The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series came to the end today in Fukuoka, where the ninth and final round of the AC45 circuit has been held. It was a challenging day on the Hakata Bay with crews switching from drifting in no wind one minute to foiling down the final run of the day.
With bonus points for the America’s Cup Qualifiers at the stakes, demanding weather conditions and tight ranking where the top three teams had a mathematical chance of overall victory, this was, without a doubt, the most thrilling racing day of the entire Series.
Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA, the top three leading teams, fought neck to neck in a racing day where a little puff made the difference between the first and the last position in the fleet.
Emirates Team New Zealand maintainedtheir third place in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, whereas Land Rover BAR won the overall Series.
In the first race despite a bad start and an immediate penalty, after being sandwiched between an aggressive Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA, Emirates Team New Zealand managed to recover and crossed the finish line in second position. The second match was a close fought race between the Kiwis and the Americans with the two teams fighting for an edge over the other. Finally Emirates Team New Zealand got a marginal port starboard penalty at the end of leg two that, in light winds of 5-6 knots, cost the team the 4th position. In the last race the Emirates Team New Zealand was still in the game to get the bonus points and the Kiwis sailed the entire race side by side with their direct rivals but in the end it didn't go their way.
After 40 races and nine events in eight different countries the curtains fall on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series; with the America’s Cup only six months away, the team now start the final sprint to win the oldest trophy in international sport. The challenger selection series will began on May 26th with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers.
In the Qualifiers each competitor will race every other competitor twice, scoring one point per win. The top four challengers advance to the Playoffs (beginning on June 4th) and they will be split in two semifinals. The winners then will race in a final to determine the top challenger that will go up against the Defender in the 35th America’s Cup Match scheduled to start on June 17th.
Helmsman Peter Burling. “It was tough out there, it was down to the wire and we just missed out but overall looking at where we came from at the beginning of the World Series, it is probably a fair result. Patience and perseverance are key in this campaign, a chapter is closed and we are already focusing on what lies ahead.”
Glenn Ashby, Emirates Team New Zealand Skipper said: “A couple of marginal penalties didn't go our way in some close situations and that just made things harder than they need to be. The exciting thing for us now is we have a clear runway to focus entirely on our testing and development program back in New Zealand for the main event next year, in the races that count. We have the sailors, the designers, the shore team to win the America’s Cup and now we just have to push for the final sprint.”
Emirates Team New Zealand will be back out on the Waitemata harbour this week resuming the drive to maximize the performance of their race yacht for Bermuda next year.
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Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Leaderboard
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