Special to Nordstjernan from The America’s Cup

Sweden’s Artemis Racing earned the admiration of the sailing world during these past weeks as they returned from their fatal crash. Although this was but their thirteenth day back on the water, the entire team and the crew never gave up. Today’s race was their slowest of the four, yet they consistently improved, reaching 99% of their competitor’s speed on the water. Unfortunately they were slower and took a longer path to the finish line. However, Luna Rossa too consistently improved throughout the best of four races in the Louis Vuitton Cup Semifinals, winning 4-0. Earlier reports: Saturday morning Italians lead Swedes 3-0 in best of seven

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Factors in the loss
Artemis owner Törnqvist indicated that one of the factors dooming the team was a decision made more than a year ago not to design their boats to foil. Even after New Zealand had demonstrated at this time last year that they were foiling on jibes and all other competitors had adapted their boats, Sweden was the last to adopt this modification. Further, unfortunately after their disaster, they logically followed the design recommendations of the Regatta Director for their new longboat. When these recommendations were judged to be wrong, they had no option but to continue with them. Having committed to them, they modified all of their spare rudders; so, now they had no spares.
Other factors in today’s loss had to be the three penalties that Artemis incurred. In hindsight, one sees that Outteridge cleverly boxed in Draper at the start, slowing Italy down considerably but then hounded them and sideswiped them, for which the judges penalized Artemis as they sped away. Had they slowed down immediately, they might have lost 1-2 boat lengths, but as they continued the penalty mounted to 6-7 boat lengths. And they dogged Luna Rossa’s track, sometimes suffering their wing wash.
Worse yet, they twice crossed the boundary line, picking up further penalties. Yesterday people marveled at how close they had come to the boundary without crossing it. Crew indicated that this was based upon new software. Today either the software didn't work or something else didn’t. At the last penalty, just as Outteridge was calling for a tack, someone on the crew yelled back that they weren’t ready.

People were moved
While the disappointment for the crew and team far exceeds that of the fans, they are justly proud of how much they achieved in such a short time against incredible odds. And while the motto of the America’s Cup is “there is no second”, still each member has burnished his resume. One only wishes that the crew could be reconstituted for the next Cup to show what it could achieve with time and another boat.
Everybody on the team is to be commended for being able to compete, from the top to the least among them. Owner Törnqvist and Skipper Percy both thanked their tremendous fans, who supported them without fail. Törnqvist, an avid sailor, is to be commended for his passionate commitment and investment in the team as well as for assembling such a stellar team and crew. Percy, despite the personal burden he bore, provided inspiring leadership which held the team together during its darkest days. Outteridge was calm, clever and confident, complemented by Jensen his WingTrimmer. And all of the crew grew incredibly. Paul Cayard, CEO of the team, a veteran of America’s Cups and a San Franciscan, hand-picked the crew and the whole team, working from the very start, he managed Artemis as Challenger of Record, to arrange all logistics, which kept them competitive. The crew itself always acknowledged, as they did again today, the work of their ground crew, whose tireless toil made everything possible.

Collegiality: A Class Act
The closing ceremony to the semifinals was one of the best aspects of this regatta, a class act of collegiality. First Artemis was invited to the stage. The entire audience cheered waving whichever flag they were holding. Later Luna Rossa’s crew joined them onstage to an equally warm welcome. The two teams hugged one another, recognizing the greater fraternity which they all share. As the MC noted, Artemis captured the heart of San Francisco and all visitors. This may be one of the first cases where the team was heartily embraced San Francisco and the city left part of its heart with the team. With that Artemis left the stage, and the audience warmly received the victorious crew.

Sweden’s youth team, September 1-4
As the competition now continues, to determine the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup, who will challenge USA in September, it is important for us to remember that Sweden’s role is not yet finished. During the first week of September, a team of young Swedish sailors will challenge seven other international youth teams in fleet racing during the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Keep your eyes on these select young sailors. We hope to see some of them aboard Sweden’s boat in the next defense of the America’s Cup.

Ted Olsson
from San Francisco