Emirates Team NZ - First Race of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup + Video

Emirates Team New Zealand sails solo around the course after Luna Rossa decide to boycott the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup 2013. 7/7/2013

Emirates Team New Zealand went out on the San Francisco race course today - it was not so much a race but an exhibition and a taste of things to come.

It was the first race of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup challengers’ series for the 34th America’s Cup. As expected, today’s opponent Luna Rossa did not turn up at the start line.

Regatta director Iain Murray told media he had offered the team the option of sailing a short course but they opted to complete the original longer course. For skipper Dean Barker and the sailing crew it was a real race, following usual race day routines right up to the start.

Then it was full on as the AC72 scythed across San Francisco Bay. The aim was to sail around the full course as hard as possible.

With 14-15 knots of wind at the start, rising to 17 knots, speeds down-wind were in the mid-30s. On the final reach the AC72 topped 40 knots.

Skipper Dean Barker: 'It was Important for us to treat this day as we would any race day. It would have been great to have Luna Rossa out there with us but we respect their decision.'

Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand are protesting the regatta director’s decision to change the AC72 class rules. The international jury will hear the protests tomorrow (Monday San Francisco time).