Luck wasn't on the side of Green Comm Racing's Olympic champions during the second day of racing in Plymouth!
They managed to be competitive under grueling conditions throughout the entire race, where another three boats were forced to abandon, holding on to sixth place, only to capsize a mere 50 meters before the finish line!
Plymouth, 11 September 2011: Sunday was undoubtedly a day of attrition for the America's Cup fleet in Plymouth. With winds over 25 knots and gusts close to 35 knots it was bound to be a day of spectacular action but also capsizes and breakages. Green Comm Racing sailed very well and was able to hold on, playing it safe up to the very last stretch of the race when a gust pushed the Spanish boat to the side.
Green Comm Racing had a spectacular start and rounded the first mark in fourth place. As the breeze picked up, the nine AC45 yachts on the Plymouth Sound were on the edge and the first incidents started on the race course.
First to fall prey to the breeze was Aleph. The French boat capsized on the first run of the race, only to be followed by Artemis, that while in the lead was forced to abandon due to a breakdown in the wing. Then it was the turn of Team Korea to capsize when rounding the second weather mark.
The tough and challenging conditions started paying their toll on the crew in the second half of the race. Being their first time on the water with 30 knots of breeze, the combination of physical exhaustion and a slight lack of concentration resulted in a capsize. Vasilij Zbogar, Ed Wright, Simon Hiscocks, Anthony Nossiter and Pete Cumming didn't abandon but tried to upright the yacht and cross the finish line but the strong breeze just swung the hull and the wing, capsizing it again on the other side.
The team will now use the two off days to repair the damage and get ready for Wednesday's races. Quotes of the day
Vasilij Zbogar, helmsman: 'Today was the very first day we sailed in such tough conditions. We managed to hang on and for most of the race we were fifth butt under such breeze every small error counts. We are happy we were racing because earlier in the morning we thought we wouldn't be able. The guys are happy the capsize took place right at then end because we showed we could be competitive.
We're obviously unhappy with the fact we couldn't cross the finish line. We weren't willing to abandon and we actually tried to put the boat up but then it swung to the other side and capsized again. We are still learning, especially under these conditions.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the damage to the boat is minor. We already had the same damage when we capsized last week. We now have two days off and we'll be back on the race course on Wednesday.'
Simon Hiscocks, wing trimmer, on the incident and his very first race on an AC45: 'We had a slight lack of concentration right at the end and we thought we crossed the finish line when we hadn't. That's what they call a danger zone breach when you can't really go up or down and the boat is fully powered up. We had a small gust and that was it.
In hindsight, we should have been sailing the boat at very lower angle to breeze and wait until we are at a fairly tight angle into finish and come up. That would have been a very safe way. Our approach was to take it safe and avoid excessive risks but at the end we found ourselves in a situation we didn't really want to be in.'