The Maritime Report: For Thursday June 13, 2013

The Maritime Report: For Thursday June 13, 2013

Dave Bloch

AMERICA'S CUP CHANGES AGAIN

I was down in Mexico for two weeks, and the America's Cup folks released a brand new calendar while I was gone, which is available on their website. (Click the SAN FRANCISCO 2013 button, and then click SCHEDULE to download the PDF.) Of course, the day I got back, that still-posted schedule was obsolete. As of Wednesday afternoon when I am writing this, that incorrect version is still there.

The problem is that the calendar still shows 15 round robin races happening in July. That schedule assumes there are three teams racing each other in "RR" fashion, five time each: Artemis vs. New Zealand, NZ vs. Italy, Italy vs. Artemis. Unfortunately, Artemis has announced they will not be ready to race in that RR series, and America's Cup Race Management is going to permit them to start competing with the Louis Vuitton semifinals that start on August 6. Although New Zealand's CEO Grant Dalton gave a scathing interview to a New Zealand paper last weekend, that decision to let Artemis skip the July races appears to have stuck. For the moment, anyway.

SO here is what we think we know right now:

1) July will start with the opening ceremonies on July 4, followed on July 5 by the exhibition fleet race between Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Italy and Oracle Team USA. This is the ONLY time you will see a fleet race (that is, more than two boats) all summer. Although it does not count in the regatta, it should still be fun to watch.

2) After that, there will be FIVE races between Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand. I don't know yet if they'll use the same dates that they had before (when Artemis was still racing); if so they will be July 7, 13, 21, 23 and 28. Each race starts at 12:15 p.m.; that is an hour earlier than originally planned and reflects the increased safety concerns since the Artemis tragedy (Bay winds are generally lighter earlier in the afternoon).

3) Then what? The WINNER of the round robin series will advance to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals. The LOSER will go up against Artemis in a best-of-seven semifinal series starting August 6. I've heard something about Artemis starting with some sort of points-off penalty for having missed the July racing, but there's been no confirmation of that as yet. (They will be coming in with the severe disadvantage of having not yet done an actual race.)

4) The WINNER of the semifinals will go into the Louis Vuitton Cup finals against the team that won the round robin series. The finals are a best-of-13 series beginning on Saturday August 17, with two races scheduled per day. (Keep in mind that the new safety rules could cause cancellation of a race if the winds get too high; there are “reserve days” for making those up.)

5) There is a break after the LVC finals, as the Red Bull Youth America's Cup regatta takes place September 1-4. These should be hugely fun, with young sailors piloting the AC45 catamarans we saw last year. This will be fleet racing with up to a dozen boats at once. The teams have truly national crews; the Swedish team will be all from Sweden, etc. Will the Bay Bridge be open or closed that weekend? Forget it and plan to take the ferry or watch from a boat.

6) Finally on September 7, the America's Cup itself begins! Two races are scheduled per day in this best-of-17 contest. If they need all 17 races, it will all be over on September 21.

Whew! Ready for the "Summer of Racing"? Or are we just getting ready for the next change? Right now I won't put money either way, but I WILL be looking forward to watching some of these races, either out on the water, on the shore, or at home or a yacht club on TV. Should be lots of fun no matter how they do it.

SUMMER SAILSTICE

Come by Encinal Yacht Club on Saturday, June 22 for some great fun on and by the water! Summer Sailstice is an international event started right here in the Bay, and it is all about getting people out in sailboats. Events start at 10:30 a.m. and include exhibits, music, food, sailboat rides, races (including one that circumnavigates Alameda in little Laser sailboats) and the always-fun boat building contest! Sailstice is free to everyone, and really is a blast. To get there, take Atlantic Avenue to Triumph and turn toward the Estuary, then watch for volunteers to show you where to park (for free). You can get information at http://www.summersailstice.com/sf.

SVEND SVENDSEN PASSES

A sad note here. Svend Svendsen, founder of Svendsen's Boat Works, passed away peacefully at his home on May 27, 2013. Svend was very well-known and loved throughout the Bay Area sailing community. Svend's memorial and celebration of life will be held at the Encinal Yacht Club on Saturday, June 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. All are welcome.