America's Cup developments, Rio Test event and more

Luke Patience and Elliott Willis
The Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2014 is the first test event of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will take place from 2-9 August from the Marina da Gloria. With 324 athletes from 34 nations, racing in 215 boats, it is set to be the largest Olympic classes sailing competition ever held in Brazil.

Organised by Rio 2016 and Confederação Brasileira de Vela in conjunction with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the regatta will test the field of play, equipment, workforce, systems and procedures two years out from the Olympic Sailing Competition.

All five proposed Olympic race course areas will be assessed during the course of the regatta. Three course areas – Ponte, Escola Naval and Pão de Açucar – are situated inside Guanabara Bay with the other two - Copacabana and Niterói – located outside the bay in open water.

Whilst being a key regatta for the Rio 2016 workforce and ISAF Officials the regatta, will offer the 324 sailors an opportunity to take to the Olympic race courses to gauge the conditions and circumstances that may be present in 2016. Many of the teams and sailors have hours of Rio practice and race time under their belt, but this will for all crews be the first major regatta in Rio and at the Olympic course areas. Many sailors are also for the first time going to experience the quality of the water and to see how the pollution affects the race areas.

February 26, 2015. Leg 4 to Auckland onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Day 18. Riding the front downdraft from a massive wall cloud, Ian Walker drives Azzam to windward around Dongfeng 4 nm away en route to Auckland. Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15
Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

The Organizers from Kieler Yacht-Club and the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has announced that a third course area will be opened for competition when racing starts for the 2014 ORC World Championship on Monday, August 4th, and continues through Saturday, August 9th.

This third area will minimize excessive crowding in the record-sized fleet of 176 entries and allow for a better distribution of boats into each of the race course areas.

Kieler Yacht Club in their planning did not imagine such a strong turnout in entries, but have now found support for this third course area. The racing will now be better, faster and more fair, and especially the 70 boats from 30 to 40 feet in length will now be divided into groups of 30 for a qualifying series, like in the Olympic Classes. The top 30 boats will race in a Gold Fleet for the World Championship titles and trophies.

An innovation for the 2014 Worlds fleet will be use of the RaceQs tracking system for competitors during races of the event. Using an app developed for iPhone and Android, competitors can track their progress during races and afterwards upload the data so that everyone can enjoy 3D replays of the regatta. A dedicated!page!new for this feature has been established.

City of Alameda Mayor, Marie Gilmore, with former City of San Francisco Mayor, Willie Brown
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Will the 35th Americas Cup be back on San Francisco Bay in 2017? This interesting question is now 'up in the air', since the City of Alameda has made a late play for the Venue hosting for the 35th America's Cup, with the release of a letter from the Mayor, Marie Gilmore.

The letter appears to be an initiative from the City's America's Cup Committee, formed in the run-up to the 34th America's Cup to maximise benefits of that event for the City and Alameda district. The committee still hopes that the America's Cup will return to the San Francisco Bay area, home waters of the America's Cup Defender Golden Gate Yacht Club. At the 34th Americas Cup the City of Almeda was the home base of both Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa.

Last Friday, four of the remaining five Challengers made a statement supporting any venue selected by ACEA. Team New Zealand did not put its support to the statement, which was supported by the four remaining European Challengers. Another competitors meeting is coming up in London in near future.

Entries close for the 35th America's Cup on August 8, 2014. Five teams are expected to enter, triggering the need for a preliminary Qualifying Series in a second venue. A solution not believed to be favored by two of the European Challengers.

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Good Sailing and enjoy a nice summer – with lots of racing and cruising.

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