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Fisher's View- Day 2 - Ainslie's day in America's Cup World Series

by Bob Fisher on 5 Oct 2012
America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 October - Race Day 2 ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

Bob Fisher, one of the world's top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in San Francisco, CA, USA for the sixth round of the America's Cup World Series.

Bob is a multihuller from way back, having won the 1967 Little America's Cup, with Peter Schneidau on Lady Helmsman, and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.

He writes:

Dear Diary – Day 2 Match Racing Semi's and Fleet Racing - America's Cup Cup World Series - San Francisco, CA, USA

Dateline: San Francisco Thursday, 4th October 2012

Day 2 of Racing

It was a split day with a couple of match races early in the day at 1225, followed by a gap to allow for the Fleet Week Air Show planes to practise over the Bay, and then two fleet races starting at 1715.

Match race one - Quarter-Final Team Korea v Artemis Racing - White
Terry Hutchinson started ahead and to leeward of Peter Burling in Team Korea and had a four second lead as they went round the first mark as they headed off on a long starboard tack downwind. Burling was the first to gybe, but trailed through the leeward gate. Team Korea was the first to tack after passing through the leeward gate on to port tack and a big split ensued. Artemis - White however claimed the better course and with a 37 second lead at the windward gate and extended that lead to win by 53 seconds.

Match race two - Quarter-Final Energy Team v Emirates Team New Zealand
A close start saw Dean Barker and ETNZ lead by two seconds around the first mark. Loick Peyron gybed Energy Team first and remorselessly climbed over the Kiwis' wind on port as they approached the leeward mark where Energy took the right-hand buoy to start the upwind leg. Barker went to the other buoy and shortly tacked. The ETNZ boat speed together with a favourable right had shift took the Kiwis ahed and they led by 40 seconds at the windward gate, extending the lead by another three seconds at the finish.

Fleet race one
13 knots at 260 degrees - ebb tide providing a lumpier than usual sea.

Nathan Outteridge steering Artemis Racing - Red, starting fast to leeward, led the pack to the first turning mark from Russell Coutts with Oracle Team - Coutts, who had started the other end of the line. Outteridge led to the leeward gate from Ben Ainslie and these two split with Ainslie going offshore. With the starboard tack advantage after the tack Ainslie crossed ahead when both tacked into the middle. Ainslie sailed in undisturbed air until he reached the port tack layline and rounded the windward gate 17 seconds ahead of Coutts and Dean Barker with ETNZ.

By the leeward gate the second time, Ainslie was leading ETNZ by 14 seconds with Coutts third a further 11 seconds in arrears. These three appeared comfortable with no evident challengers, but Outteridge in Artemis - Red was not far behind. Ainslie led by 17 seconds at the windward gate with Coutts 16 seconds further back. Ainslie went on to win by 17 seconds from Barker with Coutts third Outteridge fourth, Peter Burling in Team Korea fifth, Loick Peyron with Energy Team sixth, China Team seventh, Oracle - Spithill eighth, Luna Rossa - Piranha ninth, Artemis Racing - White tenth and Luna Rossa - Swordfish bringing up the rear.

Fleet race two
14 knots at 245 degrees - a little bumpier than before.

Spithill nailed the start from Outteridge and Ainslie, and this order held down the run where Spithill had a 10 second advantage over the Artemis - Red skipper with Ainslie a further three seconds in arrears, The wind is increasing to 17 knots and Artemis - White (Terry Hutchinson) came into the reckoning.

At the weather gate, Spithill had stretched his lead to 28 seconds from Ainslie and Hutchinson and Outteridge. The pace was up downwind with Spithill 300 metres in front of his pursuers. He rounded the leeward gate well clear of Ainslie, who was five seconds clear of Hutchinson and the same gap to Outteridge. On the beat Hutchinson passed Ainslie, who later went offshore.

At the weather mark, Hutchinson just edged it from Ainslie for second.

Spithill won easily by 37 seconds from Hutchinson in Artemis White with Ainslie third 45 seconds behind the winner. Then came Outteridge, Coutts, Luna Rossa - Piranha sixth, Energy seventh, ETNZ eighth at 1:43, Team Korea, China Team and Luna Rossa Swordfish brought up the rear.

The day belonged to Ben Ainslie Racing with a first and a third, while second place, five points back, is Outteridge, then Coutts on the same points and Spithill with one less, but one point ahead of Barker on ETNZ. Hutchinson's second place in the later race combined with his tenth in the first puts him sixth overall.

Cheers

Bob

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