And they’re off! Well, sort of

What was supposed to have been a waterborne extravaganza celebrating all things AC, instead resulted in a single AC 72—Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ)—sailing what was essentially an uncontested practice race on Sunday for points.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

It’s safe to say that at this point, the 34th America’s Cup is a shambles.

What was supposed to have been a waterborne extravaganza celebrating all things AC has thus far only resulted in a single AC 72—Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ)—sailing a pair of what are essentially uncontested practice races on Sunday and Tuesday for points.

No opening fleet race featuring all competitors, no sign of Team Artemis’ second boat and no sign of Luna Rossa, which is still boycotting the racing in protest against regatta director Iain Murray’s decision to allow changes to the rules governing the winglets on the AC72’s rudders.

Although Murray has said the changes are necessary to promote safety in the wake of the fatal Artemis capsize, Luna Rossa (and ETNZ) maintains it provides a competitive advantage to the defender, Oracle USA, which has apparently not been able to fully foil as well using winglets mandated by the original rules.

In a statement shortly before the starting gun of what was supposed to be its first race in the Louis Vuitton challenger series on Sunday, Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena said: “I want to clarify the reason for which we are not racing today. As everybody knows we have protested the introduction of new Class Rules without the unanimous agreement of the competing teams. By racing under these rules, enforced by the Regatta Director with Race Notices 185 and 189, we would somehow silently approve them. This is not the case. Therefore we have no choice but to stay ashore until the International Jury has reached a decision on the matter. We have been forced into this position. We did not come to San Francisco to watch races, but to race.”

 America's Cup racing, 'Emirates Team New Zealand'

America's Cup racing, 'Emirates Team New Zealand'

In response, America’s Cup CEO Stephen Barclay said, “This isn’t unexpected, but it’s still disappointing…. What I don’t understand is they sailed Saturday, they say they will sail if they win or lose the protest, but they just won’t sail against Emirates Team New Zealand on Sunday.”

At press time, a final jury decision was expected some time the middle of this week. The next scheduled race is this Thursday between Luna Rossa and Artemis. Whether Luna Rossa will take a practice lap for points remains uncertain. (There’s no chance Artemis will go sailing.)

The next scheduled meeting between ETNZ and Luna Rossa is Saturday, July 12. 

The good news is that ETNZ has now made it around the course in one piece on two separate occasions, sailing in winds ranging throughout the high-teens and clocking speeds of 40-plus knots downwind and 20-plus knots to windward. They didn’t even need to unroll any of their reaching sails to do so.

The other good news is that San Francisco Bay has indeed proved to be a magnificent venue for this kind of racing. Granted, the crowds looked pretty thin on opening day, but can you blame them? Hopefully, in the course of what will, one way or the other, be a very long summer of race, the four teams taking part will give them a reason to attend in the numbers originally anticipated—and that by the time we finally get to the finals in September, the current shambles that is the 34th America’s Cup will be a distant memory. 

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more