Equipment failures marred the Objective Australia team’s first day of racing on San Francisco Bay in the inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.
It was a grey and damp day, with 14-17 knots of wind and a reasonably light ebb tide flowing out toward the Golden Gate Bridge as the fleet of ten teams representing Australia, New Zealand (2), USA (2), Portugal, France, Germany and Switzerland headed out on the race course.
Nerves played a big factor for all teams in the first start of the day, for many this is the biggest event of their lives.
After an average start in the first race, Objective Australia was noticeably slower to hoist their gennaker for the downwind leg and never really managed to get back into the race, which was eventually won by a convincing margin by the USA Youth Sailing Force team.
After the race finished, the ACRM maintenance team boarded Objective Australia frantically trying to help the team run a new gennaker halyard.
The halyard, which hoists the bigger Code Zero sail, is a supplied piece of equipment and failed on the first deploy today, stripping the outer casing.
With little time between races the crew worked together to complete the repair while the other teams rested. Unfortunately, it was not able to be tested before the start of the second race.
After a much better start in Race 2, Objective Australia rounded the first mark in fifth position. Again, their Code Zero hoist was a little tentative but they got down the run without too many issues, again rounding in fifth position. It was a close fought work to the top mark with the two Kiwi boats, the Portuguese and the second US team leading the Aussies.
At the top mark it was very crowded and many teams made mistakes because of the congestion of the fleet, with the Aussies gaining and moving up to fourth.
But at the next bottom mark rounding their day effectively ended when the Code Zero failed at the halyard and fell in the water, stopping the boat. Initial investigation points to a failure that would have been identified with more time to test after the repair.
After the crew re-gathered the damaged sail they bravely finished the race but ended the day with two 10th places and a lot of recovery work to do over the next three days.
The Objective Australia team has shown their exceptional speed and tactical skills over the past weeks and they are more than capable of shaking off a bad first day.
Looking forward to a new day tomorrow.
by Simon Reffold
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10:42 PM Sun 1 Sep 2013GMT
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