February 4 marked the christening of the first of the second generation AC72's for the 2013 America's Cup. Emirates Team NZ had hoped to splash their new boat on the same day, but was prevented by strong winds. On the same date Oracle Team USA relaunched a repaired and modified USA-17, in San Francisco.
On February 22, after a few days of trialling against Oracle's revamped USA-17, Artemis Racing announced they were suspending sailing and taking some time out in the builder's shed.
The Swedish Challenger was the last of the Class of 2013 to call for modifications.
Artemis and Oracle Team USA AC72 training in San Francisco Bay Artemis Racing
The team has also indicated, via CEO Paul Cayard writing in his blog, that their second AC72 is under construction in Sweden and will be launched in May.
Between San Francisco and Auckland, there is a clear design dichotomy. In Auckland, both AC72's are firmly in the foiling camp. Maybe not surprising seeing the hulls and platform initially, at least, are from the same design team.
In San Francisco, Artemis Racing is foiling in a very limited way, with the leeward hull lifting to a limited extent, but not clear of the water. Oracle Team USA seem to have worked out many of the wrinkles that were so obvious in their first build. Whether their foiling is quite as smooth and relaxed as those Down Under will only be established when the two groups come together, in San Francisco, and the vagaries of wind and water are equalised.
In the meantime, Cup watchers argue back and forth.
And in a signature of the internet age, Cup fans can now see both factions sailing in San Francisco and Auckland via web cams in both locations. It might not be the prettiest video, but certainly it gives an impression. And by the same medium, tonight we can see the lights are burning late in the Emirates Team NZ tent, in the Viaduct harbour.
The Design Jury is still out on the merits of foiling. Certainly most believe that it is an essential part of any AC team's arsenal, to some degree. When, and how high, are still the unanswered questions. And we have that word 'trade-off' creeping back into the America's Cup lexicon. This time the factors in the equation are speed, drag and VMG - or simply knowing the option that will get your boat to the next mark, in the shortest time.
In this edition of Sail-World.com's America's Cup newsletter we feature four video interviews with the key players from Emirates Team NZ, and get their take on the key issues of the months to come.
We have featured several team supplied videos in this edition, but perhaps the two most interesting are two Am-Cam videos - one from San Francisco of Oracle Team USA foiling, and the other from Hauraki Gulf, showing Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa having race practice.
This is the first video showing the two AC72's involved in a racing situation - and spectacular they certainly are.