of the challenger racing, the East-Southeast wind dictates a course axis straddling the Great Sound, with the start line in mid-Sound rather than close to the America's Cup village.  The course will be the typical 7 leg course, consisting of a reaching leg off the starting line (Leg 1), a short downwind (Leg 2), first upwind leg (Leg 3), second downwind (leg 4), final upwind leg (Leg 5), final downwind (Leg 6), and a short reaching leg to the finish line.

The boats may enter the pre-start box 2:10 before the starting gun (for port tack entry) and 2:00 before the gun (for starboard tack entry). They must enter the starting box by 1:00 before the gun or be penalized.  They also must pass Mark 2 (going from Leg 2 to Leg 3) within 10 minutes after the start, and the winning boat must cross the finish line within 25 minutes of the start.

8:00 to go, the wind is within limits to start. Get ready!

Two things to look for in the pre-star, how aggressive the skippers look toward each other. The impact of trying too hard and getting a penalty is to end up trailing to the first mark. Based on the rhetoric, Spithill probably wants to intimidate Burling, but a mistake can backfire big time.  Aggressive starting may actual reveal limited confidence about boatspeed.

-2:10 Oracle Team USA with port tack entry. -2:00 Emirates Team New Zealand with starboard entry.  NZL onto USA's stern, trying to keep things under control and time the return to the starting line. USA turns early.  NZL holds back, looking to go for a clean start, pushing Spithill, who is leading to the line, only a bit. Still, Spithill is too close and is OCS (On Course at the Start), penalized. 13 seconds for NZL lead at Mark 1.  USA gybes early.  NZL gybes close to the boundary, looking to lay the Gate.  NZL foiling early is opening up a sizable lead in light wind. NZL turns left, tacks right away to starboard. 30 seconds delta (time difference) at the gate, USA turns right. 

NZL is there to cover them.  They both tack to port and go upwind, lead stays about 260-280m upwind.  NZL tacks just short of the starboard layline. USA in phase, both now on starboard. NZL tacks at the port layline, in the light air they can likely just point enough to round the righthand gate.  USA is back, a little further down the racetrack, and might be hurt trying to pinch up enough to make it, but they do make the gate without the extra tack, and also turn right. 46 second delta.

450m lead for NZL, USA gybes to get out of phase, but NZL is laying the downwind gate and keeps going after making one gybe themselves. 40 second delta at the downwind gate. Slight gains for Oracle, seeming to have slightly better angles and wind on the last leg. 

Upwind the second time now, NZL sailing well, foiling consistently, but the wind is easing a bit. Two tacks and NZL will round the final upwind gate, turning left. Lead is 615m.  NZL is barely flying on their foils, USA now dropping their hull into the water, displacement mode, as the wind lightens.  1:49 Delta at Gate 5.

NZL just needs to complete the course. They fall off their foils in the double gybe at the last mark, very slow as the wind is 5 kts or less, and Oracle gains a bit, but the New Zealanders pull it out and even the series at 0-0.  Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 1!  The final delta was down to only 30 seconds.

Race 2:
Wind reading 7 to 11.2 kts across the course. 8:00 to the starting gun. Emirates Team New Zealand with port entry, Oracle Team USA with starboard entry. NZL enters first, USA about 10 seconds later than permitted. With a minute to go they tack back for the line. USA chasing NZL, looking for a controlling position.  NZL breaks away to the downwind side rather than get caught near the line with time to burn. USA goes after them, NZL tries to angle back and crosses USA with 15 seconds to go. Both with pace sail upwind along the start line and bear away at the gun. NZL to leeward and slightly ahead, sail down and in front of USA.  Spithill heads up to get out of their backwind.  5 second lead at Mark 1, both get out to the boundary before gybing, barely 80m lead increases a bit to 130m.  NZL can lay the gate, turning left, USA again needs an extra gybe, and turns right. 23 second Delta.

USA tacks to port after rounding, NZL tacks to port to cover them, not letting USA out of phase. Wind is sitting around 7-8 knots. Both on starboard now, lead 215m. NZL foiling well.  USA sailing lower gets to the boundary first, is out of phase, but falling back. Both now on port. One more tack and NZL lays the upwind gate, turns left.  USA to the port layline, 320m behind.  Delta at the first upwind gate is 1:06.

Downwind the lead for NZL is up to 600m.  Wind is a little stronger at the bottom gate, struggling for 6-7 at best at the top of the course right now.  NZL gets the benefit of the wind and out to 900m as they enter the last downwind gate.  Delta is 1:35.

Wind looks light for NZL now, boats hitting as little as 15 knots upwind.  USA making some gains in the conditions as NZL sees light wind, and a big shift. They get a big knock on port tack.  Oracle is closing up, on starboard, under 250m. Under 100m. Cross coming, NZL on starboard. NZL tacks in Oracle's path, just before the gate, makes the right-hand circle first by a boat length to get inside rights, and round ahead. USA protests them but no penalty. Downwind both have turned right, less than 2 lengths between them.  NZL gybes, USA follows and falls off their foils when they drop the windward board for the gybe, stopping almost dead, and NZL gets away.

Within 2 minutes, NZL is 700m ahead. One mark to go. One gybe for them. Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 2 of the 2017 America's Cup! NZL now leads the series 1-0. Final delta is 1:28.

See 2017 America's Cup Results and Standings

Afterwards:
Sound Match Race tactics, great light air techniques (and boards), and no mistakes in the starting box all worked out for Emirates Team New Zealand on Day 1.  Oracle Team USA showed the never-give-up spirit that is recognizable from their 2013 comeback, reeling in NZL even in a race that looked like it had been decided.  Spotty wind made the racing tough for both sides at time.  Tomorrow is another day, one with forecasts for a bit more wind.  New Zealand might not hold such an advantage in that case, but they at least did their part today to get a march on winning some points. First race Sunday at 2:12 Bermuda time.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Final Series Day 3
Monday, June 12

Monday Results:
Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 7, wins the match 5-2 over Sweden's Artemis Racing, and becomes the 35th Challenger for the America's Cup. Scroll down for daily report.
Race Program
Monday's Races:
First Race start set for 2:12 pm local time
(Start times subject to change)

F R7: SWE vs. NZL (W)
F R8: NZL vs. SWE (not sailed)
F R9: SWE vs. NZL (not sailed)

The Louis Vuitton Playoffs Final is a best of nine (first to five points) match race series. The winner challenges Oracle Team USA for the America's Cup starting June 17.

NZL leads the series 4-2.
See Results and Standings | Regatta Format

Weather:
Monday: Wind southerly 5-10 kts and variable. (ACEA).  Wind SSE 7-10 kts (WindGuru). Winds SW 8 kts (Wunderground).

Monday Preview:
Match Point for NZL

Light winds, if suitable for racing, would be expected to favor Emirates Team New Zealand. They have usually shown speed in light conditions that is head and shoulders above the other teams. This isn't the wind to look for Artemis to sweep three races, as they will need to do to become the challenger. The Swedish team did take four straight to win their semi-final, so if anybody can do it, why not Artemis? 

The Race Officer needs to see a measurement of minimum 6 knots average to start a race, and the wind needs to be solid enough in direction and strength that the race would be a fair test of sailing.  Afternoon forecast has improved since yesterday, so racing seems likely.

Finals Race 7 (Attempt 1):
Light and shifty winds to start. SWE with early penalty trail NZL. Boats are not foiling well in light winds. The race, though started, faces a 25 minute time limit, as specified in the Sailing Instructions.  With the finish in doubt, the Race Officer shortens the course as permitted under the RRSAC. Still not enough and Race 7 Attempt #1 is abandoned.

