The opening race of the 35th America’s Cup will be race one of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers between the Defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, with two time America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill and his crew looking to start their defence of the cup in style against Groupama Team France, led by French superstar Franck Cammas.
The first race, starting on May 26th at 2pm, will be the first time the America’s Cup Class (ACC) yachts and their sailing crews engage in full competitive action. The ACC race yachts are wingsail, cutting-edge catamarans that foil above the water at tremendous speed, designed and created by each of the six America’s Cup teams racing for the oldest trophy in international sport. All the 35th America’s Cup races from May 26th to June 27th 2017 will take place on the astonishing waters of Bermuda’s Great Sound, a perfect stage for the stadium-style racing that is now a core feature of America’s Cup racing.
Jimmy Spithill, Skipper of ORACLE TEAM USA and three-time winner of the America’s Cup, is clearly ready for action in Bermuda, “People will witness America’s Cup racing as they’ve never seen it before. The physical and mental demands on the athletes on board have gone up exponentially - the catamarans will be faster than last time, more maneuverable, and likely will foil all the way around the race track, given the right conditions. Most importantly, I think the competition is going to be fierce. We have six great teams preparing for racing next year and this is quite possibly shaping up to be one of the hardest, most competitive America’s Cups in its long history of over 165 years of battle.”
The teams finishing first and second in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series will carry two and one points respectively into the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017, putting even more pressure on all the competitors to finish the last Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in November in Fukuoka, Japan as strongly as possible.
The top four challengers from the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers will split into two semi-finals and this second stage of the 2017 competition will run from Sunday June 4th until Monday June 12th, with the winners taking part in a finals competition to determine which team will take on ORACLE TEAM USA in the America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton.
ORACLE TEAM USA will not compete in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs. While the challengers improve through the heat of competition, the Defender will need to prepare on its own for the final showdown and the races to win the 35th America’s Cup.
Also running over these dates is the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and the return of the AC45 foiling race catamarans currently being campaigned by the America’s Cup teams in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. In Bermuda 2017 the AC45’s will be crewed by up to 16 teams of the next generation of sailing superstars, representing countries from around the world, as well as teams directly linked to the six America’s Cup teams competing in the main event.
Finally, Saturday June 17th is when ORACLE TEAM USA will take on the team that has fought its way through and earned its place in the America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton. From that Saturday until Tuesday June 27th (as needed), the two teams will go head to head in a series of races to be first to claim the seven points needed to win the America’s Cup 2017.
There is a short cessation of hostilities from Monday June 19th until Wednesday June 21st when the final stages of the America’s Cup J Class Regatta and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup finals will take place, and then the denouement of the America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, starts on Saturday June 24th.