New Zealand elects to bypass semifinals and move straight to Louis Vuitton Cup finals

Marcio Jose Sanchez/2013 AP file photoSan Francisco Bay offered a spectacular backdrop for the America's Cup in 2013

Marcio Jose Sanchez/2013 AP file photoSan Francisco Bay offered a spectacular backdrop for the America's Cup in 2013

With the Louis Vuitton Cup round-robin title wrapped up, Emirates Team New Zealand is opting to skip the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals and head straight to the finals, setting up a showdown between Luna Rossa Challenge and Artemis Racing in the semis.

New Zealand clinched the top spot in the round robin last week, giving the Kiwis the choice of competing in the semifinals, which get underway on Aug. 6, or advancing directly to the best-of-13 final, slated to begin on Aug. 17.

New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said the Kiwis “thought pretty hard” about competing in the semifinals before announcing their decision on Sunday.

He said the team eventually concluded that using the next three weeks to make boat modifications was more valuable than head-to-head competition.

“It obviously takes time,” Barker said.

New Zealand earned its ninth point of the round robin on Sunday by defeating Luna Rossa for a fourth straight race, this time by three minutes, 20 seconds.

The Italian boat's performance was a dramatic improvement from last Tuesday's race when the Kiwis defeated it by more than seven minutes.

“We've made, probably, a 20 percent improvement on our boat speed in the last 10 days,” Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena said.

While New Zealand tweaks its boat, the Italians will try to win their first head-to-head race against Artemis, which is looking to join the competition on Aug. 6, in the semifinals.

Artemis launched its new 72-foot catamaran, Big Blue, last week, but skipper Iain Percy said it's unlikely that the team will compete in its last scheduled round-robin races on Tuesday and Thursday.

“In terms of racing before the semis, I think it might be one step too far,” he said. “We're never going to say never, but the thing that's very important to us over the next few weeks and into the future is to keep our focus on safety.”

The Swedish team showed promise last week by foiling during its first runs on the water. But Percy said Artemis is still getting a handle on its boat.

“We don't want to run before we can walk,” he said.

So far, the Louis Vuitton Cup has featured nine solo runs and four blowouts and it looks like New Zealand is going to coast into the 34th America's Cup without any real competition.

“It's going to be difficult for Artemis,” America's Cup CEO Stephen Barclay said. “The good news is they straight line speed, but this is a tight course, which means a lot of maneuvering.”

But Barclay said he expects the races to be more competitive as the Louis Vuitton Cup progresses next month.

“This are going to tighten up a lot,” he said.

Emirates Team New ZealandLouis Vuitton Cup

Just Posted

The music director Eun Sun Kim at the San Francisco Opera, Oct. 7, 2021. Kim is the first woman to serve as music director of one of America’s largest opera companies. She aims to broaden the art form’s appeal in the digital age. (Kelsey McClellan/The New York Times)
San Francisco Opera’s music director is making history. Can She Help Ensure Its Future?

Eun Sun Kim is the first woman to hold the position at a major company

Badly needed rain cooled off pedestrians on Market Street in The City on Wednesday. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Storm door opens in San Francisco — what will the rains bring?

‘Come Monday, fire season in Northern California should be done’

The so-called “twindemic” that public health officials in California and elsewhere warned about last year — the combined threat of influenza and COVID-19 — was largely eased by the wide use of face masks, physical distancing and reduced travel, experts say. But their concerns are back this year. (Shutterstock)
COVID and the flu: Is a ‘twindemic’ threat lurking again?

‘Because of so little disease last year, population immunity is likely lower’

49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hopes to return to the field this weekend to lead San Francisco against the Colts. (Photo courtesy of 49ers)
NFL Week 7 picks: Niners face crucial matchup against the Colts

San Francisco could join Seattle on the brink of irrelevancy in the NFC West with another loss

Newly appointed City Attorney David Chiu will play a key role in an upcoming legal battle between gig economy companies and The City. (Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock)
City Attorney David Chiu faces immediate test in major gig economy lawsuit

DoorDash and Grubhub are suing San Francisco over price controls

Most Read