As expected, it will be Emirates Team New Zealand against the defender, Oracle USA and the Golden Gate Yacht Club, in the 34th America’s Cup regatta, now that Kiwis have prevailed over Luna Rossa in the Louis Vuitton challenger series.
It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest weekend of racing, but there was plenty of drama and more than a few surprises as Emirates Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa both scored wins in the opening rounds of the Louis Vuitton Finals.
If Oracle was hoping that giving up its wins in last year’s America’s Cup World Series would put the controversy surrounding the team’s illegally modified AC45s to rest, they must be seriously disappointed.
Despite a truly heroic effort to get their boat out onto the racecourse following the fatal capsize of hull No. 1, time was against Team Artemis from the outset, and they were unable to upset the more experienced Italians.
For months now, it feels like Cup fans have been waiting for some kind of a sign as to whether the 34th America’s Cup will be worth the effort. Unfortunately, despite some positives, the event has been afflicted with a serious case of “one step forward, two steps back.”
This past Sunday, Emirates Team New Zealand won its ninth consecutive race of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, cementing its status as the top team in the challengers’ series.
On the boat’s maiden sail, Artemis Racing got hull #2, “Big Blue,” up on its foils in winds as strong as 15 knots—a dramatic statement from the team that has been in crisis mode ever since the May 9 capsize of its first boat took the life of strategist Andrew “Bart” Simpson.
Not only did ETNZ once again lead from wire to wire, the team managed to cross the finish line more than 2 minutes ahead of the Italians, despite losing their jib just before the race’s midpoint after a halyard shackle failed.