Hello all, Brooke here!
This summer has been great and one of the highlights thus far has been going to see part of The America’s Cup World Series with fellow UConn Sailing Team members and alumni.
This year, part of the America’s Cup Series took place in Newport, Rhode Island where I grew up sailing. It was an amazing experience to see these cutting edge boats compete, especially on the same waters that we compete on! Two of our alumni team members were able to compete in a pre-show race before the America’s Cup boats raced in F18s, or 18 foot catamarans. It was a blast, most of our team was able to come out and cheer them on before the main festivities.
The America’s Cup sailors compete in AC45 boats and will eventually transition into the AC72s, a larger version of the AC45s. These
boats are incredible! They are catamarans, meaning they have two hulls. Instead of sails, the AC45s have ‘wings’. When I arrived to the Cup, I didn’t realize this but Red Bull had a deconstructed demo boat out for spectators to touch, including this ‘wing’ sail. Instead of traditional fabric, this wing is composed out of carbon fiber and Kevlar ribbing with a film stretched over the ribbing. This is why when Coutts (one of the American Oracle skippers) capsized and fell through his wing weeks before in San Francisco, it was more serious than falling through fabric. When asked during a Q&A session in Newport how that felt, Coutts joked about how much fun it is to fly through the air.
Speaking of flying, the America’s Cup had quite a few sponsors including Red Bull. Red Bull even put on a pre-show before the last day of racing, Super Sunday. They called in the Red Bull Air Force and two wing-men (wearing special wing style suits) and two parachutists jumped out of an airplane doing tricks and landed in the middle of the spectator area.
The whole event was surreal with thousands lining the Newport shore line and watching the boats race. The teams raced in both fleet style races (all boats racing at once), speed trials (one boat sailing at a time) and match races (two boats racing against each other). One of our teams sailors even got to shake Coutts’ hand after he won the match race for the day. There were so many famous sailors just strolling around the event’s grounds, it was unreal. On our way out, our team was walking next to two men wearing Prada shirts. Prada sponsors the Italian team and sold apparel at the event but I happened to strike up a conversation with these two and asked if they had raced that day. They said they had, meaning that they had just stepped off the boat that won the Super Sunday fleet race a few moments before. Although my first instinct was to ask one of them to marry me on the spot, I showed a little self restraint and our team wished them congratulations on their big win. All in all, Oracle Team USA Spithill won the America’s Cup Newport. The whole experience was wonderful!