With San Diego in the rear view mirror, the teams are headed for a period of winter training. Winter training, that is, unless it’s Emirates Team New Zealand who return to the southern hemisphere to conduct some testing and training in the warmth of an Auckland summer.
With the spectators now gone, Regatta Director Iain Murray says it will take about a week to pack up the event before the ship makes its journey to the Mediterranean. With the next America’s Cup World Series event scheduled for Naples in April, the ship unloads in Italy but then continues to Valencia where a number of teams have decided to base themselves for the off-season.
“It looks like we’ll be offloading five or six boats in Valencia, while Emirates Team New Zealand are going to hook up with Luna Rossa and their new boat in Auckland,” said Murray. “We’re waiting to hear where ORACLE Racing are going to be setting up, whether it’s San Francisco or somewhere else.”
Green Comm Racing, Artemis Racing and Team Korea are among those planning to train out of Valencia, the venue which hosted the previous two America’s Cups. Other teams have yet to confirm their plans for the coming months.
Team Korea’s skipper Chris Draper is looking forward to a chance to get into some training and get his battle-worn AC45 back into shape.
“We want to do some work on our boat. It was the original AC45 test boat, so it’s done all the miles. She is doing us proud, but it would be nice to get her up to ‘America’s Cup’ standard.”
Then there is the small matter of building a bigger boat.
“It looks like the button is close to getting pressed on the AC72,” said Draper. “So we are looking to have a real good winter training period and bringing on some new sailors and start looking into creating new sailors for the 72 and also improving our skills on the 45… The climate and wind are good in Valencia, you get a bit of everything. I think the goal would be to do a number of training days and a bunch of training camps, maybe four 10-day camps.”
Needless to say, ORACLE Racing’s Darren Bundock was not happy finishing last in the final fleet race in San Diego.
“We’ll go away and work out what went wrong. Jimmy [Spithill] won both events, the match racing and fleet racing, so we’ve got a great benchmark. We’ve got some work to do if we’re going to keep pushing Jimmy hard.”
Spithill has no doubt that Bundock will give him a good run for his money.
“He’s a great sailor, and we saw that on the first day here. As the defender, we’re not going to get the racing these guys [the challengers] are going to get. We’re going to create a brutal race in-house series and make sure we leave no stone unturned, and be ready to go.”
Dean Barker can look forward to training in the warm summer months in Auckland, with new Italian team Luna Rossa soon to join them for some inter-team training. For the rest of the challengers, the majority will be training in Valencia and taking the opportunity to sail with and against each other.
At the end of San Diego, Green Comm Racing skipper Vasilij Zbogar looked disappointed with his team’s performance. They have been doing all their learning under the harsh glare of the media spotlight at the America’s Cup World Series events.
“Everyday we feel better and think we can push, but I think we still can’t sail the boat properly,” said the Slovenian. “Now we will train hard for four months, we’re used to hard work, and I’m 100 per cent sure you’ll see a different team in Naples and Venice.”
The coming months are also a chance for the event organizers to review progress thus far. Regatta director Iain Murray commented:
“We’ll take this break, take on some ideas, make amendments, and we’ll fine tune our performance. I see the AC World Series going from strength to strength. Now the AC72s are starting to be built, teams are getting stronger and more confident. We’re heading towards a great event in 2013.”
The 34th America´s Cup consists of three main stages – the America´s Cup World Series, the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America´s Cup Finals. Each AC World Series regatta will be a combination of practice and championship racing, with additional practice sailing on-site ahead of each event.
Photos / Videos: Americas Cup & © GILLES MARTIN-RAGET / ACEA
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