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:

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

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more

Sail2010_597

How to: Find Good Values on Charter Vacations

So, you want to find a great deal on your next charter vacation? Sure, you can scour the internet, hope for Black Friday deals or ask friends. But an even better way to find good prices on charter boats is to go to a boat show. Not only do charter companies like The Moorings, ...read more

leadphoto

Know How: Dinghy Modification

The rigmarole of stretching a cover over a dinghy in choppy water prior to hoisting it on davits can become a very wet business if you’re not careful. Leaning right over either end, trying to stretch a cover over the bow and stern pods can quite easily result in a head-first dip ...read more

25980

Catnapped Aboard a Racing Multihull

It was after midnight when I realized my daysail with Tony Bullimore aboard his giant record-breaking catamaran, Team Legato, was not going to plan. The big cat was en route for a December dash from England across the Bay of Biscay to Barcelona and the start of a drag race ...read more