2017 Louis Vuitton Challenger’s Trophy

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The 2017 Louis Vuitton Challenger’s Trophy (officially, the Trophy was given to the winner of the 2017 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs) was a sailing competition held to determine the challenger in the 2017 America's Cup.[1][2][3] The races ran from 5 to 12 June 2017 in Bermuda and were preceded by the 2015–16 America's Cup World Series. It was won by Emirates Team New Zealand who defeated Artemis Racing in the final. The races were conducted using AC50 yachts, a new class of 50 feet (15 m) hydrofoiling wingsail catamarans, larger than the AC45F yachts used in the world series and smaller than the AC72 yachts used in 2013. Emirates Team New Zealand went on to compete with defending champions Oracle Team USA in the 2017 America's Cup match.

The tournament was an expansion of the Louis Vuitton Cup format, with the defender competing in the first round robin stage.[1]

Challenger of Record[edit]

On 1 October 2013, Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club was confirmed as the "Challenger of Record" for the 35th America's Cup.[4][5] Only moments after the win by USA team Oracle, Hamilton Island Yacht Club (HIYC), located on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia issued its challenge for the 35th America’s Cup. The HIYC challenge was accepted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which remained the Defender and Trustee of the world’s oldest international sporting trophy.[6] Australian billionaire Bob Oatley was said to be financially backing the Hamilton Island Yacht Club as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup.[7]

On 19 July 2014, Russell Coutts, Director of the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA), announced that Hamilton Island Yacht Club had withdrawn Team Australia from the 35th America's Cup.[8][9] Team Australia claimed that the new protocols as set forth by defending champion Oracle Team USA were too hard to prepare for when no dates or venue have been confirmed for the event.

A replacement for Hamilton Island Yacht Club as Challenger of Record was not named.

Entry period[edit]

On 7 August 2014, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on behalf of their crew, Emirates Team New Zealand, became the first team to announce an official America’s Cup entry. 8 August was the actual deadline for challengers and the defenders had previously mentioned that four teams had entered or planned to by the deadline: Luna Rossa (ITA), Artemis Racing (SWE), Team France (FRA) and Ben Ainslie Racing (GBR).[10]

Ben Ainslie, ORACLE TEAM USA's tactician at the 2013 America's Cup, expressed serious interest in challenging his former employers with his own team based out of the United Kingdom.[11]

In an interview on RadioLIVE on 8 June the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key referred to the new America's Cup rules as "Mickey Mouse" and said the government would not help fund a challenge. In a follow-up interview with Grant Dalton the same day, Dalton said that the team's knowledge of the catamaran was far more advanced than at the same stage with the AC72. He announced that Team NZ has secured the services of the designer who fitted the servo to the Team Oracle USA AC72 in the last America's Cup.[12]

On 25 June 2014 Team New Zealand confirmed their intention to challenge in a media statement as they had gained sufficient private financial backing from private sources such as Sir Stephen Tindall without government assistance.[13] Speaking on RadioLIVE, government minister Steven Joyce said he did not rule out a New Zealand government contribution after the election as the government's previous investments of $37 million NZ had yielded dividends of about $87 million NZ in the previous challenge.[14]

Team New Zealand confirmed its team will build a challenger program for the next Americas Cup. Yachting commentators said Team New Zealand has an incredibly strong design, technical and support team. The sailing crew is drawn from a mix of previous Americas cup sailors and some of the kiwi gold medal winners at the last Olympic games.[15]

Competitors[edit]

Defender[edit]

the defending yacht 17 undergoing sea trials

Golden Gate Yacht Club - Oracle Team USA[edit]

Crew:

A defender competed in the Louis Vuitton Cup for the first time in the series' history, with Oracle Team USA retaining helmsman James Spithill and the core of his crew from the previous defense.

