Sunday, 26 July 2015

America's Cup Preview Day

For those in the know (yachties mostly! ) Portsmouth is the place to be this week/end as it is hosting the first of the preliminary rounds of the next (the 35th) America's Cup which will be held in 2017..

We have six international teams in the city, including the UK team which is skippered by Olympic champion (Sir) Ben Ainslie Racing... Thursday was preview day, Friday (today as I write) is practice racing, and then Saturday and Sunday are race days with two races a day..

The teams are looking to get points which they can then carry forward into further qualification events (in Sweden and Bermuda this year, and Portsmouth again in July next year) and the winner at the end challenges the current holder (Oracle) in a one on one race series (in Bermuda again)

Either way, there was no way you could miss the event (in my humble opinion); this is quite possibly a historically significant (sailing) event as it may mark the start of the successful British campaign to bring the cup back to the UK.. happily Rod the Mod felt the same way so he, one of the Dave's, a friend, and I took Ami-Ly out to see what was going on...  it was a brilliant day out, though it taxed my little point and shoot to the limits - maximum zoom most of the day it seemed like.

Anyway - on with the photo's.. click to embig'en.. 

Next - Emirates - the New Zealand entry - just launched from the race village in Portsmouth dockyard. You can see the French entry (Groupama) in the background. Fascinating to watch as the boats are stored ashore without masts - they step and rig the solid aerofoil mast each time the boat is launched...

Next - love this picture - new and old - the UK entry slips past HMS Victory

Next - closeup - I have no idea if Sir Ben was on board this particular day...  the boats for this challenge are smaller than the last time - in the last series they were 72 foot, these are 45 foot... blisteringly fast though, they accelerate like brown stuff off of a digging implement...

Next - Artemis, the Swedish entry, which is skippered by Sir Ben's mate Ian Percy - they remain good friends, must be an interesting dynamic when they pop out for a beer and a chat... Twin foresails by the way, the smaller one (this one) is hanked on, the bigger foresail sets on a roller from the end of the bowsprit - you can just see it in the picture (the striped "tube" under the bowsprit) - it's not been hoisted yet... by the way, the rollers must be pure silicon because they can roll it out and in like lightning!

Next - Japanese entry - all black - looked like a stealth fighter..

...shortly after that we headed out of the harbour to the race course - which was a big square just outside the harbour entrance with the Spithead Fort almost in the middle...  the poor old camera struggled but I offer the following....

Next - escort ship for the event HMS St. Albans..

Next - this is what I came to see - Emirates, Artemis and Oracle, genoa's deployed, and up on the foil...

Next - from the ultra modern to the traditional - there were some beautiful spectator boats out!

Next - close up to show the size of the genoa's on these boats..

Next - they weren't actually racing, but always nice to the see UK entry leading... 

Next - says it all...  breeze had picked up enough to haul a 45 foot boat and crew on to it's foils, without the genoa! (Note also the pot buoy in the foreground - well inside the race area....)

Last - some of you may remember this spectator boat..     She was, as it happens, in superb condition... a real privilege...

Finally - a couple of crackers from Dave....

Race practice finished about 3, but the day was so lovely we upped sails and went sailing..  sublime conditions...  sailed towards Cowes for no good reason other than it was there, but then turned and ran down wind under auto pilot,supping beer and talking nonsense.. it was a good day!


Yellow - motor only - orange the afternoon sail...
Distance: 19.16 miles overall (9.85 for the sailing afterwards - cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 4 gusting force 5; SWW
Sail Plan: Main with one set of reefs, full genoa in the afternoon.. all motor in the morning for the race...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 5.6 knots (which was under sail) - average speed 2.6/3.9 knots for the whole day, or just the sailing bit, respectively...


  1. These Franken-boats are amazing to see in person. my son has a summer internship at the firm designing the oracle boat and her software in Annapolis - the NDA he had to sign was very lengthy!

    1. Miles, they are absolutely awesome... your son's a lucky man! I hear Sir Ben has got in a umber of key people from the Formula 1 world for his challenge.. going to be an interesting challenge series...and speaking after the first day it's going well so far!! :o))

  2. Hello Steve-the-Wargamer.
    I have recently bought shares in a Hurley 20 which has a mainsail with the number 109 on it.. Naturally my searching led me to this blog. Do I have a second hand sail or is there more to it?

    1. Hello aTao, that's interesting..! Where is the boat based? Mine originally came from Poole area....

    2. It came to Eigg from Arisaig earlier this year, hull number 3158.

    3. Blimey - that's a long old trip for a Hurley 20.. :o) Where do you find the hull number - I've crawled all over mine and never found a makers mark/number.. I got #109 from the sail that came with the boat... PS. Is a wwoofer in your blog name an organic farmer, or a roofer with a lisp?? :o)

    4. The plate with serial/hull number is between the front windows. There is also a penny glassed onto the bulkhead, I have yet to clean it enough to read a date.

      I'm a volunteer that enjoys producing and eating the finest of foods.

    5. Cheers for that - I'll ask on the Hurley owners Yahoo group and see if anyone can shed light... any chance of some pictures of boat and sail - I'd be interested...

      The interweb is a wonderful thing - I'd not heard the term wwoofer before... sounds idyllic but I suspect it gets cold in the winter!

    6. Hi aTao - interesting information from the Hurley Owners Yahoo group... "The number is the hull number, the 3 =H20, the 158 will be around the sail number possibly not the same because of cancelled orders. The Hurley records go by sail number, sail number 158 would of left Hurley Marine in April or May of 1968." There was also a post from a chap who also has a Hurley 20 in Eigg... he has hull number 3255....