By any standard, the America’s Cup is a challenging sporting event: All six sailing teams are closely matched, the unpredictable weather conditions in Bermuda’s Great Sound favor the underdogs, and every team comes prepared with some strategic or technological wiles. Fortunately for Artemis Racing, it has persevered against these forbidding challenges and proceeded to the semifinals.
“We are very proud of what Artemis Racing has accomplished so far in this year’s America’s Cup,” says Gary Grose, Argo Group’s group producer management and marketing leader. “Advancing from the round robins to the semifinals is quite an accomplishment. The entire crew has performed like world-class champions.”
Artemis has provided some of the most gripping and memorable moments of the 35th America’s Cup. Here are several of the Argo-sponsored team’s highlights thus far:
First crew to defeat Oracle
So far, Artemis Racing is the first, and only, team to defeat Oracle. And it has done so twice during the two round robin tournaments.
Participant in the most exciting race
By nearly everyone’s reckoning, the most thrilling race of the America’s Cup has been the first head-to-head match between Artemis and Emirates Team New Zealand. The closely fought contest had the two crews exchanging the lead at least nine times and has been lauded by one observer as “a great advertisement for the sport.”
Acting like model sportsmen
People’s character is often revealed during their most trying times. When a penalty caused Artemis to lose a crucial race, and the judges subsequently admitted their ruling was incorrect (on-the-course decisions can’t be reversed), the Artemis crew responded like model athletes. “That’s racing, sometimes you get decisions and sometimes you don’t,” said skipper Nathan Outteridge, who refused to criticize the race judges. Or as team manager Iain Percy remarked, “Sometimes these things happen in sport, and you have to take it on the chin and move on.”
Performing under pressure
Going into the final rounds of the round robin, Artemis needed to rally to reach the semifinals. Anything less meant going home early. In its first match, against defending two-time champion Oracle Team USA, Artemis took the lead from the outset and held onto it, winning by 24 seconds. In its second match, against Softbank Team Japan, Artemis controlled the race from the start, sailed smart and hard, and won! As Outteridge later revealed, “We have had some tough conversations in the team over the last two days, and we really needed to start sailing better. There has been nothing wrong with the boat, but we had to review some decisions we were making on shore with choosing the right foils. Today, we got the configuration right and sailed really well.”
Artemis Racing is still widely considered one of the top challengers for the 35th America’s Cup. Its hard-fought contests haven’t always provided the scoreboard results that had been expected of a team with its combination of experienced talent, innovative yacht technology, and masterful sailing strategy and tactics, but this is one crew that refuses to quit. What lies ahead for the semifinals? Only time will tell!