by Bob Fisher
34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series Newport 2012, Official Training Day 2
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 competed for Britain in the Little America's Cup and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.
Dear Diary – Day minus 1 - America's Cup World Series - Newport, RI, USA
'Twas the day before Christmas . . . or something like that. The morning was one of great hush with the last-minute preparations and repairs even taking place in the boat hangars close to the shore at Fort Adams. The crowds are somewhat diminished from those at the weekend, but the car parks were filling nicely by 0930 - one, the size of a rugby field, was half full by that time and the practice racing was not due to start for five hours. I overheard a couple from the car next to mine say; 'Let's give the place the once over and then find where we want to be to see the boats sailing.'
One of the more evident repair actions taking place was that of Emirates Team New Zealand. More information is emerging as to how the damage occurred. ETNZ was baulked by a spectator boat and rather than hit that, Dean Barker exercised another option and attempted to fly the port hull over the bow of the mark boat, and almost made it. The damage to both was extensive and the racing boat came off worst.
The downward extension of the mast, which we used to call the 'dolphin striker,' together with all its attendant rigging was ripped away by the bow and guardrails of the mark boat, and the Kiwis were perhaps luck that the rig remained intact and upright. Then the rudder, after hitting the guard rails, impacted on the mark boat's windscreen and more damage ensued. The result was the foil was broken and the entire removable aft section of the hull, which contains the rudder unit, was badly damaged and has had to be replaced.
Happily the team was able to effect the necessary repairs on the hard-standing outside its allotted hangar, in full view of an interested bank of spectators. The latter are streaming into Fort Adams, where the regatta is centred, in their droves and are happy to do so when there is only a couple of hours of practice racing to see in the afternoon. 'It's wonderful to have America's Cup boats racing here again,' said one local enthusiast, 'I remember those years when the likes of Ted Turner and Dennis Conner were racing.' I almost believe his eyes glazed over at the thought.
Tonight will see some of that social scene that was part of the old Cup summers re-enacted at both ends of the scale. Lucy Jewett, a member of the San Francisco America's Cup organising Committee and, with her late husband Fritz, a long-term supporter of American Cup teams, will hold a soiree for some 350 people at the New York Yacht Club's Harbour Court clubhouse, while at the other end of town, the Society of International Nautical Scribes (SINS) is to hold a no-fines meeting at the Candy Store, one of its nominated watering holes. Both gatherings are expected to be spectacular in their own ways.
Tomorrow is another day.