Each passing day brings a new level of anxiety to teams entered in the 34th America’s Cup. So much to do, so little time. Mark Carpenter, the head of platform maintenance for Artemis Racing, spoke for many when he said, “The work is ongoing; it never ends.”
The final sailing period as defined by the Protocol for the 34th America’s Cup began yesterday, and the teams are now permitted to sail their AC72s as often as they desire. Previously teams were limited to 30 and 45 days of AC72 sailing in two different periods. Emirates Team New Zealand has sailed the most, 50 days combined with its two boats, followed by Luna Rossa Challenge, 43 days, ORACLE TEAM USA, 35 days, and Artemis Racing, 32 days.
It’s safe to assume that ORACLE TEAM USA would’ve had more days under its belt had it not capsized last October and put a temporary halt to training. The defender sailed the most in the period that concluded on Apr. 30, with 27 days on the water compared to 20 for the Kiwis, who have had to pack up their boat and base and ship it from Auckland to San Francisco.
This weekend the countdown clock will mark two months to the start of the “Summer of Racing” in San Francisco. The Opening Ceremony is planned for July 4 and will be followed on July 5 by a special fleet race for all teams.
Racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, officially begins on July 7 with a match between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge. The two teams were training partners in New Zealand over the past winter. But in Naples, Italy, two weeks ago those pleasantries were thrown out with the bath water when they were involved in a jarring collision. Luna Rossa Swordfish slammed into Emirates Team New Zealand’s stern scoop when the Kiwi crew failed to give the Italians room to round the mark.
The first round robin continues on July 9 with Sweden’s Artemis Racing going against the New Zealanders, and July 10 with Artemis Racing versus Luna Rossa.
Seven round robins are on the Louis Vuitton Cup schedule. Some highlights:
- The Louis Vuitton Cup round robins are scheduled July 7-Aug. 4. Wins are worth 1 point
- The Louis Vuitton Cup Semi Final, a best-of-seven series, is scheduled Aug. 6-14
- The Louis Vuitton Cup Final, a best-of-13 series, is scheduled Aug. 17-30
- Racing is scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
- Start times for the round robins and semi finals are scheduled for 1:15 pm PT (Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays) or 2:15 pm PT (Wednesdays)
- Mondays and Thursdays are scheduled reserve days
- In the round robins and semi finals, one race is scheduled per day with a target elapsed time of one hour
- In the Louis Vuitton Cup Final, two races are scheduled each day, each with a target elapsed time of 30 minutes
The top team at the end of the round robins gets to choose whether it advances directly to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals or races in the semi finals. With a break of 12 days in the offing, presumably the winner would choose to go to the final and let the other two teams continue slugging it out in the semis.
Throughout the Louis Vuitton Cup the defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, will also have access to the race course four days per week, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes sandwiched around the challengers’ racing.
During the break between the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Finals, the Red Bull Youth America's Cup will see 10 of the best teams of young sailors from around the world compete in AC45 catamarans over four day's of competition.
Sailing on the same boats the Cup teams have used to compete in the America's Cup World Series, the Red Bull Youth America's Cup crews, aged 19-24, will race on San Francisco Bay in a fleet race format. Many of the sailors competing in the youth competition are expected to be sought after components of future America's Cup teams.
The America’s Cup Finals are scheduled Sept. 7-21, with racing set for Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The match is a best-of-17 series. Two races are planned each day, lasting approximately 30 minutes, and beginning at 1:10 pm PT and 2:10 pm PT. A break of approximately 32 minutes between races is mandated by the Protocol.