First thoughts on the Americas Cup Match
We have now reached the stage where technically the actual Americas Cup begins. The sailing to this point has been for the Louis Vuitton Cup. For the second time Italy has won and will be the challenger. With Team New Zealand serving as defender this will be the first America's Cup match without a USA boat.
The 30th America's Cup will match Italy's Prada challenge and one of it's Luna Rossa's against Team New Zealand and one of it's Black Magic's. The teams will declare which boat they will use on 14 February and unveil the keels of their chosen boats 15 February. After three days off racing for the America's Cup will begin on 19 February.
This means in 12 days the teams will meet on the water. What will happen then is largely unknown. While Prada has sailed 49 races, Team New Zealand has prepared internally.
One of Prada's advantages over the other challengers was their extensive preparation. They also seemed to have a slight boat speed edge. Team New Zealand has practiced every year since winning the cup in 1995 and, in the words of Team New Zealand boss Peter Blake 'we can't get any faster'.
One might think that Team New Zealand is as prepared. In 1995 they had the fastest America's Cup yachts. If their designers did a job developing the design concept speed should be spot on in relation to Prada.
The difference is that Prada has had months of tough and unpredictable competition. While the Black Magic's have tested and raced against each other, the ebb and flow of competition may surprise them.
A further measure is the 1999 Road to the America's Cup regatta. Sailing matched IACC boats Prada almost beat Team New Zealand. One must think that Prada's team is much stronger after months of racing.
Given that Prada has competed for months you have to think they have the edge. Still, expect strong stuff from Team New Zealand. They should come out fast, and quickly regain competitive instincts. While it would be hard to top the just completed America One/Prada series all indications are that the racing should be fine in the 30th America's Cup match.
Mission Antarctica is the moniker for a sailing voyage currently underway. The sailing vessel 2041 is currently enroute to King George Island in Antarctica. Here 2041 will participate in the clean up of the Bellinghuasen Research base once used by Russians.
The yacht 2041 formerly was part of the fleet sailed in the British Steel Challenge around the world race. Skippered by Mark Hopking 2041 will serve as a media vessel as trash is removed from the research base.
2041 recently left Recife Brazil. Latest reports have 2041 at 26 degrees south. She'll have to pass 60 degrees south to reach the Bellinghausen Station on King George Island.
The Mission Antartica/2041 website is at:http://www.missionantarctica.com
Torresen Sailing Site Sailing News Service will provide updates on this important voyage.