America’s Cup World Series – San Diego

Three races were held today on San Diego Bay in 10 knots of wind and flat water. Now in the third event of this series, the fleet is getting much more competitive resulting in closer racing and lots of mixing of the results.

The top team after three races is the French Team Energy with 24 points followed by Emirates Team New Zealand with 23 points, ORACLE Racing Spithill with 22 and Artemis Racing with 21. The individual race winners were ORACLE Racing Coutts in race one, followed by Artemis Racing in race 2 and Energy in Race 3.

A “Time Trial” was held after race three which was won by Emirates Team New Zealand with an average speed of 21.2 knots across the 500 meter course.

At the conclusion of the fleet racing tomorrow, the top two teams will be seeded into the match racing semi-finals on Saturday, while the teams in places 3-6 will race in the quarter-finals Friday.

Paul

America’s Cup World Series – Cascais

The first racing of the new America’s Cup is now in the record books. In yesterday’s only and final race, there were three lead changes, the top boat speed was 24 knots, the course had 6 legs, and the race took 40 minutes and was within .5 miles of the shore. Everything that had been promised was delivered. Cascais delivered perfect conditions all week with wind between 8 and 18 knots.

For those who thought catamaran racing would be dull and boring, this past week has been a wake up call. The final of the match racing yesterday between Emirates Team New Zealand and ORACLE Racing Spithill was classic match racing with the competitors even tacking on each other at upwind speeds of 15 knots.

Artemis Racing did well here this week. On this final weekend, Skipper Terry Hutchinson and his crew finished third in the match racing and 2nd in the fleet race. Emirates Team New Zealand was the top team with a win in yesterday’s fleet race and a second place in the match racing to ORACLE Racing’s Jimmy Spithill and his team. While our performance here is a good start, our sights are set on winning in Plymouth in less than one month’s time.

Chris Drapper and his Team Korea had a great showing in the match racing defeating Russell Coutts in the 1/4 finals. Team China had moments of brilliance and the least prepared team, Green Comm improved dramatically as the week went on. The internationalism of this fleet is very cool.

There is much to learn in racing these boats. New strategies for starting, course management, sail trim and boat handling. These boats are extremely physical for the crew. I was looking at the heart rate data of one of our crew for a race the other day and his average heart rate for the 25 minute race was 91% of his maximum. His minimum heart rate was 82% and he hit 100% three times! Athletics has finally hit sailing!

It was fantastic to see this new sailing “product” rolled out in such a convincing way. The live internet coverage of the racing was very well done with graphics that show the course boundaries like a basketball court. Other graphics for the “zone” around the marks. The replays of critical moments along with commentary were cool. Sure, all this can be improved still and will, but it is such a huge leap forward from past coverage of sailing.

All in all, it was very exciting to witness and to be part of. Onward and upward. I am heading to Sweden today for the RC44 racing in Marstrand this week.

For complete results and video please go to www.americascup.com

Paul

Artemis Racing on the eve of action

Today was the final shakedown for the nine teams competing in the first America’s Cup World Series regatta, which starts tomorrow and runs through 14 August in Cascais, Portugal.

In a steady 8-15 knot breeze, Artemis Racing lined up against the competition for three short practice fleet races. It was just a glimpse of what is to come in the next eight days as the world’s top teams battle it out in AC45 catamarans.

“We have a new team and we are learning a lot of things about ourselves, catamarans and multihulls in general. We’ll use the scorecard here as one measure of success, but performance increases each day will be another measure, regardless of results. It’s a strong fleet and promises to be an exciting week of racing,” said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper of Artemis Racing.

This is the first regatta on the road to the 34th America’s Cup and will include match racing and speed trials, plus the winner takes all championship race next Sunday.

Skipper Terry Hutchinson’s crew onboard the Artemis Racing AC45 includes Kevin Hall (camber), Julien Cressant (bow), Sean Clarkson (wing trim) and Morgan Trubovich (trim).

Today also saw three practice races for the Artemis Racing crew onboard the Extreme 40 in Cowes (UK), helmed by double Olympic medallist Santiago Lange. The Extreme Sailing Series – Cowes also starts tomorrow and Lange’s crew includes sailing team members Andy Fethers, Michele Ivaldi and Phil Jameson.

“Today was our third day of sailing and we are improving everyday. We are learning heaps and it is showing in our crew coordination. Given our stage of preparation this is OK. We know what we have to do,” said Santiago Lange, Helmsman and Design Team Liaison for Artemis Racing.

Racing starts at the America’s Cup World Series – Cascais at 1400 BST and will be streamed live on www.americascup.com.

Fans can also follow the Extreme Sailing Series – Cowes live on www.extremesailingseries.com.