Finals Race 7 (Attempt 2):
Awaiting time for start. Artemis RAcing leads briefly, but Emirates Team New Zealand sails slowly but surely ahead, continues to extend around the race course, and goes on to defeat SWE. Emirates Team New Zealand wins the challenger selection final, properly known as the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs Final, by a score of 5-2, and becomes the 35th Challenger for the America's Cup. They will face the representative of Golden Gate YC, Oracle Team USA, starting next Saturday and Sunday, and continuing the following weekend.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Final Series Day 2
Sunday, June 11

Sunday Results:
SWE wins Race 4, NZL wins Race 5 and 6. Emirates Team New Zealand leads the series 4-2, one point from advancing. Racing resumes tomorrow with Races 7, 8, and 9 scheduled. Scroll down for today's race reports and more.
Race Program
Sunday's Races:
First Race start set for 2:12 pm local time
(Start times subject to change)

F R4: NZL vs. SWE (W) 2:12 pm
F R5: SWE vs. NZL (W) 2:51 pm
F R6: NZL (W) vs. SWE 3:30 pm

The Louis Vuitton Playoffs Final is a best of nine (first to five points) match race series. The winner challenges Oracle Team USA for the America's Cup starting June 17.
See Results and Standings | Regatta Format

Weather:
Sunday: Wind SSW 5-10 knots, heavy rain showers in the morning clearing in the afternoon. (ACEA).  Wind SSW 12-13 kts, gusts to 15-16. Lingering precipitation possible (WindGuru). Winds SW 8-9 kts (Wunderground).  Showers and thunderstorms are occurring mid-day, possibly clearing in time for racing. (Bermuda radar) Monday Outlook: Wind SSW 5-6 kts, very light.

Finals Race 4:
Even start, but Artemis is faster on Leg 1. Wind about 16 kts. 3 second lead at Mark 1. NZL gybes first, SWE gybes at the boundary.  Artemis hits 45 kts downwind. SWE leads at first downwind gate, TNZ buries bow. After rounding, NZL tacks first, SWE covers. NZL tacks to port 100m from the boundary.  Artemis follows suit. Outteridge stays dry. NZL heads right, Hoping for a starboard advantage when they cross. New Zealand loses on the right. Artemis ahead about 60m at the cross. Both tack near the port layline, Artemis lays the gate, Emirates needs one more tack. They split right, trailing 10 seconds at Mark 3.

Onto the second downwind, Leg 4. Artemis gains on port gybe. Much better speed, out to 270m lead.  20 seconds at the second downwind gate. On the final upwind leg, SWE is well in the lead.  They aren't covering NZL. New Zealand gains on the left now. Bad tack for Artemis, boat skies and then plunges into the water.  TNZ is right on them now, they luff SWE, protest them, no penalty.  NZL tacks to port. SWE lays the gate, NZL does not, and split to the left. 9 second delta at the final upwind gate.

Big gain for Artemis, showing nice speed. Lead is up to 170m with one mark and one finish leg to go. SWE doesn't gybe smoothly, but the finish is right there.  Artemis Racing wins Race 4. The series is tied at two points apiece.

Finals Race 5:
New Zealand support doing some checking on starboard hull innards, systems. Seems good to go.  Artemis raced well, good speed on their foils for mid-range.  Wind lighter, 12 kts., will it make a difference?  Clean start. Artemis starts to leeward of NZL, sails high, gets to Mark first. Three seconds ahead. NZL gybes first. SWE round first downwind gate, turning left, NZL splits. 12 seconds. Coming together upwind, SWE leebows NZL, lead is 7m for SWE. NZL trying to point and bounce Artemis away. Protest, but no penalty. Artemis tacks away. New Zealand gains. They approach the upwind gate, NZL lays the righthand side, leads by 100m.  SWE lays the lefthand side, turns left, delta is 13 seconds.

NZL extends downwind. Artemis has trouble gybing. NZL turns right at the final downwind gate. SWE will have to follow. Wind below 10 kts. and dropping. NZL looks like they have the right foils for the lighter wind, pointing higher, SWE not foiling as well. NZL rounds the final upwind gate, now 39 second ahead. Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 5. They now lead the series 3-2. 

SWE chose not to finish. Possibly they want to gain time to adjust the boat for the conditions before Race 6 starts in 20 minutes. They may be having problems with the system that cants the port daggerboard.

Finals Race 6:
Start for 3:30 pm. NZL protest SWE on the way to the starting line, no penalty. SWE leads around the first mark and through the first downwind gate.  Big shift as they are rounding, NZL closes in on SWE upwind. Dial down by SWE, Artemis still leads. Approaching the upwind gate, NZL crossing with starboard, on the layline, but SWE into the circle gets rights. NZL leads three seconds at the first upwind gate. Nearly even downwind. Big split, they come back, NZL getting pressure and gaining, easily ahead of SWE and now leading. Into the bottom gate, NZL gybing slowly, SWE coming fast, both turn right. SWE is gaining, 2 second delta at the downwind gate. Wind has been shifty, the teams separate upwind. Coming back, NZL crosses ahead, still leading. SWE goes for the left side of the course. NZL covers, stays in phase. They are sailing a bit higher on the upwind legs. NZL turns left at the final windward. SWE follows. They anticipate a left shift. Last downwind leg.  NZL nearing the finish line, appears to have technical problems. No hydraulics, not foiling. Sweden is about to pass them at the finish, but NZL manages to somehow get across first, about 1 second ahead of SWE. Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 6. NZL leads the series 4-2.

The easing and shifting wind for the second two races of the day played into the foil selection by the Kiwis, who had better VMG on the upwind legs.  Nathan Outteridge noted that the wind was particularly softer and skewed right at the upwind end of the course as the day went on.  Downwind, Artemis had fewer issues, but generally the performances is following the example of the semis and rounds robin, where winds under 12 knots increasingly favored the Kiwis. in Winds 15 kts and up Artemis appears even and sometimes dominant. Monday's forecast currently is for very light winds.  Too light to race? Or just right for New Zealand?

Racing is set to resume tomorrow with the final three races of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoff Finals scheduled, as needed, and Emirates Team New Zealand on match point.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Final Series Day 1
Saturday, June 10

Saturday Results:
NZL wins Races 1 and 3, SWE wins Race 2, Series now 2-1 for NZL. Scroll down for race reports and more.

Race Program
Saturday's Races:
First Race start set for 2:12 pm local time
(Start times subject to change)

F R1: SWE vs. NZL (W) 2:12 pm
F R2: NZL vs. SWE (W) 2:51 pm
F R3: SWE vs. NZL (W) 3:30 pm

The Louis Vuitton Playoffs Final is a best of nine (first to five points) match race series. The winner challenges Oracle Team USA for the America's Cup starting June 17.

Weather:
Saturday: Wind SSW 12-18 kts becoming  8-12 kts and veering WSW at race time, temperature 79d F, overcast. (ACEA).  Wind SW 9-11 becoming WSW, overcast but no precipitation during the race window (WindGuru). Winds SW 14 kts (Wunderground).  Sunday Outlook:  Southerly winds 10-12 kts, but possible thunderstorms at race time.

Saturday Preview:
It's hard not to like Artemis Racing's momentum coming off of four wins in a row to climb into the Louis Vuitton Playoff Final.  The boat looks faster, tacks and gybes are being executed smoothly, and Nathan Outteridge and company know how to apply all those factors aggressively against Match Racing opponents. They leave no doubt that they deserve to be in these finals, which is a nice vindication after the frustrating results of the 2013 Challenger selection which saw the Swedish team, recovering from catastrophe, miss the Rounds Robin and struggle to even get their AC72 on the water in time to be eliminated by Luna Rossa in the Semi-Finals.

The light winds today, dropping to under 10 knots around race time according to forecasts, might be expected to favor opponent Emirates Team New Zealand  The Kiwis have shown an extra level of proficiency in light air mode during the two previous rounds. They have also had Friday to give them more time to go over the boat following their capsize and other damage earlier this week. Do they have any upgrades to roll out, too?

