Featuring a new team, more boats and more sailors the second season of the America’s Cup World Series is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Aug. 22, at ACWS San Francisco.
The entry list of eight teams includes Artemis Racing (SWE), China Team (CHN), Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Energy Team (FRA), J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR), Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 (ITA), ORACLE TEAM USA (USA) and Team Korea (KOR).
The fleet now numbers 11 boats with Artemis Racing, Luna Rossa Challenge and ORACLE TEAM USA each fielding two crews, and the return of China Team. At this regatta there are 55 sailors competing from 12 countries. (View the event crew list at ACWS San Francisco Crew List.)
“With a new team, more boats and more sailors, ACWS San Francisco should be an outstanding regatta,” said America’s Cup Regatta Director Iain Murray. “The racecourse will certainly be more intense than we've seen before, and the consistent strong winds and current-driven chop will keep the competitors on their toes. We’ve already seen a few capsizes in training, but we know everyone will be on their game when the starting gun fires.”
The first day of the new season will see six of the teams contesting a series of match racing qualifiers with the three winners advancing to the Quarterfinal Round, scheduled Thursday and Friday, where they’ll meet the top five seeds based on the standings from the 2011-12 ACWS Match Racing Championship.
One of the qualifier teams is newcomer J.P. Morgan BAR, skippered by Ben Ainslie. Ainslie recently won his fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal – his fifth medal overall – and joins the ACWS fleet with the long-term goal of leading an America’s Cup challenge.
“As a kid growing up I really wanted to be part of the Olympics and do well at that and also to be part of an America’s Cup team that could win,” said Ainslie. “This is the next stage in my career and I’m really excited to be a part of the Cup.”
ACWS San Francisco will also see the debut of a second yacht from Artemis Racing, the Swedish Challenger of Record for the America’s Cup. Artemis Racing Red will be helmed by Santiago Lange of Argentina, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist in the Tornado class, and is entered alongside stablemate Artemis Racing White, led by team skipper Terry Hutchinson.
Hutchinson’s crew is the No. 1 seed based on last season’s match racing championship.
“We were certainly happy to win last season, but that’s done and dusted,” said Hutchinson. “Racing on San Francisco Bay might be the most challenging of all the venues we’ve visited.”
Wednesday’s racing schedule features No. 6-seed Team Korea vs. No. 11 J.P. Morgan BAR, No. 7 Luna Rossa – Piranha vs. No. 10 Artemis Racing Red and No. 8 Luna Rossa – Swordfish vs. No. 9 China Team. Each match is a best-of-three.
Racing continues Thursday with two pairs of the match racing quarterfinals and the first two fleet races. View the racing lineup at ACWS San Francisco Regatta Format and additional event information at the ACWS San Francisco event page.