Challengers[edit]

Hamilton Island Yacht Club (Challenger of Record) - Team Australia (withdrawn)[edit]

Hamilton Island Yacht Club challenged for the 35th America's Cup up just minutes after GGYC's win in the 34th America's Cup in September 2013. However, in July 2014, the team pulled out of the Cup due to the high financial risk.[16]

Circolo della Vela Sicilia - Luna Rossa Challenge (withdrawn)[edit]

In June 2014, Luna Rossa confirmed they would again be challenging for the Cup, and would retain most of their team, including helmsman Chris Draper, skipper Max Sirena, and tactician Francesco Bruni. However, after the Challenger Committee, along with Oracle Team USA, chose to reduce the size of the boats from the AC62 class to the AC50, Luna Rossa withdrew in protest.[17]

Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet - Artemis Racing[edit]

Crew:

Artemis mostly kept its crew intact from their previous challenge. After a win and a second-place finish in the last two World Series events, the team came into the Qualifiers with what appeared to be the fastest of the AC50 boats.[18]

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron - Emirates Team New Zealand[edit]

Crew:

After initial trouble with financial backing, Team New Zealand announced their intention to challenge in late June 2014. The team chose to replace longtime helmsman Dean Barker with 2013 Youth America's Cup winner and Olympic silver medalist Peter Burling.[20] The team's AC50 boat includes a number of unique innovations, including replacing the grinders used by most teams with pedals.[21]

Yacht Club de France - Groupama Team France[edit]

Crew:

In 2014, Franck Cammas' Groupama Sailing Team announced a challenge for the cup. The team had previously won the 2011–12 Volvo Ocean Race as well as the 2013 and 2015 editions of the Little America's Cup.

Royal Yacht Squadron - Land Rover BAR[edit]

Crew:

After winning the 34th America's Cup as tactician for Oracle Team USA, British Sailor and four-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Ben Ainslie announced his own team, Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), would be challenging for 35th Cup. In June 2015, the team partnered with Land Rover changed their name to Land Rover BAR.[22]

Land Rover BAR won the AC45 World Series, and thus started the round robins with a two-point advantage.

Kansai Yacht Club - SoftBank Team Japan[edit]

Crew:

SoftBank Team Japan was the last team to file a challenge, in late April 2015. The challenge was spearheaded by America's Cup veteran Kazuhiko Sofuku. Former Team New Zealand helmsman Dean Barker joined the team as skipper and CEO in May, and British Olympic medalist and former Luna Rossa helmsman Chris Draper joined in June as tactician and Sailing Director. Due to the team's late entry, Oracle Team USA provided a design package for the team in order to kick-start their challenge.[20]

Results[edit]

Qualifier round robins[edit]

The five challengers and the defender, Oracle Team USA, competed in two round robins between 26 May and 3 June 2017.[23] Points were awarded for every win. The lowest ranking competitor was eliminated and the highest ranking competitor will be awarded a point at the start of the America's Cup match if it reaches that stage of the competition. In the event of a tie for lowest or highest ranking, "the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series standings" was to be "used as the tie breaker".[24] The highest ranking challenger was able to pick its opponent in the semi-finals. The scores were:[25]

Defender, advances directly to America's Cup match
Advances to Challenger playoffs
Eliminated
Team name Races won ACWS pts. RR1 pts. RR2 pts. Total pts.
Oracle Team USA 8/10 1 4 4 9
Emirates Team New Zealand 8/10 0 4 4 8
Land Rover BAR 4/10 2 1 3 6
Artemis Racing 5/10 0 2 3 5
SoftBank Team Japan 3/10 0 2 1 3
Groupama Team France 2/10 0 2 0 2
round robin date France Groupama Team France United Kingdom Land Rover BAR Japan SoftBank Team Japan New Zealand Emirates Team New Zealand Sweden Artemis Racing United States Oracle Team USA delta
1 26 May CANCELLED - winds in excess of 24kt
27 May
[26]
20'34.848" 0 2 0 0 0 18'23.962" 2 02'10.886"
0 2 19'08.161" 0 0 18'54.761" 1 2 00'13.400"
19'56.749" 0 2 0 17'23.786" 1 1 2 02'32.963"
0 18'03.389" 3 0 1 18'14.046" 1 2 00'10.657"
0 3 0 17'28.627" 1 1 17'22.571" 3 00'06.056"
0 18'35.728" 3 17'48.072" 1 1 1 3 00'47.656"
28 May
[27]
19'05.435" 1 3 1 1 19'08.674" 1 3 00'03.239"
1 17'25.939" 3 1 1 1 16'47.239" 4 00'38.700"
1 3 18'54.794" 1 18'21.554" 2 1 4 00'33.240"
1 3 1 2 19'01.107" 2 19'40.101" 4 00'38.994"
1 18'13.139" 3 1 16'45.567" 3 2 4 01'27.572"
1 3 19'13.576" 1 3 2 18'19.540" 5 00'54.036"
29 May
[28]
18'45.777" 2 19'38.176" 3 1 3 2 5 00'52.399"
2 3 1 19'03.669" 4 19'04.554" 2 5 00'00.885"
20'23.665" 2 3 17'50.051" 2 4 2 5 02'33.614"
2 30 May
[29]
2 3 2 16'27.574" 5 17'58.525" 2 5 01'30.951"
19'09.451" 2 3 2 5 2 17'12.982" 6 01'56.469"
2 17'55.530" 4 2 5 18'25.937" 2 6 00'30.407"
31 May CANCELLED - winds under 6kt
1 June
[30]
~24'28" 2 4 18'29.229" 3 5 2 6 ~5'59"
2 RETIRED (5/6) 4 3 18'50.639" 6 6
2 4 18'32.859" 3 6 2 18'00.868" 7 00'31.991"
23'10.142" 2 22'47.369" 5 3 6 2 7 00'22.773"
2 June
[31]
2 5 16'41.929" 3 15'56.000" 7 2 7 00'45.929"
2 5 3 7 16'59.272" 3 17'23.528" 7 00'24.256"
21'29.324" 2 5 3 17'23.747" 8 3 7 04'05.577"
2 5 19'08.790" 3 8 18'50.575" 4 7 00'18.215"
3 June
[32]
2 5 3 20'09.438" 8 4 19'40.530" 8 00'28.908"
2 20'30.423" 6 20'43.619" 3 8 4 8 00'13.196"
~22'15" 2 6 3 8 19'39.780" 5 8 ~2'35"
2 18'43.047" 6 3 8 5 18'07.557" 9 00'35.490"

