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Foiling AC45s Do Battle at Gothenburg

The second round of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series takes place in Gothenburg (Goteborg), Sweden, this weekend, but AC promoters aren’t making it easy for American sports fans to get revved up about the fast-paced action. In the US, races won’t be aired until September 4 at 10 p.m. PDT on NBC Sports Network, although you can watch them in real time on your smart phone or tablet device if you pay for the optional AC+ feature of the otherwise free AC app (which is not optimized for computers). AC+ costs $7.99 for the Swedish event. The basic app has news, photos and race results.

Brisk breeze over flat water made the yesterday’s practice races edgy and thrilling. Hopefully the wind strength will hold through the weekend.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Locally, however, in the picturesque port of Gothenburg — Sweden’s second largest city — excitement is undoubtedly soaring, especially due to the ‘NASCAR effect’ of Artemis Racing’s dramatic capsize yesterday during a practice session. 

"That’s what these boats are like," said Artemis’ helmsman Nathan Outteridge. "We’re all out there pushing hard and that’s what happens when you push too much. We’re really excited to put on a good show and a good performance," he added, promising to be ready for action on Saturday. The boat reportedly only suffered minimal damage to its wing.

Capsizing is always a bummer, but it definitely adds to the buzz of excitement among spectators. 

© Sander van der Borch

Winds during yesterday’s practice were the strongest that these boats have raced in yet: 16 to 20 knots. If that trend continues, it should be a thrilling weekend. "We’ve all seen how close the racing was [in Portsmouth], and one mistake makes all the difference," said Land Rover BAR skipper Ben Ainslie, who won the Portsmouth, England, series. "Moving into this event, with the race course being that much tighter, all of the teams are getting more experience; it’s getting harder to stay ahead on the development curve."

This year’s third and final round of AC45f racing will take place in Bermuda October 16-18, with additional events planned for 2016 in the run-up to the actual America’s Cup (in non-identical foiling AC48s) in 2017.

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