The 35th America’s Cup is finally here. The greatest race on water starts in Bermuda with six teams battling it out for the oldest trophy in international sport against the backdrop of the stunning island of Bermuda.
So what is different about the America’s Cup in 2017? The answer is nearly every element of the competition is brand new for the 35th America’s Cup, with the boats, the racecourse and the sailors themselves all going through a transformation since the 2013 events.
Ever since its inception in 1851, when a schooner named ‘America’ raced around the Isle of Wight in the UK and conquered the best that Britain could offer, the world’s oldest sporting international competition has continued to push back the boundaries of what is possible with revolutionary innovations on and off the water.
And those advancements will be at their spectacular best in this year’s 35th staging of the event in the beautiful waters of Bermuda’s Great Sound.
In days past, America’s Cup boats had to sail to the venue where they would compete. Now the sophisticated catamarans will ‘fly’ across the water in Bermuda, courtesy of revolutionary hydrofoil systems that lift the boats out of the water and create exhilarating racing at nearly 50 knots (93kph) with the boats capable of racing at three times the speed of the wind.
The spectacle that will unfold in Bermuda in May and June will take place much closer to the spectators than has been possible before in the America’s Cup, with a stadium style racecourse on the Great Sound bringing the action in-shore and closer than ever before, a sight to behold for those watching on TV and, especially, in the America’s Cup Village and on the Great Sound itself.
Then there’s the sailors themselves, who due to the physical and mental pressures of racing an America’s Cup Class yacht will be the fittest, strongest sailors in the 166-year history of the trophy. These athletes are sporting heroes who will write the next chapter of this illustrious competition.
Jimmy Spithill and his Oracle Team USA will be aiming to complete a much coveted ‘three-peat’ in 2017, three consecutive America’s Cup successes. However, with America’s Cup racing more unpredictable than ever before, it would take a brave person to rule out any of the challenging teams; Land Rover BAR, Artemis Racing, Groupama Team France, Emirates Team New Zealand and SoftBank Team Japan, all determined to stake their claims to the ‘Auld Mug’ as a number of intriguing questions are posed.
Can Sir Ben Ainslie, a winner last time out alongside Spithill with Oracle Team USA, bring the America’s Cup home to Great Britain for the first time with Land Rover BAR?
Will Emirates Team New Zealand’s pedal-power gamble prove the pivotal difference?
Can Dean Barker, now with SoftBank Team Japan, earn the ultimate redemption for the loss he suffered in 2013, losing the America’s Cup from a seemingly unassailable 8 – 1 lead with Emirates Team New Zealand, and win in 2017?
Can Nathan Outteridge’s Artemis Racing build on the momentum of their impressive displays in practice racing and get their hands on the ultimate prize?
Or will Franck Cammas and Groupama Team France cause a major shock as the newcomers, go against their underdog tag and lift the Auld Mug?
All of the drama and possible outcomes will play out in front of the eyes of the world, focused on Bermuda’s Great Sound as the 35th America’s Cup commences.
Stay tuned folks, it’s going to be the greatest race on water!