by Bob Fisher
America’s Cup World Series Newport 2012, Race Day 3
Bob Fisher, one of the world's top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in Newport, RI, USA for the sixth round of the America's Cup World Series.
Bob is a multihuller from way back, having won the 1967 Little America's Cup, with Peter Schneidau on Lady Helmsman, and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.
Dear Diary – Day 2 - America's Cup World Series - Newport, RI, USA
I saw three Twelves come sailing by, on this Saturday in the morn. The America's Cup's heritage lives on in this nautical playground and the old warhorses of yesteryear - Intrepid, Heritage, Columbia and their likes - are sailing around in Narragansett Bay, laden to the gunwales with chartering parties.
Then there were eight AC-45s sailing by at a far more rapid rate trying to prove themselves in the 500-metre speed trials. These were not as spectacular as they might have been because the sea breeze had not yet built to its fullest but all were sailing at over 20 knots. Jimmy Spithill opened the scoring with 41.43 seconds and Terry Hutchinson with Artemis was 0.06 seconds faster, but it was Loick Peyron with Energy Team that was fastest in the first round with 40.48, just ahead of Nathan Outteridge on Team Koreawith 40.83.
Spithill came really good to open the second run time with 39.22, a time that no one was to better and Energy's first round time was the next best, still ahead of Team Korea. Oracle Team USA - Spithill's run was at 24.77 knots.
The breeze built to 14-16 knots for the first of the day's two fleet races and it was Spithill who gave the rest a starting lesson, pulling the trigger to cross the line at the weather end with pace. But Outteridge from the leeward end just managed to squeeze the Oracle Team boat at at the first mark. It was a short-lived lead for Team Korea as the Oracle team crew were faster in deploying their spinnaker and went into a lead that was never relinquished.
Dean Barker and the Emirates Team New Zealand crew were soon in third place and chasing the Koreans, but Spithill and Co were long gone - 51 seconds clear at the third mark at the end of the windward leg. It began to be obvious that the shore side of the course was paying - less current and better breeze - and ETNZ was making the best of it, but even that was not enough to catch Spithill or Outteridge.
Around the second windward mark, Oracle Team USA - Coutts snagged the anchor on the mark boat and broke the leeward shroud, thus ending their challenge for the day. His teammate, Spithill, won by 59 seconds from Team Korea with ETNZ third another 21 seconds behind.
The breeze was up to 17-18 knots for the second of the day's fleet races and once again it was Spithill showing the fleet how to start in exactly the same manner as before to lead at the first mark and increase it to 18 seconds at the leeward mark. The inshore route was paying handsomely and both ETNZ and Energy Team, who went that way, headed Oracle Team USA - Spithill at the weather mark. Even Korea Team passed Spithill by the time the race was half run. But after two more legs, Spithill was back in second place.
He stayed there until the very last mark when Loick Peyron showed him an old multihuller's trick and passed him to take second place 55 seconds behind the Kiwis.
Tomorrow is the last day of this regatta and the ACWS 2011/12 series There will be the all-Oracle match racing final when Coutts and Spithill meet to decide supremacy before the heavily points-loaded fleet race that completes the championship.