If you’re a fan of competitive sailing, then you probably already know the story of the last America’s Cup. Oracle Team USA’s epic comeback from a 1-8 deficit to beat Emirate’s Team New Zealand was perhaps not only the best comeback in the history of sailing, but in the history of sports as well.
The America’s Cup will return in 2017 with racing on somewhat smaller versions of the massive AC72 catamarans, which were featured on San Francisco Bay in 2013. The AC50 is the boat of choice for the 2017 Cup, a decision which eases the financial burden for teams who had had difficulty raising funds and finding the sponsors necessary to get AC72 built – not the mention the $3 million entry fee to the regatta.
This next America’s Cup features the "defenders" – Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA – as well as "challengers," teams from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan and France. Perhaps the most intriguing of the challengers is the UK boat skippered by Ben Ainslie, the great Olympic Finn and Laser class champion and tactician from the 2013 Oracle USA team who was credited for instrumenting the USA comeback against the New Zealand team.
The 2017 World Series is a series of regattas taking place at each of the defenders' home countries. So far events have been held in England, Sweden, Oman and Bermuda, which is the site for the 2017 Finals. The standings are tight, with Team New Zealand leading the way, followed closely by Oracle Team USA and also Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team — the teams are only separated by 8 points.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the America's Cup races for USA fans takes place this summer, when the racing comes to New York City and Chicago.
Those who watched the NYC racing on May 7 & 8 (hosted in part by Dockwa partner marina Liberty Landing) from the lower Hudson or Jersey got to witness the America's Cup first bout in the Big Apple in nearly a century. The docks were full of spectators, the boats looked badass, and the wind even cooperated on the second day... kind of. Fans watching at home had perhaps a better view of the short courses and giant windshifts and lulls caused by the cityscape. There was something to be desired of the live coverage, which went to commercial just as the race was coming to a dramatic finish as New Zealand, after getting snagging the pin at the start, came back to win it. The internet was displeased.
Let's hope the race committee and broadcasters took the NYC feedback to heart as all eyes turn toward Chicago. Slated for June 10-12, 2016, the race course will be set on Lake Michigan just off Navy Pier. Chicago's Navy Pier sticks out into the lake, which should provide a great viewing location. We've recently partnered with Chicago Harbors, so boaters wanting the best vantage point can reserve same-day dockage at Navy Pier through Dockwa.
If you’d like to watch the racing from your boat on the water (which is, of course, the preferred method!) you’re encouraged by the race committee to register your boat with the event before the weekend.
The AC World Series should be an amazing time leading up to the big event down in Bermuda in 2017. See you out there!