America's Cup World Series Plymouth - Energy Team come in sixth

Energy Team - 34th America’s Cup-AC World Series Plymouth 2011 Match Race-Racing Day 6
In the America’s Cup World Series Plymouth, Energy Team lost the day’s match against Oracle Racing Spithill and therefore have ended up in sixth place in the Match Racing Championship, which was won by Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand.

Just as in Cascais, the French challenger was beaten in the quarter final, but they have shown this week that they are able to tackle the top teams. Tomorrow (Sunday), the big fleet race in Plymouth will close this second event in the America’s Cup World Series.

It was a symbolic encounter and the pressure was on the French, when they met up with the winner of the last America’s Cup. Loick Peyron and his men faced the crew of Oracle, led by James Spithill, to determine who would take fifth place in the rankings. Here’s what happened today. Both AC45s were rather late getting away and Energy Team got attacked and luffed by Spithill. Energy Team literally stopped and lost ground as they started to move again. It was all or almost all over before the start with Oracle rounding the first gate in front taking the left hand side of the course, while Energy Team went right, some 80 metres behind.

Energy Team and Oracle Racing Spithill - 34th America's Cup: AC World Series Plymouth 2011 Match Race, Racing Day 6

The Americans had the advantage, and were able to use the wind shifts and changes in strength. The start got underway in ten knots of wind finishing in a 25-knot breeze, which led Energy Team to dig in her bows twice. 530 metres separated the two AC45s on the final downwind run. Energy Team was beaten and therefore took sixth place, two minutes and 24s behind Oracle. There were no bad manoeuvres on Energy Team, but having got off to an unfavourable start, the French had to carry out a number of tacks, but were unable to deal with the wind shifts in what were very variable conditions.

Loïck Peyron: 'First of all, we didn’t get off to a great start. You can’t attack from the inside track and when Jimmy luffed us, I was expecting that, as that is the sort of game he plays. So we found ourselves coming to a standstill and Oracle took over and flew away to the start line. We needed to get out of that situation much earlier. I tried 40 seconds before to do just that, but we were still too high. Trying to pass on the inside was a bit too dangerous...

Afterwards, things were bound to be bad and we couldn’t really get engaged with our bows digging in twice, and we had quite a few problems on board. In short, we did just about everything wrong today.... As for finishing sixth, we could have hoped for better than that, after what we managed to achieve over the past few days. It is increasingly frustrating not to be able to show what we can do, as we have fewer excuses thanin Cascais and we don’t have as many explanations. We still have a long way to go. This is just the start and it’s not a bad start.'

Energy Team website
http://www.sail-world.com/88591