The eyes of the sailing world are riveted on Naples, Italy, this week and the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) Naples event, where crews are racing wingsail-powered AC45 catamarans in both fleet-racing and match-racing formats. Day One's racing featured big breeze and bumpy seas, whereas Day Two proved far more user friendly: no capsizes (Artemis Racing took a full-value digger during a mark rounding on Day One), little to no breakage, and plenty of competitive racing.
Thus far, the biggest upset of the event has been that Oracle Racing's Darren Bundock edged out Oracle Racing's Jimmy Spithill (himself the youngest skipper to have won the America's Cup) in the match-racing section of the event. This means that Oracle Racing Bundock will advance to the semifinal round of the ACWS Naples Match Racing Championship, whereas Oracle Racing Spithill will now focus their attention on the fleet-racing portion of the event.
'I suppose we can thank the shore crew for the victory against Jimmy,' said skipper Bundock, referring to the all-nighter that Oracle Racing's shore team pulled in order to fix four cracks in Bundock's boat, while also fixing some broken frames in Spithill's wingsail. 'We're very happy to walk away with the win from that one. I guess it's all that training they've given us the past couple months.'
Meanwhile, at the front of the fleet, Emirates Team New Zealand (ENTZ) has been having a fantastic event, with skipper Dean Barker pulling off two wins on Day Two. And, as forecasted, the Italian crowds have been both present and invigorated—some key ingredients for successful 'stadium ailing'. 'The people of Naples are really turning out in force to support us,' said Barker. 'If this is what happens on Thursday, I can only imagine what we'll see on the weekend.' Be sure to get the full media download, inside this issue, and be sure to follow the website over the weekend as more results become known.
In offshore-sailing circles, ENTZ's Camper has now rounded Cape Horn and are making tracks for Itajai, Brazil and the official finishing line for Leg Five of the fully crewed Volvo Ocean Race. 'It is an amazing place to be and experience, but it's definitely not the kind of place you want to hang around too long,' reported ENTZ's Media Crew Member, Hamish Hooper. 'You are always just a bit on edge down here. It is fierce, raw and inhospitable, but it is stunning and mystical and I am glad to have visited.' The team rounded the mystical cape under the cloak of darkness, robbing the crew of the panoramic view, but allowing them to still check the box, nonetheless. 'Stu [Bannatyne, himself now a seven-time Cape Horn veteran] reckons I need to come back again now to actually see The Horn next time—I don't...that's what Google [Earth] is for.' Currently, ENTZ is the final boat sailing, with Puma Ocean Racing, Telefonica and Groupama already being tended to by their shore teams in Itajai, and with Team Sanya and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing opting to ship their broken boats and rejoin the racing fleet later in the race.
Speaking of attrition due to breakage, designer Juan Kouyoumdjian, the winning designer of the past two VORs, as well as the designer of the current-generation Telefonica,Groupama 4 and Puma Ocean Racing's Mar Mostro, has spoken out against the 'rule bashers' who claim that the Volvo Open 70 design is too fragile for an all-out around-the-world grudge match such as the VOR. 'A VO70 cannot be designed not to break,' writes Kouyoumdjian. 'In fact, any boat in a round the world race cannot be designed not to break. So ultimately, breakages are in the hands of the crew.' More on this hot VOR topic, inside.
Also inside, learn more about the three newest inductees into the America's Cup Hall of Fame; catch up with the Global Ocean Race and also be sure to check in with the Laser Standard Junior Worlds, which are taking place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And finally, kick start your weekend by spending some quality time gawking at ace lensman Carlo Borlenghi's fantastic image gallery from the ACWS Naples event. Enjoy!
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