Special to Nordstjernan from the 34th America's Cup

In 2010, Oracle beat Alinghi 2-0 in a Deed of Gift challenge to win the America’s Cup. Within the year Artemis Racing, representing the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) and the country, became the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup.
Torbjörn Törnqvist, the Swedish entrepreneur—avid athlete and member of KSSS, headed the syndicate to create a boat and team to challenge for the Cup. He chose as his CEO the world-class sailor Paul Cayard, born in San Francisco with strong ties to Sweden. Cayard assembled his team, including helmsman Terry Hutchinson, while the boats were being built.
In the 2011-12 championships, after six series of championship races in as many locations, Sweden garnered third place behind USA-Spithill#4 and New Zealand’s ETNZ. After the 2012-2013 season, they were tenth among 12 teams.
That summer’s racing in San Francisco against a dozen boats in both match and fleet racing was particularly significant—it was a rehearsal for America’s Cup racing on San Francisco Bay, and after the conclusion of London’s Olympics, many teams picked up valuable talent.
A third of the 2012 teams could not afford to compete in the 2013 races, so the 2012 Cup regatta provided choice picking of the best sailors for the 2013 racing teams. As helmsmen, Oracle took on Ben Ainslie; Luna Rossa, Chris Draper; Artemis, Nathan Outteridge; and, Artemis also hired France’s Loïck Peyron to mentor Outteridge.
On July 1, 2012, all 2013 teams began practicing on their AC72s. Artemis had gained a legitimate edge by using its new giant wing early on a trimaran. New Zealand similarly innovated, practicing with its foiling longboat, reportedly rounding their marks on foils. That completely changed AC72 racing.
Italy, entering late on a shoestring budget, could not afford to start from scratch; so, it bought the design plans for New Zealand’s first generation boat. Oracle and ultimately Artemis both had to belatedly adopt foils.


