Newport hosted the 34th America’s Cup World Series which concluded on Sunday July 1 in front of nearly 8000 spectators at Fort Adams. ORACLE TEAM USA was prominent in all areas of the leaderboard. Jimmy Spithill’s team earned the overall 2011-12 AC World Series Championship with a strong second place finishes in both the match racing and fleet racing in Newport. Spithill also claimed the overall season Fleet Racing Championship while Sweden’s Artemis Racing won the inaugural season’s Match Racing Championship.
Oracle’s other team Russell Coutts won the Newport Match Racing Championship over Spithill and almost took out the fleet race as well, but was beat by Chris Draper’s Prada Luna Rossa Piranha team, who grab the Newport Fleet Racing Championship. Coutts held on for second place. For skipper Chris Draper, the fleet racing win was a nice turn around after a difficult week in Newport. Luna Rossa Piranha also won the World Series round 4 in Naples. Terry Hutchinson’s Team Sweden Artemis Racing placed fourth in the Newport Match Racing Championship, which earned his team enough points to win the Match Racing title for the season.
The Newport event marks the end of the first season of AC World Series racing and follows previous events in Cascais (POR), Plymouth (UK), San Diego (USA), Naples and Venice (ITA). Regatta Director Iain Murray and his team have conducted 133 races over 30 days of racing in the six international venues. Over the time, only one day of races has been postponed due to bad storm in Naples on April 14.
Sunday’s final racing was broadcast live, coast to coast, in the USA on NBC, marking the return of the Cup to network television for the first time in more than 20 years. The final day of racing in the opening two events of the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco in August 21-26 and October 4-7 will likewise be shown on NBC.
Racing will start anew next month with the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco. The new Ben Ainslie Racing will join the circuit as it comes to the host city of the 34th America’s Cup.
The Newport races were under beautiful clear sunny weather all week but it was not all smooth sailing, On Day One the Emirates Team New Zealand encountered a technical problem and capsized, it was down in the water for the rest of the race with difficulty to be lift up. On Day Three, the Oracle Team USA Coutts collided with a mark boat breaking a rope for the sail and couldn’t repair fast enough to make the second race of the day. Both teams’ base staff diligently repaired the damages and resumed the racing next day.
To top off the exciting week of races, America’s Cup hosted a reception and dinner party at one of the most magnificent Newport mansions The Breakers for team members and sponsors. The Breakers was originally built in 1895 as the 70-room summer estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt ll and currently a National Historic Landmark. The party was held at the majestic two and a half story high Great Hall made of marble, alabaster and carved gilded wood ceilings, all the crew team members were introduced on the balcony of the Hall. The dinner was served on the spacious terrace overlooking the rolling lawn and sea.
Patrizio Bertelli, head of four time Italian challenger syndicate the Prada Luna Rossa Challenge, Jonathan Wright, trimmer for five America’s Cup syndicates and Gerard Lambert, member of four defender syndicates between 1930 and 1958, were all inducted to the Herreshoff Marine Museum’s America’s Cup Hall of Fame at a black-tie gala dinner at the Marble House Mansion in Newport, RI on June 28.
Owner of the Luna Rossa Challenge and the first Italian to ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame,Patrizio Bertelli spoke of his true pride in joining the other members of this important institution. Bertelli was joined at the gala dinner by his wife Miuccia Prada, other members of his family, as well as the sailors of the current Luna Rossa Challenge and shore-based team members that had completed at least two past campaigns.
Jonathan Wright, a member of the infamous group of American sailors that dominated the defender environment for most of 1970s and early 1980s, the stalwart sail trimmer is also one of the very few sailors to have been on the winning side as both Defender and Challenger. In the days before professionalism in the sport, Wright managed the recruitment of the whole sailing team for the successful Stars & Stripes program in 1986/87 as well as sailing on board.
Gerard Lambert. His support of the America’s Cup as both owner and diplomat cannot be overstated. He was an active defense syndicate member on so many occasions and instrumental in maintaining strong relations with the challengers over a particularly difficult period in history. To accept the posthumous honor on his behalf was his grandson Gerard Lambert III.
Yves Carcelle, President and CEO of Louis Vuitton, the 29-year long supporter of the challenger movement with the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Races, was also recognized this evening. Louis Vuitton Cup will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary at 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013.
Marble House, the venue for the induction ceremony, jointly organized by the Herreshoff Marine Museum and Louis Vuitton, is one of Newport’s magnificent mansion houses. In 1983 the Marble House was the setting when the America’s Cup was awarded to the first Challenger to ever win the America’s Cup competition. Oracle Racing Team USA owner Larry Ellison bought Beechwood, another magnificent Newport mansion next to the Marble House in 2010. He stayed here for the first time this week.
The final stage of the 2011-2012 America’s Cup World Series with AC 45 Catamaran is currently at Fort Adams Newport, Rhodes Island June 23-July1, 2012.