Racing resumes in the America’s Cup World Series on Wednesday afternoon when the top Cup crews in the world fight for supremacy on San Diego Bay.
The racing promises to be close; for the sailors on the water the competition has narrowed up since the last regatta in Plymouth while for fans the race course will bring the cutting-edge AC45 wing-sailed catamarans within yards of the spectator viewing area on Broadway Pier.
“I think it will be a great show for all of the people watching,” said ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill. “As a sailor, you want challenges and to push yourself and this Bay has it all. And the racing will be right off the Piers (Broadway and Navy)… Any of the teams here can win. The level has risen. This is one-design racing, the boats are the same, and it really comes down to the best team.”
Wednesday is the opening day of the San Diego Match Racing Championship with three seeding fleet races scheduled, along with the AC500 Speed Trials. The fleet race results will be used to seed the teams into match racing pairs for qualifying and semi final matches on Thursday and Friday, ahead of Saturday’s Finals. On Sunday, the teams compete in more speed trials, as well as the San Diego Fleet Racing Championship – one winner-takes-all fleet race.
“The race course here deals you some tricky, shifty conditions,” acknowledged Terry Hutchinson, the skipper of Artemis Racing. “So you really need to sail consistently. We've been working hard the past couple of days to make ourselves better, (looking in the mirror) is where we can make gains.”
The America’s Cup World Series – San Diego runs from Wednesday November 16 through Sunday November 20. Racing starts each afternoon with a warning signal at 1305 PST.
Pierre Pennec, Aleph (FRA): I’m here to learn and to get the best result with the team. It’s easy to enjoy these boats and this racing and I’m smiling all day. Bertrand [Pacé] is a very good coach… he looks at the computer [does the hard work and analysis] and I am free to go sailing with a smile.
Terry Hutchinson, Artemis Racing (SWE): We want to continue to sail consistently. The race course here deals some tricky, shifty conditions. Our boat speed [during last weekend’s practice racing] hasn’t been great. We’ve worked hard on sail combinations, but the biggest thing we’re working on is ourselves. No excuses, we’ll look in the mirror to continue to get better.
Charlie Ogletree, China Team (CHN): Since we’ve been in San Diego we’ve been flat out. Since Plymouth we haven’t been on similar boats [to the AC45]. We did a promotional event in China, and it’s a big challenge to raise awareness of the Cup. The Chinese are very excited about sailing. It’s a growing sport, and it’s our job to educate and get them behind the America’s Cup.
Dean Barker, Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): It’s great to come to San Diego. I’ve never sailed here before. It has a rich tradition in the Cup. For New Zealand the memories of 95, seeing the team win the America’s Cup and take it back to Auckland, it’s very special. Racing right here in front of the city has its share of challenges but I’m sure it’s going to be a great event.
James Spithill, ORACLE Racing Spithill (USA): This is a beautiful harbor, right in the downtown. We spent most of our time sailing outside, offshore [for training in the build-up to the last America’s Cup], but we've spent a bit of time in the harbor. It will be a great show for the people watching. The people of San Diego know the Cup well, but this will be a re-education for them about the Cup. They're used to watching boats being towed out, and that's it. Now the start is right off the USS Midway. The racing will be exciting. Anyone of the teams can win here.
Yann Guichard, Energy Team (FRA): I haven’t spent a lot of time training yet, so I’m still getting to know the boat and the team better. I feel more comfortable. I can now concentrate on tactics and strategy so it’s better. And we have a new sail and our speed is much better. We’re working on communication on board and I’m happy with how it’s going.
Vasco Zbogar, Green Comm Racing (ESP): Since Plymouth [where the team was involved in multiple collisions on the final day of racing] we have been repairing the boat. It could have been much worse. It was repaired quite well but we haven’t done much training. Now we’re sailing as much as possible - we have a lot of room to improve and hopefully we can get some good results.
Chris Draper, Team Korea (KOR): We haven’t had much chance to sail on the AC45, but we did a very good project with our Korean sailors, sailed in a regatta in Korea. In San Diego we’ve been working hard to make up the ground and make sure we’re not at too much of a disadvantage compared with the teams that have been doing some training.
Darren Bundock, ORACLE Racing Coutts (USA): I’ve just come into the role, been lucky that Russell [Coutts] has given me the opportunity. My role is to push Jimmy as hard as I can. I’m here to give him a hurry-up and keep him honest, and I would love to take his spot [as skipper of ORACLE Racing’s America’s Cup challenge].
How to follow the AC World Series San Diego:
Online, the America's Cup website, www.americascup.com has all the news, features, images and results from San Diego, including a webcam from the team bases. Starting with the championship races from November 16-20, the event YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/americascup will have live and on-demand streaming coverage of all racing. And for the first time, there will also be live streaming to iOS mobile devices through the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
The America's Cup Village, which features food, merchandise, exhibits and entertainment is housed on North Harbor Drive, between Broadway and Navy Piers and is open from 10am to 10pm. From November 16-20, the AC Village will feature live music each evening.
The races of the America's Cup World Series will take place just off Broadway and Navy Piers, within the tight confines of San Diego Bay. Spectators will be able to take advantage of a number of good shore-side viewing points, including a public spectator area at the end of Broadway Pier. In the AC Village there will be live video with expert commentary on the big screen from Wednesday through Sunday. Entrance to the AC Village is a suggested donation of $10 to help support ocean conservation efforts.
Racing at the America's Cup World Series - San Diego is scheduled to start with a warning signal at 1:05 pm each race day.