Professional sailing coach, Olympic Gold and Silver medalist and long time America's Cup crew and skipper, Rod Davis gives his expectations from the first AC-45 regatta to be sailed in San Francisco.
If the Practice Days are anything to go by – expect carnage. Lots of it. Nose-diving cats and damaged wings make great viewing - so there will be a Show. For most of the racing, the tide will be incoming and that might save the boats.
Two knots of current with the wind; instead of against it when we practiced, means smooth water and effectively four knots less wind. In the big waves, created by tide against the wind, teams quickly use their cat's nine lives.
On the competition side, some of the teams look like this:
Oracle Spithill - should be a very strong team, perhaps the strongest, as this is their homeport and they have spent the longest time sailing in the waters in which we are about to race. Winners of the last season. A solid and tough team.
Ben Ainslie - fresh from winning his fourth gold medal, but new to cats. No question Ben will bring an aggressive style and raise the tempo of all the competing crews. His first regatta in big breeze - he has a lot to learn and very little time. Wait until the next regatta in a month, to see the best of Ben in the cat world
Emirates Team New Zealand - for whom I coach. Preparation-wise it the old story of 'best laid plans of mice and men'. The capsize yesterday just added to it.
We are reasonably comfortable sailing in the big breeze and happy with our boat and sails. The trick for us is to improve each day - and close the gaps with the two-boat teams by the end of the regatta. The last race counts for most of the points, so if we improve throughout, all should be good.
Artemis White (Terry Hutchinson) - in the past the team has been very fast and it has a great match-race record. Terry has struggled in the fleet race starts in the past two regattas. They have been working hard on that. If Artemis White can get off the line, with their speed they will be a contender.
Oracle Coutts – his past record in the cats shows he is there, but not in the front of the front group. Things can change but this is a tough world to get enough racing time and Coutts has had a bit on his plate.
Team Energy - the Dark Horse. Every time I looked up they were beating Spithill in their practice racing. If you looking for an outside bet, put your dollars on Team Energy. Something about these guys l like. Great attitude.
The tough thing about predictions is that you are almost always wrong. Expect the unexpected, because that's what will happen.
No one knows the winner until after the game is played.
by Rod Davis
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9:43 PM Wed 22 Aug 2012GMT
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