America’s Cup 2010-2013
This America’s Cup would be revolutionary. The history of this longest continuous international competition has always been about advancing the speed and skill on big boats that push the technology to new limits. Larry Ellison, principal of Oracle Team USA set out to revolutionize the contest. His innovations were intended to make the sport both excellent and extreme. as well as a popular spectator sport for fans. His reforms included novel changes to traditional formats:
1) The fastest boats: Two new classes of boats would race during two years—AC45s (45-feet long, 80-feet tall, hard but flexible winged catamarans with daggerboards) would race during the preliminary races, but the final races would be on AC72s (72-feet long, 131-feet winged catamarans).
2) The best sailors: These races were not genteel but put a premium on athleticism. As in the past, teams could buy the best sailors, regardless of nationality.
3) Urban stadiums: Instead of racing on the open ocean, where only wealthy yachtsmen could watch, now the race would be held on ocean bays and estuaries beside large cities which could host all the guests and attendant events. Spectators could watch each race for free from the shore or virtually on sports television. Of course there would be premium seating for a price. The courses would be short (about 45 minutes long), the races fast..
4) America’s Cup World Series (ACWS): Leading up to the final defense match, the America’s Cup World Series races would be held at urban stadiums in famous ports around the world. Each venue would host a series of races for a week or more accumulating points, with match racing duels and fleet racing spectacles while building audiences around the world.
5) San Francisco—the city, bay and region: As in the past, there would be a bidding war among cities wishing to host the Defense of the Cup. The price would be both economic and political: a combination of property for the Cup and improvements in the city’s infrastructure. Naples, San Francisco and Newport were among the top contenders. San Francisco won because it was home to the host yacht club, and the city promised excitement and the bay a sailing challenge.
The deals, however, were made in the midst of a recession, so estimates of participating teams and spectators could not be accurate. In San Francisco Bay’s conditions, the challengers would race during the worst, most unpredictable weather, while the defense, immediately following this, would be during the best sailing weather. The top races would be held at this urban stadium during 2012 with a fleet of AC45s and in 2013 with the AC72s.
In 2012, eight nations were able to afford boats (some of them two) and race them in both duels and also against the whole fleet. Ten boats raced in 2012; in 2013 only three teams (Sweden, New Zealand and Italy) could afford to challenge the champion (U.S.A.).
6) Associated events and apparel: To promote and sustain attendance, a 9,000-seat amphitheater would be temporarily built for top-flight concerts. Every day during the summer there would be free local concerts by local bands. The store would sell apparel and souvenirs to fans. Giant television monitors would stream all races with commentary and explanatory graphics for free to attendees, since at the bay shoreline one couldn’t take in the full course from the piers. There would be two venues for spectators: AC Park (Piers 27-29 at the city’s new cruise ship terminal) near the finish line; and AC Village (along Marina Green near the two yacht clubs) at the starting line, where grandstand bleacher seating would be available.
7) Ocean sustainability: This time all venues in the Cup competition would use the prestige of the event to teach fans about the dire fate of the oceans. And to emphasize the garbage patches of plastic larger than states floating in all the world’s oceans, the Cup authority held beach cleanup days at each venue, collecting an unimaginable tonnage at each site and leaving the environs better than before.
The fate of potable water for all the world’s populations would be emphasized by providing free drinking water. Each racing venue would be totally green, recycling all garbage, and like the sailboats, minimizing all energy usage by using sustainable sources wherever possible. The legacy of the Cup, then, was to challenge each of the locations to enact laws and provide infrastructure to help all future large events be equally conscientious.
8) Stunning television coverage: A radically new form of television graphics would instruct novice fans and inform old salts by showing wind and water currents, the distances between boats and the defined race course on the water. For full course perspective and close-up drama, the crews would be miked and the boats would carry numerous cameras documenting onboard excitement. Even the boat’s stresses would be continuously monitored by telemetry. Commentators would explain all the action. Helicopters, GPS and chase boats would all enhance the immediacy of the coverage.
9) Logos on all boats: These boats would carry the logos of sponsoring organizations, just like Formula-1 race cars, in an attempt to share the expense of these costly enterprises.
10) Louis Vuitton Cup: For the 30th year, Louis Vuitton, continuing the longest sponsorship in international sports, would host a series of Round Robin races to display and test the boats and crews against each other. The Louis Vuitton Cup was established to winnow the challengers to the single best challenger. The Finals would determine the best of these two, becoming the Challenger to meet the Champion.
11) Hydrofoiling: The protocol defining the design of the boats did not anticipate daggerboards with foils lifting the 7-ton boats to race downwind skimming above the water. But after New Zealand legitimately found a way to use them, all boats had to use them to have a chance to win. The drag of water is considerably greater than the resistance in air, but could anyone consistently balance a 7-ton craft on surfboard-sized foils while racing around a course powered by a 13-story rigid sail?
That was mere fantasy until the summer of 2012 when New Zealand demonstrated that reality. At that point all competitors were forced to adopt this technology or abandon the race. And that adoption of new designs and technology is a hallmark of the 162 years of the America’s Cup.
12) Safety: All the challengers complained about the cost and danger of sailing the designated longboats. Oracle’s longboat with foils capsized in 2012, and all teams warned of a probability of more dangerous accidents; on May 9, 2013, Artemis’ longboat without foils, Big Red, broke apart, killing teammate Bart Simpson. The Regatta Director issued 37 safety recommendations to improve the conditions, although the AC Jury disallowed several recommendations that would have modified the original design of the boats.
13) Independent Management: To guarantee impartiality, this America’s Cup created several constituent organizations to run the race, independent of the Champion: ACEA—America’s Cup Event Administration (Stephen Barclay, CEO) runs all aspects of the events except the competition; ACRM —America’s Cup Race Management (Iain Murray, Regatta Director) runs the competition; ACJury (a panel of world class sailing experts) hears and adjudicates issues among the teams.

New Zealand v USA in 34th America’s Cup
On Sunday, August 25, having won the 30th anniversary Louis Vuitton Cup, New Zealand became the sole Challenger to race against the Champion in the “September Showdown” (best of 17 races between September 7-21) to win the 34th America’s Cup title. As it had in the earlier Round Robin series, New Zealand won all its completed races against Italy. The only race Italy won was when New Zealand had to drop out because of a hydraulic failure. It consistently beat Italy in all starts, always rounded the first mark first, and then sped away, never to be overtaken. That one failure accounted for the 7-1 score in the first-to-reach-7 races.
The commentary at the LVC Finals' concluding press conference emphasized that Italy was the last team to enter the race and could only afford one boat. They purchased the design of New Zealand’s first boat—already with hydrofoils—and then customized it. The Italians also had the advantage of partnering with the New Zealanders for three months of racing in Auckland, where the teams traded information on each boat’s performance. However, the Kiwis not merely customized that first boat but continually modified their second boat to enhance their daily performance. This is one reason the Round Robin series was so dynamic and thrilling; each day both competitors continually advanced.
The Kiwis mastered foiling downwind and even hydroplaned briefly upwind. ETNZ’s Skipper Greg Dalton admitted that while both they and the Oracle team have been tracking each other with radar, no one knows until the defense how each team will do racing the other. Both teams will use these next two weeks to refine their boats, performance and strategies. Finally, the Defense of the Cup will determine the winner and home for the Cup for this next period.

