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.
Dear Diary – Day 1 Match racing Qualifiers - America's Cup Cup World Series - San Francisco, CA, USA
San Francisco - Wednesday
Day 1 of Racing
'Racing today will be a little difficult,' explained ACRM supremo, Iain Murray. 'With the ebb tide running a two knots agains the wind, it could kick up quite a seaway.' And it did exactly as he had predicted and there were one or two dangerously looking nose-dives as boats bore away around the windward marks.
Match one: Team Korea v Luna Rossa-Piranha
Wind 20 knots at 250.
Korea led at start, doing 16 knots at the line and increasing to 22 to lead LR-P by 18 seconds at first mark - 160 metres. Big gains and losses on the gybes, closed to 100 metres at gate. Different gates - five seconds. Korea went to right hand gate and LR-P to the left to start beat and maintain a gap of 45 metres After two tacks each, Korea 94 metres ahead.
Split at weather gate with Team Korea going for the inshore one, 20 seconds ahead Team Korea struggled with Genniker and LR-P went ahead briefly but on the reach to the finish Team Korea, to windward, went ahead to win by one second.
Match two: Team China v Energy Team
Energy stalled at the start line and China team went away to lead by 14 seconds. Downwind China led by 60 metres. At leeward gate, Energy team five seconds behind China Team. Gap 11 metres. Energy Team went ahead upwind. Seven minutes into race and the French are 50 metres ahead and have tacked offshore and crossed ahead of China Team Energy Team tacks past layline to windward gate and drives hard and fast to round the windward mark 27 seconds in front - 230 metres downwind. . At the finish, Energy team led by 1:01.
Match three: ETNZ v Artemis-Red
Barker got the drop at the start and led away to be three second ahead at the first mark. Downwind in the rough conditions ETNZ went further ahed to lead through the leeward gate by 14 seconds - a distance upwind of 88 metres. On the beat, Artemis-Red, skippered by Nathan Outteridge with Paul Cayard on tactics, started to close the gap, but towards the end of the leg, Barker and his crew stretched away once more , although at the windward gate the Kiwi lead was 28 seconds. At the finish ETNZ had stretched this to 51 secs - a hammering!
Match four: Ben Ainslie Racing v Luna Rossa- Swordfish
Ben won the start to lead by six seconds at the turn and after both had gybed the gap between them was 170 metres. Ainslie continued to lead downwind, although LR-Swordfish closed slightly and at the leeward gate Ben Ainslie racing was 18 seconds in front. Upwind the Olympic champion, a former world match racing champion, kept a close cover on his rival. Not however when Swordfish went outside the area and incurred a penalty It allowed the British skipper to extend to 175 metres and a lead of 39 seconds at the windward gate. All over! Ben Ainslie Racing went on to win by 1:15 - a pasting!
Match five: Luna Rossa- Piranha v China Team
China Team gave away the start - stalled - but after the first mark the China Team pulled a luff and LR - Piranha was penalised Chris Draper nevertheless took over the lead before the leeward gate where the italian boat led by nine seconds. Upwind Draper streched the lead at the halfway stage to 70 metres, but stalled in a tack and Phil Robertson in China Team went to the front and crossed ahead in the very bumpy conditions. China Team led by 11 seconds. Then a Penalty for Luna Rossa - Piranha for going outside the boundary and China Team led by six seconds. Wow!
Match six: Luna Rossa - Swordfish v Artemis Racing Red
Artemis - Red led to the first mark by five seconds. Iker Martinez on Luna Rossa gybed first, into the stronger breeze but Nathan Outteridge kept the lead and stretched to 120 metres. Lots of white water about and after the gybe by the Swedish boat the gap was reduced and the time difference was 15 seconds. Both went upwind at much the same speed and Artemis-Red kept a close cover on her rival to lead by 23 seconds and sailed away to win by 33 seconds.
Match seven: Artemis Racing - Red v China Team
There was a delay before the last race to allow the China Team to fix damage sustained to her wing, before the race with Artemis -Red. Un fortunately the shore team was unable to fix the wing in the time allowed. Nathan Outteridge started the race alone, and claimed the victory to move into the quarter finals.
by Bob Fisher
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1:26 AM Thu 4 Oct 2012GMT
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