America's Cup: AC72's alone - Brilliant concept, awful implementation!

Emirates Tream NZ sails on the opening day of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup

Pierre Orphanidis of European website www.vsail.info is in San Francisco for the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Here is his take on the opening day:

Brilliant concept, awful implementation! This is how, in my opinion, one could summarize the 34th America’s Cup after watching the one-horse race that Emirates Team New Zealand sailed on Sunday afternoon in the San Francisco bay.

It was my very first time in San Francisco and, obviously, the very first time I watched any sailing here, let alone an AC72 crisscrossing the full America’s Cup course. The 'race' lasted less than one hour but that was more than enough to come to the conclusion that this is, undoubtedly, a fantastic sailing venue. The breeze was on, blowing from 14 to 16 knots, the backdrop is spectacular and there were dozens, if not hundreds, of yachts all around the bay, watching the kiwi AC72 flying on the water.

The truth is that you don’t really need a boat to watch it. The 'natural amphitheater' America’s Cup organizers have been trumpeting for so long is indeed true and not just PR hype. One can have a good view of the race from practically any location on the seafront, from the America’s Cup Park in the east to the Golden Gate Yacht Club in the west or a total of approximately 5 km. Judging from Team New Zealand’s sailing, there is a number of positions that provide an ideal watching spots, all of them free, with the exception of the Marina Green park where they installed ticketed grandstands.

There is also absolutely no doubt at all that the AC72?s are spectacular. I have been always critical of the boat but watching today Emirates Team New Zealand reaching nearly 43 knots (that’s 80 km/h) and doing at least four perfect foiling gybes (at least the ones I counted) made me change my mind to an extent. Of course, this wasn’t much of a race but rather a very serious training session. As a result, the kiwis were under less stress and there couldn’t be any close calls at the leeward gates.

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