To nobody’s surprise, Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Cup, aka the challenger trials for the America’s Cup yesterday. They are set to race against Oracle Racing starting September 7 in a best of-of-17 series.
This series was marked by several breakdowns which determined the results of the first three races. It was also marked by repeated cancellations when the wind exceeded the prescribed maximum (around 20 knots depending on tidal current strength). When the boats were actually racing, ETNZ dominated with lopsided wins.
The most exciting moment was the near disaster (pictured) when ETNZ buried its bows and two crew members were swept off. The crew members were pickup up by one of the safety boats and damage to ETNZ was not structural.
Next up is the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup starting September 1. It will be fleet racing held in the relatively rugged AC45s. The crews are all youngsters and all “national” teams.
Much has been said and written about this America’s Cup. 50 mph boats, real danger and a major marketing campaign (complete with concerts) make this very different from every other Cup. The truth of the matter is that its success or failure won’t be known until after the Youth America’s Cup and the America’s Cup proper. Not even the most classy eyed proponent of the new Cup can be too enthusiastic about the event so far.