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24 Aug 2013
Sail-World New Zealand: August 24, 2013 - On Match Point
Emirates Team New Zealand is just two points, and maybe one day's racing away from yet again being the Challenger for the America's Cup.
All going well, this will be New Zealand's third stint as the Challenger since 1987, in the America's Cup - sailing in multi-challenger Cups. The team has twice Defended, and has always made the Louis Vuitton Cup Final.
Whether the races scheduled for Saturday, in San Francisco actually take place as planned is a moot point, with all the forecasts pointing to a blow-out, as the breeze hits an average of 20kts plus.
It still rankles with many Kiwi sailors, regarding the reputation Auckland built in the minds of international visitors of being a venue where the winds were flukey, or much too strong, necessitating the missing of vital TV scheduled broadcasts of the racing.
Of course Valencia was going to solve all that, and responded with six days opeing the Louis Vuitton Cup, when no sailing was possible.
San Francisco seems to have some unique issues of its own - including the fog, however it has generally been very good. It is great that racing can be held so close to shore, and hopefully this will continue in future Cups.
The issue with San Francisco is the wind limit which has been set very low, in fact the lowest of any regatta of our experience. But after one more day of racing this will click up to the more regulation 25kts and the wind-bogey should be all but gone.
In this edition we cover the mid-part of the Final Series, including Am-Cam video shot today from the edge of San Francisco Bay,shot by videographer, John Navas, it shows Emirates Team NZ foiling to windward for a sustained period at a top speed just shy of 30kts.
John has also picked up a stream from Virtual Eye of the foiling to windward sequence, and has cut this in with his video so you can see the speeds as well as the video of the AC72 flying to windward in a race.
The verdict on foiling to windward is that it is not the silver bullet many believed, with the actual gains over Luna Rossa being harder to detect - however it is a great tactical weapon nevertheless.
In other America's Cup news, we feature a story on the withdrawn protest by Oracle Team USA, and spoke to Tom Ehman, one of their rules advisers, as to why the protest was lodged and withdrawn two days later. Like many protests, all is not always what it seems on the surface.
Of course the Big One next week will be the Hearing into Oracle Team USA's conduct over the heavy kingposts. That gets underway on Tuesday.
Emirates Team NZ hits peak speed of 29.2kts foiling upwind in Race 6 of the Louis Vuitton Cup Final ARL Media
In other news, we carry the story of Doyle Sails taking over Beacon Marinein Westhaven, which will see both the Doyle's operation expand, and Vb>Doyles will acquire a Westhaven sail facility which can only be to everyone's benefit. The Westhaven facility is in addition to their Avondale loft and laminating plant, which is a very impressive facility, both in terms of its size and technology.
In this edition we feature another of the video, and image galleries from Maritime Productions. This one focuses on the 1974 America's Cup which was notable for both the size and qualityof the Defender fleet, and the entry into the America's Cup world of several of the personalities that were to shape the sport for the next ten years - certainly until 1983.
On the defender side there was Ted Turner, Dennis Conner, along with several of the old guard. And on the Challenger side there was Alan Bond, Ben Lexcen and the core of the Australian team that would be the first winning Challenger in 1983.
Don't miss the extract from Bob Fisher's excellent book, An Absorbing Interest, featured in this story.
We have several reports from Hamilton Island Race Week. While there are no New Zealand boats competing that we can see, the regatta is notable for having Ernesto Bertarelli competing aboard the Reichel/Pugh 66 Wild Oats X with his Alinghi team. They also took part in the tug-of-war, see story and pictures, in this edition
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