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.
Later that same day ETNZ skipper Dean Barker announced that his team would exercise its right to advance directly to the Louis Vuitton Cup Final, scheduled to begin Aug. 17, without taking part in any semi-finals racing. Emirates Team New Zealand earned that right by winning the round robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa Challenge will begin racing in the semi-final series Aug 6. The winner of that set of races will then go on to compete against ETNZ in the Louis Vuitton finals for the right to compete against the defending Oracle team for the America’s Cup itself.
At a press conference at the conclusion of Sunday’s race Barker said the team had considered racing the semifinals, but in the end opted to focus on an independent boat development program.
“We thought hard about doing the semifinals to get more racing and more starting, to get more race time under our belts,” Barker said. “But we also have a fairly large amount of work to do to our boat, a lot of changes and modifications intended to improve the performance.
ETNZ’s victory on Sunday was another blowout, with the Kiwis once again leading at the first turning mark and then steadily stretching out their lead over the seven-leg, 15-mile course until the final delta was 3 minutes 20 seconds.
ETNZ averaged 25.21 knots around the course, while Luna Rossa averaged 24.5 knots. Wind speeds averaged just over 15 knots with a peak gust of 19.6 knots midway through the 48-minute race.
To see Sunday’s complete race, click here.