October 17, 2011
San Diego gears up for America's Cup World Series
With just one month to go until the America’s Cup World Series - San Diego, the event organizers are finalizing preparations to host nine of the best sailing teams in the world, who will be racing close to shore in the stadium setting of San Diego Bay.
The America’s Cup World Series is an extreme experience – cutting edge wing-sailed catamarans flying at speeds over 30 miles per hour; short, sharp, intense races on courses squeezed into the Bay to ensure close action; and a mix of fleet and match racing, to test the abilities of the best sailing teams in the world.
“I think the competition in San Diego Bay is going to be fantastic,” said Iain Murray, Regatta Director. “The racing will be very close to shore, which means it will be great for spectators. The short courses will also be very challenging for the sailors, who will need to execute their crew maneuvers flawlessly to be successful. And having been there for the America's Cup in 1992 and 1995, I'm personally looking forward to enjoying the hospitality of San Diego again.”
Bringing the racing into the Bay makes a sharp contrast to when the Cup was previously in San Diego and races were held offshore, past Point Loma. Now, the AC Village will be on Harbor Drive, where spectators will be able to see the racing from Broadway Pier, as well as at the AC Experience at Harbor Island, one of the best views of the course.
“I love an active and exciting waterfront, and this is exactly the kind of event that brings people out. Anyone – whether you sail or not yourself – can come out and see some great racing and a world class sports event right from our own shoreline,” said Scott Peters, Chairman, Board of Port Commissioners. “A ton of people will be coming down to the bay front to watch the races, enjoy the activities in the America’s Cup Village and visit our hotels and restaurants, and that’s great for sailing and for San Diego.”
For the teams, San Diego marks the third stop on the America’s Cup World Series, which awards points for both the overall Match Racing and Fleet Racing Championship. The 2011-2012 World Series concludes July 1st in Newport, Rhode Island.
The nine crews competing in the America’s Cup World Series represent seven nations and several of the more experienced sailors in the fleet can recall their previous Cup days in San Diego.
“I am really excited to race in San Diego again,” said Bertrand Pacé, the skipper of the French Aleph team. “I sailed in two Louis Vuitton Cups there in the 1990s and I learned an awful lot about the America’s Cup there. We all have great memories of that period. To go back and race AC45s in the Bay next month will be completely different. The game has moved on a lot over the past 16 years, but I'm sure that the warmth of San Diego hasn't changed at all.”
The America’s Cup World Series – San Diego has its opening weekend on November 12 and 13, ahead of the racing for AC World Series points in the Match and Fleet Racing Championships, which run from November 16-20.
November 9, 2011
Teams go 'wings up' on San Diego Bay
Winds were light to moderate on the bay Monday, ideal for a first test sail. Stronger winds are expected beginning as early as tomorrow. But in all range of conditions, the wingsailed AC45 catamarans are capable of generating breathtaking speeds, making for spectacular racing.
Among the five boats training today was the French Energy Team, with Yann Guichard taking over the skipper and helming duties for the racing in San Diego. The training sessions this week are critical for him and his crew to gel as a team.
"I'm feeling more and more comfortable. After all, it's still a boat, it's a multihull and I know multihulls quite well. It's more impressive with the wing, but we have a few days of training here so that's good," said Guichard. "It's a small race area, quite narrow and with nine boats competing, it's going to be challenging. For the first weekend, there is a low pressure weather system coming so there could be strong winds. We'll be training a lot to be ready for that.”
Racing in San Diego begins with the Port Cities Challenge on Saturday and Sunday (November 12-13). Representatives from the member cities will be aboard the race boats on Sunday. The event culminates with a public prize-giving ceremony at the AC Village following racing.
The championship portion of the America's Cup World Series - San Diego runs from Wednesday November 16 through Sunday November 20, and includes fleet and match racing, as well as AC500 Speed Trial drag races. The teams earn points from their final ranking in both the fleet and match racing events towards the 2011-2012 America's Cup World Series.
Live, streaming video coverage of the racing runs from November 16-20 on the America's Cup YouTube channel. And for the first time, there will also be live streaming to mobile devices through the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
Beginning on the opening weekend fans can enjoy the show from the America's Cup Village, which features food, merchandise, exhibits and entertainment. The AC Village is housed on North Harbor Drive, between Broadway and Navy Piers. From November 16, the AC Village will feature live music each evening.
The races of the America's Cup World Series will take place just off these Piers, within the tight confines of San Diego Bay. Spectators will be able to take advantage of a number of good shore-side viewing points, including a public spectator area at the end of Broadway Pier. In the AC Village there will be live video with expert commentary on the big screen from Wednesday through Sunday. Entrance to the AC Village is a suggested donation of $10 to help support ocean conservation efforts.
With racing now just days away, the sailors, the city and the Port of San Diego are looking forward to the start of the competition.
“San Diego Bay has a proven track record as a perfect venue for this type of action-packed sailing,” said Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Scott Peters. “The Port Cities Challenge is really a community celebration and a perfect way to encourage residents of San Diego County to come to the waterfront, and cheer on their representative teams as the racing event gets underway.”
Racing at the America's Cup World Series - San Diego is scheduled to start with a warning signal at 1:05 pm each race day.
November 13, 2011
One point separates first from fourth as light, tricky conditions test America’s Cup crews
The America’s Cup World Series – San Diego started on Saturday with the opening fleet races of the Port Cities Challenge. Conditions were extremely challenging for the nine race crews, who faced light, shifty and very wet conditions.
