We can remember the days, back in the ’90s, when we gathered in sociable groups at the homes of friends who had ESPN to watch America’s Cup racing. When races were held during work days, a group of us would trot over to the 2 A.M. Club to watch the action on TV there. In 2013, we made it over to San Francisco as many days as possible, glad that the finals dragged out day after day while the excitement built. When we weren’t so free to leave the office, it was back over to ‘The Deuce’ to watch on the big screens in the bar. Listening to our explanations of the action, some of the afternoon regulars even caught our enthusiasm.
Now, two years later, no, we’re not having fun yet. The 35th America’s Cup is not only not coming to San Francisco, even the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is a no-show in the hometown of the defending Golden Gate YC. It might be fun to watch the action streaming on a big computer screen — small viewing parties could still be possible — but the only way to watch the ACWS live is on a paid mobile app. How many friends can huddle around your iPad?
Assuming you didn’t go to such lengths to watch the weekend action, here’s a summary: The hometown of Artemis Racing, Gothenburg, Sweden, hosted the second ACWS regatta over the weekend, and the leaderboard was shaken up. After winning the first event at the end of July in Portsmouth, UK, Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team had to settle for third place this weekend, slipping to second place in the series. "In both races today the start was critical, and in both races we weren’t great," said Sir Ben. "We started at the bottom end of the line. It was an all-or-nothing start and it didn’t come off; it put us on the back foot."
Defenders Oracle Team USA took both races on the first day. "This was almost like a warm-up," said Aussie skipper Jimmy Spithill. "It’s all about tomorrow when the points are doubled: Super Sunday. But that being said, I’d rather be in our position."
But Sunday went all light and shifty, making for much trickier racing on the tight course. "We were really scrambling," said Spithill. "We had a penalty off the starting line. And from then on it was a battle. We could never climb back through."
Artemis Racing, entering the day in last place, ran away for an easy win in the first race. "We got a ripper of a start in the first one, and when you get ahead of the pack in these conditions it can roll into a massive lead," said skipper Nathan Outteridge. The inspiring win in the first race was followed by a last-place finish in the second.
The heroes of the weekend then emerged, when Emirates Team New Zealand won the final race. "It was a tricky afternoon, but our guys had a forecast for it being light like this for quite a few days, so we’ve been preparing for it since we arrived," said ETNZ’s helmsman Peter Burling. With two thirds on Saturday and a second in the first race on double-points Sunday, ETNZ won the Gothenburg event.
To watch a recap of the weekend’s racing, tune in to NBC Sports Network on Friday, September 4, at 10 p.m. PDT. The final 2015 ACWS event will be held on October 16-18 in Bermuda. For more info, see www.americascup.com. Through WISeKey, Oracle Team USA has released an app aimed at connecting fans with the team. See wisfans.com/oracleteamusa.