The 35th America’s Cup Challenger Final

in #steemsports7 years ago

SteemSports Presenter: @sportsdesk

SteemSports Editor: Nolan Jacobson, @theprophet0, STEEM Witness & PeerPlays Witness.

The 35th America’s Cup Challenger final was completed yesterday on the Great Sound of Bermuda. Viewers and spectators were treated to some fantastic match racing on these high speed AC50’s, while a variety of wind conditions challenged both teams during the series. This regatta hasn’t failed to deliver nor surprise and so it continued in the Challenger final. Just when you think you’ve seen everything that this, the highest level of yachting’s match racing, could throw at you something more comes along.
So the Challenger final was between Artemis (Sweden) and Team NZ (New Zealand). There was no rest for Artemis, who after finishing off Team Japan the day before in the Challenger semis, were back out on the Great Sound to race Team NZ in the final. Team NZ had the previous day off racing, having completed their semifinal victory over BAR the day prior. Three days of racing were scheduled for the final, with three races per day as required, in the first to five series.
There were some recurring themes during the final series. Artemis won most of the starts, although Team NZ had improved to be much more competitive by the end. Team NZ, in general, had the faster boat, particularly upwind. Once ahead, Team NZ never lost. Artemis continued to incur penalties, mostly self-inflicted. Boats were sailing faster, remaining on foils for longer with higher fly-times. Conditions on the Great Sound continued to be variable, contrary to the promise that Bermuda was chosen for its weather reliability at this time of year.