Emirates Team New Zealand and defender Oracle Team USA were dominant in the round robins, with 8 wins each. New Zealand did not lose to a single challenger, both of their losses coming against Oracle. Artemis Racing and Land Rover BAR had shaky starts to the series (aided in part by a controversial penalty assessed against Artemis), but both came back strong in the second round robin. SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France both struggled to win races, especially the French, who often lost races by several minutes. With only two wins, the French were eliminated and did not advance to the semi-finals. By virtue of their single point from the AC45 World Series, Oracle Team USA won the Qualifiers, giving them an automatic bonus point in the America's Cup match. As the highest-placed challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand won the right to choose their semi-finals opponent.

Challenger playoffs[edit]

Semi-finals[edit]

The top four challengers after the round robins advanced to best-of-nine semi-finals, held between 4 and 8 June 2017.[23] As the highest placed challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand had the right to choose their opponent, and chose to face Land Rover BAR.

semi-final 1 date semi-final 2
United Kingdom Land Rover BAR New Zealand Emirates Team New Zealand delta Japan SoftBank Team Japan Sweden Artemis Racing delta
CANCELLED - winds under 6kt 4 June CANCELLED - winds under 6kt
RETIRED (3/7) 0 BLACK FLAG (4/7) 1 5 June[33] 17'49.642" 1 18'12.239" 0 00'22.597"
DID NOT START 0 BLACK FLAG (1/7) 2 19'23.219" 1 18'54.639" 1 00'28.580"
21'49.175" 0 19'39.256" 3 02'09.919" 6 June[34] 19'32.839" 2 RETIRED (7/9) 1
BLACK FLAG (2/9) 1 DID NOT FINISH (0/9) 3 21'13.713" 3 21'40.408" 1 00'26.695"
CANCELLED - winds in excess of 24kt 7 June CANCELLED - winds in excess of 24kt
19'09.650" 1 18'38.166" 4 00'31.484" 8 June[35] 20'28.641" 3 19'49.712" 2 00'38.929"
17'27.332" 2 17'46.921" 4 00'19.589" 18'05.841" 3 17'37.915" 3 00'27.926"
18'17.643" 2 17'37.915" 5 00'39.728" 21'16.370" 3 19'30.812" 4 01'45.558"
9 June[36] 19'09.101" 3 18'56.701" 5 00'12.400"

Land Rover BAR retired on leg 2 of the first semi-final race due to a camber arm failure; With the team unable to effect repairs before the subsequent race scheduled that day, two points were awarded to Team New Zealand.[37] With winds peaking at 25.9kt during races on June 6, all four teams suffered visual damage to aerodynamic fairings, notably the port hydraulic daggerboard rams aboard Artemis Racing were exposed. After rounding mark #6 90s behind Team Japan and unable to reduce deficit, Artemis Racing retired. Pinned at the windward mark of the start line by opponent Land Rover BAR in the second race of June 6, Team New Zealand lost control of trim whilst bearing away after the starting gun, pitchpoling and capsizing their yacht; With the crew unable to right the boat without help from their support boat, they were subsequently disqualified when they were boarded by other team members.[38] Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing won their respective semi-finals, advancing to the Challenger's Final.