Just one point separates the top four boats, with Emirates Team New Zealand on top of the fleet after the first day of racing. Artemis Racing is on equal points with the Kiwis, with China Team and ORACLE Racing Coutts just one point back. The Chinese won race two – their first win in the AC World Series.
The light conditions only permitted two of the three scheduled races to be sailed, but both featured plenty of drama, despite the slower speeds. In fact, the fickle winds provided countless opportunities for heroic shifts up the leaderboard in race one, as the race course became a minefield for the tacticians.
Two teams to benefit late in Saturday’s first race were Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand, who both shot up the race course in the final moments, coming back from deep in the fleet. The Swedish Artemis Racing won the race with the Kiwis in second place, ahead of ORACLE Racing Spithill – who had led much of the race – and ORACLE Racing Coutts, with new skipper Darren Bundock at the helm.
“It was tough,” said Kiwi skipper Dean Barker. “The first race we were pretty fortunate to hook into a nice pressure line of wind at the end. It's swings and roundabouts, but if you get the last one right it's a good feeling. In the second one we sailed a much better race.”
After waiting for the wind to build, the second race was sailed on a shorter race course. ORACLE Racing Spithill and Team Korea jumped the start line and were penalized, while China Team sailed a flawless race to earn the win - their best finish to date in the America’s Cup World Series.
“That’s our first win,” confirmed China Team skipper Charlie Ogletree. “It’s a great feeling. We’ve been working hard and I think the whole team deserves it, from shore team to management, to everyone. It’s huge. Everyone has been doing double duty, working really hard, so it’s a very positive thing for us.”
Despite the weather conditions, local fans braved the rain to gather at the end of Broadway Pier where the race boats ventured in just a few yards from the dock to make their turn around one of the marks of the course. The racing was up close and very personal for spectators on the dock.
The Port Cities Challenge continues on Sunday with three additional fleet races scheduled. Representatives from the member cities will be aboard the race boats on Sunday. The event culminates with a public prize-giving ceremony at the AC Village following racing.
How to follow:
Online, the America's Cup website, www.americascup.com has all the news, features, images and results from San Diego, including a webcam from the team bases. Starting with the championship races from November 16-20, the event YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/americascup will have live and on-demand streaming coverage of all racing. And for the first time, there will also be live streaming to iOS mobile devices through the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
Beginning on the opening weekend (November 12-13) fans can enjoy the show from the America's Cup Village, which features food, merchandise, exhibits and entertainment. The AC Village is housed on North Harbor Drive, between Broadway and Navy Piers. From November 16-20, the AC Village will feature live music each evening.
The races of the America's Cup World Series will take place just off Broadway and Navy Piers, within the tight confines of San Diego Bay. Spectators will be able to take advantage of a number of good shore-side viewing points, including a public spectator area at the end of Broadway Pier. In the AC Village there will be live video with expert commentary on the big screen from Wednesday through Sunday. Entrance to the AC Village is a suggested donation of $10 to help support ocean conservation efforts.
Racing at the America's Cup World Series - San Diego is scheduled to start with a warning signal at 1:05 pm each race day.
November 14, 2011
Emirates Team New Zealand claim Port Cities Challenge
Ideal racing conditions returned to San Diego on Sunday, with 6-10 knot westerlies and bright sunny skies. Crowds poured into the America’s Cup Village to watch the racing which at time brought the boats just a few yards from the viewing points along Broadway and Navy Piers.
Emirates Team New Zealand may have been the last crew to arrive in town on Friday and skipper Dean Barker had never sailed in San Diego ahead of Saturday’s first race. But his team didn’t miss a beat, winning the Port Cities Challenge on this opening preliminary weekend of the America’s Cup World Series.
"The teams are doing more and more sailing, so the standard is getting higher and higher," said Dean Barker. "I think in a venue like this that's quite tricky you'll see a lot of place changes. So it's going to be about staying consistent."
The Kiwis were certainly that. Despite winning just one of the six races, they had five finishes in the top three to win by a comfortable seven points over ORACLE Racing Spithill. Artemis Racing was third, one point further back
On Saturday, China Team won a race for the first time at AC World Series and on Sunday it was the French teams in the spotlight. First it was Aleph with new skipper Pierre Pennec at the helm, who took a win in race four. But not to be outdone, Energy Team sailed a flawless race six with skipper Yann Guichard to claim their first team win.
“It's a fantastic day for Aleph,” said Pennec after racing. “The wind was very shifty, but it was sunny, there was enough wind to fly the hull and we won our first race so a great day for us.”
“By the fourth race the crew was very tired,” said Guichard, describing his winning race. “But we didn’t make any mistakes and to get a first bullet for our team is really perfect.”
Representatives of the five Port Cities were onboard the race boats during the first contest of the day. Coast Guard Commander Michael Leo Guerrero won bragging rights for the Port City of Chula Vista on ORACLE Racing Spithill, racing to a second place finish ahead of the other boats representing Port Cities, to claim the ‘fastest Port City’ designation.
“It was awesome, just great,” said Commander Guerrero, who was representing Chula Vista for Mayor Cheryl Cox. “The boats are phenomenal, and to go that fast, is really amazing. We hear a lot about the technology that's behind these boats, and now I can say I've seen it in action.”
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