That was pretty epic!' was Chris Draper's first reaction as he got back to the dock after three fast and furious races on the opening day of the iShares Cup event in Hyères. The helmsman of Oman Sail is on equal points with BT, both topping the leaderboard with 28 points apiece.
Nick Moloney, skipper of BT, was equally excited: 'I'm so pumped! We talked about it before the start and we just said; okay let's be conservative and stay out of trouble. Then the switch just flicked and it was full adrenalin, full tempo, lots of screaming onboard motivating each other, 'Come on, come on!'
After a morning onshore waiting for the Mistral wind to abate, the fleet went out for three short and sharp windward-leeward races in over 20 knots.
BT, skippered by Nick Moloney, and Oman Sail duelled at the front for most of Race 1, with BT keeping in front to take the first win, and followed up with another win in the second race. 'In the second race at the top mark we led with TEAMORIGIN behind ,' said Nick Moloney after racing, 'They passed us on that run, then we got them back at the next beat, then on the last run we went round the top mark and I was shouting 'No way they're passing us this times boys, come on, come on!' And we were just going hell for leather and we won that one as well.
Flying downwind on the first leg of race TEAMORIGIN dove between Oman and Alinghi on the approach to the gate mark, but buried one bow and quickly capsized.
Skipper Rob Greenhalgh said, 'Basically we would have piled straight into the back of Oman Sail, so were forced to go around their transom just to avoid a crash - we rounded up, stuck the nose in and over we went.'
With the Mistral sending gusts of over 30 knots through the Bay of Hyères the race committee opted to send the fleet ashore, with no more races held today. At least six races are scheduled tomorrow.
To see all the results visit the leaderboard at www.iSharesCup.com/leaderboard.asp