The America’s Cup takes a step into the future in Portugal next month as teams race in the first AC45 America's Cup World Series multihull regatta.
Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton says the event will be unlike any America’s Cup preliminary regatta in the past.
'Eight 45ft wingsail multihulls will be at the start line, courses will be unlike the upwind, downwind everyone is familiar with and fleet racing will feature heavily over the nine days of the regatta
'As you would expect, just about every aspect of the regatta is experimental, and many of the teams have not had a lot of time with their AC45.
'Some starts will be reaching (across the wind) rather than the traditional up-wind and that should bunch the yachts at the first mark and make life interesting for the crews.'
Dalton said America’s Cup Race Management had learned a lot from their experience in Auckland earlier this year. 'Everyone will be learning at Cascais. It will set the course for two more regattas this year and possibly eight next year.'
The America's Cup World Series, Cascais is the first of a series of 13 regattas due to be staged before the 34th America's Cup. Three regattas are scheduled for 2011. All 13 regattas will now be sailed in the AC45 catamarans a 45ft one design catamaran with a wingsail, a smaller version of the 72ft catamaran to be used in the Louis Vuitton and America's Cups in San Francisco proposed to start in mid-2013.
Due to clashes with other events, the Emirates Team NZ crew will be split with on group led by Dean Barker sailing in the AC45 series, and another led by Adam Beashel will sail in the Extreme 40 series in Cowes, England.
Glenn Ashby, Ray Davies, Winston Macfarlane and Dean Barker will represent the team at Cascais. They leave New Zealand later this week. In the meantime they will put in more time sailing the team’s two SL33s on Auckland Harbour.
The first race day is on August 6. The America’s Cup World Series, which also includes events at Plymouth, England and San Diego, USA, this year. Eight regattas are planned for 2012.
A new regatta format and race course will be unveiled at Cascais. Courses will be short, tight and close to the Tagus River shore to deliver close racing for spectators on land as well as the online and TV audiences. At this stage there will be live web coverage of the racing. Broadcast TV details have yet to be announced.
The regatta format includes a mix of speed trials, traditional match racing and fleet racing. The final race at Cascais will be a spectacular, winner-takes-all fleet race on Sunday August 14.
Teams will be racing for the Cascais title and to put points on the World Series leader board.
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