Legendary sailor, North Sails president and America's Cup commentator Ken Read shares his favourite moments from the first Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth, UK.
It was fun getting back into the TV booth as commentator of the America's Cup World Series
It was really fun getting back in the TV booth because I enjoy talking about sailing. I like trying to get people to understand sailing better – I like to try and find the little details that other people don’t see and I like being able to give people the chance to experience the whole thing from the comfort of their living room. One of the challenges we face in sailing is widening the audience, both on site at venues but also who tune in to watch it, so whatever we can do to grow the audience the better.
Credit: Samuel Sargeant
The first America's Cup World Series had great spectator turnout
I had a beer by myself right by the new Land Rover BAR base and just soaked in all the ambiance and the enthusiasm. It was just after the races on Saturday so there were obviously a million BAR fans floating around after a picture perfect day. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth seemed like a real spectator sport; I don’t mean that in a derogatory way - but it was like people coming out for a football game, which is not easy to do at a sailing event. Portsmouth is a great place for this; they put on a great show and turned out a huge amount of people, not just sailors but sports enthusiasts, too, which is some achievement. I enjoyed sitting on my own, when I got to appreciate the whole thing and take in what was going on around me.
Credit: ACEA/ Gilles Martin-Raget
The light breeze made for exciting racing
Believe it or not, I think the lighter breeze made the racing really exciting. At the last America’s Cup in San Francisco, there didn’t seem to be any difference in the boats going upwind or downwind because there were no changes if sails. At the America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth, the lighter breeze made the racecourse far more exciting with the need for code 0's ball if suddenly there was clear differentiation between upwind and downwind. It was way easier to describe and I think better for people to understand the difference in the upwind and downwind part of the racecourse.
I announced North Sails will be the exclusive sailmaker to the ACWS
I got the chance to announce – for the first time in history – that our company North Sails is the exclusive sailmaker to the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) for the next two years. That is historic. Many people have worked hard on this for some time now; to see it come to fruition is awesome. With the history of the America's Cup and the history of North Sails, it is a natural fit – that doesn’t mean that these things always work out that way, so it's an honour to put the two together like this. For me personally, and North Sails as a company, we are really excited about the partnership and you only have to look at those boats on Saturday to see what the potential is.
It's only to get better from here!
Portsmouth was a great prelude to the America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg, Sweden taking place August 27-30. Sweden is also a country with a huge amount of sailing heritage and history and I expect as much exuberance and excitement as there was here in the UK. I am looking forward to being front row in the to watch it all unfold. This is only going to get better!