The start of Green Comm Racing's match races in the 34th America's Cup couldn't have been better. The Spanish challenger had its maiden race on Friday against France's Aleph and came victorious after a very close and tough fight. The progress onboard Green Comm Racing's AC45 yacht has been impressive and the focus will now turn into Saturday's match against the Chinese.
The fight with the French was the first match race, ever, for the Green Comm Racing crew and it had to be against one of the world's most experienced match racers, Bertrand Pacé. The French skipper has taken part in 7 America's Cups and is famous for his aggressive style. Still, the Green Comm Racing crew wasn't intimidated and despite a slower start, Vasilij Zbogar held on to his motto 'I will first die before I give up'.
Green Comm Racing was always on the tail of Aleph and even when the French managed to increase their lead, a great tactical call by Ed Wright in the last upwind led to a fantastic comeback. That's where disaster stroke on the French boat. Gear failure at the last top mark didn't allow the French to hoist their spinnaker, giving Green Comm Racing the opportunity to sneak ahead, round the last mark in the lead and win the race.
The second race of the day was against the winner of the 33rd America's Cup, and youngest skipper ever to win sailing's pinnacle event, James Spithill. As helmsman Vasco Zbogar said, Green Comm Racing's crew was realistic about their chances and tried to hold on as long as possible. Spithill took the victory but the progress onboard Green Comm Racing is spectacular.
The focus for Green Comm Racing now is Saturday's important race with China Team for seventh place in the America's Cup Plymouth Match Racing Championship. Quotes of the day
Vasilij Zbogar, helmsman: 'In the race against Aleph we tried very hard. We had a nice start and we stayed very close throughout the race. They pulled away a little bit in the second upwind leg but we then caught back with some nice shifts. Overall, we were much better than the other days and we managed to win our very first match race against Bertrand Pacé, one of the world's best match racers.
This victory is a confidence booster and the morale on the boat is very high. We worked very hard and I really think we deserved that victory. We have been struggling all week with boat issues and problems and we even had some electronic problems today as well.
In the match against Spithill we tried not to be too close to him because we all know how aggressive he is. We managed to stay quite close halfway through but he got away in the second half.
However, we are very happy with our maneuvers today and we are getting better by the day!'