Artemis Racing won the America’s Cup World Series in Chicago with Land Rover BAR second and SoftBank Team Japan third. It was the first time for Dean Barker and Team Japan to be on the podium and the first time that Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand were not. Artemis, New Zealand and BAR have each won two events. Oracle has yet to win. But… read on.
Now, it’s fine to celebrate and spray some champagne around. And, I like Artemis Racing. I was their expert commentator in their VIP lounge during the racing in San Francisco. I know this team and genuinely like them. But this is the America’s Cup World SERIES. The bonus points for the “America’s Cup Qualifiers” go for the best score in the SERIES not for the number of podiums.
Look at this table:
Artemis won in Bermuda and Chicago. But they are 33 points behind New Zealand. Do a little arithmetic and you will see that even if they finished three places better than the Kiwis in every race in Portsmouth – highly unlikely – they would still be six points behind. Consistency rather than flashes of brilliance wins a series. In 22 races, Artemis has finished last seven times; only Team France has more – 10 last place finishes. Japan has two last place finishes and the three teams atop the leaderboard – New Zealand, BAR and Oracle have one apiece, although Oracle needed a capsize to do it.
The match racing in Bermuda in America’s Cup Class yachts will bear almost no resemblance to the fleet racing in one design AC45’s in the America’s Cup World Series. And, Artemis has been training for months with their two AC45X experimental boats while Team New Zealand has yet to launch a comparable test boat. Yes, the Kiwis have been using one of Luna Rossa’s modified AC45’s but that is a far cry from testing systems and developing a crew choreography playbook for the racing in 2017.
And yet… Imagine that the America’s Cup World Series ended with the current standings. The Kiwis would start the round robin America’s Cup Qualifiers with two bonus points; Artemis would have none. Imagine further that Artemis’s superior technology helped them go undefeated in the round robin, scoring 10 points. And that the Kiwis lost only their two races with Artemis, winning eight races. With their two bonus points the Kiwis would be tied for first with Artemis. Since ties in the Qualifiers are broken by America’s Cup World Series standings, New Zealand would win the Qualifiers. If Artemis made it through the Challenger Semi-finals and Finals, they would start even with defender Oracle instead of with the one point lead they would have had, if they had won the Qualifiers.
America’s Cup World Series Leaderboard – June 2016