America’s Cup: Preparing for the Worst

Published on May 2nd, 2016

The America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) is designed to offer practice to the teams, fulfillment to the sponsors, and heighten awareness for the 35th America’s Cup Match in 2017. But unlike the previous ACWS that led up to the 2013 Match, this edition also carries with it points that will benefit the series winner.

After four ACWS events, Emirates Team New Zealand tops the rank as the series comes to New York City on May 7-8. But unlike the America’s Cup Matches that had been in NYC from 1870 to 1920, held ‘free of headlands’ per the Deed of Gift, this race course lies in the shadow of lower Manhattan.

“This is certainly going to be a unique sailing regatta for everyone,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby. “As always there are going to be the six teams not wanting to give an inch but fighting to take a mile out of each other – it will be full on but we are really looking forward to the challenge.”

With the course location convenient to the event village, the sailing conditions are expected to be some of the trickiest seen at any event yet mainly due to the swirly breeze and current.

“The current and tide will be a significant factor sailing on the Hudson River,” notes Roger Badham, meteorologist for the Kiwi team. “There is a tide that runs in and out which can be up to 2.5 knots and possibly 3 knots running down the river and that will then reverse for the incoming tide to run up the river at 1.5 to 2 knots with the flood tide and obviously the current will differ across the river – from the main stream to the banks.”

Badham and tactician Ray Davies have been studying the weather forecast and local conditions to try to get a handle of how best to approach the racing.

“The forecast right now is looking quite variable which is never easy,” admits Davies. “Add to this we have the Hudson River with its strong current flow as well as a very turbulent breeze which does funny things coming through the Manhattan skyline so this combined will create a very challenging racecourse.”

The New York event is the fifth ACWS regatta using the foiling AC45s, with possibly five more events to follow before the teams switch to the new 15-meter AC Class that will be used in 2017 in Bermuda.

Daily scheduleBroadcast informationSpectator information

Three races are scheduled for both days beginning at 2:00 pm ET, with double-point scoring on Sunday, May 8.

Viewers in the United States can watch on NBC:
May 7 – 2:00pm ET on NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA
May 8 – 2:00pm ET live on NBCSN and NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA
May 21 – 2:00pm ET highlights on NBCSN and NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

ACWS 2015
July 25-26: Portsmouth, UK
August 29-30: Gothenberg, Sweden
October 17-18: Bermuda

ACWS 2016
February 27-28: Muscat, Oman
May 7-8: New York, USA
June 11-12: Chicago, USA
July 23-24: Portsmouth, UK
September 10-11: Toulon, France
November: Fukuoka, Japan (not confirmed)

ACWS 2017 – One event expected


Using a format of fleet racing in foiling, wing-sailed 45ft catamarans, the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) winner will be the team with the most points accumulated from all the ACWS events.

In 2017, the six teams (5 challengers and 1 defender) will compete in the new 15-meter AC Class, beginning with the America’s Cup Qualifiers, a double round robin match racing series which will reduce the five challengers to the top four teams. In this series, the winner of the America’s Cup World Series starts the America’s Cup Qualifiers with a 2 point advantage (runner-up in ACWS begins with 1 point advantage).

At the conclusion of the America’s Cup Qualifiers, only the four challengers with the most points (each match win earns 1 point) advance to the final stage to determine the challenger which will face the defender in the 35th America’s Cup. Complete schedule.

Source: Emirates Team New Zealand, ACEA, Scuttlebutt

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