Starring now in San Francisco, America’s Cup theatre is alive and well. Accusatory comments, quotes taken out of context, subterfuge and misleading statements…it’s all part of the game that is the America’s Cup. That’s what happens when the fate of the next event rests on the outcome of the current one.
The 2013 America’s Cup is an attempt at a sea change for the 162-year-old event. Wing sail catamarans capable of incredible speeds racing within yards of the shoreline, all where spectators can walk up and watch the racing from many vantage points for free, is dramatically different from the event of the past.
WATCH The Skippers’ Press Conference
Although today’s AC72 Time Trial was canceled due to strong winds, and Sunday’s Race 1 of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, is threatened because Luna Rossa is standing on its principles, many of the subjects at this morning’s opening press conference made strong statements why you should keep tuning in to the 34th America’s Cup – not the least of which are sportsmanship, camaraderie and the spirit of the America’s Cup.
Iain Murray, Regatta Director
“I think it’s very unfortunate we’ve been caught in the change of weather here today. We always knew July would be a tough month, as it’s the windiest month we have. We have the least amount of racing scheduled in July. The program steps up in August and September. In September, historically, during the Cup period (Sept. 7-21), it’s been wonderful weather.
“I think it’s fair to say with this America’s Cup, the geography and the natural amphitheater we have here in San Francisco, the machines in the AC72s, the crews that we have, the skill and preparations of these crews, the complexity of these boats, the speed of these boats, I would suggest that you’re probably in line to see some of the most amazing sailing and racing that’s ever happened in the world.
“With the complexity and everything associated with it, it may never happen again. I would urge you to stay patient, stay with us and be prepared for quite a show of sailing over the coming months.”
Max Sirena, Luna Rossa Challenge
“In regards to Iain Murray, he’s one of the guys I respect the most in this ‘game.’ There is nothing personal with him. I have to do the best thing for my team. I feel it’s unfair to change the class rule one week before the event. I’m happy and pleased to shake his hand.”
Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE TEAM USA
“To speak about why people should come down, they got a bit of a taste of that during the America’s Cup World Series last year. The response we had from the city and the outskirts of the city was amazing; it was overwhelming how positive it was. Most of the people lining the shore were non-sailors and kids, and they loved it. For us, we’re excited and we’re here to race. To hear others maybe second guess that is a bit strange.
“I think Emirates Team New Zealand has a good program. We were also foiling on our AC45s when they were foiling on their SL33s. I think their program is solid. We’ve been watching them in New Zealand and out on the Bay, and they’ve been watching us as well. They’ve got a strong sailing team that’s been together a long period of time; probably a decade for Dean (Barker) and some of the guys around him. I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys. We’ve raced them a lot over the years. At the moment, they’re the strongest team in the challenger series.
“I don’t think you can assume anything until the boats line up. I think it’s brave to assume right now who’s in better shape. If I look back to the (2010) America’s Cup everyone thought Alinghi was faster, but that changed quite quickly.
“People can talk and speculate right now, but the cool thing about sport is that at some point we’ll race one of the challengers and we’ll see who the fastest is.”
Iain Percy, Artemis Racing
“Unfortunately for us it is going to be a couple of weeks yet. The team is working seven days a week and on night shifts. There are lots of changes going to the boat and we’re soon to start our structural testing, physical testing. We’ve had some help from the guys at the table here. In the spirit of this event there’s been a lot of support for us as a team, not just you’re usual support for the fact that we’ve lost a friend. But also practical support and we appreciate that a lot, guys.
“We’re looking forward to being part of the event. A couple of months ago when we had our accident, when the dust settled, we all came together as a team and decided we didn’t want our challenge to end that day. We wanted to be part of the event, supportive of the Louis Vuitton Cup and our fellow teams. It’s been no small feat, especially for the shore team. But we’re keen to be out there as soon as possible, racing on this amazing bay.”
Dean Barker, Emirates Team New Zealand
“We’ve known we’re starting racing on the seventh of July for quite some time, and we’re here ready to go racing. Whether Luna Rossa decides to race or not, we’ll be out there and looking forward to spending more time on the race course. It’s a lot of fun out there and we’re really enjoying our time here in San Francisco.”