Lessons were learned by every team on the third day of the Cascais regatta of the America’s Cup World Series.
Results at the end of the day indicated a good day on the water for Emirates Team New Zealand – a second, fourth and first in the three fleet races and a win in the first catamaran match race in the AC45 World Series.
But the results did not reflect being caught on the wrong side of a wind shift at the first start; or that Russell Coutts on Oracle 5 collided with us in the pre-start of the second race, or that we were over the start line early in the third race.
Nor did they reflect the team’s almost amazing fight-backs - from the back of the fleet to second in the first race, from second-last over the line in the second race to fourth and from having to start again in the third race to finish with a convincing win.
Highlight of the day for Dean Barker, Ray Davies, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg and Winston Macfarlane was a convincing 1m37s win in the match race against the America’s Cup defending skipper James Spithill.
Conditions today demonstrated that there can be big winners and big losers in both fleet and match races. Get the wind shifts right and the gains can be huge; get them wrong and the losses can be brutal – and the changes of fortune can happen with stunning speed.
The breeze was light and fluky and did not play favourites. In race one, Barker at the pin end of the line was caught in a wind shift and was slow away; Artemis (Terry Hutchinson) and Oracle 5 (Russell Coutts) were over early and had to go back. They suffered for the entire race while Barker recovered.
In the match race, Spithill finally got the worst of the breeze. Barker led over the line and around the first mark. The lead changed several time then Barker got the breeze in leg 5 and led around the fifth mark by 56s.
The boys were looking reasonably comfortable but in the circumstances there was many a glance over the stern even as their good fortune continued and at the finish they had a delta of 1m37s.
Asked by a reporter if he preferred the fleet or match racing Barker was quick: The match racing 'because there’s only one other boat to worry about.'
The most pleasing aspect of the day: 'The was the boys responded and got us out of tough situations.'
At Cowes, racing in the Extreme Sailing Series was abandoned because the winds were too strong, making conditions dangerous for competitors.