Thursday, April 12, 2012

AC45 World Series--Naples!

If you live in the United States, you might not know that the 34th America's Cup Challenge will be held in San Francisco in September 2013. And no one can blame you for not knowing it. That's because the mainstream media, including all of the sports media, don't seem to deem an event like this worth covering until about 48 hours before it starts. The same goes for most bicycle races and I'm sure that other sports suffer similarly as well. I can't explain why, it's just a fact.

Team Korea, Luna Rossa, Energy Team
The lead-in to the America's Cup is called the America's Cup World Series and it started last fall in Portugal. It next moved to the UK and then to San Diego. This week, the AC45 World Series is in Naples, Italy and racing started yesterday. There are two fleet races with all nine boats competing in each race.

My wife's niece and her husband have been living in Naples for the past couple of years and for several days this winter I thought seriously of going there to visit and watch the competition. It didn't happen, so I'm following the events from afar and I can report that they're gripping.

Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) with Dean Barker at the helm is dominating the leaderboard so far, but there have been many dramatic moments from the other boats. On Wednesday, there was a spectacular capsize by the Swedish team of Artemis Racing. I've never seen a boat capsize by having its bow go under the water.

On Day 1, Team Korea placed second in the first race and fourth in the second. That's a surprising result for the first time this team has entered this series. Oracle Spithill won the first race and ETNZ won the second.

Luna Rossa
On Day 2, ETNZ won both races running away, but the Italian teams of Luna Rossa Piranha and Luna Rossa Swordfish finished second and third in both races. Needless to say, this pleased the throngs of spectators immensely, even though the skippers of neither boat is Italian!

It's clear that this format of multi-hull racing close to shore has clicked significantly with the local population in each venue so far. This ain't your father's America's Cup anymore. I've been a bit tepid on embracing the changes myself, but my defenses are wearing down. The action is swift and intense, even in light winds. I'm hooked.

Check out all of the video action on YouTube.

(all photos courtesy of

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