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 7 Spent ashore - America's Cup World Series - Cascais, Portugal
Some days one has to take a break from the pursuit of pleasure – not that I have tired of it, far from that, but I am on another promise and I await developments in that direction with acute interest. Besides, I went to the 'wrong' party in search of rides last evening, but the right one for meeting the glitterati. I’ll say no more of that except that there were several America’s Cup winning skippers present from as long ago as 1983.
Cascais has it all. More and more it becomes evident that the 32nd America’s Cup should have been held here – and yes, it was all signed, sealed and virtually delivered right up until the morning of the announcement, in Geneva, that it would be held in Valencia, the city of stinky streets. Deep inside lurks the thought of being robbed of two, or more, glorious years in Cascais.
Maybe ACRM will talk ACEA into placing another of the World Series here next year and maybe one in 2013 before the AC-45 gives way to the AC-72. I, for one, hope so. This is, after all, the very best regatta venue in Europe and the sport is popular with the people, if the crowds here at the weekend were any indication. This coming weekend will probably be more crowded.
Not all is well here, however. Maybe I had a sixth sense in not seeking a ride, because the first of the scheduled three fleet races was abandoned when the the breeze copped out completely. That was hard on Jimmy Spithill and his crew, who had led Dean Barker and the Emirates Team New Zealand crew around the first two marks. Others may have drawn a sigh of relief, particularly when Green Comm was fourth to the second rounding mark. Even pigs, it seems, might fly.
By the time it was re-sailed, the breeze had begun to appear and for the next race it was well into double figures. For the third race, the China Team made a cracker of a start, which drew some surprise from the television commentary team, who for some time were unaware, it seemed, that Mitch Booth was a double Olympic medallist in the Tornado class and his tactician, Charlie Ogletree was also a silver medallist in that class. A slow gennaker hoist however saw Mitch and his mates subsequently drop places.
It went to show that the well drilled and set up teams do hold the trump cards. And generally they avoid the pitfalls of going over the electronic barriers and incurring additional penalties. And that in the end made all the difference between the China Team failing to make the cut for the match racing at the end of the day, and the Energy team taking their place to race against Team Korea.