Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

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.



Protector - 660 x 82Zhik Dinghy 660x82Naiad

Related Articles

A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
A Q&A with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race
I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba. The 2017 Miami to Havana Race is set to begin on March 15 and promises high adventure-both sailing-related and cultural-for the sailors lucky enough to be participating in this historical-and for now legal-race. I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race and SORC race chairman, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba.
Posted on 13 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar
Caleb Paine on winning a US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award
I talked with Caleb Paine about his recent US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award and about his Olympic plans. On August 16, Caleb Paine broke the longest-running medal ceremony dry spell for American-flagged Olympic sailors since the 1930s when he captured a bronze medal in the Finn class at the Rio 2016 Olympics. I recently caught up with Paine on the phone to talk about his proud US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award and about his future sailing plans.
Posted on 10 Mar
A Q&A with Lloyd Thornburg about his love of fast boats and racing
I recently caught up with Thornburg to learn more about his program, and to gain insight into racing MOD70s offshore. Not too many world-class sailors hail from the high deserts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but Lloyd Thornburg isn’t your average sailor. The 37-year old investor flies the New York Yacht Club’s burgee from his fleet of raceboats that have included a Gunboat 66, a MOD70, and a Farr 280. I recently caught up with Thornburg to learn more about his program, and to gain insight into racing MOD70s offshore.
Posted on 8 Mar
So what’s it really like?
For ages now, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and 24-hour runs For ages now, well it seems like that anyway, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and incredible 24-hour runs. In their own very unique way they totally represent the technical avant-garde, and thank God for that. Where would we be without their impressive shapes, wonderful rigs, and now of course, foiling magic.
Posted on 6 Mar
JJ Giltinan 18ft - Kiwi Champion the subject of two protests in Sydney
Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings on Friday Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings Friday morning in Sydney. She faces two claims - both from Appliancesonline (David Witt). The first is an attempt to re-open the Hearing held on Wednesday morning after Yamaha was suffered damage in Race 3 as a result of a collision with a give way yacht, and Yamaha received redress of average
Posted on 3 Mar
A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb