The second America's Cup World Series San Francisco begins today with qualifying racing for the match racing championship and a string of London 2012 Olympic medallists will be switching their dinghies for AC45's.
Peter Burling (Team Korea), Iker Martinez (Luna Rossa Swordfish), Nathan Outteridge (Artemis Racing - Red) and Ben Ainslie (J.P. Morgan BAR) will all take to the helm in San Francisco aiming to bring their success from Olympic class sailing to the America's Cup World Series.
Outteridge guided his 49er to Olympic gold alongside Iain Jensen at the start of August before taking Team Korea to third at the last ACWS event in San Francisco. He has since joined Artemis Racing as the Challenger of Record looks to add some strength for the build up to next summer's Louis Vuitton Cup. He'll be racing this week with a veteran crew that includes team CEO Paul Cayard as his tactician.
"It's been great sailing with Paul,"
said Outteridge. "It's been interesting teaching him how to sail the boat. He's a bit of a legend in the sport and I'm one of the youngest guys in the team, but he's been taking orders from me all week long. His knowledge of the Bay is a huge asset to our team. Once he's worked out his roles on the boat mechanically he's getting more time to get his head out of the boat and help me tactically around the racecourse."
Burling finished behind Outteridge and Jensen at London 2012 with crew Blair Tuke and the 21-year-old, two time Olympian moves into the ACWS and will be one of the youngest sailors out on the water. "It's kind of cool being this young to get an opportunity like this,"
said Burling. "I think I will be the youngest helmsman out there by quite a wee way.
"There are a lot of great guys we are racing against. I think we have enough time between now and the event to be close to pace."
Like Outteridge and Burling, Martinez is the latest 49er champion to join the AC World Series fleet. Martinez and long-time crewman Xabi Fernandez (who also joined Luna Rossa) are double Olympic medalists in the 49er, three-time world champions and recently completed several gruelling round the world voyages.
Martinez says he's never sailed a multihull before, much less raced one, but is excited for the opportunity.
"I'm feeling great and am very excited to join Luna Rossa,"
said Martinez. "I think many things are transferable from 49er to the AC45. It's a fast boat and especially the format of the races is similar…with a lot of boats rounding the marks together. The format of the racing is very similar, maybe not so much the boat, but the format of the racing."
Due to the AC World Series regatta coinciding with San Francisco's annual Fleet Week, racing this week will start later than at previous events.
"We have a challenging program this week,"
said regatta director Iain Murray. "We're working with Fleet Week, so most of our racing will be later in the day. On Super Sunday we'll be participating in the air show with Fleet Week. The air show will start and then stop, we'll sail our Super Sunday fleet race (scheduled to start at 1:55 pm PDT), and then the air show will resume.
Racing on Thursday through Sunday will be broadcast on the America's Cup YouTube channel
The AC Race Village will be located at Little Marina Green, and fans will again be able to watch the racing from shoreside bleachers. Visit the ACWS San Francisco event page
for more information about the venue.
The racing schedule:
Wednesday 3 October
16:00-18:00 PDT Match Racing Qualifying
Thursday 4 October
12:25-12:55 Match Racing Quarterfinals
17:00-18:15 Fleet Races 1 & 2
Friday 5 October
16:00-16:35 Match Racing Quarterfinals
16:50-18:00 Fleet Races 3 & 4
Saturday 6 October
16:00-16:35 Match Racing Semifinals
16:50-17:55 Fleet Races 5 & 6
18:10-18:25 Match Racing Championship
Sunday 7 October
13:55-2:25 pm PDT Fleet Race Championship