UPDATE: 1320 hours
Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge are familiar partners in the America’s Cup arena. The two teams contested the 2000 America’s Cup Match, were finalists in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup Final, and have shared a design package and many hours of training together in the lead up to the 2013 America’s Cup.
Today the familiar foes contested the first two-boat race of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, and the reigning champions from New Zealand came out on top.
Skipper Dean Barker and the Emirates Team New Zealand crew made today’s race look effortless. With the wind blowing around 17 knots, Emirates Team New Zealand held up Luna Rossa in the pre-start and then sailed away to win by more than 5 minutes on the 15.47-nautical-mile course.
ORIGINAL POST: 1110 hours
Emirates Team New Zealand would seem to be the form boat. In their two solo races last week, skipper Dean Barker and crew showed slick crew work and phenomenal speed. They carved through jibes foiling at speeds that bottomed out around 28 knots.
Luna Rossa sailed one solo race last week and didn’t look as sharp, but posted a top speed of 36 knots. The Italian crew, led by skipper Max Sirena and helmsman Chris Draper, has new daggerboards and new rudders. They’re hoping for a significant performance gain and were also seen foiling through jibes.
“We had a funny day the other day,” said Draper, referencing Thursday. “As soon as we started racing on the course we damaged a tiny little fitting on the boat that almost stopped us sailing the race. We managed to keep sailing around the course, but it wasn’t the smooth sailing we’d have liked.”
The breakdown gremlin could be the deciding factor. The AC72s may cost millions of dollars to put on the racecourse, but they also have inexpensive fittings that can cause troubles. The “tiny little fitting” Draper referred to is a $1 item on the daggerboard trunk. Emirates Team New Zealand also had to wrestle with a breakdown that nearly prevented them from completing the first race.
“It’s an early round robin race,” said Murray. “My expectation is that New Zealand will win, but this is the America’s Cup. This is the first time we’ve raced these boats. There are a lot of things that could go wrong, and it won’t take much to go wrong for there to be a different winner.”
With racing scheduled the America’s Cup Park, at Piers 27/29, and the America’s Cup Village, at Marina Green, will be alive with activity.
“Today is a celebration of the Louis Vuitton Cup throughout the day,” said America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay.
Watch: America's Cup YouTube Channel
America’s Cup Park Schedule
10:00 am America’s Cup Park opens to the public
10:45-11:15 am Dock Out Show at Presentation Stage
12:00-1:00 pm America’s Cup Show with Andy Green & Tucker Thompson
12:15 pm Live Racing Begins, Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Emirates Team New Zealand
1:30-2:30 pm pm America’s Cup Trophy on Display - Flying on Water
2:00-2:30 pm Poster Signing with Team Representatives
2:30-3:00 pm America’s Cup Trophy on Display - Main Entrance by the “A”
3:00-6:00 pm Live Music at the America’s Cup Pavilion - The Sam Chase, Down and Outlaws, Mahgeetah
3:00-6:00 pm Saturday Night Party with Motown on Mondays DJ @ PUMA YARD
7:00 pm America’s Cup Park closes
’Til Late PUMA YARD, America’s Cup Sports Bar & merchandise stores may stay open until 11pm