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sail-world.com -- America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ boss expected better results

America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ boss expected better results    
Sun, 26 Aug 2012


Emirates Team NZ boss, Grant Dalton, is unhappy with the team's showing in the first of the America's Cup World Series, currently nearing its conclusion in San Francisco.

The team had a particularly disappointing day, losing the match race semi-final to Oracle Team USA, after leading for much of the race, and then failing to cover nearing the top mark for the final time.

The sudden death semi-final meant they were eliminated from the competition after just one race.

Similarly in the first fleet race, when they had a good start, but through various errors, slipped back in the field.

In the second start they were a little slow away, at the leeward end of the line and were caught badly in the first mark traffic, dropping well back. Penalties during the race saw them slip back to 10th, at one point, in the 11 boat fleet.

It is obvious from the racing on the last two days particularly that the conditions in San Francisco, are typical inner harbour conditions with significant variations in current strength, wind pressure and direction. Quite different from conditions under which the America's Cup would normally be sailed.

Although Emirates Team NZ has only one AC45 (compared to the five sailed by Oracle Team USA and their acolyte Bean Ainslie Racing), other teams which have performed well at this regatta, are in a similar situation to the New Zealanders.

Team Korea, helmed by 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Outteridge, has been the stand-out performer - off the back of minimal preparation, and having sailed ion the 2012 Olympics just three weeks ago.

It is not known what development has been done by the other teams who are sailing in San Francisco, however once previously when there was a jump in performance by other teams, it transpired that there had been a lot of sail development, which had resulted in a speed edge and a sudden improvement in race results from the previous ACWS.

Emirates Team NZ are the only team to have launched and sailed an AC72, and are the first to be ham-strung by a ridiculous sailing days limitation rule - designed to reduce campaign costs. The reality is that teams are unable to work up a new boat in the traditional way, of sailing for an hour or so, to work out the wrinkles, or when there is a suitable weather window.

The other teams will now have to jump through the same hoop, meaning that it will not be possible to spend days in the AC45's at the expense of the AC72 program, in order to achieve better results in the ACWS.

The release from Emirates Team NZ reads:

Emirates Team New Zealand finished the fourth day of the America’s Cup World Series regatta at San Francisco disappointed with the day’s results and looking for much better.

Grant Dalton says the team has started a debrief process to analyse why the team is not clicking as it should. 'This team is good at adapting to suit changing circumstances and that’s what we plan to do.

'In San Francisco there are some obvious reasons. Teams based here and have experience of the venue and local knowledge are at an advantage. Teams with two or more AC45s have an advantage. But they are not the only reasons.

'Emirates Team New Zealand has put the bulk of its resources into the AC72 programme and because of that we did not come to San Francisco expecting to blitz the fleet. But we did expect to do much better than we have. Twice today we had good leads and we were not able to finish them off.

'We are looking at three elements – venue, speed and people combinations. It’s unlikely to be just one of the three, more likely the problem lies across all three.'


Today’s racing:

In the match race semi-final, Dean Barker led from the start to the third gate. It was always close. Oracle 4 separated on the upwind leg, got a puff and was able to go into the gate at speed to round first but only seconds ahead. Emirates Team New Zealand fought hard on the short downwind leg to mark 4 but could not pass. Oracle 4’s winning margin was 13s.

Barker got a dream start in the first fleet race, getting away cleanly at the committee boat end of the line and leading around the first mark.

It was close all the way to the fifth gate with New Zealand under extreme pressure from Energy, Artemis White and then Oracle 4. The breeze, lighter than on Friday, was shifty creating potential passing lanes.

Barker and crew – Ray Davies, Glenn Ashby, Derek Saward and James Dagg – beat off attack after attack until first Energy and then Oracle 4 slipped past on the approach to the fifth gate.

That was the finishing order – Energy, with Oracle 4 16s back and Emirates Team New Zealand 32s followed by Luna Rossa Piranha, Luna Rossa Swordfish, Artemis White,Oracle 5, Team Korea, Artemis Red, JPM-BAR and China.

The second fleet race start was not quite so good. New Zealand was caught in traffic at the first mark to round seventh, then moved up through the fleet on the right of the course on the down-wind leg approaching the bottom mark in third place.

The leaders – Oracle 4 and Korea got through cleanly – the rest of the fleet was caught in a traffic jam from which Emirates Team New Zealand emerged in 10th place. This time there was no recovery and we finished ninth.

Fleet race points after six races:

Oracle 4 61 points
Energy Team 48
Team Korea 45
Luna Rossa Piranha 45
Artemis White 39
Luna Rossa Swordfish 35
Emirates Team New Zealand 35
Oracle 5 29
Artemis Red 28
JPM-BAR 26
China Team 9

by Richard Gladwell



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