America's Cup World Series, the world's premier yacht race and a magnet for the world's top sailors, will take place in Naples, Italy in the spring of 2012 and 2013.
The AC World Series features tight, short race courses designed to deliver close racing for the fans on shore. The innovative regatta format includes a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing, and all-out fleet racing. These events provide the fans the only opportunity to see all of the America's Cup competitors racing together. The first event in Naples occurs April 7-15, 2012 and the second event is in May 11-29, 2013. The champion of the 2012-2013 AC World Series season will be crowned in Naples, after which the teams will move to San Francisco for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Finals.
At the Naples events, sailors will compete in state-of-the-art AC45 wing-sailed catamarans. The AC45 is the official boat of the AC World Series and the forerunner to the next generation of America's Cup boats. While capable of closing speeds over 35 mph, the AC45 remains nimble enough to handle the tight, tactical race courses. The April event will be the first time these hi-tech boats will be raced in Italy.
The AC45 was designed by the ORACLE Racing design and engineering team, which developed the catamaran on behalf of the America's Cup community. A high-tech, grand prix race boat, it's powered by a wing that towers over 20 meters above the deck and has already demonstrated excellent performance in winds from 5 to 30 knots in early sea trials. ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill, the test pilot, described the boat this way after just one sail, "The wing is big and the boat powers up quickly. It's easy to sail and maneuverability is not a problem."
The challenge was to design a boat that not only met the racing and performance criteria, but also fits inside a 40-foot container, which is the shipping method for the America's Cup World Series.
"The boat was designed for all-around performance so it can be sailed under a wide range of conditions," said Ian Burns, ORACLE Racing design coordinator. "Plus it's a regatta boat, meant for lots of racing, so quick assembly and disassembly was a must to accommodate an active competition schedule."
The race village will be in Bagnoli, a seaside district of Naples. Hotel San Francesco al Monte, a former 16th century monastery and now a beautiful four star hotel, has special packages available for the event. To learn more, visit sanfrancescoalmonte.it.
Other recommended hotels: Grand Hotel Santa Lucia, Royal Continental Hotel, Grand Hotel Parker's and Hotel Naples.