AC45 Training

Our team has been training on our AC45 here in Valencia for a week now. I went out yesterday and joined them onboard in 18-22 knots of wind. It was quite a ride! 27 knots was the top speed of the day and 20-24 knots is normal downwind speed in those conditions.

Our coach, Andrew Palfrey, had set up a course and the crew took the boat through its paces. The level of physical activity onboard is like nothing the America’s Cup has ever seen. The races last 30 minutes and the heart rate for most of the 5 man crew is over 150bpm for that entire period with peaks of 175. They actually wear heart rate monitors so the team’s trainer, Pete Cunningham, can log their physical capabilities and stresses. Recovery from these races will be paramount and the coach boat comes alongside after the session with energy drinks and protein bars. The crew eat “gel” throughout the day.

The crew on the day included Skipper – Terry Hutchinson (USA), Mainsheet trim – Sean Clarkson (NZL), Camber/Trim Kevin Hall (USA), Headsail trim – Morgan Trubovich (NZL), Bow – Julien Cressant (FRA). I was the “6th” man which is the guest. Terry let me steer on the the way back to the harbor which was fun.

I look at all this and wish I was 20 years younger. It looks like so much fun and I love that it is so physical. Growing up, I loved basketball as much as I loved sailing. But I ran out of vertical so stuck with the sailing. In sailing, I always loved the Star on a windy day because it is so physically challenging. It looks to me like catamaran sailing in the America’s Cup is going to bring sailing into the realm of a truly physical sport.

Our training continues through Tuesday, then the boat and its four containers and tender get packed up and trucked to Cascais (Portugal) for the first America’s Cup World Series event from August 6- 14.

Paul

Update from Auckland

Auckland February 23, 2011

Just a quick update from down here. The Artemis Racing team is based in Auckland this week for training and attendance in America’s Cup meetings. Auckland is approximately 450 miles north of Christchurch, the site of the large earthquake of February 22. No one on Artemis Racing was involved directly or injured in the earthquake.

Artemis Racing extends its sincere condolences for those who lost loved ones in the disaster and sympathy for those who are currently struggling to get their lives back in order following this natural disaster.

Louis Vuitton Trophy – Dubai, UAE

Today was a special day here in Dubai. The Louis Vuitton Trophy racing was put on hold so the six teams could race a traditional Dhow race. Dhows have plied the waters of the Arabian Gulf for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Nowadays, they race them regularly in fleets of up to 70 boats.

The six Louis Vuitton teams were assigned a Dhow each complete with the owner and five local crew. To that 11 Louis Vuitton sailors were added, plus a couple of VIP guests. The Dhows are 60 feet long and weigh about 2000 lbs, so very light. They have two sails, one larger one forward off the taller mast and one smaller one aft. Sand bags are used for ballast and are movable. It is also to be jettisoned in light winds which we did today.

The start is done at anchor. A line is set and buoys are laid along the line. Each racing Dhow picks up an anchor off the bow and one off the stern. At the starting signal…a green flag…the crew pull the sails up and cut the anchor lines. The Dhows quickly accelerate up to 10 knots of boat speed in just 7 knots of wind.

Artemis was on Dhow #95. I don’t know her name but she had been in the owner’s family for more than a hundred years. Ali’s (the owner) family actually used that very Dhow for trading with India over a hundred years ago. Imagine that…a boat with a real useful purpose.

Artemis and the good ship #95 finished a credible 4th. The French-German team of ALL4ONE won the 40 minute downwind sprint. The finish line was right in front of the famous, sail shaped hotel, the Burj Al Arab.

Tomorrow Louis Vuitton Trophy racing resumes. Artemis Racing faces the Russian team Synergy in the second flight of the day and then the leaders, BMW ORACLE Racing in the 4th flight.

Paul

Louis Vuitton Trophy-La Maddalena

No wind this morning meant no Petit Final for Artemis.

Instead the race committee had to move straight into the finals when the wind filled around noon.

In the first race of the day, the Russians on Synergy kept their winning ways from yesterday and took control right from the start, made it look easy and won by about a minute over Team New Zealand.

So, with the Russians up 2-0 in the first to win 3 final, the Kiwi’s had their back against the wall in race 3. The Russians once again had the better of the start and immediately got control and the lead. With a 25 second lead at the first mark and the southeasterly breeze now well filled in at 11 knots and reasonable steady, it looked like it was going to be a short day.

But the Kiwis found a bit more pressure on the very short side of the course they were give and the Russians failed to cover. The Kiwis closed to near equal at the leeward gate and then the Russians botched the spinnaker drop. Race over. Now it was 2-1 in favor of the Russians but the Kiwis had been given a second life.

