Emirates Wins Louis Vuitton Cup

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.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

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.

Lead-Web-photo_0

Sunday’s foggy eighth and final race provided a bit of fun, as the wind was light enough that both teams deployed their Code 0 reaching sails—the first time we’ve seen a soft sail that was anything other than a jib in the challenger series.

But other than that is was more of the same, with the Kiwis leading the way to the first turning mark—this time by a whopping 16 seconds—and then stretching it out the rest of the way around the five-leg, 10 miles course. The final delta was a crushing 3 minutes 18 seconds.

Although the final series score was 8-1, even that lopsided record doesn’t truly reflect the reality of what happened in the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, since Luna Rossa’s one “win” came when the Kiwi’s hydraulic system forced them to withdraw midway through race 3. Ultimately, from beginning to end, it was no contest.

“To race for the America’s Cup you have to win the Louis Vuitton Cup,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, whose team has now competed in five of the last six Cups. “We’ve definitely come here to win the America’s Cup, so winning the Louis Vuitton Cup is all part of the preparation. The guys are extremely focused. We came short in Valencia in 2007 and we’ll give it our all now in the next few weeks to make sure we’re as ready as can be.”

Which brings us to the main event, the America’s Cup regatta, which begins September 7. Although Louis Vuitton, the sponsor of the challenger series, can hardly be happy with the lack of exciting racing, the series did do its job of selecting what it obviously the strongest of the three campaigns which took part. The question now is whether anyone can keep up with the ETNZ—the campaign that essentially invented the concept of the foiling AC72 catamaran—or whether Oracle USA will finally provide them with some legitimate competition.

Obviously, like everything else in the 34th America’s Cup, the future is uncertain. However, the word on the docks is that, while ETNZ remains the team to beat, the racing in September will be much closer than we’ve seen thus far. For one thing, while the rest of us have been slogging our way through the Louis Vuitton Cup, Oracle has been training and tweaking nonstop. For another, Oracle is a true two-boat campaign, which means the team helmsman Jimmy Spithill has been able to take part in multiple practice races against none other than five-time Olympic medalist Sir Ben Ainslie—arguably the toughest sparring partner in the world.

Ever since the team’s disastrous capsize in late 2012, which destroyed their first wing, Oracle has been getting better and better at foiling. Watching Spithill and company out on the water it’s clear they’re not yet as smooth as the Kiwis. But they are still consistently able to stay up on their foils throughout their gybes and have also been able to foil to windward. (Although whether or not that kind of performance will ever prove advantageous out on the racecourse remains to be seen)

 Emirates celebrates the win

Emirates celebrates the win

Oracle USA also has Jimmy Spithill himself, a fiercely competitive individuals who has a major stake not only in winning but in making the overall regatta a success. According SAIL’s Kimball Livingston, at a recent get-together with a number of other industry insiders, the general consensus was that Oracle would take at least three or four races from the Kiwis.

You have to wonder, though: in a game that’s as mental as this one, even a single Oracle victory could well change the overall chemistry in a way that might easily defy the experts’ predictions. And let’s not ever forget, these AC72s are powerful to the point of being dangerous, and you have to actually make it to the finish line to win. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

Related

sailingabove-2

Swan Flyer: A Hot New One-design

In a racing scene that’s bristling with innovation, legacy builder Nautor’s Swan refuses to be left behind in its quest to dominate the champagne end of one-design sailing. Arriving hard on the heels of the radical Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed ClubSwan 50, the ClubSwan 36 offers a ...read more

Maiden sets out for Uruguay during the 1989-90 Whitbread race

Making Maiden and the 1989-90 Whitbread Race

As recently as the late 1980s, the idea of an all-female sailing team in the Whitbread Round the World Race (the predecessor to the Volvo Ocean Race) seemed laughable to many. How could women handle the competition? They weren’t strong enough. They wouldn’t be able to take the ...read more

01-LEAD-J99

Four Very Different New Boat Designs

Following up on the J/121, which won a SAIL Best Boats award in 2018, the new J/99 represents a similar concept in a smaller package. Specifically, the new 32-footer’s deck layout and rig have been optimized for smaller and even doublehanded crews, with an eye toward meeting the ...read more

Dinghy Suggested CROP

Ask Sail: Dinghy Dilemma

DINGHY DILEMMA Q: We are in the throes of choosing a dinghy, and I would like to ask if you would recommend buying a RIB with a double-skinned hull rather than a single-skinned hull. Which provides better handling or stays drier? Also, aside from the heavier weight of a ...read more

Groupe Beneteau charging its boats in NEOLINE vessel

Transporting Sailboats Under Sail

Transporting sailboats under sail? That sounds like a cool concept, and it’s one that looks set to become reality in 2021 when shipping company Neoline brings its sailing cargo ships into service. Groupe Beneteau has committed to transporting boats between Europe and the United ...read more

01_vor120612_ross_0644

Sailing Master Ken Read

Images trigger memory. Preparing to interview the golden boy of American sailing, I thought I would find a picture that would show Ken Read at the peak of his sailing career, his heyday, to share and have a warm and fuzzy start to our conversation. It was a commanding image from ...read more

New-engine-being-lifted-over-stern

Know how: Replacing the Auxiliary Power System

One of the most complex tasks undertaken during Passion’s refit was the complete replacement of her auxiliary power system—engine, V-drive and fuel tanks. I needed more horsepower, which drove the need for more fuel capacity and a larger V-drive to handle the higher engine ...read more