Sunday, 10 July 2011
Inaugural AC World Series Event to Deliver Intense Action at the Water’s Edge: Fleet Racing, Speed Trials and Match Racing
Cascais race course area. Image copyright ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com
by Stephanie Martin
The world’s best sailors arrive in Portugal next week to prepare for the inaugural America’s Cup World Series competition in Cascais, the opening event on the path to the next America’s Cup in 2013. Teams are coming for final training on local waters in advance of the start of the series on August 6.
Cascais marks the first stop of the 2011-2012 America’s Cup World Series, which includes events in Plymouth, England and San Diego, USA before the end of the year, with more events planned for 2012.
The Cascais event signals many firsts in the America’s Cup, including a new format and race course designed to showcase both the exceptional speed and maneuverability of the AC45 catamarans and the skills of the international athletes. The highlight will be a spectacular, winner-takes-all fleet race on Sunday August 14, where the teams will be vying for not just the Cascais title, but also to put first points on the board for the 2011-12 AC World Series.
Tight, short race courses are designed to deliver close racing for the fans on shore as well as the online and TV audiences. The innovative regatta format includes a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing, and all-out fleet racing with 10 identical AC45s on the line.
“Seeing 10 AC45s jockey for position on the starting line is an image that will set any sports fan’s heart pounding,” said Iain Murray, CEO and Regatta Director, America’s Cup Race Management. “And the one-on-one match races promise to be even more intense, at just 20 minutes per pressure-filled contest. Every decision – and every mistake - could be a game changer.”
In Cascais, a stunning seaside town offering strong afternoon breeze, racing will take place within meters of shore side spectators on the River Tagus waterfront. Bringing America’s Cup level competition within shouting distance of fans will be one of the highlights of this new America’s Cup cycle.
The Cascais AC World Series will consist of four events over nine days: the Cascais America’s Cup Open, the America’s Cup 500 Speed Trial, the America’s Cup Match Racing Championship and the America’s Cup World Series Cascais Championship – a winner-takes-all race, which is the showcase competition of the Cascais event.
Cascais AC Open – Held over the opening weekend, this fleet racing event will reveal what the teams are made of both in terms of tactical decision-making and pure speed. The opening weekend will feature up to four fleet races with 10 boats battling for supremacy.
AC 500 Speed Trial – On the opening Saturday, the teams will vie for the title of fastest boat through timed speed trials over a 500-metre course, pushing their wing-sailed AC45 catamarans to the limit.
Cascais AC Match Race Championships – The third stage of the competition pits the teams in one-on-one clashes to earn a place in a final showdown on Saturday. Each day will consist of three, 20-minute fleet races to determine the top six teams, who then face off through three match races. Every day of racing produces a ranking of the full fleet. The results over the three days will determine the seeding order for the Match Race Championships.
On the final Saturday, The Match Race Championship will find the six best teams (as determined over the previous three days) battling through a Quarter Final, Semi-Final and Final to determine the Cascais AC Match Race winner.
AC World Series Championship Cascais – This title is at stake on the final Sunday in a winner-takes-all fleet race, where all teams will have a shot at glory.
“This is a tremendous moment in America’s Cup history, where cutting-edge innovation will be harnessed into some spectacular sailing,” said Richard Worth, Chairman, America’s Cup Event Authority. “Identical boats that can go faster than the wind mean a strenuous, physical event where the best of the best will shine through. We look forward to celebrating this inaugural AC World Series in Cascais.”
At the end of the overall 2011-2012 AC World Series events, a series champion will be crowned based on their cumulative scores from each event.