Sailing World Series starts in city tomorrow

The nine-day second leg of the America’s Cup World Series starts in Plymouth tomorrow, Saturday 10 September.

The prestige sailing event, part of the 160-year-old America’s Cup which is the oldest trophy in international sport, will be the ‘biggest regatta Plymouth has ever seen’, said the city’s council leader Vivien Pengelly at today’s opening press conference.

The ideal waters of the virtually enclosed Plymouth Sound, where shorebound spectators can take advantage of a wealth of natural vantage points, will nonetheless see challenging conditions over the opening weekend.

Winds of up to 38 knots are expected, potentially enough to capsize some of the nine identical wing-sailed AC45 catamarans, each worth £800,000, taking part in opening AC 500 Speed Trials.

Any private boat owners daring enough to brave those conditions for the chance to watch the fast and furious action from the water will have limited access to an area just inside Plymouth Breakwater. Full details are available in this Notice to Mariners.

For shorebound spectators, expected to number in the hundreds of thousands, the race village at Plymouth Hoe is probably the best place for viewing the spectacularly up-close action.

Plymouth has enthusiastically embraced the event, putting on a free-entry festival in the race village featuring shops, food and drink, with the opportunity to see the boats when they aren’t racing, and meet the crews. Entertainment will include well-known musicians Seth Lakeman, Newton Faulkner and Wille and the Bandits.

Every day, the race village’s giant screen will show highlights from onboard the boats and up in the race helicopter. This Series will enjoy some of sailing’s best-ever media coverage and will be broadcast on TV around the world, with its own YouTube channel on the internet showing every minute of live action.

Plymouth is the second leg of the 2011-12 Series – the first having taken place in Cascais, Portugal from 6-14 August. The series carries on to San Diego, California in November, then Venice, Italy next May and finally Newport, Rhode Island at the end of June 2012.

Plymouth spectator guide

Americas Cup

Image: ACEA