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ACWS delivers thrills and spills—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 22 Aug 2012
Emirates Team NZ sailing in San Francisco Bay, before the start of the ACWS Chris Cameron/ETNZ© http://www.chriscameron.co.nz
The America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) kicked off its 2012-2013 season this week in San Francisco (August 21-26), with teams from eight different syndicates blasting around 'the Bay' on their wingsail-powered AC45 catamarans. So far, the Bay’s windy conditions have lived up to their 'race-brochure' hype, flipping four teams on their ears in the official and unofficial practice races that have been unfolding.

Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) was the latest team to test out their PFDs in the Bay’s chilly waters as they succumbed to the harsh reality of vanishing stability during today’s practice race. 'The boats love to put their bow into the wave in front downwind and with this you get a sudden deceleration and the boat loads up,' said ETNZ’s skipper, Dean Barker. 'This is where the fun begins as you hope there is enough buoyancy in the bow to recover before the boat loads up more and continues into a pitch pole. The harder you push generally the safer you are so you are constantly reminding yourself not to back off. It really is a different form of sailing!'


Also in ACWS news, Luna Rossa has added two Gold-medal heavyweights to their already star-studded team, namely Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez. Fans of the fully crewed, around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) will remember these two Spanish sailors from the 2011-2012 Telefonica campaign, while fans of Olympic sailing will remember their Gold medal in 2004 and their Silver medal in 2008, both in the 49er class. It will be interesting to see how these sailors take to the high-powered AC45s, and, eventually, to the even faster AC72s. Stay tuned!

And speaking of the VOR, ocean-racing fans should be sure to check out the feature-length video recap of the 2011-2012 edition of the race, inside this issue. This films draws on footage taken both onboard and off the fleet of Volvo Open 70s as they pounded and powered their way around the planet, and is sure to get your adrenaline flowing.


Also VOR-related, be sure to get the full scoop on the newly announced all-women’s team, which will compete in the 2014-2015 edition of the race. While the team, which is being sponsored by the forest-products and hygiene company, SCA, has yet to announce its roster, it has confirmed purchase of the first of the newly announced Farr 65 One Designs, which will be used to contest the next race. More, inside!

Meanwhile, in Olympic sailing news, change is afoot at US Sailing. News officially broke this week that Josh Adams, a decorated sailor and former publisher of SAIL Magazine, has accepted the newly created (and full-time) position of Managing Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing. In his new role, Adams will take over from Dean Brenner, who selflessly led the team as its volunteer Olympic Sailing Chairman (a position that was always due to sunset after the XXX Olympiad) from 2004-2012.


'The challenge ahead for the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program is significant,' said Adams. 'So is the opportunity. As it stands now, 40 percent of the classes in the Rio 2016 quadrennium will be new. We need to lead our US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider to be performance-centric, to adapt quickly to the new boats, and to build depth in the established classes. At the same time, we need to commit ourselves to a sustainable youth development strategy. Building a program around performance and youth development is a goal that I look forward to leading.' Get the full scoop, inside.


And finally, don’t miss the latest reports from the Zhik Moth Worlds, as well as event previews of the St. Moritz Match Race (August 28-September 2) and the Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 (August 31-September 2).

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