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Big Blue foils and LVC news —Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 26 Jul 2013
First foiling - Artemis Racing - Blue Boat - First Sail, July 24, 2013 John Navas ©
After months of around-the-clock effort, Artemis Racing, the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup, has now joined the elite group of sailors to foil an AC72 wingsail-powered catamaran. The team got their big blue boat up on her foils at the end of her maiden voyage, an impressive feat in and of itself, no doubt adding a much needed shot of confidence to a team that’s been playing catch-up since their first-generation boat hit the water last summer.

Fortunately, their second-generation boat appears to be capable of sailing on her foils, and the crew certainly seems pleased with their first day out on the water. 'Today could not have gone any better,' said helmsman Nathan Outteridge. 'It was a perfect day and exactly what our team needed. We got the boat on the water and we're happy with how it was foiling… It's a massive tribute to all the guys who have been working so hard to get us back out there.'?

Inside, don’t miss the great image galleries, am-cam video and official team media of 'Big Blue' flying on San Francisco Bay. The boat appears to have an initial bow-up attitude, so this is something that the team will likely be working to address as they build up to their projected return to racing, which is likely to happen in early August.

'We'd like to hope August 6 is achievable,' said Outteridge of the team’s realistic timetable. 'But we know how much work is ahead of us now and we don't have a lot of time. This was day one for us while the other teams are on day 70 or 80, so we know we're a long way behind, but today was a big day in terms of catching up. Each step will evolve and we'll try to keep moving as fast as we can.'

There’s no question that the team’s first day on their new foils was a victory for the entire Artemis squad. With some luck, the rest of the Louis Vuitton Cup (LVC) just got a lot more interesting, provided, of course, that the Swedish-flagged team’s learning curve stays steep and their motivation high.

Also in LVC news, Luna Rossa recently racked up another point on the leaderboard by sailing an unchallenged set of laps around the racecourse that actually held its excitement for the team when they hit a large fish at high speed, destroying a rudder. 'Straight after our last tack, from starboard to port, it felt like we hit something, but it is two meters underwater and [it’s] hard to tell,' said Luna Rossa’s skipper, Max Sirena. 'Then, when we gybed from port to starboard, the bottom of the rudder broke off. It’s going to take a week to fix so in the meantime we’ll use the old rudder.'

Stay tuned for more from the LVC, as it unfurls.

Meanwhile, in offshore sailing news, Isao Mita’s TP 52 'Beecom' (a 2011 Judel/Vrolijk design) has won her class in the Trasnpac Race under the High Performance Rating (HPR) system. This is the first year that the race has scored boats under this handicap system, but it certainly seems to be a good fit for the higher-performance boats like the TP52s.

'HPR was designed as a rating system to specifically rate modern high-performance, offshore-capable planing designs in a purposely transparent and type-forming way,' said Bill Lee, who penned the HPR Rule. 'There is a small but enthusiastic group of sailors and owners who want to design, build and race these style boats, and most of the existing rating systems don’t do a great job with this because they try to rate all boats. So HPR was developed to encourage development around features that produce high performance, but also safety and stability.'

Get the full Transpac wrap-up report, inside this issue.

Also inside, get the latest news from the Nacra 17 Worlds, the 420 Worlds, and the Extreme Sailing Series Act 5. And finally, stay tuned to the website this weekend, as Luna Rossa will meet Emirates Team New Zealand on the water for their fourth match-racing encounter this Sunday.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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