Bob Fisher, one of the worlds top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in Cascais, Portugal for the first round of the America's Cup World Series.
Bob is a multihuller from way back, having competed for Britain in the Little America's Cup and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967. After three rides on an AC45 on three consecutive days, he's developed a habit.
He writes: Dear Diary – Day 6 No need for counting - America's Cup World Series - Cascais, Portugal
The smile is back, and full-on too. I managed to obtain my fix early in the day, and a belle jour it was too with Loick Peyron and the aptly named Energy Team. It was the first of the three fleet races with the wind still patchier than a tramp’s trousers, but therein lies the skill of sailing the AC-45s.
In whatever spare time they have, and believe me it isn’t very much, any of the crew members that spots a better breeze is free to inform the skipper. In all other respects the four-man unit worked faultlessly; the only sounds being those of energy expended necessarily. There’s always something to do and always an extra pair of hands would make it easier.
The sixth-man, of course, is not allowed to help in any way, not even to point to any sign of breeze. Just as well. I wouldn’t like to impose and my sailing French is nowhere up to the standard of my restaurant French. Nevertheless I was able to appreciate what was going on.
Like all boat races, the start is all important – as Russell Coutts and a couple of others found to their cost. Getting back in this tight fleet is anything but easy. And round the corners, there is no room for anything but perfection. We just missed the perfect lay-line to one of the bottom marks and were slow rounding. Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand, on the perfect lay, sailed around outside and passed us. That hurt.
My day on the water at an end, I rushed back to where I could watch it on television (with the sound turned down). The chess-like aspect of the racing is more apparent from the overview, but nothing can match being aboard an AC-45 during a race. I’m off to find my next fix.
PS. Emirates Team New Zealand won the match race against Jimmy Spithill’s Oracle team to take the number one spot so far in the regatta.