Louis Vuitton Finals begin! How things look from up close.
10 June 2017
Artemis Racing came from behind to win against Softbank, Japan for the Louis Vuitton Cup finals. They will race against Emirates, New Zealand for the right to challenge Oracle, USA for the America's Cup.
Lisa and I have watched every race. Most, up close and personal but a few from the comfort of Docksides in Hamilton on the big screen. Everyone we told of our plans to sail to Bermuda for the AC said,”There will be hoards of boats there. Are you going to find a place to anchor? Will you be able to get close enough to see the races?” No problem and yes to great access via boat for viewing. Lisa and I have been to three previous AC races in San Diego and Valencia, Spain. There are no crowds for AC racing. Sailboat racing isn't the NFL. We have beautiful spots to anchor and easy boat access to the spectator areas, even though we did not purchase the $600 spectator flag. We just hang back in the second row and no one bothers us. We did buy a $35 spectator flag for boats under 40 feet and take our dinghy right up to the line. Team Japan screamed by 10 feet off our dinghy, a real thrill!
Now that we are hear, no regrets! This is a fantastic island/country and beautiful, welcoming venue for the AC. Back to the races.
Foiling cats are fast. Their apparent wind is almost straight back, upwind or downwind. Essentially, they just drive around the course without any obvious sail trim changes. Of course they are trimming constantly but this is not visible spectating. What is clear is the skill it takes to tack or gybe one of these cats and stay on the foils. What we observe on the course is how well a team starts and consistently maneuvers. We can sure see bad maneuvering when the boats crash down off the foils and go slow. We can also observe when a boat points higher or drives downwind deeper in a puff.
Oracle was included in the first round of the LV Cup. This is genius on the part of the organizing committee. We got to see Oracle race in anger but wondered if they would hold back and not show all of their cards. No way, the winner of round one got a one race point for the AC final. Oracle won this valuable point with style. They were the most consistent boat with maneuvers and speed. They raced seamlessly.
Emirates, NZ was very fast. Yes, they were consistent too but had a few yips. The biggest of which was a nose dive, capsize that wrecked their rig. They had an equipment failure earlier in the day with their primary rig so they did show some vulnerability. But they smoked Land Rover, UK all around the race course. They have been an early favorite to win the LV and challenge for the cup.
Artemis Racing, Sweden has been one of my favorite teams. They got robbed of a win when the umpires gave them an undeserved penalty and had me screaming “no way!” Somehow they seem to be fast and steadily improving. They were flawless against Softbank, Japan in the semifinals. That's the kind of performance they will need against Emirates, NZ.
The finals start tomorrow. The first boat to win 5 races will be the challenger to race against Oracle for the oldest trophy in sports history, the America's Cup. I think Emirates has the edge but will pull hard for Artemis. I just like that team. They have the youngest skipper, Nathan Outteridge, age 27. He is brilliant and calm under pressure. They just may be able to grind down the favored, Kiwi team.
Either way, Uproar will be out there watching every bit of the action. We are going to anchor in Long Point, a secluded bay, like we belong there. Today the race boats went deep into that bay on prestart. Hope the marshals don't boot us out! If so, we will find another great spot and stay there for the entire weekend. Long Point is just beautiful. We can dinghy under the bridge to Mangrove Bay for ideal snorkeling and a sumptuous resort. This is a place we would normally seek for a cruising anchorage. The AC races just off our transom are quite the bonus!