Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Fisher's View- Day 1 ACWS Newport - Barker's world turns upside down

by Bob Fisher on 29 Jun 2012
Not Happy, jammed gennaker sheet Emirates Team New Zealand AC 45 World Series Newport RI Stephen Fasano

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

Bob is a multihuller from way back, having competed for Britain in the Little America's Cup and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.

He writes:

Dear Diary – Day 1 - America's Cup World Series - Newport, RI, USA

Newport, RI is a strange place and her moods are fickle. Today had all the attributes of the Curate's egg - good in parts, but evil in others. Ask Dean Barker. He went up and down the ratings in the opening fleet race, which provided the seedings for the subsequent match racing, in the light and fickle morning breeze, and then dramatically and spectacularly capsized at the first mark in his opening match race.

The sunshine brought out the crowds in force - this town, where the Cup was raced for 53 years, has been suffering withdrawal symptoms, but today (a weekday at that) they were out in force, swarming all over the foreshore at Fort Adams, and while the racing was slow at the beginning, it was consummately interesting as places changed with great frequency.

The Cup defenders, with two teams entered, made the best showing in the fleet race. One cannot better their one-two finish. Oracle Team Spithill nailed the leeward end of the start line and was never headed. At one time Jimmy and his crew had a massive lead, almost half a leg clear of the pack, but towards the end of the race, the wind played its own tune and there was a massive shake-up.

While Oracle Team Spithill finished 25 seconds clear, the gap had narrowed and Oracle Team Coutts had wriggled through into second place, making the very best of those stretches of breeze that were favourable. Behind the second boat was a rash of close finishers with Luna Rossa - Piranha eight seconds later and Terry Hutchinson with Artemis Team, coming from the back of the pack to finish fourth. Then came Energy Team, the winners in Venice, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Swordfish and bringing up the rear Nathan Outteridge with Team Korea.

The sea-breeze filled in at around 15-18 knots and the match racing began. Apart from Outteridge and Team Korea defeating Oracle Team Spithill in the first of their best-of-three, the centre of attention of that round occurred at the first weather mark when ETNZ had a small but comfortable lead over Chris Draper's Luna Rossa Piranha, when the world turned upside down for the Kiwi team.

'We bore away around the mark boat,' said Barker. 'The boat started to heel and when we eased away the wing, it would not go more than a few inches.' The leeward runner was trapping the free movement of the wing and in seconds the boat was at 90 degrees. Barker takes up the story again: 'The wing extension filled with water and that made righting the boat extremely difficult. On one occasion we were almost upright but the weight of the water in the wing extension pulled the boat backwards until the hulls were standing on the transoms!'

It was a bizarre sight and ETNZ was capsized for over an hour, their racing concluded for the day. 'It will be a long night for the shore crew,' admitted Barker, who intimated that three of the aft wing flaps were virtually destroyed among other damage, but he was certain that the boat would be fit to race the next day, but for this day ETNZ had to give Luna Rossa Piranha the match.

In the next round of the match racing, Jimmy Spithill levelled at 1-1 with Team Korea and then completed his victory with a second win. Terry Hutchinson was hard pressed in the pre-start by Loick Peyron in Team Energy, but Peyron was a second early at the start and had to take a penalty, which completely spoiled his chances of levelling the match.

While Russell Coutts won the first match against David Campbell-James with Luna Rossa Swordfish, the Prada team skipper hit back to level the score, setting up a crucial match for Oracle Team Coutts. Russell took it in his stride and while the two boats arrived together at the first mark after the start, Russell's experienced crew had a faster spinnaker hoist to sail over their rival and was never subsequently headed. It was a tough day on the water for the man, who at the start of this campaign had admitted: 'I'm too old for this sort of sh*t.' He admits that very little has changed.

Tomorrow sees the semi-finals of the match racing: Oracle Team Spithill versus Artemis Racing, and Oracle Team Coutts versus Luna Rossa Piranha. Then there is the second in the fleet racing series with ETNZ hopefully repaired and hoping to improve on its sixth in today's race.



Southern Spars - 100T Clewring - Genericupffront 660x82

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
Debriefing the Rio 2016 Olympics with Team USA’s Helena Scutt
I talked with Team USA’s Helena Scutt to hear about her Olympic experience, and to learn more about her post-Rio plans. The 49erFX was introduced to Olympic circles when it replaced the Women’s Match Racing event following the 2012 Games. Not surprisingly, it drew high-performance sailors for the Rio 2016 Olympics, including Team USA’s Paris Henken and Helena Scutt. While Henken and Scutt were Olympic first-timers, they put on a strong show. I caught up with Scutt to hear more about her Olympic experience.
Posted on 8 Sep
A Q&A with Peter Bresnan ONE Palma’s founder and director
Sail-World interviewed ONE Palma’s founder Peter Bresnan to learn about the company’s partnership with McConaghy Boats For the past eight years, ONE Palma (formerly OneSails Spain) has been building a strong name, first as a sailmaker and later with refit work. Recently, ONE Palma and McConaghy Boats-legendary boatbuilders who have crafted some of the planet’s fastest sailboats-entered a business partnership. I caught up with Peter Bresnan, ONE Palma’s founder and director, to learn more about this new direction.
Posted on 2 Sep
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ train late on the Waitemata Harbour
Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. The team were sailing their recently launched AC45 Surrogate test boat which features an articulated rudder gantry - taking the AC45 close to the geometry of the AC50 to be used in the 2017 America's Cup.
Posted on 1 Sep
Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images of the penultimate race in the Finns - Scott wins
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn, in what potentially could have been Giles Scott's (GBR) Gold medal winning race. In the end, the current world champion won in style.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images from the Mens RS:X Medal Race
Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class won before the race by Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) without needing points from the Medal Race. Nick Dempsey (GBR) was second on a similar basis.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Sailors talk of Life at the Extreme on the Atlantic Ocean
Certainly the Volvo Ocean Race catchcry of Life at the Extreme is not a phrase associated with the Sailing Olympics. The 470 crews were suffering the mixed emotions of survival of an extreme test by nature, the cold, and for some elation at their placings, after Thursday's battle for survival. In conditions that looked more out of the Volvo Ocean Race, than an Olympic sailing regatta, crews battled 20kt plus winds and Atlantic Ocean rollers that towered up to four metres.
Posted on 13 Aug