'We will die but we will never give up.' This is the motto of Vasilij Zbogar, helmsman of Green Comm Racing, and this is exactly what he and the rest of the crew did in the final winner-takes-all race of the America's Cup World Series event in Cascais.
After a week of fleet and match races, the opening event of the 34th America's Cup came to a close with a 40-minute fleet race where everything was at stake.
Despite having sailed just eight days on their brand new AC45, Green Comm Racing's crew showed, once again, that one doesn't win Olympic medals by chance. After a great start, the boat struggled, falling behind the fleet, at times trailing more than 250 meters. Despite the good tactical calls, the faulty wing trim was stalling the boat.
Still, not even when everything seemed lost, did the Olympic champions abandon. They got their act together, trimmed the wing properly, played the shifts well and had an incredible last upwind leg. The last 200 meters to the last mark were by far the most important as the 5 trailing were approaching together. The dinghy sailor spirit within Vasilij came alive and Green Comm Racing zoomed to fifth place.
This fantastic performance isn't a simple morale booster for the America's Cup newcomers. Green Comm Racing also scores 6 points towards the overall 2011-12 America's Cup World Series leaderboard and starts it long journey in the pinnacle event of sailing with a result far beyond expectations. Quotes of the day
Vasilij Zbogar, helmsman: 'We had a fantastic day. We were the last team to arrive here, we were the last team to sail on an AC45 and we were also last in the first two-three races. However, we learned every day, we climbed on the leaderboard every day and we had this amazing result.
Today we showed the spirit of the team. We never give up, even if we are dead last in the race, far behind the leading boats. We will always fight until we cross the finish line. This is what I told the other guys this morning before going out on the water: 'Forget about the result. We are here to fight until the end'.
We had some problems with the wing at the beginning and we were very, very slow but in the first upwind leg we trimmed it much better. Today the race course was much longer and conditions were lighter and shiftier. As a dinghy sailor , I'm used to that. I played the shifts today and tried to think ahead. We were spot on with most of our calls while some of the trailing teams made huge tactical mistakes. As a result, we managed to gain in almost every tack, especially in the last 200 meters of the beat. We passed four boats and finished fourth!
We are happy with our improvement and the result we achieved. It is an incredible confidence builder and I'm sure we will do better in Plymouth next month.'