Final[edit]

A best-of-nine final was held between 10 and 12 June. Team New Zealand registered five wins within the first seven races, advancing to the 2017 America's Cup match, which will be a best-of-thirteen races held between 17 and 27 June 2017.[23]

Team New Zealand were presented with the newly made Louis Vuitton Challenger’s Trophy.[1][2][39][40]

final New Zealand Emirates Team New Zealand Sweden Artemis Racing delta
10 June[41] 19'16.755" 1 20'04.143" 0 00'47.388"
18'36.051" 1 18'21.361" 1 00'14.690"
16'04.024" 2 RETIRED (6/7) 1
11 June[42] 18'19.300" 2 18'34.341" 2 00'15.041"
17'49.080" 3 RETIRED (6/7) 2
17'37.631" 4 17'39.018" 2 00'01.387"
12 June[43] 17'16.515" 5 18'12.691" 2 00'56.176"

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b Cup, 35th America's. "The Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoffs Trophy and Trunk". Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  3. ^ Rules & Governance, americascup.com
  4. ^ "Yacht Club Holiday Villas for Sale - Hamilton Island". www.hamiltonisland.com.au.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-10-01.
  6. ^ America's Cup (25 September 2013). "AMERICA'S CUP FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE - DAY 15" – via YouTube.
  7. ^ John Stensholt (30 September 2013). "Bob Oatley funds Hamilton Island-based bid for America's Cup". BRW. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  8. ^ "America's Cup: Aussie challenge have pulled out". 19 July 2014 – via New Zealand Herald.
  9. ^ "Coutts 'disappointed' by Aussie withdrawal" – via TVNZ.
  10. ^ "New Zealand first team to announce America's Cup entry >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News". 7 August 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Sailing-Ainslie sets British course for America's Cup". 20 February 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017 – via Reuters.
  12. ^ M Lush interview with J Key and G Dalton 8/6/2014 Radio Live.9;30 and 10;30am .NZ
  13. ^ "Yachting: Team NZ challenge to go ahead". 25 June 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2017 – via New Zealand Herald.
  14. ^ Radio Live. M.Lush interview with the Hon Steven Joyce.26/6/14
  15. ^ RadioLIVE News 10am 7/8/2014
  16. ^ "America's Cup: Team Australia pull out of the running for the 35th". 19 July 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  17. ^ Rossa, Luna. "TEAM LUNA ROSSA CHALLENGE ANNOUNCES ITS WITHDRAWAL FROM THE 35th AMERICA'S CUP - Luna Rossa". Archived from the original on 2016-07-30. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  18. ^ [1], Scuttlebutt Sailing News, 30 Apr 2017. Retrieved 2 Jun 2017.
  19. ^ "America's Cup crew v crew: How the Team NZ and Oracle sailing teams match up". Stuff. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  20. ^ a b "The Sharing of a Rivalry, The New York Times, 15 Oct 2015. Retrieved 2 Jun 2017.
  21. ^ "Team New Zealand Hopes to Pedal to an America’s Cup Victory", The New York Times, 28 Feb 2017. Retrieved 2 Jun 2017.
  22. ^ Sir Ben Ainslie unveils Land Rover BAR in mission to bring the America's Cup back to Britain, The Telegraph, 24 Jun 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  23. ^ a b c "2017 America's Cup race schedule". americascup.com. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  24. ^ The Journey to the 35th America's Cup, americascup.com
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  32. ^ "170603_chatter". Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  33. ^ "170605_chatter". Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  34. ^ "170606_chatter". Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  35. ^ "170608_chatter". Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  36. ^ "170609_chatter". Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  37. ^ Great Britain suffer broken wing and trail New Zealand 2-0 in semi-final, BBC, 2017-06-05
  38. ^ Team New Zealand capsize on dramatic semi-final day two, Team New Zealand, 2017-06-06
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