SWE vs. NZL is a prime Finals matchup, with the hot hands on the helm in Outteridge and Peter Burling, representing the younger end of the sport, the guys who came into the America's Cup multihulls from success in fast and physical small boats. Outteridge is a four-time 49er World Champion with teammate Iain Jensen, twice Moth World Champion, and an Olympic Gold Medalist in the 49er in 2012. Burling, with teammate Blair Tuke, has won four 49er World Championships as well, plus the Gold Medal at the 2016 Olympic Games (and the 2012 49er Olympic Silver Medal).  Both helmsmen are comfortable in "fast twitch" situations, flinging the boats around at speed, as Nathan memorably showed us on Thursday. Indeed, when they come up against Jimmy Spithill in the America's Cup match, the defender will be sailed by the old man of the group.

Aside from the sponsor promotions and broadcasting opportunities, the challenger selection series is supposed to be about choosing the best challenger for the America's Cup, and making them a better challenger in the process.  A good pairing like SWE and NZL should be able to seriously test abilities to race and win in foiling cats, and learn and improve as they go.  The defender will be taking some notes, too.

Finals Race 1:
Artemis Racing leads back to the line, ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, both late, and about 130m lead for SWE at the start. 8 second delta at the first mark. NZL gybes early, SWE covers.  Artemis will make the downwind gate on this track, NZL probably chose to cybe early to get the right hand side, thinking ahead to the upwind leg.  Wind here is light, under 9 knots.  SWE denies NZL the chance to split, gybes for the righthand side of the gate themselves. Five second delta at the first downwind gate as both start out on a starboard tack. NZL tacks early, SWE goes to the boundary and tacks.  Upwind now, both on port, but separated, lead less than one boat length. NZL hits the right hand boundary, tacks. SWE tacks in their path and ahead.  Artemis is slower to get up to speed and NZL pulls up right on their weather hip. SWE can't tack until the rules change at the boundary. Will SWE try to luff before then? No.  NZL tacks better at the left boundary, on the port layline, SWE goes right to the edge, gets a boundary penalty.  SWE trails NZL into the first windward gate, delta is nine seconds as they turn right and head downwind.

Downwind, a 200m lead for NZL stays steady. Only two gybes to make the bottom gate and no change, the boats staying almost exactly in phase. NZL turns left, probably overstanding slightly. SWE a slightly shorter path, and the margin is only11 seconds at the gate.

On the final upwind leg, SWE tacks early after rounding the bottom gate. NZL stays in phase, both now on starboard. The lead is about 60m. Both tack at the left boundary,  but then SWE soon tacks back to starboard to get away from NZL, likely positioning for the wind approach to the gate.  Both tack again and NZL's lead has grown a bit. NZL to the port layline, coming back to the gate, looking to box out SWE. NZL goes for the right hand turn, well ahead. SWE has lost ground, they go for the left turn. Delta is now 23 seconds on the final downwind leg. Distance is about 300m Though position for Artemis now, little room left to catch up. Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 1. Delta was 47 seconds.

Race 2:
SWE starts slightly ahead and to leeward. Luffing move by Artemis on the first leg, SWE uses it to lead to the first mark. With a small lead, SWE heads for the left side of the downwind gate. NZL follows. Delta is 6 seconds.  New Zealand tacks first, early, SWE stays in phase right after. Both on starboard now, upwind. NZL tacks just short of the left hand boundary, SWE crosses them and tacks just above their track. NZL can't roll past, but SWE has to bear off a bit in completing the tack and accelerating.  The boats barely 20m apart, SWE direct to WW, they head to the right and NZL tacks underneath SWE. Artemis keeps going nearly to the boundary. Lead settles in at about 50m when they are up to speed. SWE find a higher angle without losing pace, gains a bit. Both to the port layline, NZL tacking first, SWE tacking ahead. 80m lead for SWE going into the first upwind gate, both heading for the right hand side, and bearing away.  Delta is 9 seconds.

Wind in this race is 12 kts or so, a step up from Race 1.  SWE holds on, extends slightly on downwind leg, wins Race 2 by 15 seconds. Series is not tied 1-1.

Race 3:
Artemis with a light lead all the way around the course until the top of the final upwind leg.  A bad tack by SWE coming off the port layline lets NZL keep their speed up, crossing ahead on starboard at full speed, and bearaway, turning left, into a solid lead onto the final downwind leg.  Man over board (Outteridge) from SWE after the tack and they are now undermanned and downspeed. Winds have improved to 15-16 kts. 300m ahead as the last leg begins, and a better angle keeps paying off for NZL. No chance now.  Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 3. NZL now leads the series 2-1. Racing resumes tomorrow, weather permitting.

See Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs Finals Results and Standings

Nathan Outteridge, the skipper, was the Man Over Board (MOB) from Artemis. He was changing sides of the boat at the time, lost his footing and slid of f the port side of the boat as they tacked near the port layline. Crew Luke Parkinson, a grinder on SWE, eventually took the helm.  Under the Racing Rules (RRSAC) a competitor may continue racing despite a MOB, but in a practical terms being a man down on the ACC boats is uncompetitive in most situations. Even when it's not the skipper.

The MOB situation is covered in RRSAC 47.2.  While a crew person is not permitted to leave the boat intentionally in most cases, there is no penalty if they fall off accidentally and the boat may keep racing. The MOB, however, may not return to the boat or be replaced by anybody else.

It's particularly thankful, too, that Outteridge appears uninjured in the incident. There is a serious chance of injury in a MOB due to the sharp foils on the daggerboards and rudders which can easily impact a person who falls off a boat moving at 25-30 kts or more. Franck Cammas, skipper of the French challenger team, nearly lost his foot in 2015 after falling overboard while training on a smaller foiling catamaran and being struck by the rudder (Read Story at Yachting World).


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Series Day 3 - Semi-Finals
Wednesday, June 7

Update:
Wednesday Racing Postponed due to high wind.

Weather:
Winds SW 22 kts, gusts to 35, 79 d F, partly sunny (ACEA).  Winds SW 23 kts, gusts to 37 kts (WindGuru). Winds SW 23 kts, chance of thunderstorms after 3 pm. (Wunderground). 

Conditions required by rule for start is a 30-second moving average wind not exceeding 24 kts for the 5 minutes prior to the warning signal, which is three minutes prior to the starting signal.  The Race Officer does not have discretion on the wind measurements. Additionally, the Race Officer may postpone the start if conditions are deemed to be "too rough' and, once started, he may terminate or abandon the race if safety or fairness is directly affected by conditions.

Update (1:50pm):
Race Management announced that the wind on the race course was exceeding the limits, and racing will be postponed until Thursday.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Series Day 2 - Semi-Finals
Tuesday, June 6

Tuesday's Races:
First Race start set for 2:08 pm local time

SF2 R3: JPN beats SWE
SF1 R3: NZL beats GBR
SF2 R4: JPN beats SWE
SF1 R4: GBR beats NZL (DNS - Capsize)

See Semi-Final Results and Standings

Weather:
Winds S 12-18 kts veering SSW to 22 kts by the end of racing, 79 d F, partly sunny (ACEA).  Winds SSW 18-19 kts, gusts to 26-29 kts (WindGuru). Winds SSW 19-20 kts. (Wunderground).  Looking ahead to Wednesday, Windguru calls for winds SW 24 kts, right at the upper limit average for racing, and gusts to 37 kts.

