America's Cup


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Good evening everybody! It's finally here - after years of preparation, tonnes of money, lot of qualifying events and miles of sailing, it's the 35th America's Cup. @Ugster1 with you for the first two races of the series tonight.

The teams from France, Japan, Great Britain and Sweden were knocked out in the final qualifying competition, so we're left with a repeat of the final from four years ago - Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. Henceforth known as USA and New Zealand respectively.

The 34th America's Cup will of course be remembered for the stunning USA comeback, as they won eight races in a row to pip New Zealand at the death. It was also helped by the fantastic scenery, as it took place in San Francisco Bay. The Bermuda environs aren't quite as dramatic, but the winners won't care.

So, the format - two races a day today and tomorrow, then a break until next Saturday, then two races a day until someone gets to SEVEN points. Because the Americans won the qualifiers (even though, as defenders, they were guaranteed a final spot anyway - don't ask), we actually start with the USA on 0 points, New Zealand on -1.

No love lost between these two teams either, so definitely an edge to things. Right, first race off in 10 minutes or so. And BT have lost the signal (ByTheMin haven't sent me to Bermuda, unfortunately).

Bookies have the Americans as favourites, but the Kiwis showed some real pace in the qualifiers. A light wind today, but it's good enough to race. Crews on the water, and we're not far off the start. Only just getting used to the sight of the Kiwis peddling, rather that using arm power, for the hydraulic systems. Ah, hang on - slight delay to the start, it seems. Don't know why yet...

Good news - start only delayed by four minutes, so we should be underway in five minutes or so. Still don't know why, but never mind!

Here's the racecourse:

So it's out of the start, up and down the course however many times (the ref can change that depending on wind conditions), then a blast to the finish.

Here we go then - boats in the pre-start period, when they both jockey for position before crossing the start line. Minute to go.