America’s Cup: And So It Begins

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For the online audience that likes the raw language that comes from men in battle, the opening races on Saturday (July 25) at the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, UK provided both performance and profanity as the six cup teams got their first test of foiling races in the AC45fs.

Land Rover BAR skipper Ben Ainslie and his team of wing trimmer Paul Campbell-James, runner David ‘Freddie’ Carr, trimmer Nick Hutton and bow/tactician Giles Scot, appeared well-practiced in the 10-14 knot winds, posting a 1-2 to lead after the first day.

“You couldn’t ask for anything better,” Ainslie said. “Fantastic conditions, so many people coming out to support the teams. I’m so happy for Portsmouth and for our team. We have so many people on shore working on our behalf and cheering us on. For them to see this level of support is brilliant.”

Trailing by a point, Emirates Team New Zealand rookie helmsman Peter Burling was pleased with the result.

“It was a great day for us to be able to put together a good start and a run in both races and be in the lead at the bottom mark in both races,” he said. “We’re pretty green in these foiling boats so we’re happy to come out of the day in the shape we’re in.”

The shocker of the day had to be Artemis Racing, which along with Oracle Team USA, has had a relatively seamless transition from the last America’s Cup. After posting a 6-5, their hopes of erasing the memory were quashed when the event was cancelled on Sunday when winds of over 40 knots were deemed unsafe to sail.

“As a competitor I love the breezy conditions, but I 100% agree with race committee’s decision,” noted Kiwi skipper Glenn Ashby. “The safety concerns were definitely there, we have a 25 knot wind limit for a reason, and fully respect that, and I think all the other competitors do too, we don’t want to get anyone hurt.”

As only two days of racing was planned, the results from Saturday stand, meaning Land Rover BAR is the winner of the first event of the 35th America’s Cup cycle.

It is estimated that 52,000 people attended during the day, with over 2,000 boats on the water to watch the racing. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg from August 28-30 is the home event for Sweden’s Artemis Racing.

Final Standings (after two races):
1. Land Rover BAR (GBR), Ben Ainslie (GBR), 1-2, 19 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Peter Burling (NZL), 3-2, 18 points
3. Oracle Team USA (USA), Jimmy Spithill (AUS), 2-3, 16 points
4. Groupama Team France (FRA), Franck Cammas (FRA), 6-4, 13 points
5. SoftBank Team Japan (JPN), Dean Barker (NZL), 4-5, 13 points
6. Artemis Racing (SWE), Nathan Outteridge (AUS), 6-5, 11 points

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