The America’s Cup Returns To New York

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After a hiatus of almost a century, the America’s Cup is returning to New York. In two years, the greatest sailors on the planet will descend on Bermuda to take on ORACLE Team USA as she defends her 2013 America’s Cup title. These very same teams will be right here in our backyard, racing on the Hudson for the first time since 1920. You can be part of this historic event. The Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRALIS) is chartering the Aqua Azul on Saturday, May 7, for an up-close viewing of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (ACWS).

OTB020316C OTB020316I OTB020316J OTB020316K OTB020316E The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is a racing circuit featuring the best sailors in the world, competing on foiling, wingsailed catamarans, an updated version of the AC45 raced in the last series. It is the first stage of competition in the 2017 America’s Cup and begins in the summer of 2015. The circuit is an early opportunity to put points on the board that carry forward into the next stage of the competition. Overall ranking position in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series determines the starting points score of the teams in the America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017.

Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE Team USA, said this about the World Series: “The New York event is going to be spectacular. Racing on the lower Hudson River, in front of that Manhattan skyline, will be a huge hit. New Yorkers are massive sports fans and I think this will be something very special: thrilling, top-level racing right in the heart of the city. It’s going to be a great event for the America’s Cup and a great event for New York.”

The New York event is historic because America’s Cup racing was held in New York harbor and environs from 1870 to 1920, representing the first 13 challenges for the oldest trophy in international sport.

OTB020316DRacing will take place on the lower Hudson River off the Battery Park City Esplanade and will bring the America’s Cup community back to the city that has the longest connection to the trophy, which was held by the New York YC from 1851 to 1983. “The Cup was bolted down here for a long time,” Spithill said. “So it’s kind of funny that we’re bringing it back, and I think New Yorkers will be in a bit of a shock when they see what it’s all about. Once you see these things tearing around the Hudson, they won’t be able to walk past without stopping and just being in a bit of shock, I reckon.” The World Series will be raced in AC45 catamarans. To add to the excitement, the World Series teams compete head-to-head rather than the traditional match racing of only two boats.

OTB020316HThe five challengers joining Oracle Team USA at the New York World Series are Artemis Racing (Sweden), Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing (Britain), Groupama Team France and SoftBank Team Japan. Three World Series events have taken place in 2015 with three different winners, with the New York event promising continued hard-fought racing on the foiling AC45F catamarans that fly above the water.

The World Series racing circuit forms part of the 35th America’s Cup program, with ACWS scoring contributing to the selection of the 2017 America’s Cup Challenger. After three events, Emirates Team New Zealand is in the lead, points-wise (122), followed by Oracle Team USA (112), Land Rover BAR (109), Artemis Racing (105) and SoftBank Team Japan (100).OTB020316F

Check out the video link about the ACWS with great racing sequences: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsva5caV4gA.

Back in the day, when the America’s Cup boats were designed and built on City Island and Cup racing was in Newport, Manhasset Bay had the distinction of being the training ground (water) for the America’s Cup boats. Teams would race in Manhasset Bay to test the boat and try out the teams in preparation for the “big event” in Newport. Local sailors from those glory days: the late Edward du Moulin, Sands Point resident and Knickerbocker YC and New York YC member, was the manager of seven America’s Cup campaigns. Victor Romagna, Port Washington YC, has been involved with 12-meter yachts, specifically Cup defender Columbia. Duke Dayton, from Port Washington YC, was involved with 12 meters Mariner and Valiant in 1974, and Courageous in 1977. The late Harman Hawkins, Manhasset Bay YC, was involved with the America’s Cup during this time. (Sources: One Hundred Years of Knickerbocker History, Port Washington Yacht Club Centennial 1905-2005, The America’s Cup and Me: Recollections of 63 years and 7 Campaigns by Edward du Moulin.)OTB020316G

If you want to experience the excitement of the AC45F cats racing, go to the YRALIS website, www.yralis.org. For more information, email office@yralis.org.

 

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Andrea Watson is a Port Washington-based maritime photographer and journalist. She writes Port Washington News' column On The Bay and is currently the Executive Secretary of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRALIS).

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