2013-01-31 / News

Sailing fanatics can expect another busy year on the bay in 2013

America’s Cup Finals also has Jamestown connection

An Oracle Team USA catamaran being tested to defend the America’s Cup capsized in San Francisco Bay in October, leaving members of the team in dismay after being rescued. 
PHOTOS BY GUILAIN GRENIER/ORACLE TEAM USA An Oracle Team USA catamaran being tested to defend the America’s Cup capsized in San Francisco Bay in October, leaving members of the team in dismay after being rescued. PHOTOS BY GUILAIN GRENIER/ORACLE TEAM USA Even though there is still snow on the ground in Jamestown, 2013’s on-the-water schedule will again be jam-packed, which comes as noteworthy news to the island’s many sailing enthusiasts.

For the third consecutive year, the Atlantic Cup will return to the area in May. The regatta features a fleet of double-handed Class 40s that will start in South Carolina on May 11 and sail 642 nautical miles to New York City. The boats will remain there briefly before restarting on a 231-nautical-mile journey to Newport on May 18.

A fleet of approximately eight boats is expected to enter the race. Once the boats arrive in this area, they will be docked in Newport Harbor, where a variety of special events will take place. Also, the public is welcome to inspect the boats while they are docked. The final component of the competition will be comprised of two days of inshore racing that will begin May 25. For the inshore series, which will include five races over two days, crews will be expanded from two members to a maximum of six.

The Atlantic Cup is the only carbon-neutral sailboat race in the United States. Single-use plastic water bottles are banned, and competitors use alternative energy sources for their power needs. Organizers have partnered with the Rozalia Project, an organization that uses an underwater vehicle with a camera to hunt and assist in the clean up of trash in harbors and along shorelines. The Rozalia Project will be with the cup in all three cities.

The race features a local connection in the form of the boat called Bodacious Dream, which is skippered by Dave Rearick. Bodacious Dream finished second overall in the Atlantic Cup last year, and will be back again this time around. The boat is owned by a partner of Jamestown Fish. It carries the restaurant’s logo on its hull.

There is a Jamestown connection to this year’s America’s Cup Finals as well. Local naval architect Scott Ferguson is the chief rig designer for Oracle Team USA, the event’s defenders. The team suffered a widely reported setback last year when its 72-foot catamaran crashed in San Francisco Bay during practice. The enormous wing that powers the boat was destroyed.

A new wing was constructed in New Zealand and shipped to San Francisco, where it recently arrived. According to Ferguson, the team has been load testing the wing since its arrival. The boat itself, which was also badly damaged, will be rolled out of the shed Saturday.

“We will install the new wing in the boat and check that everything fits, then do some load testing with the wing up,” Ferguson said. “Presuming all goes well on Saturday and the weather is right, we will have our first sail on Monday.”

Before actual combat in the 72- foot catamarans begins, there will be one more America’s Cup World Series event in Italy in April. The World Series features the 45-foot catamarans that were seen racing in Narragansett Bay last summer. Planned ACWS events in New York City have been canceled to give the teams more time to focus on the Louis Vitton Cup, which begins July 4 in San Francisco. It lasts until Aug. 30. Once a challenger is determined, that team will face Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup Finals, which begins Sept. 7.

Sail Newport won acclaim for its handling of the America’s Cup World Series last summer. The nonprofit will manage several regattas of national and international consequence this year. Among them are the Farr 30 Worlds in July, the Byte CII Worlds in August, the Blind National Sailing Championship and the J/24 North Americans in September, and the J/22 Worlds in October.

“It’s fantastic to have all of these events in our 30th year,” said Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read.

According to Read, Sail Newport started 30 years ago as a small events management company that has morphed into what it is today: a public-access sailing center dedicated not only to bringing special events, but also to providing access to sailing.

“This is a remarkable year with more events than we’ve had in many years,” said Read. The season will be capped off with a weekend-long 30th anniversary celebration in September.

Another big race on this year’s sailing calendar is the running of the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race, which was first run in 1977. The biennial race, which begins in Marion, Mass., is specifi cally designed to attract cruising yachts and family sailors. It begins on June 14. It’s another big race with a Jamestown connection as Arie van Harwegen den Breems is expected to be on the starting line with his Hansa 47e named Art Objects. The boat’s homeport is Jamestown.

The Marion to Bermuda Race is expected to have as many as 70 entrants.

Other major sailing events on the bay this year include the Swan 42 Nationals (New York Yacht Club) and J/30 North Americans (Barrington Yacht Club) in July, the Farr 40 Worlds (New York Yacht Club) in August, and the Invitational Cup (New York Yacht Club) in September.

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