Please select your home edition
Zhik 2016 ZKG

35th America's Cup Qualifying complete: What have we learnt so far?

by Mark Jardine on 3 Jun 3 June 2017

So the 35th America's Cup Qualifying Round is complete. Groupama Team France are the team who didn't make it through and ORACLE TEAM USA won, giving them a precious point going into the America's Cup match itself. The racing has been tense and exciting, with real racing, lead changes, drama, upsets and a collision.

Without doubt, all the teams have improved over the last week, and it's clear that development is going on behind the scenes all the time.

With Emirates Team New Zealand being the top challenger in the Qualifying Series, they got to choose their opponent for the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoff Semi-Finals (yes, that is the title they chose!), and Peter Burling announced in the post-racing press conference that they will compete against Land Rover BAR.

What have we learnt from the Qualifying Series?

The defenders are no slouches, as they showed today with their victory over Emirates Team New Zealand. Jimmy Spithill has been there and done that in the America's Cup and the team looks strong with Tom Slingsby often moving forwards on the boat to call tactics, then dropping back into a cycling station on the downwind legs to generate a bit more power together with the grinders.

The Kiwis have at times shown devastating speed, especially in their victory over Land Rover BAR on Thursday, and the British team know they have it all on to progress past the semis. Their manoeuvres have been slick, and they managed a full race without coming off the foils on Friday. They throw the boat through the tacks and gybes - a technique that many of the teams are now using. The team look calm on the water with 49er Olympic Gold Medallist Peter Burling supremely assured on the helm. Power-wise, the cycling seems to be working nicely - they never look like they're short of hydraulic energy for their foils and wing and that has to be a strong advantage.

Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR have been inconsistent; two wins over Artemis Racing and a final-day victory over SoftBank Team Japan were tempered by a defeat to Groupama Team France on Monday and a massive loss to Emirates Team New Zealand on Thursday. Match racing tactics have been strong for the team, winning 7 of their 10 starts and inflicting numerous penalties on their opponents.

Although they were involved in the terrifying collision with SoftBank Team Japan last Saturday, which led to an extremely long night for the shore side team. The Kiwis definitely have the upper hand come Sunday, but only a fool would write off Ben in any regatta...

Relive the collision between SoftBank Team Japan and Land Rover BAR in Race 6. The Brits are about to begin their first race of the day against ORACLE TEAM USA, we will soon see if yesterday's damage is a factor!

Posted by America's Cup on Sunday, 28 May 2017

Iain Percy's much fancied Artemis Racing have had a strange Qualifying Series. Two defeats to Land Rover BAR and a loss to Groupama Team France left them looking precarious early on, but two wins against ORACLE TEAM USA and SoftBank Team Japan steadied the ship. They'll be confident going into their semi with SoftBank Team Japan following on from those victories in qualifying.

Dean Barker's SoftBank Team Japan only picked up three race wins in qualifying; two against Groupama Team France and the one against Land Rover BAR where they had that big crash. The results don't tell the full story though, as they've been involved in some close matches and are tactically sound. Their semi with Artemis Racing could be close, but they'll need to be on top form the entire time.

Groupama Team France were valiant in defeat and Franck Cammas smiled his way through the racing. Their two race victories against Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan were greeted with huge applause as everyone recognised the team were short on funding and preparation time.

With the French having such as strong history in multihulls, and Cammas being a serial big event winner, I really hope they'll be back for the next 36th America's Cup where they could be a force to be reckoned with.

The Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoff Semi-Finals start on Sunday with the first two races in both match-ups. Monday is scheduled to be a day off, then races 3 & 4 will be held on Tuesday, races 5 & 6 on Wednesday, and races 7,8 & 9 on Thursday (if they are required).

Related Articles

More than just Dinghy Rope
We speak to Andrew Dowley about his growing company We spoke to Andrew Dowley at Dinghy Rope to find out more about this growing company and his 2017 season so far Posted today at 12:00 pm
Diary and thoughts of a youth boat
Competing at the Fireball Europeans in Lyme Regis The Fireball class continues to thrive and attracts sailors of all ages. Despite strong competition from 'youth' classes, the proportion of the Fireball fleet represented by younger people is increasing. Posted on 24 Sep
The Harken Tech Team Story begins...
Volvo Ocean Race Lisbon Assembly Period This year Harken will be telling the untold story of our Tech Team behind the hardware of the Volvo Ocean Race boats. The good, the bad, the tough times and the great, we'll share it all with you, starting right here in Lisbon for the assembly period! Posted on 21 Sep
A great family day out
At the Southampton Boat Show 2017 The UK's festival of boating at is a must-do for any boating fan, from dinghies to powerboats and everything in between. There's plenty to do for younger sailing fans too as we discovered this weekend. Posted on 19 Sep
Interview with Andy Rice & Simon Lovesey
About the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2017/18 Mark Jardine spoke to Andy Rice of SailJuice and Simon Lovesey at the launch of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2017/18 about plans for the season and how to encourage more youth sailors to take part. Posted on 16 Sep
A huge year for Lennon Performance Products
New boat, Racewear and championship wins It's been a huge year for Lennon Performance Products. Starting off with displaying the first prototype of the THINNAIR foiling Moth at the RYA Dinghy Show, then Lennon Sails winning the International 14 Europeans and the Moth UK Nationals and Worlds. Posted on 6 Sep
Maritime Heroes
Old Pulteney search for the UK's unsung sailing legends Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky has partnered with record-breaking sailing and expedition icons, Olly Hicks and Brian Thompson, to launch the annual Maritime Heroes Awards. Posted on 4 Sep
International Canoe World Championships
David Henshall looks back at the week With a nicely organised final medal ceremony and prize giving, which took place alongside a very tasty Championships dinner, the curtain finally came down on the International Canoe World Championships at Pwllheli Sailing Club. Posted on 29 Aug
We lucky few...
Or Pwllheli reviewed, through a glass darkly To coin the popular phrase from that strange game men play with their balls (and now, even more successfully, ladies too) the 2017 season is shaping up to be a game of two halves. Posted on 23 Aug
Fatigue and its effect on rope performance
Explanation by Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, examines the effect of fatigue on the performance of rope and rigging. Ropes, like people, suffer from fatigue. Unlike people a good night's sleep does not reinvigorate them. Posted on 18 Aug