Tuesday Preview:
All eyes on Land Rover/BAR as they try to bounce back from a disaster on Tuesday, breaking their wing controls and unable to finish their first race, losing the second unable to start. They expect to be fixed in time for today without issues, and announced that they notched 47 knots in a shakedown test earlier this morning, but any more losses against New Zealand will put the British challenge in a very deep hole.  Emirates Team New Zealand leads their 5 point series 2-0. The physical components of the boat are probably as good as new, and if anything the guys will need to avoid the risk of trying to compensate for Day 1 by being so aggressive that they don't sail their best race today. Conditions look to be the strongest of the regatta to date, and keeping the boat under control while avoiding new damage will be the order of the day for all. NZL seems to have done their homework in light air, looking significantly faster than the rest during the Rounds Robin. It would be like the Kiwis to have worked out superior techniques for heavy air sailing as well.  GBR looked to be behind the pack in light air, but is that because they've built a rocket for higher winds?  We'll find out today, possibly.

Softbank Team Japan and Artemis Racing had a real back and forth battle in their first day of Semi-Final competition. More of the same?  Skippers, crews, and boats seemed well-matched throughout the Rounds Robin. Both have crews and shore teams with veteran experience from 2013, and have been capable of dominating the fleet during the America's Cup World Series regattas. This could be a rocking nine race series, if weather permits. Remember that the semi-final round has to end Friday, and Thursday is the only reliable-looking race day after today according to current forecasts. Wednesday flirts with high winds and Friday hints at storms.

Artemis Racing vs. SoftBank Team Japan:

SF2 Race 3:
SoftBank Team Japan is leading on Leg 4. Artemis sustained some damage falling off foils near bottom mark, noticeably to the forward crossbeam fairing, but there could be more.  JPN ahead by 750. Delta is 47 seconds at Mark 4. Japan is touching foiling 33 knots upwind. Artemis is having trouble tacking, stops almost dead in the water on the upwind leg. Japan makes a big dive, too, coming into the gate and has some damage to their fairing apparent, too. Sweden looked for a moment like they might retire, but keep racing, though a leg back from the SoftBank team.  SoftBank Team Japan should go on to win Race 3 if they can keep it together until the finish. Artemis may end up pulling out, looking to maximize time to get ready for their second race of the day against JPN.  Softbank Team Japan now leads the series 2-1.

There is damage to both boats.  Japan's damage looks confined to the fairing of the forward crossbeam. Artemis Racing's damage looks like it may have structural consequences. Both teams are evaluating on the water. If a single boat cannot start the upcoming race this afternoon she will be disqualified in that race, provide the other boat does start the race. If both boats cannot start, whether the race is abandoned or terminated would not affect the match series standings.

SF2 Race 4:
SWE vs. JPN. Start coming at 3:16 pm. Japan at the start is to leeward an ahead of Artemis, both touching 45 knots on the reach to Mark 1, and JPN inch ahead enough to cut in front and round Mark 1 first.  SWE bails out with problems, sails past the boundary. Artemis gets it together, sail back onto the course, and heads downwind, Japan with a big lead already. The umpires, however, gave SWE a long penalty for their boundary infraction, really adding to the difference, on the premise SWE saved a gybe on their out of bounds excursion.  JPN ahead by as much as 600m on the upwind leg before SWE starts reeling them in a bit.  The delta at the upwind gate is only 47 seconds, it could have been much worse, and SWE could sail themselves right back into this race if things go right. On the second downwind leg, though, JPN is faster and out to as much as 800m, delta over a minute rounding the downwind gate again. On the final upwind leg, they split the gate, lead is about 600m, then 700m after SWE tacks.  JPN tacks nearing the port layline, and SWE closes up a bit.  JPN may have tacked too early to lay the gate, which will help SWE more, though the race hardly looks in doubt yet. SWE tacks and will make the gate, the delta down to 51 seconds, but that won't be enough with only the downwind and finish legs remaining.  SoftBank Team JApan will win Race 4, and take a 3-1 lead in the first to five series.

Land Rover/BAR vs. Emirates Team New Zealand:

SF1 Race 3:
Start was originally for 2:35 pm, but during the Artemis-SoftBank prestart for the 2:08 race, NZL  was back at base with damage to their wing and is trying to replace it in time to be ready for their own first start of their day. Doubly shocking after yesterdays trouble for Land Rover. If anyone can do it, you would think the Kiwis can, but this will be a tough one to pull off....

ETNZ is ready! Race Officer indicates a nine-leg race course for today, the length an indication of how fast the boats will be with this wind. Burling has them a little late at the start, but GBR's mark rounding is off target and NZL gets the inside.  37 kts sailing downwind in 21 kts of wind.  GBR does better at the downwind gate, both turn right.  Upwind NZL is sailing a better angle, but slower. GBR still leading. NZL closes the gap as they get to the upper half of the leg. Downwind that are flying, NZL still closing in.  At the second downwind gate the delta is 11 seconds. Upwind again, NZL tacks first, looks to push a right of way situation over GBR at the boundary. Land Rover doesn't tack as smoothly, and NZL passes them while both are on starboard tack. Only 4 seconds margin at the next downwind gate.  Upwind for the final time, NZL is going  little better, and opens a 100m lead to over 250m, and 24 seconds as they both hit the starboard layline and round the upwind gate, turning left.  GBR trails by 24 seconds.  A lot of chop on the course is making it hard on the boats, but NZL keeps hanging on. The downwind angles for the boats are good enough in these conditions that they only gybe once on the final downwind leg.  Emirates Team New Zealand will round the bottom gate, finish the final (shortened) reaching leg in a flash, and wins Race 3.  NZL now leads the series 3-0

Deltas at the turning marks and gates were never more than 11 seconds in that race until the final upwind gate.  The finish margin will be a big number, but GBR throttled back once NZL had crossed the finish, probably to avoid any risk of needless damage.

SF1 Race 4:
NZL vs. GBR. Tam New Zealand pitch poles as they bearaway fro the starting line. Race over, points to GBR. Crew has been recovered safely. The boat has been righted. There is visible damage to the crossbeam and the wing. Given NZL swapped out to their backup wing before the start of today's racing, it will be a scramble to have a good wing sail ready for tomorrow's content. An added wild card is the forecast for high wind tomorrow, at last check 23-25 kts and gusts to 37-38 knts. Too high to race? (and more time to repair?) Or racing tomorrow at the limit with a repaired wing mast? A long night ahead in several team compounds tonight.

See Video of NZL Capsize at Twitter


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Series Day 1 - Semi-Finals
Monday, June 5

Pairings - Semi-Final Day 1:
First Race start signal at 2:08 pm local time.
Four Matches

These races moved to Monday after Sunday's racing was postponed.

SF1 R1: NZL vs. GBR
SF2 R1: SWE vs. JPN
SF1 R2: GBR vs. NZL
SF2 R2: JPN vs. SWE

Weather for Monday:
Wind SE 11-15 kts, 78d F, sunny (ACEA). Wind SSE 11-14 kts (WindGuru). Wind S 13-14 kts (Wunderground).

Semi-Final 1:
Emirates Tem New Zealand beats Land Rover/BAR twice to open a healthy lead in the first to 5 points Match.  GBR had damage to their wing and had to retire from Race 1 after the second leg. They were not able to swap out the damage in time to start their second race, putting Land Rover/BAR down 0-2 in a first-to-five contest.

Paul Campbell-James, Wing Trimmer, GBR:
"...We were executing a normal mark rounding -- as we've done over a thousand times in the campaign -- and the wing just went pop.  It went from our normal setting to having max power on the wing camber with no way of controlling it. We were absolutely gutted."

"We will see the damage when we take the wing apart. It's just one of those things in sport and tomorrow is another day, fantastic forecast, and we are going to absolutely sock it to them."

Semi-Final 2:
Softbank Team Japan and Artemis Racing split their first and second races.

Early look at Tuesday's weather via WindGuru suggests Winds SSW 17-18 kts, with gusts to 24-26, precipitation not expected until tomorrow evening.

