On the America’s Cup World Series Naples second day conditions were completely the opposite of those encountered yesterday. Energy Team finish in fifth place in the overall rankings after today’s two races. Sunshine, calm seas, a light SW’ly breeze between 8 and 10 knots. The three boats that suffered damage yesterday (China Team, Oracle 2 and Artemis) were back on the starting line today. For the French team, the day was not quite as fruitful with a disappointing first race, where the French finished eighth, before they took fifth place in the second race.
On Wednesday evening, Yann Guichard explained that he had had some problems with his control screen, which had been giving him the wrong information. A slight technical problem that led to the penalty at the start of the first race, which they nevertheless finished in a fantastic second place. Today (Thursday), at the start of the first race, the crew of Energy Team were just not lucky. They did choose the favoured side of the course, but the French AC45 was hindered twice as they tried to accelerate away: firstly by Luna Rossa Pirana, who had to bear away and in so doing blocked the French boat, then by China Team, which had come to a stop after receiving a penalty. These two pieces of bad luck forced Energy Team to begin the race from the rear, while at the front, Dean Barker’s New Zealanders walked away with this first race. Yann Guichard, at the helm of Energy Team, attempted to move off on several occasions, but in vain until the end of the second lap. Fortunately, the final upwind leg was sailed magnificently and Energy Team managed to claw back two places (moving ahead of China Team and Oracle Spithill) to get back up to seventh place... but with a penalty facing them before the line, as was the case for the Chinese boat. Spithill took advantage to take seventh place, with Energy Team eighth and China Team ninth.
An incredible start to race two: the six boats at the top end of the line all got away too early. Energy Team was unfortunately among them, while Dean Barker’s Kiwis took off again, this time ahead of the two Luna Rossa boats. Energy Team was in sixth place and in a breeze that was relatively stable, the positions were not to change much during the first two laps of this second fleet race of the day. Apart from a penalty received by Artemis, everything tended to stay very much the same in this race. Emirates Team New Zealand were once again the winners with a huge lead over their rivals. On the final upwind leg, Yann Guichard moved off to the right-hand side of the race course and managed to get Energy Team hurtling back on the starboard tack to grab fifth place from Team Korea. Fifth is where Energy Team end up this evening in the overall rankings, which are dominated by the New Zealanders, who have achieved three wins in four races.
Yann Guichard: 'In these light conditions, the teams know just how important the starts are. We were blocked by two boats that were OCS in the first race and then in the second, we were practically all over the line too early, but you have to get the boat moving at the same time as the others, and with the way positioning works out, there is no hiding place and it can all be down to just a few feet.'
Loïck Peyron: 'The conditions were fine, but it was all decided at the start. We were shut in during the first race and a bit too quick on the off (OCS) in the second. It was just that little bit too much. Yesterday we managed to get it just right. The lads have worked like crazy. Today, we came back from a poor start in the second race and in the race, which doesn’t count, we finished second. Overall, the manoeuvres were decent, and out choices were correct. From tomorrow, the conditions are likely to become much stronger again.'
Americas Cup website
by Pierre Giboire
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5:06 PM Thu 12 Apr 2012GMT
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