Aug 7, 2013

AC34: Louis Vuitton Cup Semifinal: Artemis Shockwave


Image Joerg Amann, open in new window for HD. I was looking for a Blue Angels image all past week, found lots but I wanted to publish this incredible shot from Joerg Amann, so I preferred to wait to have his permission. Minutes ago while I was writing this report his mail came in, good timing they call it? Thanks Joerg! Please do not copy-paste and check his full first class work at Airliners.net
Shockwave... That was the effect Artemis caused yesterday at the start of the first semifinal, they just went blasting over Luna Rossa to gain the lead at the first mark. We all for sure expected a somehow relaxed attitude and 'lets see how this things race', but Artemis crew was full focused and wanting for more.

At the first gybe Luna Rossa passed them only on  their smooth handling and went  flying in control to the leeward gate, although Artemis was making floating gybes and trying to guess how to race the recently built and modified AC72, they didn´t lack that much straight line speed giving them room for some hope, 30 seconds behind at the gate and they put use of the only good feature remaining from boat #1 in this current 50/50 fly/float mode, performing upwind.

And they did perform , cutting 10 second at the first upwind mark, they sailed better and sometimes faster than LR , being only some meters behind where cameras could keep close focus, it was game on for Artemis and I just thought, well, job done for these guys, nothing more you can ask them at this moment.

In the second downwind leg Luna Rossa showed their improvement in handling and speed (best so far in the series for them) and were untouchable from then on to the finish line for a 2 minute lead.

Just a pity having so little time on the water for Artemis, achieving smooth gybes will be tough, but as I remarked many times, their crew are this team best assets and they might overcome the lack of training and boat limitations to offer Luna Rossa a run for their money in races to come. Big Blue responded well and it is remarkable what the entire team has done.

What a nice way to honor Bart Simpson, now it is fair to say that whichever the next races bring on terms of performance,  it will be only good valuable experience for the future. In the current context.. Mission Accomplished.

Great racing images by Sander van der Borch. Full gallery at Artemis FB -
Race replay at catsailingnews.com/2013/08/ac34-louis-vuitton-cup-semifinal_6.html
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Official Press Release sent by AmericasCup
"Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge overcame a spirited challenge from Artemis Racing and the threat of the film on its wing sail blowing out to win Semifinal Race 1 of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series.

Skipper Max Sirena and the Luna Rossa crew won the 15.83-nautical-mile race by 2 minutes in winds that averaged 16 knots. But the crew had trouble before the start when the plastic film on the wing, known as Clysar, started peeling off the frames to which it is glued. Bowman Nick Hutton fixed the issue with some tape, but the team was wary of the situation all day.

“Obviously, we’re happy to have the point, but I’m not happy with what happened to the wing because it’s something we should avoid at this level,” said Sirena. “But it’s been a good day for us. I think we took some pressure off of us and for sure tomorrow we’ll sail better than today. Touch wood, we’ll have no problems.”

Today’s race pitted the experience of Luna Rossa versus the comeback story of Artemis Racing. The Swedish team suffered a devastating setback in May when the team’s first yacht capsized and broke apart. Crewman Andrew Simpson of England perished in the accident.

Since then Artemis Racing has been rebuilding its team and its second AC72, dubbed “Big Blue” for its striking navy blue hulls. Today was the team’s ninth day in the new wing sail catamaran, as opposed to the 80th day of practice or racing for Luna Rossa in its chrome-plated speedster.

Showing few signs of nerves, Artemis Racing helmsman Nathan Outteridge won the start of the race and led around the first mark, eliciting a loud round of applause from team supporters around San Francisco Bay.

“We’re really, really pumped in Artemis Racing and super proud,” said skipper Iain Percy. “To think that one week after launching we’d be sailing around the racecourse in 20 knots is beyond my wildest imagination. All the team support boats came over after the race and were cheering and clapping.”

Soon after the mark rounding the Swedish team jibed to port and its lack of practice time showed. The team’s AC72 came off its hydrofoils and slowed dramatically. Luna Rossa passed the Swedes’ transom and jibed to port, staying on its foils.

“As we knew, the difference between the boats is downspeed downwind and in maneuvers,” Percy said. “We suffer from a legacy of our boat not originally being foiling. The rudder positions and size and the size of the rudder elevators makes jibing harder, but we’ll improve our jibes. When we’re up and running and trucking I think we’re fine. It’s literally those transitions, and practice will help.”

Now into the lead, Luna Rossa helmsman Chris Draper put the hammer down. The Italian crew sailed lower and faster towards the next mark than its rival, and opened a 30-second lead at the mark rounding.

Artemis Racing fought back on the next leg, upwind, and reduced its deficit by 9 seconds at the third mark rounding. But Luna Rossa was significantly faster on all three downwind legs.

On the second downwind leg the Italian AC72 was an average of 4 knots faster. Much of that speed advantage seemed to come from the Italians pulling off jibes where they didn’t come off the hydrofoils.

“We’re feeling good as a team. We haven’t come here to mess around,” said Draper. “It’s been hard the past month and today showed we have some skills and have been working hard. I don’t’ think we sailed our best race, but we sailed a nice race and ‘Checco’ (tactician Francesco Bruni) did a nice job up the first beat. We had some issues and can sail a more refined race, and that’s what we’ll do tomorrow.”

Race 2 of the semifinal round is scheduled tomorrow at 1:15 pm PT.

Louis Vuitton Cup Semifinal Standings (best-of-seven series)
Luna Rossa Challenge – 1
Artemis Racing – 0

Race performance data
Course: Seven legs
Course length: 15.83 nautical miles
Elapsed time: LR – 43:20; ART – 45:20
Total distance sailed: LR – 18.78 NM; ART – 18.69 NM
Average speed: LR – 26.04 knots (29.9 mph); ART – 24.75 knots (28.4 mph)
Top speed: LR – 39.19 knots (45 mph); ART – 40.56 knots (46.6 mph)
Wind speed: average 16.1 knots; peak gust 20.4 knots


Upcoming Louis Vuitton Cup schedule (all starts scheduled for 1:15 pm PT)
Wednesday, Aug. 7, Semifinal Race 2
Friday, Aug. 9, Semifinal Race 3
Saturday, Aug. 10, Semifinal Race 4

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