Bob Fisher, one of the worlds top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in Plymouth for the second 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.
Dear Diary – Day 6 - America's Cup World Series - Plymouth, England
We are aware that the America’s Cup (and its associated regattas) is in a state of flux, but ACEA cannot grasp the concept of 'If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.' It would seem that its idea of improvement is in reducing the number of races – not that they count for anything anyway, but when the circus is gathered together, one would have thought that racing would command the attention of spectators and the YouTube fan base.
So why is it the intention to remove the Wednesday racing from the 'seeding' for the match racing? That day gives the lesser teams greater opportunity for improvement. Everyone who has ever raced a boat knows that racing provides greater opportunities for improvement than trialling does. And unless those lesser performing teams improve, they will wither on the vine, their financial support withdrawn.
The disappearance of teams will also diminish the spectacle of the World Series and that is of paramount importance, according to the previously declared policy statements.
Today’s match racing was not without its surprises. First up was the semi-final between top-seeded Artemis Racing of Terry Hutchinson and the surprise winner from the lower orders, Chris Draper and Team Korea. Artemis led out of the start and held off Team Korea until a lay-line error at the windward gate when Team Korea went ahead to beat the favourites to the finish to go one up.
Worse was to come when Artemis Racing was penalised for entering the starting box too early, bu a bad gennakers set by Team Korea allowed the Swedish team to lead at the leeward gate. It was there that Draper opted to tack seawards, picked up a left hand shift in the westerly 15 knot breeze to lead Artemis at the weather gate. Hutchinson closed downwind and was five seconds behind through the weather gate the second time, but it was not close enough and Team Korea sailed away to a 16 second victory and take the match by two races to nil.
In the matches for placings, China Team had a huge lead over Green Comm but went the wrong way through the leeward gate and disqualified herself, giving Green Comm the win for seventh overall. Jimmy Spithill in Oracle 4 had no difficulty in beating Loick Peyron’s Energy Team for fifth place. Artemis saw off Russell Coutts’ Oracle 5 to take third place.
Then came the best-of-three final match between Team Korea and Emirates Team New Zealand. The wind was considerably more variable in the rain than it had been earlier, but it hovered under 16 knots, dropping at one point to just five knots. In the first match Dean Barker started to leeward and beat Draper to the first mark and led all the way round to win by 33 seconds.
The second match involved some sophisticated pre-start manoeuvres with Barker keeping Draper the wrong side of the committee boat. It was pretty to watch, but not for Team Korea who trailed the Kiwis all the way round, finishing eight seconds in arrears. ETNZ became the Match Racing Champions of Plymouth AC World Series.
Tomorrow the one-off, winner-takes-all, fleet race will be held if the conditions are suitable, but more wind is forecast.