Just enough for AC Prelim Event
Published on September 16th, 2023
Vilanova i La Geltrú, Spain (September 16, 2023) – After storms cancelled racing yesterday, the first Preliminary Regatta of the 37th America’s Cup got underway today… barely. Fickle winds with cruel zephyrs made flight on the foils the rarest, most precious, commodity and for even the best sailors on the planet, it was hard sailing.
Race one produced a fine and deserved result for Orient Express Racing Team whilst in the second race, Emirates Team New Zealand romped to a thunderous victory, rising from their foils whilst the rest of the fleet remained in displacement mode, chased down Alinghi Red Bull Racing for the win.
The French topped the standings on 15 points with Emirates Team New Zealand in second, close behind on 13 points after just two of the scheduled four races completed as light airs from the south-south-east dogged the racecourse, rising hopefully above the pre-set lower limit of 6.5 knots to get racing underway before dropping cruelly.
“I feel proud of the whole team, the sponsors also,” shared French skipper Quentin Delapierre. “Today we did a good job not just because of the result but because we improved so much technically. We still have so much to do for sure, but today it was a really good feeling to see the improvement against the others and as a group to know that we can achieve it.
“We can feel the energy inside the team, the dynamic, and obviously because we are quite new, it’s pretty cool to see smiles and it’s so rewarding for the technical team who worked so, so hard just to be here and able to race the others with no technical problems – that’s a real achievement. I’m super happy, when you come back to the base to applause, big smiles, we feel proud, and this is good for us now to have a bigger dynamic in the team.”
Andy Maloney, the trimmer in the starboard pod onboard Emirates Team New Zealand behind skipper Pete Burling, shared how it takes all four crew to tack the boat and how vital it is to be super accurate through the maneuver.
“The difference is perhaps half a knot of breeze but we know exactly what we’re trying to achieve in those tacks and between races we did a good job of practicing them and then going into that second race we were really confident that if we could get up on the foils, that we’d be able to maneuver around the racetrack and we were just pretty pleased that once we did get up and foiling that we executed those maneuvers.”
Talking about the final run where precision and execution were everything, Maloney added, “Once we were the only boat up and foiling it wasn’t about VMG, it was about staying on the foils, and we just wanted to make sure that we had enough pace to foil through the lulls and then hopefully link up with a nice little puff to execute the next maneuver.”
Yves Detrey, trimmer onboard Alinghi Red Bull Racing who were arguably one gybe away from a win in the second race, looked dejected at the result but positive about how the team are improving. “You need a little bit of luck. We dropped off the foils just before the start (of the second race) and then we had that little puff to get back up on the foil and get back to the line and start racing.
“It was very marginal all the way around. We did some very nice maneuvers at the right time, but unfortunately on the very last one, we didn’t quite nail it. It’s a fine balance between your entry speed, your exit, your positions on the sails, your trimming of the sails, board raise, everything together. It feels a little bit bitter for us because we didn’t get that last gybe but for sure we’ve been looking quite nice, and we take the positives through to tomorrow.”
Racing continues tomorrow with what looks like an improving forecast to complete the qualifying fleet races that advance the top two teams for the match race final.
Racing in AC40s is planned for September 15-17.
Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on March 30, 2022. The 37th America’s Cup begins October 12, 2024.
Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
• INEOS Britannia (GBR)
• Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
• Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
• NYYC American Magic (USA)
• Orient Express Racing Team (FRA)
2023-24 Preliminary Regattas
September 14-17, 2023 (AC40): Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain
November 30-December 3 (AC40): Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
August 2024 (AC75): Barcelona, Spain
2024 America’s Cup
September: Challenger Selection Series
October 12 – ?: 37th Match (Best of 13)
Additionally, 12 teams will compete in the 2024 Youth & Women’s America’s Cup.