A light and fickle off-shore breeze and a difficult seaway left-over from strong winds of previous days played no favourites on the third day of the America’s Cup World Series, Naples.
First the wind turned the race programme upside down. Match races between Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis and Energy Team v Luna Rossa S were delayed until after two fleet races were sailed.
Heavy rain played havoc with the breeze; it was unstable – shifty and puffy and with huge holes and it did not build as the afternoon wore on. All the teams suffered, a fact shown in the inconsistent up and down placings in the fleet races.
Coach Rod Davis blogs on what he saw on the water…
'Friday the 13th got us. The first race was a case of one mistake leading to the next, over at the start, a less than stellar down- wind leg, a foul at the bottom mark and confusion in doing the penalty dropped the team to last, by a fair bit.
A rally late in the race got the boys just behind Artemis finishing 7th. The second race was much more to our liking with steady chipping away to pass boats hen opportunities presented themselves to win race 6. Our fourth win in six fleet races. End of the good news, now Friday the 13th does its work.
The format of the regattas is an ever-changing thing. For Naples, Emirates Team New Zealand was the number one seed, and placed to race the number 8th place seed in a one-off race. The winner goes to the semi-finals, the loser gets 8th for the regatta.
Well in a very light and shifty race, where the lead changed hands three times, we lost. Losses are part of sport, it is not the last loss we will have a lose. But to go from 1 to 8 on one race, the only match race of the week we will do, is….. that’s the rules for this regatta.
We don’t feel we are firing on all cylinders, even if the fleet results would argue against me. Just need to do better tomorrow.'
Back to the news of the day.
Here's how the team saw Day 3:
At 1.30pm, scheduled starting time for the match racing, there was just not enough wind across the course to get a start. Fleet races started at 2.15. And the breeze turned the form guide upside down. Energy Team won from Oracle Racing 4. Emirates Team New Zealand was seventh, having been penalised twice and on the wrong side of a couple of windshifts.
Energy Team, which won the first race, could manage only a seventh in race six and was 6m 14s behind Barker and crew at the finish. We finished the day with our overall lead intact - having won four of the six fleet races – and is five points ahead of Oracle Racing 4.
In fleet race five, we were over at the start. The resulting penalty took them back through the fleet; then a second penalty was awarded at the mark as the wind died and the fleet bunched and almost stopped and lost steerage.
From the back of the fleet, we threaded our way to seventh at the finish to collect valuable points. Skipper Dean Barker says he was pleased with the way the boys got stuck in and picked up some valuable points. 'Every point counts. Who knows how it will play out by Sunday afternoon? A single point could decide the regatta.'
Race six was the complete opposite of the one that went before. A good start, well placed in the fleet Barker, tactician Ray Davies, wing trimmer Glenn Ashby, bowman Winston Macfarlane and trimmer James Dagg had Jimmy Spithill on Oracle 4 in their sights. By leg six they had passed the boats in front overtook Spithill.
Oracle 4 was 26s behind, followed by Luna Rossa S at 57. Then the breeze showed its hand. Fourth placed boat was 4m38s adrift of the lead. The last boat to cross was 6m32s off the pace. That was the breeze, not the boats and not the crew.
Our match race with Artemis followed. Artemis took the lead early on the first run when we ran out of breeze and that was it. With boat speeds down to two and three knots at times, there was not a chance of catching the Swedes.
Emirates Team NZ website
America's Cup website
by Rod Davis and Warren Douglas
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5:50 PM Fri 13 Apr 2012GMT
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