America’s Cup Sails Again this Week — Watch it on YouTube

Oracle Racing 4

I hope that you caught the last World Series of sailing on San Francisco Bay a few months ago — blustery conditions made for some exciting sailing. Well round two starts today on the Bay and while the weather looks to be tamer it is always hard to predict.

The races will occur starting this morning and running through the 7th, with Tuesday just consisting of practice rounds. Wednesday the match race qualifiers start at 4 p.m. PT, with match race quarterfinals on Thursday starting at 12:30, followed by a Blue Angels flyover. The cool thing is for online viewers the races can be watched live Thursday through Saturday on the America’s Cup YouTube channel; locally in the Bay Area the races will be on NBC. (Here’s the full schedule). On Sunday, the only live viewing is on NBC, but it will be broadcast nationwide, beginning at 1:30 p.m. (PDT).

Friday will see additional match race quarterfinals as well as the start of fleet racing, starting at 4 p.m. Saturday has the match race semifinals and then the finals as well as additional fleet racing. Sunday wraps up the event with an event called Super Sunday Fleet Race.

The races take place during San Francisco’s annual Fleet Week so that viewers will also be able to see, and in some cases visit, U.S. Naval ships. [editor’s note: It also means that downtown traffic and parking, never good, will be even worse.]

The America’s Cup races are part of the AC World Series, a set of races that use a boat that is specifically designed for these races, the AC45 catamaran, a much smaller ship that those used for the actual cup, which are in the AC72 class.

The events are match and fleet races and currently the Oracle Racing 4 team is ahead of Luna Rossa Piranha by a point, 86 to 85, after the first round held in August. After this week’s racing the event moves next year to Venice on April 16-21 before finishing in Naples the following month with the races being sailed from May 14-19.

America’s Cup World Series Starts Today in San Francisco Bay

AC World Series on SF Bay

If you are in the Bay Area this week you might want to head over to the Marina district in San Francisco to catch some of the America’s Cup World Series events that start today on San Francisco Bay.

This is not the actual America’s Cup race, those are slated to begin next year, nor is it a set of races that will enable the winner to advance to next year’s race but rather a set of competitions between smaller boats.

The World Series races use 45 foot boats, called AC45s, rather than the 72 foot AC72 models that will race next year for the trophy. There will be 11 teams on the water and the format will be very different as well.

This is head to head sailing with a multitude to teams participating. The teams are seeded and the racing qualifiers start today, followed by quarterfinal races on both Thursday and Friday. The semifinals will be Saturday and the finals on Sunday.

This is a new format, from the previous (and first) sailing of the America’s Cup World Series that will have six teams competing today in the qualifiers. The other five are the top ranked boats from the standings of the 2011-12 ACWS Match Racing Championship. The top three from today advance to the semi’s tomorrow.

It is interesting to note that there are several possible race course configurations, depending on how the wind is, or is not, blowing on any given day. As anybody who has spent any time on the Bay knows it has a strong current, an almost constant chop and usually strong winds that shift directions as the day goes by.

It is interesting to note that while the teams spend millions on their boats, there is no purse in the America’s Cup, they do it for bragging rights and the ability to be the home team and select the race site for the next cup defense. It would be nice to have that much money to throw around.