America’s Cup: Raising the bar

Published on February 12th, 2015

The 34th America’s Cup was arguably the most exciting in the event’s history.

Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of Oracle Team USA, predicts that the next one — to be held in Bermuda in 2017 — will raise the bar even higher.

At the previous event in San Francisco, where Oracle pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in sports history to retain the ‘Auld Mug’, Coutts said teams committed a lot of mental mistakes in the wing sail foiling AC72 catamaran.

However, he believes they will have learned valuable lessons from those mistakes and now have a better feel for the one design America’s Cup catamarans capable of reaching speeds nearing 50mph.

“You watch those last finals in 2013, there were a lot of mistakes probably because the teams had less time to actually think through their next move and so forth,” the five-time America’s Cup winner said. “It was the first cycle in those boats last time, and next time I think you are going to see the best sailors in the world all be more adapted to it, and as a result the standard will be higher.”

Even though much has changed in the America’s Cup in terms of boat design, Coutts said the art of match racing remains the same.

“It’s the same thought processes with the modern America’s Cup boats,” he said. “But it’s just happening a lot faster. You have a lot less time to plan your move and respond to changes on the race track, whether they be change of wind conditions, or changes responding to what your opposition is doing.”

Coutts said advances in boat design since the previous Cup will also add to the spectacle when Bermuda hosts the America’s Cup World Series in the Great Sound in October as well as the Challenger Trials in 2016 and America’s Cup Match in 2017. – The Royal Gazette, full story

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