America's Cup: Thirty days on the AC72 clock

by . 
Oracle Team USA’s second wingsail being loaded at the Port of Auckland.
Welcome to Sail-World.com's fifth America's Cup Newsletter for the 34th America's Cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand became the first and probably only team to reach the maximum allowance of 30 sailing days in their AC72, before the deadline of January 31, 2013.

In fact, the current Louis Vuitton Cup holder reached their quota on December 12, 2012 – about six weeks ahead of the deadline.

What does this all mean?

Emirates Team NZ heads for home on Day 30

Of the two boat teams, it means that Emirates Team NZ have maximized their options in terms of sailing days, and data gathering. Currently they probably have the best knowledge of the AC72 catamaran of all the teams.

Artemis Racing would seem to be back on course, after dropping their skipper Terry Hutchinson. They currently have 20 sailing days left, and at the current rate of progress, seem unlikely to work through the full extent of that program. But on the positive side of their ledger, of the two San Francisco based teams, Artemis Racing have the most sailing time, and will be well ahead of their current mark, come the end of January.

Artemis Racing’s first AC72 emerges prior to launch in San Francisco

Artemis Racing will also not have to go through the transition process to San Francisco that both the Auckland based teams will have to undergo at the end of April - which will cost them at least six weeks in downtime, maybe more. Artemis Racing should at that stage have two AC72’s racing, and provided they can effectively run the logistics of that program, then they should make another gain.

Yet to be announced is whether Artemis Racing will run a two-boat program. Emirates Team NZ MD Grant Dalton, told Sail-World in an interview in this edition, that he believed it was not effective to run a two boat AC72 program, citing three hours to launch, and three hours for pack up for the three boats. Whether other teams see it that way, will be a point of interest, later in 2013.

Oracle Team USA’s SAC72 USA-17 under repair and rebuild in San Francisco

Oracle Team USA have largely maintained radio silence - until the departure of their second wingsail from Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, New Zealand. The event was captured by several of the Auckland based America’s Cup media. Later the team issued several videos from key players in New Zealand and San Francsico, including one from General Manager, Grant Simmer answering a few of the vital questions about launch dates, and the like. This is but one of the featured videos and interviews in this edition of Sail-World.com’s America’s Cup newsletter.

We expect Oracle to be back on track in early February. Sure, they have lost 22 available sailing days, but the same comments made about Artemis Racing, also apply equally to the Defender. They have the additional luxury about not being required to formally race until September, two months after the Challengers.

For the Challengers, the Qualification Rounds of the Louis Vuitton Cup would seem to be vital target practice – free of any legal challenge over working with another team – and with the added bonus that the series will count for little until the Semi-Finals are sailed, when just one boat will drop out, maybe.

Luna Rossa AC72 foiling in Auckland

Luna Rossa, too have been silent about their sailing program, but have certainly had a lot to say to the International Jury, with a protest against Oracle Team USA over a breach of the Surveillance requirements of the Protocol.

In this edition, we carry the details of the Protest, some commentary ahead of the decision, and the actual decision of the International Jury.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailing at speed showing the beatifully twisted wingsail
OTUSA was found to have infringed, and committed what we believe to be a professional foul. At this juncture the Int Jury have found against the America’s Cup Defender, and are now awaiting submissions from the teams, before announcing a penalty. Whether that will be 'ice-cream money' or something more substantial, remains to be seen.

While the Defender have been taking a beating in the Jury room, no-one can say that team boss, Larry Ellison didn’t live up to his word, when he said in 2010 that a neutral race management would be established. In a normal Cup, most of the decisions that OTUSA have 'lost' would have been dismissed by the Defenders and their acquiescent organizational infrastructures. Not so, this time around.

Seasons Greetings to all America’s Cup fans. In just a few days we will be in the year of the 34th America’s Cup – 2013.

We will be publishing further America's Cup newsletters, when there is sufficient content and/or on milestone occasions - we expect this to be once a month, until the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World's America's Cup News Editor

Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand, racing on the Hauraki Gulf, December 2012

Emirates Team New Zealand training with the team's first AC72 on the Hauraki Gulf. 6/12/2012
http://www.sail-world.com/105070