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Dean's Diary- Day 3 in Naples - Frustrations with ACWS format

by Dean Barker on 14 Apr 2012
Dean Barker had an outstanding day - America’s Cup World Series Naples 2012 - Race day 2 ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

Dean Barker, Emirates Team NZ skipper and Director of www.kiwiyachting.co.nz!Kiwi_Yachting_Consultants_and_Nexus_AB, reports from Naples, Italy from the America's Cup World Series, in which he helms Emirates Team NZ .

13 April 2012:

Day 3 in Naples

Today was a frustrating day for us. We had two fleet races and then a match race to finish the day.

The first fleet race we were called over early although it looked pretty debatable on the replays. We recovered well and were still looking good to round in third or fourth at the bottom. Unfortunately we parked right at the bottom and got stuck on the outside of the entire fleet copping a penalty for our efforts. We found ourselves well back and trailed the fleet for much of the race. The guys really dug deep and we managed to pick off a couple of boats before the finish which are all valuable points.

Race two we had an OK start and managed to round the bottom gate in third. We sailed a very solid race picking off Korea then Oracle to take a win and bounce back well from the previous race.

We then moved into a sudden death quarter final match race against Artemis. The conditions had been light and fluky all day and only got worse during this race. We were over early but recovered well to still be in the lead at the first mark.

We tried to defend when Artemis gybed but they managed to get a small puff and rolled us on the way to the layline and then never relinquished their lead. I was disappointed with the result as we have felt pretty comfortable racing against them.

I am more disappointed in the format though. It just doesn't seem right that we can win the seeding part of the event and go in top qualifier, lose one ordinary match race and be awarded 8th place in the match race section of the event.

Sometimes it feels like the organizers are doing too much for the show and not thinking enough about the quality of what they are doing to the competition.

In hindsight we would have been better to have finished fourth in the seeding races. That way we would have raced the 5th place boat. If we had lost that race the worst we could have done was 5th in the match race. Does it really make sense then that as top qualifier you lose one race and come eighth?

The argument is that you should be able to beat eighth place and advance to the semis. But this is sailing and conditions are not always perfect. At very least all quarter final losers should be awarded a 5th placing. I would hope that this will be addressed for the next event.

Sailing has been cancelled for Saturday as the wind and wave conditions are deemed to be a bit too much for these boats. A shame really as it provides for a good spectacle. So we now have only speed trials and a heavily weighted final race to finish out the event.

Dean

To read earlier editions of Dean Barker's blog http://www.kiwiyachting.co.nz/dean-barkers-blog!click_here
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