Wednesday's forecast 22-23 kts, gusts to 35. Friday's winds look similar, but with possible rain and storms. Thursday is a bit less, at 14-15 kts with gusts into the 20s, though still a chance for rain and storms. There are up to seven races remaining in each series and the round must end Friday.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs:
Series Day 1 - Semi-Finals
Sunday, June 4 - Postponed

Pairings - Semi-Final Day 1:
First Race start signal at 2:08 pm local time.
Four Matches

Update: Races are postponed for the day due to light and variable winds unsuitable for competition.

SF1 R1: NZL vs. GBR
SF2 R1: SWE vs. JPN
SF1 R2: GBR vs. NZL
SF2 R2: JPN vs. SWE

Weather:
Wind N 8-12 kts, changing to light and variable as afternoon proceeds (ACEA). Wind NE 6 kts and easing through afternoon (WindGuru). Wind 6 kts NNE and easing (Wunderground).  Weather outlook: see Windguru forecast for winds over 20 kts and gusts into the 30s in the second half of the coming week.

Races will start if the wind for the time frame 8 minutes to 3 minutes before the starting signal averages 24 kts or less (per America's Cup Protocol Article 32.1), though under the Racing Rules of Sailing for the Americas Cup (RRSAC) the Race Officer may abandon a race that has started if conditions become unsafe (Rule 32).  Monday, which looks raceable, is a scheduled off day on the original calendar, but with the hard deadline per Protocol to end the Semi-Finals Friday at the latest, regardless of the number of races completed, the race schedule for this week is ripe for adapting to the sailing conditions.  Still, a few good race days with winds in the 20s could be dramatic sailing, if the edge of the envelope can be explored safely.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers:
Race Day 7 - Round Robin 2
Saturday, June 3

Pairings - Race Day 7:
First Race start signal at 2:08 pm local time.
Four Matches

R12: USA beat NZL
R13: GBR beat JPN
R14: SWE beat FRA
R15: USA beat GBR

Weather:
Wind SW 12 kts, gusts to 16. 78d F, chance of rain (ACEA). Wind SW 10-14 kts, rain and thunderstorms possible mid-afternoon (WindGuru). Wins WSW 12 kts, chance of thunderstorm (Wunderground). Storm Check: Bermuda WS Radar

Sunday Results:

Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand, earning USA the top finish in the LVACQ and a points advantage in the upcoming America's Cup match no matter which challenger USA faces in the 35th Defense.

GBR split their two matches today, beating Japan before losing to USA in the final race of the Round Robin.

Artemis Racing beat France, the final race of the regatta for the Groupama team, who are eliminated going forward, having finish lowest on the Louis Vuitton Qualifiers standings.

The Louis Vuitton Semi-Finals kick off Sunday, four races total, two for each pair of challengers, as they begin their Best of Nine series. NZL selected GBR as their SF opponent. SWE will face JPN. First start just after 2:00 pm.

Sunday Preview:

Match of the Day:
Oracle Team USA vs. Emirates Team New Zealand
.
This is a grudge match, and possibly as much a preview of the 2017 America's Cup match as it is a return of the 2013 Cup.  Today's USA/NZL contest will determine who receives a point advantage in the actual America's Cup (see "Upshot" explanation in Friday's article, below for the details).

Japan vs. Sweden will be a good test of progress for both the teams.  SWE has been sailing fine, but their record reflects a snakebit history and some bad breaks.  Japan has looked fast, particularly in decent wind, but not always converted that to leads at the finish.

France vs. Sweden will be the 2017 swan song for Franck Cammas and his guys, who sailed much tougher and better than many expected based on their ACWS results. Cammas out-matchraced Ben Ainslie in one of the LV Qualifier thrillers, and generally hung in through both Rounds Robin. Franck's skill in multihulls is tremendous and deserves more opportunity in the America's Cup setting.

Britain vs. USA to round out the regatta should be a measure of whether GBR has successfully elevated their boatspeed and sailing techniques enough to keep company with the top of the leaderboard.  The two-point bonus they carried in this round, from winning the LV ACWS season, shielded them from the peril they might have faced with their slow start.  At times brilliant, at times struggling, GBR needs to show they are in the right gear as they prepare to move into the Semi-Finals starting Sunday.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers:
Race Day 6 - Round Robin 2
Friday, June 2

Pairings - Race Day 6:
First Race start signal at 2:08 pm local time.
Four Matches

R8: NZL  vs. JPN
R9: SWE vs. USA
R10: NZL vs. FRA
R11: JPN vs. SWE

Weather:
Wind SSW 9-10 kts, gusts to 13-14, 78d F, sunny (ACEA).  Wind SSW 10 kts, gusts to 14 (WindGuru). Wind 13 kts SW (Wunderground).

Race 8:
Emirates Team New Zealand beats SoftBank Team Japan

Race 9:
Artemis Racing beats Oracle Team USA

Race 10:
Emirates Team New Zealand beats Groupama Team France

Race 11:
Artemis Racing beats SoftBank Team Japan

Upshot:
Three things come out of the Qualifiers:  a) the lowest placed challenger goes home; b) the highest placed challenger gets to choose their Semi-final opponent; and c) the highest team overall (challenger or defender) will carry a points advantage into the America's Cup match.

a) Lowest Place Challenger Eliminated:
With their loss today, Groupama sitting on two points has no chance to pass Artemis or Japan, who will finish the day either 1 or 2 points ahead of them.  France by virtue of finishing last in the LV ACWS season standings, would lose any tie-break situation. Even if they won their one, remaining race Saturday against Artemis, France could not get ahead of the tie-break that goes against them. Sadly, Franck Cammas and Groupama Team France, who provided several exciting races in the Qualifiers, will be eliminated after tomorrow.

b) Highest placed challenger:
Emirates Team New Zealand locked this up.  Now for the debate: should NZL pick GBR, SWE, or JPN as their Semi-final opponent?  Historically the strategies for this pick in challenger selection regattas have varied. One thought is to pick the team that looks slowest, expecting to have the easiest chance to get to the Final. Another point of view is to pick the team that looks fastest at the present, intending to knock them out before they get even faster.

c) Highest place challenger or defender:
If a challenger is the highest ranked team in the qualifiers, and NZL is currently leading, they would earn a points advantage in the America's Cup Match, were NZL to advance that far. In that situation, the defender, USA, would begin the series with a score of minus one point in a first-to-seven-points series. But this advantage would only run with NZL, not another challenger.  Oracle Team USA, as the sole defender, is of course guaranteed to race in the America's Cup Match.  So if Oracle Team USA wins the qualifiers overall, then any challenger would begin the series with a score of minus one against the defender.

New Zealand currently leads 8 to 7 going into the final day of the round, but Oracle Team USA owns the tie-break owing to the Louis Vuitton ACWS finish order.  So New Zealand has to finish a point ahead of Oracle in order to claim the points advantage.

USA races NZL and GBR on Saturday. NZL races only USA to finish out their RR2. So Race 12 will be the Match of the Day on Saturday, potentially having a direct effect on how the America's Cup Match plays out.

Also see:
2017 America's Cup Event Format | RR1 & RR2 Standings


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers:
Race Day 5 - Round Robin 2
Thursday, June 1

Pairings - Race Day 5:
Races are rescheduled from Wednesday.
First Race start signal at 2:08 pm local time.
Four Matches

Round Robin 2:
R4: JPN vs. FRA
R5: GBR vs. NZL
R6: USA vs. JPN
R7: FRA vs. GBR

Weather:
Wind SW 6-7 kts. 77d F, cloudy (ACEA). Wind SW 6-7 kts (WindGuru).  Wind WSW 7-8 kts  (Wunderground).

Race 4:
SoftBank Team Japan vs. Groupama Team France
Course shortened to 6 legs from the typical 7 of the Qualifiers to date.
Start ontime. Racing in 7 knots, of wind, occasionally foiling. JPN led the whole way. FRA has difficulty staying on foils. SoftBank Team Japan wins R4 by a big margin, 5:59 (unofficial).

