The America's Cup comes to Newport, R.I., in June, but the fleet won’t look anything like Ted Turner’s victorious Courageous in 1977 or Dennis Conner’s triumphant Freedom in 1980.
The America’s Cup World Series — the run-up racing to next year’s Cup finals — brings nine of the top sailing crews in the world to Newport June 26 to July 1 to race 45-foot catamarans with 70-foot, fixed-wing sails. The AC45s, which hit speeds topping 20 knots, are smaller versions of the 72-foot catamarans that will be raced on San Francisco Bay for the 34th America’s Cup regatta in 2013.
Click play for video of AC45s sailing in Venice.
The series wraps up its 2011-12 season in Newport. The most recent stop on the circuit was Naples, Italy, which concluded May 20. Oracle Team USA, led by skipper James Spithill, is in first place overall in the standings.
“The championship has been extremely close since the first event in Portugal last summer,” Spithill said in a press release. “I won’t be surprised to see it come down to the final race, on the final day in Newport, and that’s the way it should be.”
In addition to the racing, the teams will be out training, starting June 23. The final race day will air live nationwide on NBC Sports.
The AC Village, located at Fort Adams State Park, opens to the public June 23. Visitors will get a unique view of the team bases — the “pit row” — where the catamarans will be launched each day. The AC Village will provide a great vantage point for spectators, with racing taking place just yards offshore in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.
The village also will offer a live race feed with commentary, as well as a Moët & Chandon champagne bar, Napa Valley Vintners wine lounge, multiple concessions and stores.
General admission tickets to the AC Village in Fort Adams State Park during race days (June 28 to July 1) are $10 per person per day; children 12 and under will be admitted free. No tickets are required June 23-27. Tickets are available online by clicking here and at the Newport Visitor Information Center on America’s Cup Avenue.