Nautical Channel on Sunday was at the America's Cup in Naples. It was a great day even if the weather conditions were not the best. The Fleet Race Championship was exciting and Luna Rossa Piranha surprised us with its amazing performance and showed to be a great challenger for the America's Cup World Series with a win in the Fleet Racing Championship and a second place finish in the Match Racing.

"We thought before the event if we gave ourselves the opportunities, we could go well," Draper said. "But we honestly didn't have huge expectations, so to come away with a first and a second is awesome… The AC World Series is a really useful stepping stone for us, we see it as something very useful and we look forward to taking these lessons into the AC72."

Artemis Racing, winner of the Mach Racing, demonstrated how every race can change the situation. During the first race Artemis capsized and severely damaged their wing sail, but following an all night session by the Artemis shore crew, the team was ready to go again the next day. Artemis dispatched China Team on Thursday, before knocking off Emirates Team New Zealand on Friday to advance to the semi final. A win over the Swordfish team put Hutchinson into the Match Racing Final, where he dispatched the second Luna Rossa crew. Four consecutive sudden-death match wins made Artemis Racing an undisputedly worthy Match Racing Champion.

"We faced four really formidable teams all the way through this," Hutchinson said after securing the title, making special note of an improving China Team, his first victim. "On Wednesday (after that capsize) if you you had told me that we'd be standing here having won the match racing part of the regatta, we would have taken it. I think I probably hate losing a lot more than I like winning, so it's nice to be smiling on Sunday."

If the competition on the water was at an all-time high, off the water, Naples was a mind-blowing experience. The crowds were like nothing previously seen at an AC World Series event (or indeed, other sailing events). Estimates of over 200,000 on the holiday Easter Monday, and close to that again on the final Sunday, in the rain, meant the sailors were living the full rock-star experience, mobbed anytime they walked through the Race Village wearing team gear.

ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill, popular in Italy after a previous stint with Luna Rossa summed it up well: "It's just incredible, the people are so into their sport and their sailing teams. I can't wait for Venice, I think it's going to be fantastic."

Venice is the penultimate event of the 2011-12 AC World Series and on the overall Series leaderboard, which combines results in the Fleet and Match Racing Championships from each event, ORACLE Racing Spithill has now overhauled the Kiwis to lead by just one point, with Artemis Racing closing in from a secure third place. Behind them, just one point separates fourth-placed Energy Team, from sixth-placed Team Korea.

Thank you Naples to be such a good host. We can't wait for the America's Cup in Venice!

 

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