America's Cup racing comes to Bermuda for the first time

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is bringing America’s Cup racing to Bermuda for the first time since the mid-Atlantic island became the host venue of the 35th America’s Cup.

The defending champion, ORACLE TEAM USA, selected Bermuda as the venue in December of 2014 and moved its team base here in the spring. This event marks the first official racing featuring all six teams in the America’s Cup.

ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill calls the support from Bermudians for the event and all the teams “unbelievable” and says he’s looking forward to repaying that sentiment.

“Bermuda has been so open and welcoming to all of the teams,” he said at the opening press conference on Friday morning. “Very, very hospitable and friendly people, and so we would love to reward them with great racing.”

ORACLE TEAM USA comes into the event in third place with 64 points, trailing Land Rover BAR (65 points) and the series leader, Emirates Team New Zealand, on 72 points.

“There’s a saying it’s better to be lucky than good and we’ve been fortunate to have a couple of nice regattas,” said the skipper of the Kiwi team, Glenn Ashby.

“We haven’t sailed together as a team since Gothenburg so yesterday’s training session we important for us. The conditions on the Great Sound were perfect and we utilized it to full advantage to practice getting the boat around the course as best we can. We’ve seen any team here can win any race, so we’re looking forward to getting out and racing.”

Further down the standings, Softbank Team Japan leads Artemis Racing and Groupama Team France. Each of these teams is looking for a ‘comeback’ performance in Bermuda.

“We’ve had a couple of shockers,” admitted Artemis Racing skipper Nathan Outteridge. “We’ve been sailing well at times, but we haven’t been able to string it together. In Portsmouth and Gothenburg we made some big errors and if we can avoid them this week, we’ll be in much better shape.”

Racing is scheduled to begin at 14:10 local time on Saturday and Sunday. The forecast is for light conditions on Saturday and moderate winds on Sunday.

“It’s an awesome racetrack and Sunday looks like it could be great,” Spithill said. “If the wind gets up, Bermudians will see sailing like they’ve never witnessed before. Hopefully we get some great racing out there.”

"It's great to be here and see so much support for the event," agreed Land Rover BAR skipper Ben Ainslie.

Two practice races were sailed today in light conditions.

Over 1000 boats have already registered as spectator craft to watch the racing on the Great Sound. Spectator boat tickets – available at www.islandtourcentre.com are nearing a sell-out.

To watch the racing in your area, check the ‘where to watch’ guide here.

Download the official app and register for the premium AC+ service to watch the racing live (territorial restrictions apply). Bermudians can get a promo code from the Event Village for free access to AC+.

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Leaderboard after two events:

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 72
2. Land Rover BAR – 65
3. ORACLE TEAM USA – 64 
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 56 
5. Artemis Racing – 53 
6. Groupama Team France – 50

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