The Maritime Report: America's Cup update

The Maritime Report: America's Cup update

Dave Bloch

Artemis Racing's crew near the stern of their AC72, Big Blue, during Tuesday's Louis Vuitton race. Photo by Dave Bloch.

SEND 'EM OFF EACH DAY IN STYLE

Artemis Racing has invited the Alameda community to come over to the Seaplane Lagoon each race day around 9:15 a.m. to see the crew off. (I'd suggest going a little earlier; today they were halfway across the lagoon by that time.) The next scheduled race days are this Friday and Saturday. Since this is a best-of-seven event, a sweep by either team would end this round after those races; if not, they continue next Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

If you're free around that time of day, drive out Atlantic Street and then just continue straight into Alameda Point until the road ends at the Seaplane Lagoon! If you see a really big boat out there, wave and give a yell of support!

LUNA ROSSA WINS THE FIRST TWO

Your reporter was out on the second-floor race deck at St. Francis Yacht Club for the first Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals race between Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa Challenge, and watched the Wednesday race on YouTube. Tuesday was the first time Artemis has ever raced their new AC72, and only their ninth day being on it at all. The announcers pointed out that they had about 37 practice days on their first boat "Big Red," but that boat was not capable of foiling.

These races show that winning is ALL about foiling. Foiling - what the rules of the 34th America's Cup were not supposed to allow until the engineers in New Zealand found some loopholes - is where the boat rises up completely on curved foils that are extended down into the water from near the middle of each hull, as well as small wings attached to each rudder at the back. With the hulls raised completely out of the water the friction drops to nearly zero and the speed increases dramatically, reaching up above 40 knots in the races we've seen so far.

Where Artemis lost these races is in the jibe, which is turning the boat when sailing downwind, which is when the boat is flying on its foils. Done right, the boat slows so little that it stays up on the foils and keeps its speed up right through the turn. But if not done perfectly, one or both hulls will drop into the water and the team will lose several precious seconds which could translate into falling back from the opponent 100 meters or more. Everybody on the team has to do their job at the right moment; if anything lags, the boat drops.

Going into or across the wind, it appeared that Artemis at least matched Luna Rossa's speed and strategy. In fact, Artemis beat Luna Rossa across the start line both days.

We wanted to see a win for our home team today. But for Artemis, in (once again) their very first races, there was nothing to be ashamed of. They finished just two minutes behind Luna Rossa both days after sailing nearly 19 nautical miles. This with just a small fraction of the practice time that the Italian team has had.

One very real concern for Artemis was expressed by a television commentator; the fact that, after the capsizing tragedy in May, they did not have time to make a larger winglet for the bases of their rudders. The little horizontal "elevator" is a key part of getting the boat up on its foils, and the other teams have larger ones. Artemis' boat is also heavier; the result of adding safety equipment to the boat which they've decided is important, even if the other teams aren't using it. Both of these factors may be making it harder for the team to get their big boat to fly.

The next race takes place today. I'll be watching it from somewhere!

NETWORK TELEVISION COVERAGE

The America’s Cup Events Authority this week announced the NBC television schedule. It starts this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, tape-delayed on the NBC Sports Network. The Saturday race will be shown at 4 p.m.; the Sunday one at 3 p.m. These races, covered by NBC, will not be streamed live on YouTube but will be available there immediately following the television broadcast.

Races five, six and seven, if needed, will be carried live on the America’s Cup YouTube channel.

Here’s the rest of the schedule, as announced this week by the AC Events Authority:

Louis Vuitton Cup Finals

August 17 - Races 1+2 - NBC Sports Network - 3:00 p.m. (tape delayed)
August 18 - Races 3+4 - NBC Sports Network - 3:00 p.m. (tape delayed)
August 21 - Races 5+6 - YouTube.com/americascup - 1:00 p.m. (live)
August 24 - Races 7+8 - NBC Sports Network - 4:00 p.m. (tape delayed)
August 25 - Races 9+10 - NBC Sports Network - 4:00 p.m. (tape delayed / if necessary)
August 28 - Races 11+12 - NBC Sports Network - 2:00 p.m. (tape delayed / if necessary)
August 30 - Races 13 - NBC Sports Network - 2:00 p.m. (tape delayed / if necessary)

During the 2013 America's Cup Finals, coverage switches to the main NBC network for the first two days before reverting to the NBC Sports Network, with live broadcasting of all races.

America's Cup Finals

September 7 - Races 1+2 - NBC - 1:00 p.m.
September 8 - Races 3+4 - NBC - 1:00 p.m.
September 10 - Races 5+6 – NBC Sports Network - 12:30 p.m.
September 12 - Races 7+8 – NBC Sports Network - 12:30 p.m.
September 14 - Races 9+10 - NBC Sports Network - 12:30 p.m.
September 15 - Races 11+12 - NBC Sports Network - 12:30 p.m. (if necessary)
September 17 - Races 13+14 - NBC Sports Network - 12:30 p.m. (if necessary)
September 19 - Races 15+16 - NBC Sports Network- 12:30 p.m. (if necessary)
September 21 - Race 17 - NBC Sports Network - 12:30 p.m. (if necessary)

The America's Cup Finals will also be streamed live on nbcsports.com. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel immediately following the broadcast.

Locally, in the San Francisco Bay Area, all racing from Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals through the America's Cup finals will be shown live on NBC affiliate KNTV (or COZI TV), digital TV channel 11.2.

Photos by Dave Bloch.

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