By April Thygeson
The graceful Italian city of Naples will host the fourth America’s Cup World Series regatta, beginning tomorrow, April 11th through Sunday the 15th.
The event will feature nine boats from seven countries, including: Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), with two boats; Artemis Racing (Sweden), skipper Terry Hutchinson; China Team (China), skipper Fred Le Peutrec; Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), skipper Dean Barker; Energy Team (France), helmsmen Yann Guichard; ORACLE Racing (USA) with two boats, skippers James Spithill and Darren Bundock; and Team Korea (Korea) with skipper Nathan Outteridge.
Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Dean Barker, is the current leader in overall standings of the 2011/2012 America’s Cup World Series. Our home team, ORACLE Racing skippered by James Spithill, trails by only one point. The competition is intensifying, however. This week the Italian team, Luna Rossa, will once again join the America’s Cup line-up with two boats entered. Their presence in the America’s Cup will certainly ramp up the level of excitement among Italian spectators in Naples.
Like NBC, who has had the foresight to obtain the rights to broadcast the America’s Cup in the U.S. for the first time in twenty years, a coterie of international media partners are jumping at the opportunity to air the America’s Cup race events. Italian Mediaset SpA will broadcast up to ten hours of live TV coverage throughout Italy via its Italia 1 and Italia 2 channels.
Luca Tiraboschi, the Director of Italia 1 and Mediaset Italia 2, had this to say about the coverage: “Italian fans are the most passionate in the world and we are bringing them 10 hours of live coverage of this exciting sport, staged in one of the most historically important and beautiful cities in Italy.” For those of us who may not make it to Italy for the Naples regatta, the racing will be streamed to the web on the America’s Cup youtube channel. Mediaset will also provide live coverage of the America’s Cup World Series in Venice in May and Newport, Rhode Island in June.
The pressure is on for Luna Rossa to perform well on their home waters. “I think Luna Rossa might be considered the favorite in Italy,” commented ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill, “To be honest, I would not be surprised if they were to win. They are in their home country with two of the best helmsmen in these boats.”
Hold onto your hats, sailors. The race is on.