Artemis Racing may not have won yesterday’s race against Luna Rossa in the Louis Vuitton Semi-Final, but they earned a salute of congratulations from many race fans.
Not only did they show up to compete in what is arguably one of the most demanding sailing class ever conceived, after only eight days of practice in their recently launched AC72 Big Blue, but helmsman Nathan Outtridge had a brilliant start, which allowed the team to be in the lead rounding the first mark. Although Luna Rossa’s extensive experience in training — especially regarding foiling jibes — quickly allowed them to capture the lead and hold it until the finish, they only beat Artemis by two minutes. Very impressive when you consider that Emirates Team New Zealand clobbered Luna Rossa by seven minutes in their last go-round.
Racing in winds of 15-18 knots, Big Blue reached a top speed of 39 knots (!) pretty darned impressive for a team that has been shorebound for nearly three months after the tragic breakup of their first boat, Big Red. Skipper Iain Percy characterized the day’s effort as “nothing but a complete success. Two months ago our goal was to complete a race, we did that and then some. We sailed our best sailing day by quite a considerable margin today. Nathan absolutely nailed the start and we couldn’t have asked for more.” Somewhere up there in the heavens, fallen teammate Bart Simpson is smiling.
Race Two of the best-of-seven LVC Semis starts today at 1:15, with additional races at the same time Friday and Saturday. Look for complete AC 34 details at the site, and check out the AC YouTube channel, where you can view live video feeds, plus replays of all races.