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Armchair viewing of the 32nd America's Cup
(April 12, 2007) The following information comes courtesy of the 2008 Horton-Nichol Olympic Star Campaign (USA), wherein Andy Horton is among the crew on Luna Rosa Challenge (ITA).
If you want a detailed description of the racing each day, go to the official AC site: www.americascup.org. Live coverage on the Internet is available as follows:
• Free live audio is on http://mfile.akamai.com/33786/live/reflector:24937.asx?bkup=40410 It is the same coverage as on the www.americascup.org site only it is actually more in sync with the 3D simulation I mention below. The live-action play-by-play calls for both versions are by GBR's Andy Green. His commentary will be lively and informed, as it has been for the last two years. (Hint: when he says "And there's nothing in it", he means the boats are dead even.)
• At the same time you are listening above, you can go to www.americascup.org and watch a live bar chart indicating who is ahead and by how much. Once again, you don't have to pay to enjoy that feature.
• For more live information, you'll have to pay about $40 US. Go to www.americascupanywhere.com and pay the price to watch 3D simulations on your cell phone, desktop PC or laptop. This program shows you who is ahead, by how much, what their speeds and headings are, etc. You can fully control how and where you view the race. The races are archived for the entire 32nd AC campaign (13 regattas over the last three years), so you can watch the little simulated boats racing in earlier rounds later if you cannot watch live. The audio play-by-play is not possible in the "playback" mode.
The April race schedule is:
- Round 1: 9-race match-racing series 4/16 4/23
- Round 2: 9-race match-racing series 4/25 5/7
The early days of each Round are likely to involve opponents ranked at opposite ends of the scale, and all the underdogs have a chance against the "big guys". With new boats for each team, these first rounds may bring a few surprises and will feature "interesting" crew work on these highly loaded boats. At the end of Round 2, all but four Challengers will be eliminated.
Louis Vuitton Challenger Selection Trials dates are:
- Round 1: 5/14 5/25 will be a series of 9 races one per day
- Round 2: 6/1 6/12 will be a series of 9 races one per day
• As for television, the Versus network is serving the US, with limited coverage during the early rounds, and then full coverage beginning May 14 for the semi-final rounds of the challenger series. See the Show Listings in the Scuttlebutt Event Calendar for the Versus schedule.
If you want to try racing on your PC, you can download Virtual Skipper 4 (VSK4) at the game download site, www.virtualskipper-game.com/en. I would caution you that, while VSK4 is great, the AC website is deceptive. It leads you to think you are about to download the "Americas Cup 32" version (VSK5). If you look verrrrrrry carefully, you'll quickly see that is not the case. You can load ONLY VSK4 now. Though VSK4 does have the AC boats and the Valencia and other ports, the software is two years old and has not been (and probably won't be) upgraded to the level they are advertising on the AC website.
Wait until the actual "Americas Cup 32" version, Virtual Skipper 5, is released in late April. The company is NOT likely to allow you to upgrade for free to the new version (VSK1 thru VSK4 are stand-alones without even discounted upgrades…), and it will be worth the wait for those of you who want to experience the best and most realistic virtual racing experience that exists right now. You can race alone or against others online in lively fleet and match racing regattas, too, which are interesting, but not for the timid.
Enjoy the vicarious sailing now - and the real thing this summer!