The Maritime Report for May 9, 2013

The Maritime Report for May 9, 2013

Dave Bloch

Lots of news coming out of the America's Cup world this week!

New "Start Sailing" Website

The objective of writing this blog, right from the beginning last June, was to use all of the excitement and attention to sailing flying around the America's Cup events to try and get more of our Island residents out on the water. I am very happy to report that the AC folks have started a partnership project with U.S. Sailing, probably the most important sailing organization in the world.

ACEA and USS just launched a new website at http://www.startsailing.org. They've done a great job including basic instruction for beginners (like a "parts of the boat" video). They cover windsurfing and kiteboarding as well. And the home page has a big button on it that says "FIND A PLACE TO SAIL." You click that, then click the state (or enter your zip code) and get a list of clubs, schools, organizations and other resources available in the area. (Click the map of California; that list goes on and on!) The site is brand new so I'm sure more will be added. Should be a great service.

New "Summer of Racing" Calendar

Click this link: http://cdn.sparkart.net/americascup/content/documents/AC_Schedule_JUL4-S... to download the newest version of the America's Cup racing calendar. Although basically unchanged, there are lots of new details in it:

1) JULY 5 still has the "Fleet Racing for Challengers and Defender" listed, happening at 13:15. (You do know how to read military time, yes? That's 1:15 in the afternoon; just subtract 12.) This is the ONLY time the entire summer that you'll see the four teams race their AC72 catamarans against each other, and it should be a great sight! (The last I had heard, this race was being cancelled just because of the risk involved to the boats, but here it is in the calendar released last week, so I'm hopeful.) If you can pick one day in July to go out and watch, make it this one.

2) As you look through the calendar, you'll see times marked "Def Access." These are periods that Oracle Team USA, the Defender, can get out on the protected course for practice. Some of these are also marked "No CG Patrol" - welcome to the direct budget impacts of the sequester imposed by Congress. There are some "Chal Access" periods as well, so they can also do some practicing in the protected area.

3) You'll see a total of 21 days of "round robin" racing: one race a day. Each race gives the winner one point. As I understand it, the team with the most points gets to advance past the Louis Vuitton semifinals, leaving two boats to race that best-of-seven series against each other in early August. The winner of that match-up goes up against the winner of the round robin in the Louis Vuitton Cup finals. The finals start August 17 with two races a day in a best-of-13 series. There are several reserve days and practice days scheduled in there as well. The Louis Vuitton Cup finals will end on or before August 30 (depending on the number of races required for one team to win seven of them).

4) The Red Bull Youth America's Cup will be held over Labor Day weekend, September 1-4. This should be a blast, as they are all fleet races, lots of teams (actually coming from the countries they're sailing for), and some young-and-crazy exuberance. There is also practice time every afternoon from 14:00 to 16:00 for the America's Cup Challenger and Defender.

5) Finally! The America's Cup finals, with two races a day starting September 7 and going as late as September 21 in a best-of-17 series (first boat to win nine races). Scattered in there are three days of the "Superyacht Regatta," which nobody seems to be able to explain, but I think it's a parade of really, really big boats. There are four reserve days in there as well.

OK, now you're all caught up. Remember you can watch these races from shore for free or in paid seating; you can go out on a boat if you own one or have a friend with one; you can book space on any of several local tour companies' boats; or you can watch the whole thing on TV. The AC folks have said that every single race will be streamed on YouTube; we're still waiting to hear which ones are being covered by Comcast SportsNet and NBC-TV. You'll hear it here first.

Exciting stuff! Whether you can figure out the scoring or not, watch some of these; I think they'll hook you.