In an outcome that should surprise absolutely no one, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) today beat Luna Rossa Challenge to win the Louis Vuitton Cup (LVC) on San Francisco Bay amidst thick fog that no doubt complicated tactics. In a twist of fate, the last LVC was decided off of Valencia, Spain in 2007 when ETNZ defeated Luna Rossa Challenge using the old monohulls. Today, however, hydrofoils and wingsails were the deciding factors as ETNZ shot across the finishing line some three minutes and 20 seconds ahead of the Italians to earn the right to face Oracle Team USA in the 34th America’s Cup.
A quick rewind: Saturday’s racing saw the highest winds of the LVC Finals, with ETNZ tagging a mind-boggling top speed of 47.18 knots. 'When the speeds increase, the margin for error steering and trimming becomes less; you have to work hard to keep the boat in balance,' said ETNZ skipper Dean Barker. 'It’s cool sailing; you’re not going to have better sailing than this. Today was dead flat water, nice strong flood tide and good solid breeze. That’s about as good as it gets.'
Today, however, saw thick fog and light, sticky airs that threw new weather variables at the teams. ETNZ again won the start and promptly began stretching out their ample lead to 13 seconds by the first mark. The Kiwis increased their lead to 1:31 by the leeward gate, sailing lower angles and therefore executing fewer speed-sapping gybes on the off-the-breeze legs. Impressively, the Kiwis managed to almost double their heady lead to 2:58 by the final windward mark before leaning on their foils for the final two legs to gain another 20-plus seconds.
Always cool, calm and collected, the Kiwi team exchanged a few warm handshakes, and Barker could be seen enjoying a quiet smile as the team did a fly-by past hordes of cheering fans ashore, but the team otherwise refrained from any serious hootenanny, no doubt saving their emotional release for the outcome of AC34, which starts on September 7.
According to the latest rumors (still unsubstantiated at the time of this writing), Luna Rossa could be planning to help ETNZ train for their battle against Oracle Team USA. If this proves to be correct, this would no doubt help Barker and his ETNZ teammates as they prepare to go to the metaphorical mat against Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA, who are currently benefitting from a two boat program (with Olympic legend Sir Ben Ainslie as Spithill’s sparing partner). Get the full LVC report, inside.
2013 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship - Meredith Block ©
And in other sailing news, light airs dominated the Melges 20 US National Championships, which just took place on the waters of Lake Michigan. 'We know the teams are here to race, but it's important to make sure the wind is steady enough for a fair race,' said Bruce Golison, the regatta’s PRO and a longtime one-design racer. According to reports, Golison and company managed the conditions as best as possible, balancing the desires of the sailors with the need to get in quality races. Get the full story, inside this issue.
Also on Lake Michigan, the Verve Cup Inshore Regatta took place this weekend, and was hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club’s Belmont Station. Here, One Design racers found plenty of action in the J/70, Laser, Rhodes 19, J/24, Soling, Etchells, Vanguard 15, Colgate 26, and Luders 16 classes.
'This is a nice, fast, small keelboat,' said John Heaton, of his experience racing J/70s at this year’s Verve Cup. 'Anyone can sail it. It’s a lot of fun. We had good winds today and we are hoping we will get going fast downwind tomorrow.'
Start - 2013 Byte CII Pre-Worlds Byte CII
And in Newport, Rhode Island, the 2013 Byte CII Worlds are taking place off of Sail Newport, with racing taking place through Wednesday (August 28) and sailors from 22 countries vying for top honors. 'As far as we can tell, the quantity of countries represented here tops any world championship ever hosted in Newport,' said Anderson Reggio, the event’s Principal Race Officer. 'The Byte CII is a quite dynamic boat which has attracted some of the world's best youth talent for this event.'
Get the full story, inside, and stay tuned to the website for the latest news from the Byte CII Worlds, as it unfurls.
Also inside, get the latest news from the recently concluded Dragon Gold Cup, the PWA Alacati World Cup and the Detroit Cup, as well as the Extreme Sailing Series Act 6 regatta (August 23-26), which is taking place in Cardiff, UK. And finally, be sure to spend some time enjoying all of the great image and video galleries from the last races of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, and be sure to stay tuned for the latest news from the upcoming Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (September 1-4).
May the four winds blow you safely home,
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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8:20 PM Sun 25 Aug 2013GMT
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