International sailing news continues to be dominated by the Louis Vuitton Cup, where the Semi Finals just wrapped up on San Francisco Bay with Luna Rosa Challenge rolling Artemis Racing in four races to win the series. The silver-clad Italians, racing aboard their slippery-looking metallic silver AC72, will now face their old rivals, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), for the Louis Vuitton Cup (LVC) Finals (August 17 to August 30), which will determine the team that will line-up against Oracle Team USA on September 7 for the first race of the 34th Americas Cup.
Artemis Racing’s shore crew pulled off some intense work in a short amount of time in order to allow the sailing team to participate in the Semi Finals, but, ultimately, the Swedish-flagged team simply didn’t have enough practice time on their mighty 'Big Blue' before going up against the (fairly) well-polished Italians. Artemis helmsman Nathan Outteridge managed to win a start and to demonstrate the sort of world-class driving skills that he’s become famous for, but-according to reports-boat handling and straight-line speed, not tactics, were the team’s problem.
'I’m hugely proud of our team, it’s been a terrible period,' said Artemis Racing skipper Iain Percy, referring to the team’s tragic May 9 capsize, which cost the life of double Olympic medalist Andrew 'Bart' Simpson. 'First and foremost at this moment, my thoughts go to my teammates and to ‘Bart’ and his family. He would’ve been so proud of us, considering this is something that none of us thought we’d be able to do two months ago when we lost him. We’ve enjoyed every second because we knew what an achievement it was just to be out here.'
As for Artemis, these four straight wins represent the team’s best results of the entire summer. 'We learned tons in this series, it’s been invaluable for us,' said Chris Draper, Luna Rossa’s helmsman. 'Our team was a little down, it was tough [after the Round Robins]. Our upwind speed has improved a lot and our general handling has improved. We had a bit of a shaky race today, we all were a bit nervous, but I still think we’ve improved tons in the racing against Artemis. I’m sure it’ll be valuable for us going forward.'
Luna Rossa Challenge will face skipper Dean Barker and his fearsome Kiwi squad on August 17 for the first of the LVC Finals. The Kiwis, it will be remembered, have been using this time to further develop their second-generation AC72 and to further fine-tune their already masterful boat-handling skills.
Meanwhile, layered atop the LVC news comes the revelation that Oracle Racing USA, Defenders of the 34th America’s Cup, 'modified' their stable of three AC45 catamarans, which were used to contest the America’s Cup World Series. Richard Gladwell, Sail-World’s New Zealand’s editor, has penned an interesting article that looks into this situation, as well as the impeding investigation by the International Jury. Get the full scoop, inside this issue.
In ocean-racing circles, the fabled Fastnet Race is now in full swing, with an impressive fleet of 347 competing yachts. The race featured eight different starts to this classic bluewater tussle, which is easily the most famous distance race on the continent. While there are great sailors racing in each fleet, this year’s contest features some exotic hardware, including a fine collection of IMOCA 60s and high-performance multi-hulls. Get the full Fastnet report, inside this issue.
Also inside, be sure to get the latest news from the 470 Worlds, the Chicago Match Cup, the ISAF Nations Cup, the RS500 Worlds, and the Verve Cup Offshore Regatta. Finally, for Cup tech-heads, be sure to check out the interesting coverage of the technology that makes an AC72 fly. Enjoy!
May the four winds blow you safely home,
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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2:57 PM Sun 11 Aug 2013GMT
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