Fresh from record crowds and success in Naples, Italy, the America's Cup World Series heads to Venice, Italy, for the penultimate regatta in the inaugural AC World Series.
Racing takes place from 15-20 May and is part of a festival of sailing over nine days from May 12 to 20. The race course is one of the narrowest and most challenging in competitive sailing.
Having just won their first regatta in front of home country fans, first-time competitor Luna Rossa Challenge
anticipates tough competition in Venice. "Naples showed us that any of the teams can win on any given day,"
said Luna Rossa'
s skipper Max Sirena. "The racing is so close that you can't afford to be off the pace for even one race or you will fall down the leader-board. Venice will be exceptionally tight putting a premium on boat-handling."
Although Luna Rossa Challenge
won the fleet racing competition, and Artemis Racing
prevailed in the match racing in Naples, ORACLE Racing Spithill
is now the AC World Series overall point leader overtaking Emirates Team New Zealand
by just one point.
Venice will produce the narrowest race course yet at any AC World Series venue, and the backdrop to the racing will be the entrance to the Grand Canal, the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Square.
"The magnificent waterways of Venice and its stunning Grand Canal will provide an exceptional arena for the AC45s,"
said Regatta Director Iain Murray. "The mix of courses and the tricky winds will provide more challenging racing than ever."
Event preparations are well underway in what will be a spectacular venue. "Venice has a great maritime heritage and we look forward to welcoming the world's best sailors to our waters,"
said Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni.
The racing area includes spectator access along numerous points on the waterfront, including the team bases in the Venetian Arsenal. Dating back to the 1100s, Arsenale di Venezia was originally a shipyard and naval depot, providing a uniquely historic home base for the world's top sailors throughout the event.
The innovative regatta format includes a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing, and all-out fleet racing with identical AC45s on the line. The forerunner to the next generation of America's Cup boats, the AC45 wing-sailed catamaran is the official boat of the AC World Series. While capable of closing speeds more than 35 mph, the AC45 remains nimble enough to handle the tight, tactical race course.
Racing Program and Schedule
The ACWS Venice Race Village opens to the public on Saturday May 12. The City of Venice will host an invitational event "the City of Venice Regatta" over the opening weekend. America's Cup teams are invited to compete, but the results will not count toward the ACWS Venice scoring.
America's Cup World Series racing begins on Tuesday, May 15, and runs through Sunday, May 20.
Racing will be held from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. alternatively on two courses: one in the open sea, in front of San Nicolo del Lido (the Lido Race Course), and one in the lagoon (the San Marco Race Course), between the island of Lido, the basin San Marco and Punta della Dogana.
The event will feature nine boats from seven countries, including: Artemis Racing (
Sweden), skipper Terry Hutchinson; China Team
(China), skipper Fred Le Peutrec; Emirates Team New Zealand
(New Zealand), skipper Dean Barker; Energy Team
(France), helmsman Loïck Peyron; Luna Rossa Challenge
(Italy), with two boats, helmsmen Chris Draper and Paul Campbell-James; ORACLE Racing
(USA) with two boats, skippers James Spithill and Darren Bundock; and Team Korea
(Korea) with skipper Nathan Outteridge.