Race 5:
Land Rover/BAR vs. Emirates Team New Zealand
Good early start for GBR but they gybe badly following a tussle with NZL, fall off foils.  NZL foiling full-time gets out to a huge lead, while GBR struggles in the light air.  GBR tries to push NZL on port-starboard encounter despite being on different legs, but no penalty. GBR stuck in nearly dead calm at one end of the course as NZL is doing 22kts at the other end, nearly 26 kts of boatspeed in 6 kts of wind.  NZL's light air foils and experience seem to be a generation ahead, and light air boat handling is elevated, too.  Emirates Team New Zealand will win Race 5.  GBR, still a leg back, radios in that they will retire. It's academic in any case, as they were unlikely to make the 5:00 delta cutoff.

Ben Ainslie, Skipper, GBR:
On retiring: "We knew we had a big race against Groupama Team France coming  up. So we decided to pull out and give our engineers, our technicians, the chance to get in there, fix the issue -- which they did a fantastic job as always -- and got us back racing and got us through that final race."

Race 6:
Oracle Team USA vs. SoftBank Team Japan
Start time will be slight delayed waiting for prior race to clear, wind to settle.  Start coming 3:33 pm.  Winds 6-8 knots at the starting box. USA is later to the line, JPN gets them into a dial-up, chasing them out.  USA fails to enter the starting box, by the -1:00 deadline, is penalized.  Good lead for JPN at the gun and around the first mark 24 seconds ahead.  JPN can't lay the gate and has to sail extra distance, giving USA a chance to close the gap.  8 second delta at the downwind gate.  JPN turn right, sailing across the gate, while USA makes a cleaner rounding turning left.  Both to the boundary and coming back USA is doing a bit better on starboard, slicing the lead to 60m. JPN gets some it back when they tack.  Both turn left at the upwind gate, delta 21 seconds.  Downwind one long gybe, lead steady, JPN gybes and lays the righthand gate.  USA gybes unexpectedly early, has to take an additional gybe to get to the lefthand side of the gate.  They round 22 seconds behind.  Angle upwind is favoring starboard again, Oracle barely behind at the cross but taking the lead.  JPN onto starboard, too, 40m lead for USA.  Oracle goes to the starboard layline, has a good angle into the gate.  JPN tacks near the gate at the port layline, is a bit downspeed.  JPN takes the righthand gate, too, but USA is opening a bit lead in the meantime.  35 seconds at the final windward gate. JPN making some gains as USA is slow after their gybe, but not enough to give JPN the lead.  Still 33 seconds behind.  Oracle Team USA will win Race 6.  Final delta is 33 seconds.

USA's extra gybe looked like a mistake, but it set them up to take a long starboard tack on the upwind leg, which brought them the lead.  JPN's slow rounding at the top of the leg dug the hole deeper.  Their small gains downwind might have mattered if they had been a little closer, but the race was out of reach after the upwind gate.

Dean Barker, Skipper, JPN:
"We had a good win against Franck [Cammas] and his guys and we had a good first half again, against Oracle, but obviously disappointing to let that race slip away, after, I guess, getting out of phase at the last bottom gate, but it's part of racing."

Race 7:
Groupama Team France vs. Land Rover/BAR

Port/Starboard penalty to FRA in pre-start. France holding tight to GBR on Leg 2, passing them downwind. Both gybe, FRA finds speed first, leads into the downwind gate.  GBR follows them around, then tacks away.  Boats are trying to get up on foils, FRA on starboard head at the cross now.  Coming back together, GBR on starboard with FRA tacking underneath their line, GBR rolling over them to lead around the gate.  France foils first and passes GBR downwind again. Onto the final upwind leg, for an upwind finish, GBR splits away, FRA not covering.  FRA leads at the cross and GBR splits again, to the right.  FRA goes to the left layline.  Both may have trouble laying the finish.  FRA has to dip as GBR hunts them. They both pinch for the finish line and GBR wins.  Final delta is 23 seconds.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers:
Race Day 5 - Round Robin 2
Wednesday, May 31
Postponed

Pairings - Race Day 5:
(Update 4:00 pm) Race have been rescheduled to Thursday due to light wind.
First Race start signal at 2:08 pm local time.
Four Matches

Round Robin 2:
R4: JPN vs. FRA
R5: GBR vs. NZL
R6: USA vs. JPN
R7: FRA vs. GBR

See Round Robin Results and Standing

Weather:
Wind light 4-6 knots and variable.

Race 4:
Softbank Team Japan (JPN) vs. Groupama Team France (FRA)
Start scheduled for 2:08 pm.  Update 4:00 pm, racing postponement with light winds.


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers:
Race Day 4 - Round Robin 2
Tuesday, May 30

Tuesday's Pairings - Race Day 4:
First Race start signal at 2:08 pm local time.
Three Matches

Round Robin 2 Begins:
R1: NZL beat SWE
R2: USA beat FRA
R3: GBR beat SWE

Weather:
Wind W 11kts, gusts to 16.  78d F, partly cloudy (ACEA).  Wind W to WNW 10kts, Gusts to 14, continuing to veer and weaken through the afternoon,  (WindGuru). Wind 16 knots WNW, veering to NW (Wunderground).

RR2 Race 1:
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) vs. Artemis Racing (SWE)
Start 2:08 pm.  Artemis wins the start, closing down from above.  NZL's windward rudder comes out of the water, boat dives deep.  SWE into lead, NZL again off foils near the gate. Artemis builds a lead, NZL gets out of phase with the leader.  SWE flying well, except touching down middle of Leg 5.  Close cross, NZL on starboard, takes the lead.  New Zealand stretches out on the way to the final mark, will win RR2 Race 1. Final delta  is 1:31.

RR2 Race 2:
Groupama Team France (FRA) vs. Oracle Tem USA (USA)
Start 2:37 pm. FRA is early for the line, USA gets the hook on them, holds them off and then crosses the line.  Big lead already at Mark 1. Boundary penalty for France. Big split upwind. USA lead is 1:02 at the first upwind gate. Downwind, USA has issue with wing covering membrane coming loose, but sails on, maintaining comfortable lead over FRA.  USA crew attempting to "nurse" the wing upwind on Leg 5, still going 28kts in light air.  Lead is still substantial. Oracle Team USA wins Race 2.

RR2 Race 3:
Artemis Racing (SWE) vs. Land Rover/BAR (GBR)
Start 3:08 pm.  Ben Ainslie does a great job at the start. BAR hits the line with speed, getting around Artemis, who was early for the line at the pin end.  The Swedes stay close, usually 100-200m, trying to battle with split tacks, but GBR stays just enough in front the whole way around and Land Rover/BAR wins Race 3 by 30 seconds.

See Round Robin 1 and 2 Standings and Results


Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers:
Race Day 3 - Round Robin 1
Monday, May 29

Monday's Pairings - Race Day 3:
First Race start signal at 2:08 pm local time.
Three Matches

R13: FRA beats GBR (2:08 pm start)
R14: NZL beats SWE (2:37 pm start)
R15: JPN beats FRA (3:06 pm start)
Round Robin 1 Ends

See RR1 Standings and Results

Weather:
Wind WSW 11-13kts, gusts to 19 knots.  77d F, partly sunny (ACEA).  Winds WSW 13 kts, gusts to 19 knots (WindGuru). Wind 19 knots WSW (Wunderground).

Race 13:
Land Rover/BAR (GBR) vs. Groupama Team France (FRA).

