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AC Showdown Tomorrow

Artemis’ Big Blue, caught here in a perfect moment, foiling while level to the surface. Needless to say, they are on a very steep learning curve, with no time left to practice.

© ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

In many ways, this has arguably been the craziest America’s Cup ever. But with Artemis Racing now back in the game — their new boat ‘Big Blue‘ was finally launched July 22 — would-be race fans have something new to get revved up about. Needless to say, the Swedish-backed team is an obvious underdog, having been off the water for more than three months after the break-up May 9 of their first-generation boat Big Red, and now having had only 10 days of practice on their new speed machine. But as we’ve seen in so many sports, sometimes underdog’s can surprise you. 

Big Blue was seen foiling, albeit shakily, on some of her very first trials and over the weekend the Swedish-backed team completed a couple of relatively smooth foiling jibes (video below) while up on foils — a maneuver seen as essential to success.

(Video courtesy Artemis Racing)

But can they possibly be competitive? We’ll get our first real indication tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. when they face the Italian-backed Luna Rossa Challenge in race one of the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals. That best-of-seven series will determine which contender will fact Emirates Team New Zealand August 17 in the LVC Finals.

Artemis and Luna Rossa will race again on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week. If Luna Rossa — which has had roughly 80 days of on-the-water practice — sweeps all races this week, the Semis’ will end with Saturday’s race, and the Italians will advance. But the champion sailors on the Artemis team, including Nathan Outteridge (AUS), tactician Iain Percy (GBR), Loïck Peyron (FRA), undoubtedly have no intention of letting that happen. The team will draw from its great depth of experience, and will, of course, also be dedicating their efforts to their fallen teammate, Bart Simpson. 

Check out tomorrow’s race live from the AC Village on the Marina Green or AC Park (Piers 27&29), where you’ll hear live commentary via loudspeakers. Or pick a spot anywhere along the Cityfront between Crissy Field and North Beach and listen to the blow-by-blow commentary on your VHF handheld, channel 20. The LVC Semis this Friday and Saturday will be aired via tape delay on NBC Sports Network: August 9, 10:00 p.m. PDT; August 10, 9:00 p.m. PDT.

Check out all the viewing options at the AC site, including YouTube access. And don’t hesitated to come early. Not only will you get a better view of the action, but defender Oracle Team USA will probably be running the course prior to each race, as they are slated for "Defender Access" each day between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. See you there. 

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