America’s Cup Action is Underway in Bermuda

 Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers Race Day 1

ACEA 2017/Ricardo Pinto

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers Race Day 1

As in the past, when there is amazing culture and obscene wealth to be discussed in the sailing and yachting world, it’s a topic best left to those who, like Bill Springer, are already writing the story. Such is the case again with Billy Swizzle, contributor to Forbes and expert on all things “yachting” and “fabulous.” If there is an intersection of the two – be certain Swizzle has his finger on it.  And for certain, all fabulous eyes are on Bermuda this month as the  America’s Cup rolls out the red carpet for the teams, the spectators and for those of us watching (if you are able) from our armchairs at home.

First though, we offer a few items of mention for your Cup enlightenment, and a link to the very comprehensive AC page on Sailingworld.com. Follow along on their webpage for great synopsis and info on the Cup racing as it unfolds.

First, is the Louis Vuitton Cup where 5 challenging teams compete against each other to race the challenger of record, Oracle Team USA in the actual America’s Cup Final races. Of the 5 challengers, all teams are well prepared and loaded with top talent. Boat designs are pretty similar and all boats are flying hulls with fancy appendages that help them to foil. But of note is the difference aboard Team New Zealand who has their grinders using some different muscles than the other teams. Keep your eyes on Emirates Team New Zealand’s efficient, totally different grinding and trimming technique using bicycles instead of wildly spinning arms. So far, the Kiwis seems to have an advantage and with Race Day 5 about to begin, the kiwis have notched up 5 wins and 1 loss putting them in second place behind Oracle Team USA.

One other tidbit worthy of mention – is that for the first time ever, the challenger has been included in the LV Cup racing. Oracle might be in the top spot at this moment, but their place is already guaranteed in the finals. All the teams agreed to this change of rules, with the concept being they are the home team and the benefit is to all teams to be able to race against them early on in order to have a benchmark. One downside is they could manipulate the outcome by throwing races. But they don’t appear to be doing that….yet.

Keep up with the results, news and drama (and there is drama!) on the AC website.

From FORBES, by Bill Springer: It’s been four years since the America’s Cup briefly captured the attention of the nation when Larry Ellison’s ORACLE TEAM USA completed one of the greatest comebacks in sports. Back then, the impossibly fast 72-foot-long hydrofoiling catamarans they raced on windy San Francisco Bay propelled the sport of sailing into a whole new stratosphere of speed.

27/05/2017 - Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers Race Day 1

ACEA 2017/Ricardo Pinto

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers Race Day 1

The drama of ORACLE TEAM USA being just one race away from losing the Cup and then winning eight races in a row to win it showed that the competition could produce worldwide interest in addition to adrenaline. People said the new America’s Cup was like Formula 1 racing on the water.

Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers

ACEA 2017/Ricardo Pinto

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers

But then, things really got even more interesting when the announcement was made that the next America’s Cup would be held in…Bermuda…on a whole new class of foiling cats.

 35th America's Cup Bermuda

ACEA 2017/Ricardo Pinto

35th America’s Cup Bermuda

Well, after years of lead-up, and preliminary events held all around the world (including NYC and Chicago last summer), and a flurry of activity on the tiny British territory off the coast of North Carolina, the six teams competing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers started with a bang on Bermuda’s Great Sound.

 Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers, Day 1 - Opening Ceremony

ACEA 2017/Ricardo Pinto

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, Opening Ceremony

Defending champs ORACLE TEAM USA have been training in Bermuda the longest and started off ]the first races] solid with two wins. Meanwhile, Dean Barker, the Kiwi helmsman of SoftBank Team Japan, and America’s Cup veteran who lost to Jimmy Spithill and ORACLE TEAM USA as the skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand in heartbreaking fashion in 2013 appears to be right in the hunt for redemption. Especially as his team faced Sir Ben Ainslie’s Team Land Rover BAR on the first day of racing. In fact, a major collision occurred between the two boats before the start of the race resulting in a penalty being given to the British team. That penalty effectively put paid to the Brits’ chances of a win, proving to be a deficit Land Rover BAR were unable to overturn.

Academy Award winner (and Bermuda local) Michael Douglas (in sunglasses and "Ant Man" goatee!) watches the Day one racing.

ACEA 2017/Ricardo Pinto

Academy Award winner (and Bermuda local) Michael Douglas (in sunglasses and “Ant Man” goatee!) watches the Day one racing.

But the high-octane Cup competition that’s scheduled to run through the end of June is just part of what will make Bermuda one of this summer’s most exclusive destinations.

America's Cup Superyacht Regatta

ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta

Many of the worlds largest and most spectacular superyachts are not only in Bermuda to watch the racing. They’ll also be racing in the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta 2017 that takes place just before the final America’s Cup take place.

But I think the most beautiful America’s Cup yachts of all may steal the show when the J Class regatta takes place in June.

J class yacht

ACEA 2017

J class yacht

“The J Class era of the America’s Cup is widely recognized as being among the high points in Cup history,” says five-time America’s Cup winner and CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority Russell Coutts,.

Eight J Class yachts are expected in Bermuda – including Shamrock V – with seven anticipated to compete in the J Class regatta. This will be the first time in history that seven J Class yachts have raced against each other.

“The Js still epitomize grace and power with cutting-edge design and engineering,” adds Coutts. “Having the J Class join us in Bermuda will create a spectacular blend between the old and new, showcasing the best of America’s Cup challengers and defenders from almost 90 years apart.” (TBS editor’s note: WE AGREE, Bill!)

When he’s not sailing or pushing a baby stroller all over New England, Bill Springer covers superyachts, offshore adventure, and luxury travel. Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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