Start ontime. In the pre-start GBR gets the hook, forces FRA to tack early, controlling the start.  France trailing across the starting line, GBR leads by 15 seconds at the downwind gate. Both turn left, to set up a long tack ont he favored starboard. France trail in BAR's wake, their track slightly to windward of the Brits. France steadily makes gains, pulling even after GBR tacks to port at the boundary.  Approaching the upwind gate, GBR on the port layline, a near even FRA on the starboard tack, GBR can't get across to the righthand mark for a bearaway rounding with FRA coming on starboard.  GBR tacks in the left circle, dead slow, and France rolls over them, rounding on the outside and in the lead.  Downwind on port, GBR slow cuts into the 125m margin, making a big gain on a better gybe than FRA at the boundary. But FRA can lay the gate, GBR cannot and has to take one more gybe. France turns right, GBR turns left, delta was 10 seconds.  Upwind, France is again faster than GBR. Their lead grows, 200m, 300m, more.  44 seconds at the second windward gate. On the final downwind, France leads by over 700m.  Groupama Team France wins Race 13, their first of two races today. Finish delta was 53 seconds.

Race 14:
Artemis Racing (SWE) vs. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

Start at 2:37 pm. The boats approach the line from upwind as the clock counts down, SWE leading, NZL trailing, but OCS penalty on Artemis and NZL passes them at the first mark, leads to the downwind gate. NZL turn left, SWE right, 9 seconds apart. Tight race up the windward leg. Artemis has to duck at a cross nearing the gate. The next cross is practically in the gate, SWE just clear ahead on starboard turns left, NZL takes the right without ducking, margin is 3 seconds.  NZL finding more wind, more speed, and gybing better, turns that into a 30m lead, just enough to get their choice of gate at the bottom of the course, turning left, with Artemis taking the right, delta is zero, dead even. The battle continues, Artemis cops another penalty at the last mark for not leaving NZL room,  Emirates Team New Zealand gets past them to win Race 14.

Race 15:
Groupama Team France (FRA) vs. SoftBank Team Japan (JPN)

Even start, FRA well to windward, but JPN accelerates faster, sails up and in front of FRA, and rounds the wing mark first.  Into the downwind gate, FRA follows JPN, both turning left, delta 7 seconds. Upwind, Japan is crisper in the tacks and faster in a straight line, pulling ahead to a 300m+ lead. Japan keeps extending around the course, into a huge lead, and wins Race 15, the last race of Round Robin 1.



Despite success in the practice races, Groupama Team France, seen in submergence mode above, was off the pace on Day 1 of the Qualifiers. Image ©2017 ACEA/Photo: Ricardo Pinto


Close action in Race 5 on Day 1 between USA and NZL. Image ©2017 ACEA/Photo: Ricardo Pinto


Opening Day and First Races Postponed until Saturday for Weather

(May 25) The ceremonies scheduled for Friday along with the first day of Round Robin racing in the America's Cup Qualifiers have been pushed back to Saturday, May 27, on account of unsuitable conditions in Bermuda.

Winds over 30 knots were expected. The Saturday and Sunday racing schedules will be extended to keep the Round Robin sequence on track.


New America's Cup Boats Launched

Long awaited, with the approach of competition beginning this May, the five America's Cup challengers and the Defender have begun launching their new America's Cup Class catamarans.

A number of restrictions apply: The challengers are allowed to build one boat while the defender is allowed to build two. The window for launching the boats began in late December, by rule 150 days before racing, though the teams also have to observe a 28-day 'no sail" period on dates of their individual choice. Additionally, the teams may not sail against each other in a "coordinated manner" without special permission from race management.

America's Cup Class multihull launchings:
Challengers:
Land Rover BAR (GBR): Launch
SoftBank Team Japan (JPN)
Groupama Team France (FRA): Pics at Twitter
Artemis Racing (SWE) Launch and First Sail
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
via NZ Herald: Launch | Pedals
Defender:
Oracle Team USA Launch and First Sail


2017 America's Cup Hall of Fame Class Announced

John Marshall, Doug Peterson, and Syd Fischer have been named as inductees to the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

John Marshall, sailor and designer who won the America's Cup on Freedom (1980) and Stars & Stripes (1987 and 1988)

Doug Peterson, designer, winner of the America's Cup on America3 (1992) and Team New Zealand's Black Magic (1995)

Syd Fischer, five-time sponsor of Australian America's Cup entries from 1983 to 2000, helping to launch the careers of young sailors including Iain Murray (on Advance in 1983); Jimmy Spithill (on Young Australia in 2000); and Hugh Treharne, who would help win the America's Cup in 1983 onboard Australia II.

The three will be inducted in a ceremony and reception in San Diego next October.

Read America's Cup Hall of Fame Press Release


5 of 6 Teams Agree on Plans for America's Cup Matches in 2019 and 2021

(Jan 25) Challenger teams from France, Sweden, Japan, England and the Defender, Golden Gate YC announced today that they have reached a broad ranging agreement on the format and timing of America's Cup racing for four years following the match scheduled for next June. The agreement establishes the yachts that will be used, the format of racing in the period between defenses, and sets restrictions intended to reduce costs and entice more entrants for future regattas. Today's agreement extends an earlier understanding to continue using foiling multihulls. One current challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand has not formally signed on.

Among the highlights:

  • The next America's Cup Match, AC36, will be held in 2019, and the following, AC37, in 2021. Locations for AC36 will be determined by the winner of the Cup next June.

  • The AC45F yachts currently sailed in the ACWS will be used for 2018 ACWS racing, then retired and replaced by the ACC foiling cat class that debuts in challenger selection and the America's Cup this May and June.

  • Training on surrogate AC45F boats won't be permitted, with a cost target for future teams of US$30-40 million.

Read ACEA Press Release

 

Previous Stories:

2013 America's Cup Highlights on CupInfo:

ETNZ/Oracle Team USA statistics for Boatspeed, VMG, Leads, Gains, Winds, Speed Maps, and more.
 Updated through Race 18: See CupStats
Also: Daily Race Coverage | Race Results

America's Cup 2013: 34th Defense: The Basics
Rules: A Basic Guide to America's Cup 2013 Rules

The Boats:
AC72 & AC45 Cats | New AC72's Launched
Track AC72 Sailing Days | Wind Limits: Some History
Foils that Re-Shaped the America's Cup:
Part 1: Pete Melvin | Part 2: Gino Morrelli
Optimizing America's Cup Cats: Andrew Mason


J-Class Foursome

Four J-Class in St. Barts. Photo:©2012 Billy Black
Click image to enlarge. Photo:©2012 Billy Black

Two of the original J-Class yachts, Endeavour and Velsheda, racing modern J's Hanuman and Ranger in the Bucket Regatta in St. Barths. Read More


Crash Time:
AC45 Makes a Splashing Debut in SF

Oracle Racing Capsizes their AC45 Catamaran
Click image to watch video at YouTube.
Video:©2011 americascup.com

(June 13, 2011) Oracle Racing AC45 Spectacular Pitchpole in San Francisco Bay during exhibition race pre-start:
See Video at You Tube

Crew Shannon Falcone was injured, walking away but taken to the hospital by ambulance for X-rays of his ribs and further evaluation.  Russell Coutts, skippering #5, was thrown through a portion of the wing.  Thankfully, injuries to the crew were not more extensive.  Examination showed that Falcone dislocated rib cartilage, which is painful enough, but did not break any bones.
Read more at Oracle Racing Blog
and see Photo Gallery

Update: Follow-up stories Tuesday:
Reconstructing events, repairing damage, and plenty of interviews...  See Oracle Racing Blog

What Happened?
Conditions were said to be 20-25 kts, with a building chop against an ebb tide. The video seems to show #5 sailing off the wind, heading up slightly, then quickly bearing away and easing the wing.  This maneuver loads up the bows while presenting a broader wing profile to the wind.  With the bows dug in, the wind sends the cat right down the mine, and there wasn't much the crew could do about it once the sequence started.  "We got caught in the pre-start at the wrong angle and paid the price," said Coutts.

