One in the net for Artemis Racing

Three races held on 'Super Sunday' at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Bermuda

Sunday October 18th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: Bermuda

Artemis Racing wrote an epic comeback story on Sunday at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Bermuda.

The host venue of Bermuda was also shining bright, offering up perfect racing conditions, a large but controlled spectator fleet, and an enthusiastic public. It was a tremendous opening event in the home of the 2017 America’s Cup.

On the race course, the three double-point races had three different winners with Artemis Racing proving the most consistent performer on the day to take the win.

“This event meant a lot to us. We’ve always known we had the potential, but we’ve been tripped up by mistakes,” said Artemis Racing skipper Nathan Outteridge, his sailing kit dripping with celebratory Moët & Chandon champagne.

But this was an unlikely victory. Not only did the Swedish challenger arrive at the event in fifth place out of the six teams after dismal results in Portsmouth and even their home event in Gothenberg, but in the pre-start ahead of race two, the team was involved in a collision with an Umpire boat, incurring serious damage.

Artemis Racing had made a great start in race one, and led most of the way before being pipped by Oracle Team USA at the finish line, but it appeared that Artemis Racing would be knocked out of the event. In the moments before the starting gun fired for race two, the team ducked behind the Japanese boat, and as Outteridge turned up towards the line, he was confronted with an Umpire boat heading directly towards him. The closing speed would have been in excess of 25 knots.

“At that point we couldn’t go anywhere,” Outteridge explained. “He went straight between our bows but thankfully nobody was hurt. There was a serious amount of damage to our boat though.”

Team Manager and Tactician Iain Percy added, “my first thought was for the safety of the umpires on the boat, we were all pretty shaken up."

In work worthy of an F1 pit lane crew, the Artemis Racing squad stripped off the broken bow sprit and the now useless Code Zero in record time. After a quick check for reliability and with less than two minutes to spare, the team was lining up for the next start. Incredibly, they blasted off the starting line with more speed than anyone else and won not only the start, but the second race.

“We owned that start… It was huge payback for all the hard work from the guys who stripped the gear off, checked the boat, and got us ready just in time,” continued Outteridge.

Iain Percy spoke of his admiration for his Skipper, "There really was no time for pep talks, and we were frantically ripping carbon and rope off the boat trying to clear it. Before we had a moment to breath, it was 1:30 to the start. I have to say, what Nathan displayed there, is why everyone says he’s so talented. I’m not sure there are many people in the world that could have showed that composure and nailed the start the way he did, absolutely incredible."

In the third and final race, the Swedish team needed to make a pass on the last leg to grab a fourth place finish and secure the points needed to win the regatta. Her crew pulled off a fantastic foiling gybe to grab a fourth place finish and secure the points needed to win the regatta - a popular and well-deserved event win for Artemis Racing.

Iain Percy, spoke of his relief after a trying few months. "I'm very proud of the team. We had a lot of pressure to perform. I know perfectly well that we have a talented enough team to win these events, but things haven’t gone our way, we’ve hit the odd rock and capsized, and suddenly everyone was questioning us. To deliver under that heat, and under the circumstances of the crash, was pretty impressive."

Winning the Bermuda also puts an important marker down in the venue for the 35th America's Cup in 2017, as Outteridge explained: "To be the first team to win an event in Bermuda, the venue of the next America’s Cup is just great for our team. We love it here; we’ve been training here all year, getting ready for the main event in 2017. Our results elsewhere haven’t been great but all that matters is how well we sail in this venue."

Percy concluded: "We’re a big team, and for every one of the sailors to go out today and perform, is a real boost going into the winter. You can’t buy that; you can’t put a value on a team knowing 100% that they are here to win this competition. Everyone will be working that little bit harder, and we’re going to have that little spring in our step through the whole winter. It’s going to project us towards winning in 2017".

It was a less satisfying day for Oracle Team USA, which won the first race, but then posted a third place and fifth place finish, settling for third overall.

“We just had a bad third race,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “We got a terrible start, and were on the back foot for the entire race. Artemis was able to slip past us near the finish and that cost us second place here and won them the regatta. We made too many mistakes in that race and that took us out of the running for the win.”

Emirates Team New Zealand, with an impressive win in race three, extends its advantage on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboard.

“We’re absolutely stoked to have been able to put together some good performances this year,” said Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling. “We haven’t done too much sailing in those types of conditions. To win the last one by the margin we did was really satisfying.”

Land Rover BAR concluded the season with a third overall, finishing just three points behind America's Cup holder Oracle Team USA, with Emirates Team New Zealand the season winners. Gear failure and a tactical misjudgement in race two turned a possible 3, 2, 1 into a 3, 6, 2.

The team came back strongly in the final race, and might well have closed out the season with a podium finish except issues with the daggerboards which allowed Emirates Team New Zealand to take the final win of the day.

Skipper and Team Principal, Ben Ainslie acknowledged: "It was a tough one for the team, we had a good first race and a terrible second race. An issue with the control system for the starboard daggerboard put us in a tough spot. But the boys came back well with a second in the final race, unfortunately that wasn't enough to get us back on the podium for the weekend. It's been great to race in the America's Cup venue, and today was a fantastic breeze – short racing, but pretty intense and hopefully it was a great spectacle."

Tactician, Giles Scott added: "Generally we were pretty pleased with the way that we were racing, we started off with a third place, and that gave us a good base to build on. In the second race we got into a really good position on the second beat, didn't quite get across in front of Artemis and got passed. Then we had a malfunction with the dagger board and that was certainly the low of the racing here - it dragged us back into last place.

"But we rallied and gave it everything in the third race and came away with a second in that which we have to be pretty pleased with, because again we had board issues – so we dealt with the lows pretty well. The course is really good, slightly different to 2017, but it's going to be a great racing venue. The perfect amphitheatre for foiling cats, flat water and decent wind most of the time, so I'm excited about coming back here and getting to grips with it all."

The racing wasn’t the only thing on display this weekend. This event marked the first racing at the host venue of the next America’s Cup and Bermuda delivered in style.

Over 10 000 people were on the water to watch the racing as near 2 000 spectator craft ringed the race course. The crowds on shore were equally impressive and enthusiastic.

“This was a fantastic day,” said Dr. Grant Gibbons, the Minister for Economic Development. “There is a lot of local excitement now. People were out cheering for their teams today. Friday night there was a good buzz here. Front Street was as excited as I’ve seen it in a long time… A fantastic weekend overall.”

“We’ve seen Bermuda come out and put its arms around this event and I think it shows this is going to be a great event in 2017,” said Russell Coutts the CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority. “We had three races and three winners today. We’ve had three events now with three different winners. The racing is competitive and that makes it compelling. I wouldn’t even be surprised if we had another winner in our next event. That’s how close it is.”

The Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series continues in February 2016. The first event of 2016 is still to be confirmed.

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda Results

1. Artemis Racing: 2 – 1 – 4 – 52 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand: 5 – 2 – 1– 50 points
3. ORACLE TEAM USA: 1 – 3 – 5 – 48 points
4. Land Rover BAR: 3 – 6 – 2 – 44 points
5. SoftBank Team Japan: 4 – 4 – 3 – 44 points
6. Groupama Team France: 6 – 5 – 6 – 32 points

From Mark Lloyd / Land Rover BAR:

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