Bay of Sails
Landing in the San Diego Bay mid-November, America’s Cup will make its U.S. debut of the AC World Series – a new professional global circuit, featuring the sport’s best athletes competing on some of the most physically demanding boats in the world – the newly unveiled AC45 wing-sailed catamaran.
Returning to San Diego after a 16-year hiatus, the America’s Cup World Series will welcome eight teams of five from around the world to compete in the series’ third stop. The prestigious sailing competition makes its U.S. debut of the AC45 catamaran, a new look for the races that promises both speed and excitement.
“We spent 16 months in San Diego preparing for the last America’s Cup, so we know that the harbor is a perfect stadium for the new-look high-speed, high-energy America’s Cup,” said James Spithill, skipper of ORACLE Racing – current defenders of the title, having won the America’s Cup in February 2010 for the U.S. “We thought it was pretty cool just sailing our wing-sailed multihull back in 2009, but this time there will be a whole fleet sailed by teams from around the world. I can promise you this: people in San Diego will have a new appreciation for America’s Cup sailing.”
Numerous waterfront viewing locations afford spectators and race enthusiasts the opportunity to witness the on-the-water action up close. The AC Village at Harbor Drive will feature a number of activities for fans of all ages; including: activities on Broadway Pier and the USS Midway with spectator grandstands, interactive displays, concession booths and a nightly entertainment schedule. Another fan showcase – the AC 500 Speed Trial, allows teams to push their boats to the limit to cover a 500-meter straight-line course in the shortest time.
The AC World Series champion will be crowned during the final circuit stop in Newport, RI, in June 2012; teams will head to Naples and Venice, Italy in April and May, respectively.
“San Diego is going to be a fantastic place, a harbor laid out perfectly,” said ORACLE Racing skipper Russell Coutts, who won the America’s Cup in San Diego in 1995. “When San Diego hosted the America’s Cup (1988, 1992, 1995), the racing was a long way out to sea. That won’t be the case this time. This is going to be a great event.”
The U.S. Debut of AC45 Catamaran
Focused on creating more on-the-water excitement for teams and fans, the AC45 wing-sailed catamaran was designed for both speed and close racing. And while it is capable of closing speeds of over 35 miles per hour, the catamaran remains nimble enough to handle the tight, tactical race course planned by AC Race Management.
“The boat was designed for all-around performance so it can be sailed in a wide range of conditions, and that means the next America’s Cup will see races start on time,” said Ian Burns, ORACLE Racing design coordinator. “Plus it’s a regatta boat, meant for lots of racing, so quick assembly and disassembly was a must to accommodate an active competition schedule.”
A high-tech, grand prix race boat, the AC45 is powered by a wing that towers over 20 meters above the deck and has already demonstrated excellent performance in winds from 5 to 30 knots in early sea trials; it was designed and developed by the ORACLE Racing design and engineering team, on behalf of the America’s Cup community. The boat is an essential element of the vision for the 34th America’s Cup, which will feature 72-foot catamarans raced on San Francisco Bay in the Finals in 2013.
America’s Cup World Series