Writing on his blog at Kiwi Yachting Consultants' websites, of which he is a substantial shareholder and director, skipper Dean Barker gives his view of the first race of the Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
It feels like a long time since we last raced. Must be over two weeks and it certainly felt like it as well. Today I certainly felt the tension as we went through our routine of preparing for the race.
With the ebb tide over this first weekend it was always going to be tough to get two races in as the outgoing tide is deducted from the windspeed to give a net that cannot exceed 21kts for a 30 second average in the final 15 minutes to the start.
Race 1 suffered 3 or 4 delays as the wind triggered the maximum limit and for a while I felt it was unlikely we would get a start. However there was a slight dip in winspeed and they RC managed to get a start away. We got a good start and had a good little lead at Mark 1. Luna Rossa had been battling with a board issue prior to the start had a problem after rounding Mark 1 and were done for the race.
We raced on and sailed a pretty nice lap. However in the final bear away at the Top Gate, we got hit with a pretty good puff at exactly the wrong time which sent the boat in to a very hard nose dive. It happened very quickly and although it didn't feel overly extreme on the yacht, watching the footage tonight we certainly got it in there! One nice feature of our boat is the bow volume and this certainly paid dividends at this point in time.
As a result of the nose dive we lost Rob Waddell and Chris Ward over the side. Fortunately neither of them were injured by the rudders or elevators which has always been my major concern.
Fortunately we have suffered only cosmetic damage to a fairing which will be repaired over the nest few days.
The shore crew guys did an amazing job to have us ready to go again for Race 2 however with the wind having done another build there was no chance to get the second race in.
We will try and get two races in tomorrow although the second one looks marginal. We will now also be doing a race on Monday to catch up on the one we lost today.
All for now
To see more of Dean Barker's blogs go to www.kiwiyachting.co.nz
by Dean Barker - 9:50 AM Sun 18 Aug 2013 GMT
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