This capsize seems to continue a pattern from testing in Auckland, where the AC45 is remarkably stable in many conditions that would cause problems for lesser cats, and the long wave-piercing bows can be very effective at maintaining buoyancy and avoiding this sort of incident, especially upwind.  But if the wingsail gets into an undesired orientation relative to the wind, forces can overwhelm the boat much more quickly than with a soft mainsail.  Somewhat inherent in a hard surface airfoil, it appears to be much harder to depower the wing on short notice when in trouble, as attempts to ease the wing above illustrate.

On the other hand, both increased experience and improved control techniques could lessen the risks, too. There is still a lot to learn about these boats, even for expert crews, justifying the plan to climb the learning curve early with the AC45's and build skills and understanding in preparation for the AC72's which launch less than 13 months from now.


J-Class Regatta in Newport

J-Class yacht Velsheda with bowman on spinnaker pole, Newport, RI. Photo copyright Daniel Forster go4image.com
Walking on water in Newport. Click image for Day 4 gallery. Photo:©2011 Daniel Forster go4image.com

Race Results:

W-L  Sail     Yacht

Race:

1 2 3 4 5
1  J K-7  Velsheda - - - - 1
4  J 5  Ranger 1 1 1 1 -

(Jun 15, 2011) Ranger, a replica of the 1937 America's Cup winner, and Velsheda, one of three original survivors, are racing head-to-head this week in Newport, RI, historic yachts in a setting to match.

Ranger took Race 1 by just one second on corrected time, won Race 2 by 27 seconds corrected, won Race 3, and won Race 4 by 3:19 corrected.  Velsheda won Race 5 by 2:00 corrected.  Racing finished Sunday June 19.  Each race starting at 1 pm, conditions permitting, and sailed in sight of spectators on shore.
See Photo Galleries from Daniel Forster


2010 America's Cup: Dogzilla Stories


Up on one hull, BMW Oracle Racing, 9/3/09.
Click image to enlarge and see more.
Photo: ©2008 Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW Oracle Racing

BMW Oracle's monster multihull won the 2010 America's Cup in an unforgettably bold display of technology, imagination, and adventure.

Read collected stories of her launch and preparation.

Read CupInfo's coverage of the 2010 America's Cup Match


And be sure to see the Features Page for many more articles, interviews, history, and fun stuff for Cup Fans.

Previous Events:

34th America's Cup Challengers and Defender:
2013 America's Cup Teams


2010 America's Cup:
The 33rd Defense
CupInfo's Main Page for 2010


2007 America's Cup:
The 32nd Defense

CupInfo's Main 2007 Coverage:
Results, Feature Stories, and more day-by-day for:



Recommended: History of Team New Zealand's historic 1995 America's Cup win:
 Part 1 at NZ Herald


Features:

America's Cup Connections to Chicago History

(June 7, 2016) This is the first time for America's Cup racing on Lake Michigan, but connections to the famous yacht race, old and new, can be found in Chicago.
Read article at CupInfo


America's Cup: The Books

(June 2, 2016) CupInfo announces the launch of an America's Cup Bibliography, an interactive list of over 800 books and other works about the America's Cup published from 1851 all the way up to 2016.  The bibliography can be searched, sorted, and filtered in multiple ways, and the books have been categorized as well by historic era and genre.

Whether you are new to the history of the America's Cup and just curious to learn more, or are doing serious research, we hope this bibliography will help you discover useful books.  And if even you are a long-time America's Cup reader, you are likely to find something you never knew existed.

Visit the America's Cup Bibliography


New Book: Inside the Australia II Keel

Dr. Joop Slooff, Dutch research scientist and expert in fluid dynamics, worked with designer Ben Lexcen on the 1983 12-Meter yacht Australia II which, sporting the innovative winged keel, was the first successful challenger in the history of the America's Cup.  At the time of the challenge, controversies arose about the nature of the keel (was it class-legal and accurately rated?) and the country of origin (nationality rules applied to designers in regard to the country the yacht represented).  Australia sailed off with the trophy after a brilliantly run and hard-fought campaign, but passionate opinions on both sides have not entirely subsided in the years since, either.

In the charged atmosphere of the 1983 match, Dr. Slooff's work was mostly kept out of the spotlight, and, until now, his role in events has not been told in any detail.  But after 33 years, Dr. Slooff has written a memoir of his role in creating the revolutionary appendage and of his witness to the historic match that final summer in Newport.

The book, titled Australia II and the America's Cup: The untold, inside story of The Keel, is available electronically and in hardcopy via Amazon.


A Brief History of the Challenger of Record

(July 28) Since 1970 there have been 13 matches with multiple challengers, with 12 teams serving as the initial Challenger of Record (COR).  Historically, one-third of the original COR's have resigned their position.  Including the upcoming 35th Defense of the America's Cup scheduled for 2017, the initial COR has resigned four times; three times also withdrawing from competition, and one time remaining a challenger. 

Read more at CupInfo, including a table listing all CORs since 1970


 


©2013 McGraw-Hill/International Marine/Photo ©2013 Gilles Martin-Raget

(Dec 15, 2013) The story of sailing for the 2013 America's Cup is told in a new 224-page book, from McGraw-Hill/International Marine. Winging It focuses on the sailing and racing of the 34th America's Cup, including selecting the AC72 yachts for the event, the races of the Louis Vuitton Cup, and the epic America's Cup Final that featured a stunning comeback and gut-wrenching loss.  Authors Diane Swintal and Robert Kamins covered the event in San Francisco for CupInfo, and Steve Tsuchiya witnessed the match on the water from start to finish.


Chasing the Big Cats

ETNZ Chase 1.  Photo:©2012 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
Photo:©2012 Chris Cameron/ETNZ

(Aug 21, 2013) A chase boat to support a 72-foot America's Cup wingsail multihull that can top 40 knots is a challenge in its own right.  Chris Salthouse of Emirates Team New Zealand explains how the Kiwis are tackling the problem: two hulls, four engines, and Chris's younger brother Greg...

Read more at CupInfo


Picturing the America's Cup


Stars&Stripes in Fremantle.
Photo:©1987 Daniel Forster/go4image.com

Photographers Jürg Kaufmann and Daniel Forster have teamed up for the 33rd Defense.  CupInfo talked to them about what they've seen at the America's Cup over the years, plus how they approach the art and technique of sailing photography.

CupInfo: You have both been to many America's Cups, Daniel going back to 1977. Which was your favorite as a photographer?

Daniel: My favorite one as a photographer was the 1987 Cup in Perth/Fremantle. Every day by 11:00 am the "Fremantle Doctor" arrived: 25-30 knots of wind with big waves and bright sunshine and the 12mJI yachts sailed, unlike here!

Read Interview at CupInfof

Also see news archives for:

 2014-2017: 4th Q 2014 - 2015 2016 -1st-2nd-Q 2017
 2013: 2nd Q | 1st Q  2012: 4th Q | 3rd Q | 2nd Q | 1st Q  2011: 3rd-4th Q | 2nd Q | 1st Q 
 2010: 4th Q | 1st-2nd-3rd Q  2009: 3rd-4th Q | 1st-2nd   2008: 3rd-4th Q | 1st-2nd Q
 2007: 3rd-4th Q2nd Q | 1st Q   2006: 4th Q | 2nd-3rd Q | 1st Q   2005: 4th Q

News stories above are archived chronologically. Also see regatta coverage of past America's Cup Matches, Louis Vuitton Cup, and more at Previous America's Cup Events

Disclaimer: CupInfo and this site Cupinfo.com are not associated with the official America's Cup organizations, America's Cup Properties Inc., Golden Gate YC, Oracle Racing, the America's Cup Event Authority, America's Cup Race Management, the Louis Vuitton Cup, or other official America's Cup entities, groups, teams, or web sites.