There was action aplenty in the America's Cup World Series, with a spectacular capsize at the first mark of the first race, Sunday.
Quite what triggered the nosedive, by Oracle Team USA's James Spithill, is not clear - it looked like a simple misjudgment of the accelerating speed of the AC45 around the mark, after the sprint leg from the start.
There were a couple of other close calls during the day, but no further spills, and despite a few broken wingsail ribs, Spithill was able to sail in the second fleet race, and then take a win in the Match Racing Final.
Today, the fleet racing will be decided with the bonus points carrying final race. The action starts just after 0930 NZT.
Oracle Team USA digs the bows in and capsizes at the first mark in the first fleet race of day four of the America's Cup World Series, San 6/10/2012 Sail-World .
Ben Ainslie (Racing) looks to have the regatta stitched up with an 11pt lead over Artemis, with Emirates Team NZ five points back and eight ahead of Oracle Team USA-Spithill.
Pleasing aspects of the regatta from a New Zealand perspective are the lift in performance by Dean Barker and crew, who seem to have more speed than previously, although to our eyes the New Zealanders still lack race sharpness, for a variety of reasons, including the lack of a second AC45.
Great to see 21 year old Peter Burling having a solid crack at the competition with a second and fifth place on the penultimate day - and well able to mix it with the top crews. Team Korea performed very well today, able to mix it in the top of the fleet and deserved better than their fifth place, in the final race, Sunday.
Luna Rossa have plenty of work ahead of them, with disappoint results from both crews in the fleet and match racing. Although they do have an AC72 underway, they haven't launched and suffered the distraction of commissioning, that worked against Emirates Team NZ in particular.
What happens from here will be interesting.
Sail-World's correspondent in San Francisco, Bob Fisher writes today: 'The burble of 'will they - won't they' continues around Little Marina Green in San Francisco. The latest is whether or not there will be a European tour next year for the AC-45s, and if there is, just which venues will be used, or will it be deleted from the schedule and allow the 'serious' players to devote more time to their campaigns in the AC-72s.
'Currently ACWS regattas are scheduled for Venice and Naples in the early northern hemisphere summer and maybe there could be one in the Aegean Sea, but rumour surrounding these proposed events would indicate that early flight bookings should be cancelled.'
That would be a big change for the ACWS, and would probably work to the advantage of the New Zealand and Italian teams, who could bring their AC45's back to Auckland, and use them for joint race training over the next six months, when they aren't sailing the AC72's.
A solid race program is needed by both teams, over the coming months. It is evident from this regatta and the one preceding it, that AC72 sailing is a different game entirely, but one which could easily develop into a match race rather then the expected foiling speed race.
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