Day one of final’s racing started with lighter air conditions at 8-12 knots and were expected to strengthen. Artemis won all three starts of the day, but unfortunately for Artemis it’s what happens at the end of the race that counts. In the first race, a poor tack and then sailing out of bounds halted the Artemis challenge, allowing Team NZ to eventually win comfortably by 47sec. In race two Artemis didn’t repeat their mistakes of the previous race and held the lead from start to finish, winning a close race by 15sec.
Fantastic boatman-ship by both teams maintaining their boats on foils for 100% of the race. Race three was the closest and most dramatic of the day. Running true to form, Artemis held the early lead and hung onto it into the 5th leg. However Team NZ ate into that lead on the 5th leg and it appeared Team NZ were going to make gate 5 ahead. Under pressure during a manoeuvre Artemis lost their skipper, Nathan Outteridge, overboard. Remaining members on Artemis quickly drew straws as to who was going to drive the boat but it was all in vain as Team NZ vapor-trailed to the finish line and Artemis withdrew. By the end of day one it was Team NZ 2-1 up.
Conditions on day two were strong winds of around 14-16 knots, much higher than the forecast 7-9 knots. All three starts of the day were even though Artemis rounded the first gate ahead on all occasions. Artemis appeared to have better estimated the wind conditions and gone for high speed dagger-boards, ideal for the stronger wind conditions, allowing them to power ahead to the first gate. In race one, Team NZ made gains on both upwind legs but not enough to get past and Artemis won by 15sec to even the series 2-2. Ahead again in race two, Artemis made a poor tack on the first upwind leg, allowing Team NZ to pass and power ahead. As the winds softened slightly, Team NZ extended their lead. Rounding the fifth gate behind, Artemis appeared to have hooked onto a Russian satellite for navigation and sailed off toward a Bermudan coastal suburb, going out of bounds and eventually withdrawing.
By the start of race three, Artemis had recalibrated their gps and again rounded the first gate ahead. By the end of the first upwind leg Team NZ had narrowed the lead to almost nothing, and on the following downwind leg they powered ahead to extend their lead to a comfortable 300m by the last gate. However more drama was to quickly unfold as Team NZ almost drove over the last gate having chosen a wrong line. They immediately came off their foils and almost came to a halt, while Artemis seizing their opportunity steamed in from behind. Team NZ’s cyclors (cycling grinders) opened the turbo chargers and through some higher entity managed to make it up on their foils, gathered speed and just held on for a near photo-finish by 1 sec. It was a great finish and yet another incident to be written into America’s cup rich history.
On day three, conditions were light winds and expected to get lighter. Immediately there was more drama as a tight start saw Artemis jump the line by the slightest of margins, receiving a penalty and allowing Team NZ to round the first gate ahead. Team NZ opted for a split at the next gate which immediately paid dividends. However the shifty winds allowed Artemis right back in as they managed to remain on their foils while Team NZ failed to remain on theirs. As the wind dropped further, both boats were off foils and sailing like the old days on their hulls, painfully slow and often sailing away from the mark in an effort to find some speed. Artemis incurred another penalty rounding the third gate for not giving way, and the boats set off downwind at only 3-4 knots. The race course was shortened mid race dramatically to only 4 legs in an effort to finish in the time limit allowed (25min) but it was all in vain as both boats were going nowhere fast and the race was abandoned.
After an agonizing wait, winds finally picked up and when racing got underway were averaging 10-11 knots. Team NZ got the better of the start and went round the first gate ahead. They cleared out over the next two legs with boat speeds significantly quicker than Artemis in these “lightish” conditions had a lead of 500m by the fourth gate. It was theirs to lose and sadly for Artemis fans, the kiwis weren’t to repeat a mistake like the day before. Team NZ’s boat looked super fast and they eventually won by a sizeable margin of 56sec.
So it’s sayonara to Artemis. In keeping with their Viking history, they fought a great fight. Coming into this competition as one of the least favoured, they showed some great boat speed and boat handling to really push Team NZ, and had a few penalty decisions gone their way over the regatta the outcome could well have been different. And let’s not forget, they’re the only boat who have beaten cup holders Oracle on Bermuda’s Great Sound– twice.
But onto the final, one could argue we now have the final series the yachting world have been hoping for since the come-from-massively-behind victory for Oracle off San Francisco in 2013. This time Team NZ will be led by the “young pup” Peter Burling who doesn’t carry the scars from last time. They’ll take on arch-enemy Oracle who are led by fast talking Australian Jimmy Spithill. Oracle will be without their talisman, Ben Ainslie, whose appearance on the Oracle boat in 2013 transformed their fortunes and ultimately led to the kiwis demise. Oracle have been out of sight the last couple of weeks while the challengers have fought out who would take them on for the Auld Mug. What advancements they have made in this time remain to be seen. But what we do know is that Team NZ, who were the last boat to arrive in Bermuda, have successfully navigated a steep learning curve and made great gains in a short period of time, and seem to have a boat that literally flies in the lighter wind conditions.
And to add another twist to the final, all syndicates except Team NZ have signed the AC framework agreement that will keep the America’s cup in Bermuda for the next two editions. Should the kiwis be victorious, it is likely the Americas Cup will return to New Zealand for the next incarnation, and they will use their power as holders to return the regatta to the traditional format under the Deed of Gift.
So it’s all to play for – not just for the current America’s cup but also for future ones. Hold onto your seats folks - it promises to be a fascinating first to seven final series starting this weekend.

Such a badass sport. I would love to learn how it's done!

Amazing updates of a fantastic race...Keep up the good work @steemsports

Always a beautiful race to watch especially if you are supporting a team with passion. Thanks for sharing

Sounds like a very challenging and fun race. I used to work Oracle a few years ago and remember seeing alot of mails on these.

Fantastic. Maybe you could provide some insight how Oracle came back from 1-8 down in 2013.

Thanks for the detailed summary! I think that the new format is great and conducive to finally bringing the America's Cup into the view of the general populace. Never before in the history of the Cup has the defending champion given away so much of their advantage. Let's hope that the growth in popularity gives justification to them for doing so!

I live here in Sevilla, Spain, but my sister lives in Isla Cristina, Huelva. I have always wanted to do this. I was taught a big lesson the first time I wind surfed because i went out fine, getting back became a huge problem.

Cool article.



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