by Bob Fisher
Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin - Race Day 5 - Emirates Team NZ vs Artemis Racing (DNS)
Emirates Team New Zealand tore around the 9.09 nautical mile course without the attendance of her opponent, Artemis, in 16 – 18 knots of south-westerly breeze in an impressive manner. She completed the course in 25:56 and recorded a top speed of 40.62 knots.
It was simply another day in the 34th America’s Cup – one that left no mark on the record apart from a single point for ETNZ in the Rounds Robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup and puts the team halfway to a guaranteed place in the final of the Challenger selection event.
The only impressive sight was that of skipper Dean Barker’s apparent mastery of gybing the 72ft wing-sailed catamaran while keeping the craft on its foils, thereby losing very little speed in this manoeuvre. ‘Freddie’ Carr, a grinder on Luna Rossa, estimated that being able to achieve this provides ETNZ with a 100-metre advantage on each gybe – and there is a minimum of three on each downwind leg.
The number of spectators at the America’s Cup Park, and along the waterfront of Marina Park was noticeably smaller than the previous day when two boats had raced around the course, but perhaps this can only be expected. Many of those who did turn out were New Zealanders, who deserve rather more than exhibition sailing for their loyalty to their team. Maybe when Oracle Team USA is involved the numbers will grow.
There are too many unanswered questions around this event and the one which causes the most enquiry is whether or not those teams that conform to the class rules will agree to the Race Director’s decision to allow Artemis to race with non-rule compliant ‘elevators’ on their rudders. Indications are that protests will come from the other teams contesting the Louis Vuitton Cup if Artemis races with the bigger ‘elevators’ that conform only to the Safety Recommendations.
Once more, the five-person International Jury may be called upon to legislate this matter.