PxPixel
Setting Sail for the America's Cup - Sail Magazine

Setting Sail for the America's Cup

Author:
Publish date:
The Land Rover BAR team launches its spanking-new AC50 in Bermuda

The Land Rover BAR team launches its spanking-new AC50 in Bermuda

It’s been a strange Cup cycle. For all the press releases and hoopla surrounding the America’s Cup World series, AC35 continues to feel somehow distant—no surprise given it’s taking place off a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean—and this sense of distance has been only exacerbated by the lack of Cup boats. Until now.

Over the past couple of weeks, the five challengers and the defender, Oracle Team USA, have finally begun launching the AC50s aboard which they will compete beginning next month, after having expended a mandatory 28-day “blackout” period during which the boats could not be sailed. And soon to come will be months of intensive training.

“It’s a great moment to see our raceboat hit the water in Bermuda. We will be working very hard now on the final development and testing of this boat to make sure we are ready for the racing,” said Sir Ben Ainslie after the February launch of Land Rover BAR’s Rita, in what is perhaps the greatest understatement of this entire Cup cycle given his team had less than four months to figure out how best to sail its 50-knot speedster.

As they are doing so, they must also continue with the relentless physical-fitness program they, like the rest of the syndicates, have been pursuing: in the full knowledge that no matter how strong their six-man crews may be, its efforts on the boats’ grinders will inevitably fall short of what the trimmers are going to want to control their wingsails and daggerboards. Alas, for all the glamour of the Cup, these sailors will be leading a brutal existence until the end of the regatta.

The Marion Bermuda fleet plans to take the scenic route to the 35th America’s Cup

The Marion Bermuda fleet plans to take the scenic route to the 35th America’s Cup

Meanwhile, a whole different kind of sailing is taking place among a fleet of intrepid sailors who have decided that flying to Bermuda just isn’t good enough. These include competitors in the Antigua-Bermuda and Marion Bermuda races, and an estimated 50 to 100 sailors who will be leaving from six different ports along the Eastern Seaboard to take part in the Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO) “Rally to the Cup.” (The Bermuda One-Two also sails to the island in early June, but then promptly departs on its doublehanded leg June 15.)

Truth be told, while the Antigua-Bermuda Race (antiguabermuda.com) undoubtedly wins the glam award, with boats like Peter Harrison’s 115ft Farr-designed ketch Sojana in the mix, our hearts lie with the motley collection of boats in the other two fleets.

The Marion Bermuda Race (marionbermuda.com), for example, has long been known for its strong contingent of cruising boats. While the Rally to the Cup (sailopo.com) will undoubtedly attract designs of all shapes and sizes. OPO will also help line up experienced crew for skippers in need of additional hands.

The Marion-to-Bermuda race starts off June 9, which will get the fleet into Bermuda a few days before the start of the AC35 finals series, which begins June 17. Similarly, the Rally to the Cup sets out on June 10. Both organizations are also helping to arrange dockage (at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club for Marion-to-Bermuda racers, and in St. George’s Harbor for OPO rally participants).

OPO founder Hank Schmitt has also leveraged his extensive experience organizing rallies to Bermuda to help arrange for a paid launch service in St. George’s Harbor for those who anchor out—a much cheaper option. Given the throngs expected to descend on Bermuda the old-fashioned way—by jet—it will also provide crews with opportunity for a brief respite from the madding crowd.

Photos courtesy of ACEA (top); Fran Grenon/spectrumphoto (bottom)

April 2017

Related

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more

Navy-Sand-Dune_1080

Tucket Footwear’s Giller Shoes

Just for KicksMove over Crocs, there’s a new plastic shoe in town. Unlike the aforementioned fashion crimes, Tucket Footwear’s Giller shoes are made for boating. Water will get in, yes, but it will also run straight out again via rows of “scuppers” in the uppers and a dozen drain ...read more

01-m3113_git170829-294

France’s Maxi-tri Ultime class

It’s hard to believe how far foiling has come since the Moth class figured out how to reliably take to the air in the early 2000s.Was it really only in 2013 that the America’s Cup was dragged kicking and screaming into the foiling world by Emirates Team New Zealand back in San ...read more

GGTobagoCays

Cruising: Guadeloupe to Grenada

Our Dream Yacht Charter delivery started as a “wouldn’t it be fun if” idea. Those are usually misguided, if not downright stupid. But a Bali 4.3 named Jumelles (French for “twins,” appropriately) needed to leave Guadeloupe to do heavier charter work in Grenada, and as soon as I ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comWhen I bought my boat it had 18 through-hull fittings. To reduce the number of holes in the hull (I ultimately cut them by half), I first re-plumbed the drain hoses from my sinks, scuppers, bilge pumps and ...read more

rokk

Scanstrut: ROKK Charge+

It RokksWith the increasing use of smartphones and tablets for in-cockpit navigation comes the issue of keeping these devices charged, since running nav software will drain those batteries in no time. Scanstrut has come to the rescue with the ROKK Charge+, the first-ever ...read more

GreenCove2-2048

Liveaboard Voting Rights Threatened in Florida

Bucking decades of precedent, a Florida elections officer is refusing to allow customers of a popular mail forwarding service to register to vote in his county. Since 1988, St. Brendan’s Isle of Green Cove Springs in Clay County has provided transient Americans with mail ...read more