The first windward leg of final two races were almost virtual replays of each other with the Kiwis holding the narrowest of leads around the first windward mark. In the 4th race, the Russians were patiently waiting for the Kiwi’s to gybe and executed a perfect “match” and rolled the Kiwis. But the Russians got a bit greedy at the end of the run and tried to push down on the Kiwi’s as windward boat. The Kiwis flagged the Russians for sailing below proper course and the umpires penalized Synergy. The Russians led up the second windward leg but could not get enough distance in front to complete the penalty turn. On the final run to the finish, the Russians tried to engage the Kiwis in an effort to get them an offsetting penalty but the Kiwis managed to stay clear and go in for the win.

Race 5 was for all the marbles. Reply of race for up the first windward leg. Kiwis stayed in front all the way by the narrowest or margins. The Russians got a small tear in their gennaker on the final hoist. A few gybes ensued as the Russians tried to apply pressure to the Kiwi’s. Then the Russian gennaker exploded and that was all she wrote.

So in a miracle of sorts, the Russians found a way to lose after being up 2-0 and with set point in the third.

Team New Zealand remains the standard in the Louis Vuitton Trophy. They do have the teamwork element down. But some of the new teams are getting close to knocking them off and the trend line for these new teams is very steep indeed.

Next Louis Vuitton event will be in Dubai in November. Following Dubai we will be in Hong Kong in January.

For many of us, we are on our way to Copenhagen tonight for the RC 44 event this coming week. Practice tomorrow and then straight into the match racing part on Tuesday. I will take tomorrow off from the reports and pick it up again Tuesday after racing

Paul

Louis Vuitton Trophy-La Maddalena

No racing for Artemis today. If wind permits, we will race All4One in the Petit final first thing Sunday morning.

In the other semi final, the Russian team Synergy defeated All4One in 2 straight races in light winds.

Following that, the first race of the final was run between Synergy and Emirates Team New Zealand. The conditions were still light and the race was very tight. The Kiwi’s led at the firsts windward mark and down the run to the gate despite a few crew errors at both turns. Then up the second windward leg, the Russians got a break on the left side of the course and passed the Kiwis. The Russians stayed cool under pressure on the final run in very light winds to take the first race in the best of 5 series.

The forecast for tomorrow is for slightly better conditions than today…maybe 8-10 knots.

For complete results and live TV and Virtual Eye go to www.louisvuittontrophy.com

Louis Vuitton Trophy-La Maddalena

Tough day for Artemis. The short story is we won the first race leading all the way around.

The second race was abandoned after one lap when the Northeasterly died as the Northwesterly filled.

The restarted second race was all about the left and ETNZ got the left at the start. They led all the way.

The third race was for all the marbles. The wind was the same. Both boats fought hard for the left and our helmsman, Terry Hutchinson got us the left and ETNZ had to tack and head off to the right.

Somehow, for 10 minutes out of the whole afternoon, the wind went right and held. So instead of us getting paid for getting the left like on all other legs today, we didn’t and they rounded just ahead of us. From there they controlled the left, which was good again and that was it.

The Artemis team sailed better this week than we have before. We take that and move forward.

Tomorrow, the other semi final will be raced and then the final on Sunday. Time permitting there will be a petit final which we would be in.

For complete results go to: www.louisvuittontrophy.com

Paul

Louis Vuitton Trophy-La Maddalena

It was one of the better sailing days we’ve had here in La Maddalena. Just as Chris Bedford who provides the weather forecast for ARTEMIS predicted, the wind started to build mid-morning. In the first race of the day, Emirates Team New Zealand were spot on with their timing for the pin end at the start and Mascalzone Latino were over the line early. Both teams sailed a good race, but there was no contest and the Kiwis put another point on the board to tie with ARTEMIS.

Next up was our race against ALL4ONE who had 5 wins to date. So this was an important one for us as a win for ALL4ONE would mean they would move into first overall. Jochen Schumann’s Franco-German team have been steadily moving up the leader board this event so we knew that this would be a close race. We had an excellent start, winning the right hand side and maintained our lead for two-thirds of the race. As we sailed up the second windward leg, both boats were on port tack with Artemis to windward with a 2 length lead. The wind was going right as we sailed side by side and in fact, had gone 20 degrees right when ALL4ONE decided to tack onto Starboard. I made the call to tack on them and keep the left, thinking the wind would come back to the left following the big right shift. But the pressure was better on the right and they overtook us. Essentially, my bad decision gave ALL4ONE the race right there as they crossed us at the next intersection and built their lead to finish 15 seconds ahead. That’s life as the tactician…big calls that have a big effect on the outcome.

The event now moves into the quarter finals. Next up is Synergy vs Mascalzone Latino for the best two out of three races, followed by Emirates Team New Zealand vs AZZURRA. Time permitting, ARTEMIS will race TeamOrigin after these matches. It’s shaping up to be another long day. I’m off to do a live interview with Giulo in the RAI studio.

Paul