America’s Cup Takes Backseat to Olympic Games
Published on July 18th, 2016
In the lead up to the 2013 America’s Cup, the newly launched AC World Series offered a glimpse of what lied ahead. But when the series attracted several under-funded teams that eventually dropped out, and how the legitimate teams were focused instead on their America’s Cup preparation and were only participating because the rules said they had to, the concept fell short of creating authentic excitement and interest.
With six of the nine AC World Series events completed, the teams go into Portsmouth on July 22-24 with three teams fighting at the top of the leaderboard. The kicker is that only the top two teams gain benefit in the competition format, so one of them will end the series empty handed when it wraps up in Fukuoka, Japan in November.
Emirates Team New Zealand continues to lead the series, with Land Rover BAR (GBR) and Oracle Team USA tied on points. Dean Barker and SoftBank Team Japan hope to build on their good showing from Chicago in June, where they were on the podium for the first time. As for Franck Cammas’s Groupama Team France, he hopes to find the form his team showed in Oman and New York, and that escaped them in their last place finish in Chicago.
Crew lineups for Portsmouth have been shaken up with some of the top sailors off in Rio preparing for the Olympics. British tactician Giles Scott is away training for the Finn, while helm and wing trimmer tandems, Peter Burling/Blair Tuke and Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen for Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing respectively, are readying for their battle in the 49er event.
Glenn Ashby will be on the helm for series leader Kiwi team with Francesco Bruni steering Artemis Racing. As for the Defender Oracle Team USA, they have returned to their all-Australian line-up in hopes of rebounding from their dismal fifth place in Chicago. Full crew lists here.
The only opportunity to train in the one design AC45F’s is at the AC World Series events – sailing on Thursday and practice racing on Friday. Bruni has never raced an AC45F and Ashby has not helmed in previous racing. Both are top sailors but will have their work cut out for them. Ed Powys will once again handle tactics in place of Scott on Land Rover BAR.
The plan for Portsmouth is for three races to be scheduled each day, Saturday and Sunday. Provisional races will will be sailed on Friday. Remember that in Chicago Team Japan’s win in the provisional race was counted when no races could be sailed in Saturday’s light winds. Sunday’s racing counts double points, meaning that last place on Sunday is as valuable as first place on Saturday. Details on how to watch can be found here.
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