by Lucy Harwood
At the America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco, the first day of fleet racing was dominated by J.P. Morgan Team BAR. Ben Ainslie and the team were keen to make an impression after what some may have deemed a disappointing first event back in August. It was a great performance on the water, the team dominated race one taking the win from Emirates Team New Zealand. A solid third in race two leaves the team five points ahead of second placed Artemis Racing after two races.
Team J.P. Morgan BAR racing in San Francisco, CA - 2012 America’s Cup World Series San Francisco
A perfect start on race one kept J.P.Morgan BAR in the hunt with the top three boats as they headed to the first gate. Artemis Racing White (Hutchinson) rounded the starboard gate, as skipper Ben Ainslie took the opposite gate, a move that paid as they came out in the lead at the second gate. The crew stayed focused and held off a strong attack from Emirates Team New Zealand who were unable to catch Ainslie and crew and were forced to settle for second. Oracle Racing Team USA Spithill took control of race two, leading from the start forcing Artemis Racing (Hutchinson) and J.P.Morgan BAR to battle it out for second place. Several tight crosses saw the rankings change but a move by Artemis Racing White on the penultimate gate saw them slip in front of the British team who had to concede third.
Ben Ainslie commented after racing: 'I think we were all excited about getting out racing, it was a slightly different race course to the one we sailed on three or four weeks ago. We had a nice start today on race one, and we had a really good race with Nathan (Outteridge) and Team New Zealand. It’s really good to get our first win and as a team we’re very excited about it. In terms of what’s different this time around, it’s just practice and quality time on the boat. It’s like anything if you don’t train and put the effort in you’re not getting the results, we’re very lucky to have Jimmy and Russell to train with over the last few weeks.
It was quite a tricky out on the race course today, there was a tidal gain on one side, compared to a breeze gain on the other, we manage to make it work and the guys sailed really well. Today’s it’ s a bit of a change in results for us after the last event, rather than coming in cold as we did at the last event, it is clear the training is paying off.
Team J.P. Morgan BAR racing in San Francisco, CA - 2012 America's Cup World Series San Francisco
We’re racing Jimmy tomorrow in the match race which will be tough but we will be ready to put up a good fight. The whole team has been a huge support for us, especially our coach Darren Bundock and we hope we can continue this development over the next year.
I think there are so many things to learn on these boats, from a distance they may look quite graceful and fast, but they are incredibly hard to sail. Ultimately it’s all about team work and good communication, and that can take a while to get that stuff working but once it gets going the results are clear. That clear communication meant our boat handling was really good today, if we can do that tomorrow it will be good to keep the ball rolling for the next few days of the event'
AC World Series San Francisco Fleet Racing Championship (After two of seven races):
1. J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie) 1-3 – 21 points
2. Oracle Team USA Spithill (Jimmy Spithill) 8-1 – 16
2. Artemis Racing – Red (Nathan Outteridge) 4-4 – 16
2. Oracle Team USA Coutts (Russell Coutts) 3-5 – 16
5. Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) 2-8 – 14
6. Artemis Racing – White (Terry Hutchinson) 10-2 – 12
7. Energy Team (Loick Peyron) 6-7 – 11
8. Team Korea (Peter Burling) 5-9 – 10
9. Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper) 9-6 – 9
10. China Team (Phil Robertson) 7-10 – 7
11. Luna Rossa Swordfish (Iker Martinez) 11-11 – 2
Learn more about Team BAR here