It’s said to be like watching formula one racing, but on water.
The America’s Cup 2017 is packed with new technology, new camera angles and catamarans racing at 50mph, the event is truly an exhilarating experience, even for those watching from the comfort of their sofa.
Let’s take a look at what you can look out for in this year’s races:
A Quick Crash Course: Understanding the America’s Cup 2017
For those who’ve never heard of the America’s Cup before, it’s basically a sailing competition, on steroids.
How it works: Five teams challenge a defender: the winner of the last trophy.
The teams compete in preliminary races over two years (2015 and 2016), accumulating points to take to the America’s Cup 2017.
They then race in qualifiers with the top four teams moving on to the Challenger Playoffs before the winner goes on to race the defender.
This year, team Artemis Racing from Sweden, Emirates Team New Zealand, Groupama Team France, Land Rover BAR from the UK and SoftBank Team Japan will be challenging the last America’s Cup winners Oracle Team USA.
The America’s Cup 2017 is as much about design and engineering as it is about the sailing.
Engineers and designers work within set rules to create the fastest yacht possible. Sailing technology has changed drastically in the last decade and speeds have increased from 18 knots to just below 50 knots for the America’s Cup 2017.
This is thanks to aerodynamic wing sails and foils similar to those used on airplanes that help increase speed and lift the boats out of the water when needed.
Fewer Sailors, More Athletes
The new technology requires a massive effort from America’s Cup 2017 sailors, with far fewer hands on deck.
Land Rover BAR’s told CNN that this year’s boats will have six men aboard, compared to the 11 in previous races.
Moreover, these sailors must be as light as 87.5 kg, adhering to the America’s Cup 2017 limit of 525 kg total crew weight, and still manually operate 110kg grinders or winches to power the boat.
With high physical expectations competing sailors maintain strict training regimes, with added exercises to improve mobility, working closely with nutritionists.
Oracle Team USA has even employed the help of US Navy SEALs to help them think strategically during fast-paced, exhausting situations.
The America’s Cup 2017 Teams
Six teams from across the globe will be competing in the America’s Cup 2017.
Oracle Team USA: the defenders
After winning the last two editions of the America’s Cup (in 2010 and 2013), Oracle Team USA will be defending their trophy with Jimmy Spithill once again at the helm.
He’s joined by fellow helmsman and team manager Tom Slingsby, an Olympic Gold Medalist who’s been pushing his team to practice upwind foiling, a strategy that helped them win the last America’s Cup.
The team has had mixed fortunes during practice sessions. Their strong first-day practice races against Land Rover BAR were quickly followed by a loss against SoftBank Team Japan.
Still, after their comeback win against New Zealand in 2013, they’re a favorite to win, for the third time in a row.
Swedish team Artemis Racing have accumulated a string of sailing victories since the team’s inception in 2006.
The team’s sailors come with the experience of 12 America’s Cup campaigns and 11 Olympic medals, including seven gold, over 21 Olympic Games.
Team manager Iain Percy has been focusing on tactics, starting and decision making.
Artemis Racing missed the first day of practices due to completing upgrades but beat Groupama Team France in the fourth race of day two.
Emirates Team New Zealand
After narrowly missing out on winning the last edition, this team is taking an innovative approach to the America’s Cup 2017.
Instead of using their arms to power their grinders, they’ll be using pedal power, much like cycling.
Helmsman Peter Burling may be an America’s Cup rookie, but the Olympic medalist is confident the team’s innovation will make up for lack of experience.
That said, the team suffered a broken rudder on day one of the practices, followed by a collision with Land Rover BAR on day two, preventing them from taking part in the third practice.
Groupama Team France
Groupama Team France have already won the Volvo Ocean Race (2012) and Tour de France à la Voile (2013) under helmsman Franck Cammas.
New to the America’s Cup, Groupama Team France’s entry marks the first time a French team will be competing in the multihull era, the kind of sailing the country excels in.
It’s disappointing then that they lost their first-day training race against SoftBank Team Japan after suffering a big nosedive at the beginning of the race.
Day two was no better with the team being beaten by Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR and Artemis Racing, before losing again to SoftBank Team Japan on day three of training.
Land Rover BAR
This UK-based team was founded and is led by Sir Ben Ainslie- the BAR stands for Ben Ainslie Racing.
Ainslie is a four-time Olympic Gold Medalist and was also part of the winning Oracle Team USA for the 35th America’s Cup. This year he hope’s to bring the cup back to Britain, where the race first began.
Ainslie is off to a rough start having lost to Team Oracle USA and SoftBank Team Japan on the first day of training.
Day two saw the team crash into Emirates Team New Zealand’s boat after the team beat them in a previous training race. While they also lost to SoftBank Team Japan and beat Groupama Team France earlier in the day, the incident caused damage to their bow.
SoftBank Team Japan
SoftBank Team Japan will be the first Japanese team to challenge the America’s Cup since 2000.
The team is headed by skipper Dean Barker, who was part of New Zealand’s runner-up team in the 34th America’s Cup, alongside veteran Japanese sailor Kazuhiko “Fuku” Sofuku, who’ll be competing in the race for the fourth time.
It’s worth mentioning that Barker has won the America’s Cup, in 2000 and has raced in the finals in three more years: 2003, 2007 and 2013.
That’s probably why the team is doing so well in practice races. Day one saw them defeat Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France, although they did lose to Team Oracle USA.
They then beat Team Oracle USA and Land Rover BAR on day two and Groupama Team France in the only race of day three.
Take A Bet On America’s Cup 2017
Why not join in on the excitement?
Betting on the America’s Cup 2017 can make for a pretty exciting experience, as long as you do so responsibly.