This past weekend, June 10th, 2016, the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series —LVACWS— a.k.a the 'Auld Mug' took place for the very first time in fresh water. The setting, Chicago's Lake Michigan lakefront and Navy Pier. Since Bremont is the timing partner for the America's Cup and one of the partners for the Oracle Team USA —the defending champion—, we were invited as one of their special guests. The Louis Vuitton America's Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two sailing yachts. The America's Cup was born in 1851 when a schooner, named America, passed the Royal Yacht in first position as Queen Victoria was watching a sailing race. That day in August, 1851, the yacht America, representing the young New York Yacht Club, would go on to beat the best the British could offer and win the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Pound Cup. After their victory, the New York Yacht Club donated the trophy to the New York Yacht Club under a Deed of Gift, which stated that the trophy was to be "a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations.” Thus the America’s Cup was born, named after the winning schooner America, as opposed to the name of our country.
The year 2016, marks the 35th edition of the America's Cup with 10 races throughout the world and set to culminate on June 27th, 2017 in the island of Bermuda. The race that took place in Chicago this past weekend, was the sixth race of the series after five races have already taken place in 2015 and earlier this year in Portsmouth in the Great Britain, Gothenburg in Sweden, Bermuda, Muscat in Oman and New York City here in the U.S. The upcoming races in the World Series calendar include: Portsmouth in Great Britain, Toulon in France, Fukouka in Japan and the grand final in Bermuda.
As we geared up for a very exciting weekend with a Bremont ALT1-C Classic Chronograph on our wrist, the event kicked-off on Friday June 10th, 2016 with a very hot humid weekend in Chicago. With up to 1,000 boats ringing the race area just off the city front and tens of thousands of fans crowded Chicago's Navy Pier, we were set to witness the practice and race in a comfortable boat right on the water. As we set to sail off the dock, Sam Newton —Trimmer/Grinder for Oracle Team USA— joined us on board sporting his very own Bremont watch on the wrist.
Without a doubt Friday's practice was more exciting than the actual final race on Sunday as two capsizes took place —one from the Emirates Team New Zealand and the other one from our very own Oracle Team USA. During the ‘substitute race’ —sailed on Friday due to inclement weather on Thursday— the Oracle Team USA capsized and carried a last place finish on the scoreboard. This 'substitute race' counted as Race One of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Chicago.
As Saturday afternoon went on under very steamy and sunny conditions, the wind finally started to pick up with the race having to be extended beyond the initial 3:00pm deadline. Should weather conditions on Sunday, had not allowed for the final race to take place, the 'substitute race' would've been broadcasted in its place as an official race. Fortunately, weather on Sunday was also perfect with great wind conditions that resulted in a fantastic race day during the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago.
As far as the results goes, Emirates Team New Zealand was the top team on Saturday, finishing ahead of Oracle Team USA and Artemis Racing from Sweden. Unfortunately for Oracle Team USA this race wasn't a good race at all, even though Jimmy Spithill —Skipper and Helmsman— and Tom Slingsby —Helmsman/Tactician & Sailing Team Manager— did all they could to have their other three teammates go above and beyond as they sailed on Lake Michigan.
By the end of Friday practice and 'substitute' races, SoftBank Team Japan came in first followed by Artemis Racing Sweden, Groupama Team France, Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA at last. On Sunday, The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Chicago was one for the record books! For the first time in 165 years, the America’s Cup hit fresh water and it did not disappoint. Over the course of three days, the world’s best sailors on the fastest boats battled it out on the shores of Lake Michigan, only a few feet away from the packed stadium at Navy Pier with over 200,000 fans. As Artemis Racing from Sweden conquered the race in Chicago by putting together its most consistent regatta of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series with a 2, 2, 1, 4 scoreline, the Land Rover BAR Team came in second and the SoftBank Team Japan finished third putting them on the podium for the very first time.
After this amazing weekend in Chicago, the overall leader board at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is as follows:
- Emirates Team New Zealand – 295 points
- Land Rover BAR – 285 points
- ORACLE TEAM USA – 285 points
- Artemis Racing – 262 points
- SoftBank Team Japan – 259 points
- Groupama Team France – 234 points
The next race of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series is set to take place on July 23-24th in Portsmouth, Great Britain. For more info on the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series click here, for Bremont here and for Oracle Team USA here.