Cupdate, big boats, and OD news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

The J/120s racing downwind in day three at the Rolex Big Boat Series
What a wild week in sailing! The obvious huge news is the fact that the America’s Cup will not be headed to Auckland (at least not in the custody of Emirates Team New Zealand [ETNZ]) anytime soon, but as of now there are precious few details known about the 35th America’s Cup. Oracle Team USA and the Golden Gate Yacht Club are said to have received a Challenger of Record, but this information has not yet been made public, nor have any germane details of the still-unscripted Protocol been released.

The good news is the Kiwis have decided not to pursue legal action against the Defender for their daggerboard-control system that they are said to have fitted onto their AC72 during the later half of AC34. It’s fair to say that after 2008/2009, the less time the Cup spends in court, the better!

Inside, be sure to check out all of the post-Cup debriefings, including a rather personal blog entry from ETNZ skipper Dean Barker, as well as post-game analysis and some final sweet photos of AC72s strutting on San Francisco Bay. Irrespective on your feelings towards AC34 and its outcome, it’s fair to say that the regatta’s drama—as well as the sight of AC72 catamarans fully lit up on their foils—drew-in countless spectators (in-person and virtual) and drove sailing into the center of the national conversation more than any Cup in recent memory. And if you were lucky enough to attend, you understand full-well how amazing a venue San Francisco Bay is…especially when it’s blowing 23 knots (or less) with a flood tide!

Local photographers are compelled by law to include at least one tower of the bridge in every photo gallery - Rolex Big Boat Series

Also on the waters of San Francisco Bay, the Rolex Big Boat Series wraps up today after four great days of racing (hint: no wind limits, should the breeze fill-in). Competition has been hot in a variety of classes, with the venerable J/105 class picking up the most number of entries of any keelboat, followed by the Melges 24, which saw the most competitors in a One Design class, although there was also certainly plenty of interest in the new J/70 class as well. Get the full scoop, inside.

Speaking of J/70s, the class just held its North American Championships at the Annapolis Yacht Club in Annapolis, Maryland. Here, Heather Gregg Earl and Joe Bardenheier, along with crewmembers Stuart Saffer and Bill Lynn, got the honors of winning the class’ first North Americans, beating out 88 other teams for top honors.

'We didn’t know we won the regatta until we got to the dock!' said an excited Bardenheier. 'We just figured if we stayed in the top 10, we might end up pretty high in the event… We sailed very consistently and just stuck with it. We had great teamwork and good communication the whole time.'

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen at the 2013 49er World Championships
© Christophe Launay

Meanwhile, in Marseille, France, competition has proven to be especially stout at the 49er and 49er FX Worlds. Kiwi sailors are currently dominating the leaderboard in both the Men’s and Women’s classes, with the competition set to end after today’s races. 'We're happy with how we're going in theatre-style racing and how we're sailing,' said Blair Tuke. 'We're both really excited about the chance of winning a world championship. We haven't won a world title since our junior days so we're very motivated.' More, inside.

Platu 25 World Championships, Portosín , Galicia, Spain. 24-29 September 2013 , final day ©

Also inside, check out on the wrap-up reports from the Chicago Match Race Center’s Autumn Invitational and the Platu 25 World Championship, and check out the reports from the ongoing GP Joule PWA Sylt World Cup.

If they bump, there will be plenty of witnesses - Rolex Big Boat Series

And finally, spend some time with Chuck Lantz’s great image galleries from the Rolex Big Boat Series. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,