America’s Cup World Series Venice, the fifth and penultimate stage in the series, kicked off today Thursday 17th May. Loïck Peyron, who was back at the helm of Energy Team, showed all his skill on what was an exceptional day by grabbing the overall lead ahead of the Italians on Luna Rossa Swordfish (Chris Draper) and Team Korea led by the rising star Nathan Outteridge. The French Energy Team came third in the first race and finished on top in the second race.
Race One: Energy Team make it to the podium - It was at 1415hrs that the fleet of nine AC45s set off on the race course outside of the lagoon in Venice. Team New Zealand and Energy Team crossed the starting line too soon and the French were back in sixth place at the first mark, before they headed off to the left-hand side of the race course. At the third mark, Energy Team were still sixth, while Team Korea grabbed the lead, and the two overall leaders in the rankings, Team New Zealand and Oracle Spithill were still back at the rear. Energy Team overtook Luna Rossa Piranha to move up to fifth place. As they rounded mark 4, Energy Team still fifth, set off on the upwind leg chasing the Swedish Artemis Racing team leading to a gybing battle. At mark 5, Energy Team was just behind Artemis, as they were attacking Luna Rossa Swordfish for third place. Nathan Outteridge and Team Korea extended their gains at the front to be the clear leader in the race. It was after mark 6 that Energy Team in fifth place, right behind Oracle Bundock, started to move up, when the latter had a problem unfurling their gennaker in the downwind leg. Energy Team managed to move into fourth place chasing Luna Rossa Swordfish, skippered by Chris Draper, whom they were then able to catch on the final downwind run to finish in third place.
Energy Team - America’s Cup World Series Venice 2012 - © Stéphanie Billarant / Energy team
Race Two: Energy Team wins - The fleet got off to a good start with Energy Team in fourth place at the first mark. They had already made it to third position by the second mark, before grabbing second place ahead of Team New Zealand. The Italians on Luna Rossa Swordfish were at the front and the battle began with the French, while TNZ and Oracle Spithill were having their own little fight making gains on the frontrunners. At mark 4, Energy Team were still in second place ahead of Dean Barker (TNZ), who was 10 seconds behind the French, who were only just ten seconds behind the leader, Luna Rossa. At mark 4, Energy Team held on to second place, still ten seconds behind the Italians and ahead of TNZ et Oracle Spithill.
As they rounded mark 5, Energy lost a little ground to Luna Rossa, who headed off to the right-hand side of the race course, while Loïck Peyron’s team went left on this downwind leg to be followed by Team New Zealand and Oracle Spithill. A major upset occurred at mark 6 after an excellent downwind leg from the French, which enabled them to cross in front of Luna Rossa Swordfish with a lead of five seconds at the gate. It looked like it was going to be a closely fought duel between the two leaders. Energy Team remained in front keeping their Italian opponent in check, with the gap between the two boats across the race course reaching 90 metres. The final upwind leg would be the decider for the French. As they passed through Gate 7, Energy managed to extend their lead and the French found themselves out in front some 28 seconds ahead of the Italians on Luna Rossa, while the Kiwis were rapidly narrowing the gap from behind. The French took off ahead of Luna Rossa to finish with a lead of 26 seconds.
Loïck Peyron’s reactions: 'Energy Team made it to the top of the mountain today. We’re extremely pleased about this result. We’ve been out there training hard all week. I’m delighted to be back at the helm and to be able to consolidate on the results obtained by Yann Guichard in Naples. We’ve got a great crew and I’d like to congratulate the lads. These boats are fantastic to sail.'
Overall rankings - Day 1 (Thursday 17th May 2012).
1. Energy Team : 18 pts
2. Luna Rossa Swordfish : 16 pts
3. Team Korea : 15 pts
4. ETNZ : 13 pts
5. Artemis : 13 pts
6. Luna Rossa Piranha : 12 pts
7. Oracle Spithill : 10 pts
8. Oracle Bundock : 7 pts
9. China Team : 4 pts
Energy Team website
by Pierre Giboire
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3:48 PM Thu 17 May 2012GMT
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