We all love the underdog
The great heroic story is that of Artemis Racing. It was the last of the four teams to adopt the hydrofoils. While they were integral to its second boat, Big Blue, its first boat, Big Red, which suffered the fatal crash, did not even have foils. Under the circumstances seen from today, no one could win the Louis Vuitton Cup nor the America’s Cup if they had not mastered hydrofoiling.
On May 9, when Artemis broke apart and lost its beloved mate, the team and Cup racing were changed. In fraternal solidarity the crew attended their teammate’s funeral in England, and then returned to race in his memory. Now they were rededicated to the new goal: competing in the LVC Semifinals.
The onshore teammates, as mentioned by all the crew, competitors and commentators alike, performed herculean feats 24/7 to ready the new foiling longboat, Big Blue. Meanwhile the crew took turns practicing on their 2012 AC45, now adapted with hydrofoils. The difficulty is that the AC45 has a crew of five, the AC72 eleven. So, other than the helmsman, tactician and wingman, the grinders had to be swapped in and out.
On the first day of sailing their second longboat, everyone was greatly impressed that Artemis had flown on their foils, straight but aloft. The Italians had been racing on hydrofoils for almost a hundred days when Artemis entered the LVC semifinal racing against them with but five days of foiling. By the end, after barely a dozen days of sailing their hydroplaning longboat, Artemis lost 4-0 in four straight days. Yet throughout the thirteen days of sailing their longboat, everybody—rivals, commentators, administrators and spectators—marveled at the skill of the team and the crew in their continual and dramatic improvement under the greatest strain: mastering their boat in the first half of the days, and racing in the second half. As Hemingway would say, they showed true courage, “Grace under pressure.”
In perspective, although the odds were daunting, time beat them, as did Italy’s more practiced team. Yet nobody on Artemis’ team or on that crew will forget these days. The bonding and the effort remain. They gave their all for the memory of Bart and for the world-class level of competition in the America’s Cup. All of the youngest men will return in the next Cup.
But the Cup has changed. Although several older men were on this year’s crew, few if any are likely to make the crew next time.
For some on the Artemis crew—which did not include any Swedes on Big Blue—this will have been their last America’s Cup competition. But all earned their rightful pride. In their quixotic quest, they persevered. The motto of The America’s Cup may indeed be “There is no second,” but that applies only to the possession of the trophy.
Italy made the LVC Finals for the third time in the past four contests. They won the LVC Cup in 2000 and finished runner-up to New Zealand in 2007 as they did this year. Yet they consider this year’s loss to be but the beginning of their challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.
That too, must be Sweden’s perspective on this year’s results. Immortal, Artemis survives to chase another day.
The team’s performance has now become part of America’s Cup lore, rather like the chapter written by the one Australia (AUS 35) team on March 6, 1995, when their boat sank two minutes after taking on water. Losing to New Zealand that year, which went on to wrest the Cup “back under,” Bertrand reflected at that time, “We’re talking about life on the edge. People focus on the boat breaking, but that’s the reality of living on the edge.” In a letter published in newspapers throughout Australia after the event, Bertrand explained: “We are living on the edge with a project like that and we were proud of it … and tragedies don’t stop the world of the America’s Cup. Even though our boat broke and sank, that’s the game we were playing. If we weren’t on edge, we weren’t going to be competitive. From my perspective, I’m proud that that’s what the America’s Cup represents.”

Until we meet again
Immediately after his team crossed the finish line for the last time, Torbjörn Törnqvist joined his team aboard Big Blue to thank and congratulate each member of his crew for his tremendous effort. They in turn thanked him for unwavering support of the entire team. Then all turned toward shore for a group photo.
In his concession speech, Törnqvist was most gracious and expressed his appreciation and admiration for all members of his team for their resiliency and dedication, allowing them to accomplish truly legendary feats, which not merely add to their reputation but will prepare the team for new challenges.
Törnqvist, principal of Artemis Racing, indicated that Artemis will live to race another day and he looks forward to fielding a second challenge for the next America’s Cup. “Yes, that’s my wish. It’s difficult to say what the format will be for the next America’s Cup, but I certainly see this as the first campaign and not the last one. … These are spectacular boats and the tradition of the America’s Cup has always been spectacular boats at its time. I think these boats are different, controversial in many aspects. Some of the traditional racing perhaps gets lost, it’s more raw speed, but I think it’s too early to summarize. There are pros and cons, clearly, to this.”
We Swedes and Swedish-Americans in the United States also commend Törnqvist and the entire Artemis team. You made us proud. You heard our cheers, shouts and honking horns as we waved our Swedish flags from shore to wish you well on each race day and to welcome you back ashore at the end of the race, regardless of the outcome. We are most grateful and proud of your performance in the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco.

Ted Olsson
San Francisco