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