AC34: Editor’s Notes after Week 1

Published on July 14th, 2013

Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck shares his notes after the first week of the challenger series:

* I spoke to Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard, who was clearly frustrated about media rumors that his team must now quit following the International Jury decision. The only way his team must quit is if the class rules get changed for a third time. He has a set of rudders that work for the original rule, and a set that work for the revised rule that was part of the safety recommendations. He was unclear what Regatta Director Iain Murray would now do to the rudder rule, but he is getting tired of chasing a moving target with limited time and budget. Click here for the team’s latest update.

* The first two boat match on Saturday between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge was a race by definition only. The starting tactics were gripping, but over the 15.47nm course, the Kiwis extended a 5 second lead at the start to 5:23 minutes at the finish. I’m no math whiz, but that time delta must be at least a 2 mile gap. The Italians attributed a significant part of the gap to correctable boat handling miscues. Click here to watch replay.

* So far race commentary has focused on speed, foiling, and boat handling. Very few words are wasted on actually racing. It will be interesting to see if the premise of this America’s Cup – more passing – is ever realized. These are awesome machines to watch, but with a restricted course, and the current factor, passing lanes are limited upwind, and the lead boat quickly extends at the windward mark as they double their speed on the opponent. Without passing, viewers may only stay for the crashes.

* While network broadcast begins with the Challenger Finals and continues to the America’s Cup Match, the event organizers have been navigating how to best broadcast the early races. While providing the live show free on YouTube is key to building fan interest, they have scaled down the production costs to a much less elaborate show. After broadcasting the initial one-boat races, the on-air schedule will now provide only the two boat races. Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge are scheduled to meet three more times in the Louis Vuitton Cup round robins on July 21, 23, and 28 (all at 12:15pm PDT). Click here for the full schedule.

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