America's Cup 34 took its first tentative steps over the last few days when two AC45s tuned up against each other for the first time (at least in the public eye), giving spectators a glimpse of what the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) will be about. (The one-design AC45s, it will be remembered, will be used to contest Cup events before the new, team-designed AC72s come online.) The two wingsail-powered catamarans were sailed by Oracle Racing; one boat is theirs, the other is on charter from Mascalzone Latino, the Challenger of Record.
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on hand to witness the event. According to Gladwell, the two boats seemed closely matched, build-wise, and provided a dramatic view once the hulls started to lift. Be sure to check out his must-read, on-the-scene account in this issue.
Auckland (NZL) - ORACLE Racing - ORACLE Racing AC45 Sea trials - Sail 3 Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com
Now we have images from the launch of the Artemis AC45, vision from the plant where the AC45's are being built and from more key players.
The America's Cup Race Management (ACRM) is planning media trials on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, starting in late April. (You can be sure that the Sail-World team will keep you up to the minute).
The goal of these exercises is to provide a dry run for everything ranging from courses to management procedures, prior to the first ACWS event, which start this July. 'We have developed new rules and now we need to test those rules on the water,' said Iain Murray, ACRM CEO and Regatta Director for the ACWS and AC34. 'We learned a lot of things about the performance of the AC45 during sea trials in New Zealand, but now we need to see them in simulated race mode. We will also test new race course configurations to make the racing more engaging for competitors and fans alike.' Read more inside.
Also Cup related, Emirates Team New Zealand has now officially announced their participation in ACWS events, starting this summer. While the team has not made any firm (read: public) decisions as to their involvement in AC34, they have taken possession of their new AC45, which the team has now sailed. Check out the story inside.
Offshore, in the double-handed, nonstop Barcelona World Race (BWR), Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret, aboard Mirabaud, have retired from racing after being dismasted several days ago. The couple received aide in the form of 40 gallons of diesel, from the Argentina Navy. And at the front of the pack, Virbac-Paprec 3 (Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron) continue to enjoy a healthy lead of some 250 miles over second-placed Mapfre (Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernández) as the boats negotiate the Doldrums. Check out our BWR coverage, in this issue.
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