Un­der­way

Cruising World - - Contents - Edited by Jen Brett — Herb Mccormick

This month, the 35th run­ning of the Amer­ica’s Cup will com­mence on the wa­ters of Ber­muda’s Great Sound. From the spindly foil-borne, wing-sailed cata­ma­rans to the com­pact, sta­dium-style race­course to the big-bucks high-end venue, it will be un­like any of the 34 Cups that pre­ceded it.

Five chal­leng­ing teams as­sem­bled in Ber­muda for the right to sail against Larry El­li­son’s de­fend­ing Or­a­cle Team USA in the Cup fi­nals: Artemis Rac­ing from Swe­den, Emi­rates Team New Zealand, Groupama Team France, Land Rover BAR from Great Bri­tain and Soft­bank Team Japan. The ul­ti­mate chal­lenger will be de­cided dur­ing the Louis Vuit­ton Qual­i­fiers from May 26 to June 12. Once that spray has set­tled, the ac­tual Amer­ica’s Cup rac­ing will be con­ducted over a best-of-13 race se­ries be­gin­ning on June 17.

Those who re­call the grand tack­ing du­els aboard stately 12-Me­ters when the event sailed off New­port, Rhode Is­land, will need to re­cal­i­brate their senses for the lat­est edi­tion of Cup rac­ing. Like wa­ter bugs on steroids, the 50-foot Amer­ica’s Cup Class cata­ma­rans will zip around the tight, closed course — races will last only about 20 min­utes — at speeds ap­proach­ing 50 knots, their foils alone pierc­ing the wa­ter while their hulls lit­er­ally fly above it (see “Foiled Again,” page 154). For more de­tails on the boats and the rac­ing sched­ule, visit the event’s web­site (amer­i­c­as­cup.com) and that of our sis­ter rac­ing pub­li­ca­tion Sail­ing World (sail­ing­world.com).

The star of the show may yet be Ber­muda it­self, so cho­sen for its mid-at­lantic al­lure. In ad­di­tion to the Amer­ica’s Cup, the is­land will host a re­gatta of both the J Class be­he­moths from Cups of yore and a sep­a­rate Su­pery­acht event in June. Ber­muda has al­ways been a sailor’s is­land, but gen­er­ally as a des­ti­na­tion. As the cen­ter of at­trac­tion for this Amer­ica’s Cup, Ber­muda is ready for its close-up.

Land Rover BAR R1 lifts off dur­ing a prac­tice run on Ber­muda’s Great Sound. The team, led by Sir Ben Ainslie, hopes to take home the Cup for Great Bri­tain.

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