This 34th America’s Cup will be contested this month between ORACLE Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand in spaceship-like catamarans on the San Francisco Bay. The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest trophy at 162 years and one of the most prized possessions in all of sport.
The action on the water will be fun, fast and exciting. Trust me when I say this is no longer the slow moving “Gin and Tonic” crowd; it’s serious on the edge racing. Here are five reasons why you should watch:
1. The boats – This America’s Cup will feature 72 foot catamarans that get up to 50 miles per hour! This is quite literally flying across the water, which is what these boats do as they go so fast that they are hydro foiling. By contrast, the typical speeds in previous America’s Cup competitions were about 15 mph. The boats are technological marvels that require a crew of 11 to sail them. The “sail” is actually a 140-foot wing made from carbon fiber and designed by computer engineers to maximize speed.
2. The sailors – The 11 crew are world-class athletes. These guys are studs that have sick workout routines. When they are competing, heart rates routinely get up to about 170 bpm. During the races the crew are bouncing from side to side of the boat to raise and lower the foils and trim the wing. They do so with a 50 mph wind blowing and fire-hose like water spraying on them during the races.
3. The rivalry – This America’s Cup presents one of the juiciest rivalries ever. The CEO of ORACLE TEAM USA is Sir Russell Coutts is one of the most decorated sailors in history. An Olympic Gold medalist for New Zealand and the most successful skipper in the history of the America’s Cup. As a skipper, Coutts is undefeated, 14-0, in races for the America’s Cup. He has won the Cup four times for three different countries (New Zealand (twice), Switzerland and the U.S.) Coutts’ counterpart is Grant Dalton, his successor at Team New Zealand. Dalton, another world-class sailor, has raced around the world seven times. He was hired by Emirates Team New Zealand in 2003 where his team was bested by Coutts who skippered the Swiss boat Alinghi. There’s almost nothing Dalton won’t do or say to try to gain an advantage. The verbal sparring, which has been on-going for three years, continues to this day.
4. The TV coverage – The television coverage will be compelling and easy to follow. The broadcasts will feature onscreen graphics that will highlight the boats and the racecourse. The graphics have been produced by the same guy who created the first down line in football so you know it’s going to be cool. Each boat is equipped with seven HD cameras and 11 crew sound effect microphones which practically puts the viewer on the boat with the teams. Veteran announcer Todd Harris will serve as the play-by-play commentator for the NBC Sports Network telecasts. Harris will be joined by former America’s Cup helmsman and Volvo Ocean Race skipper Ken Read, as well as America’s Cup winner and author Gary Jobson.
5. The competition – For ORACLE Team USA it’s all about keeping the America’s Cup in America. Lose, and it goes to New Zealand. The defending champion and loaded with talent. The team won the America’s Cup in 2010 in Valencia, Spain under the direction of Coutts. Meanwhile, the challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand is banking its racing future on bringing the Cup back home. However, the New Zealand Team has not won since Coutts left. Aussie Jimmy Spithill who became the youngest ever winner of the America’s Cup at the age of 30 with his 2010 victory skippers ORACLE Team USA. Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, 40, has won three Louis Vuitton Trophy Regattas and finished the 2011-12 America’s Cup World Series championship in second place.
The America’s Cup can be seen on network television in the United States for the first time in over 20 years on NBC. The America’s Cup finals will be contested from September 7 – 21.
America’s Cup Finals
September 7 – Races 1+2 – NBC – 4:00pm ET
September 8 – Races 3+4 – NBC – 4:00pm ET
September 10 – Races 5+6 – NBC Sports Network – 3:30pm ET
September 12 – Races 7+8 – NBC Sports Network – 3:30pm ET
September 14 – Races 9+10 – NBC Sports Network – 3:30pm ET
September 15 – Races 11+12 – NBC Sports Network – 3:30pm ET (if necessary)
September 17 – Races 13+14 – NBC Sports Network – 3:30pm ET (if necessary)
September 19 – Races 15+16 – NBC Sports Network- 3:30pm ET (if necessary)
September 21 – Races 17 – NBC Sports Network – 3:30pm ET (if necessary)
The America’s Cup Finals will also be streamed live on nbcsports.com. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel immediately following the broadcast.
Locally, in the San Francisco Bay Area, all racing from Louis Vuitton Cup Semifinals through the America’s Cup Finals will be shown live on NBC affiliate KNTV (or COZI TV).
Internationally, racing is being shown in over 165 territories, across over 30 networks including, Fox Sports (Australia), TVNZ (New Zealand), TV4 (Sweden), Canal+ (France), TVE (Spain), Sportsnet (Canada), and ESPN International (Central/South America, Caribbean), to name a few. Live racing is available worldwide on Youtube.com/americascup subject to territorial rights restrictions.