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America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ scores a first and third in Practice

by on 25 Jul 2015
Start - Emirates Team NZ - Practice Day 2, America’s Cup World Series, Portsmouth Carlo Borlenghi
On a wet, dreary and cold summers day in conditions that were lighter than anticipated, with a 5- 11 knot shifty breeze, it was a strong initial showing for the team with Peter Burling on the helm taking a third and a first in the two races.

Almost two years after the last official racing of the 34th America’s Cup cycle, the six teams competing for the 35th America’s Cup finally got to line up for two official races. The Practice Racing is a preliminary to the first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth.

The first race of the day was about big gains and loses for the fleet spread across the Solent racecourse. For Emirates Team New Zealand, after a solid start rounding the first reach mark in third place, it was about holding onto position around the course and finished in the same position as they started.

“The breeze was quite a bit shiftier than what we thought it was going to be. A lot of mode changing and gear changing today so the teams that picked their way around the track and changed gears the best did the best of the day.” said skipper Glenn Ashby.

The second race was a rags to riches story for the new look sailing team after a troubled start resulted in the Emirates Team New Zealand boat trailing well behind the fleet off the start line.

“After the bad start we knuckled down into our work and ground our way through the fleet with big gains sailing up the beat to windward,” said tactician Ray Davies. “Our crew work felt slick throughout which was really encouraging for us considering the little time we have had sailing together in this boat.”

Despite the promising results the team continue to manage expectations for this regatta as Skipper Glenn Ashby explains.

“We have only sailed the AC45 F for nine days now and we are still learning our crew maneuvers but getting the boat around the track better and better each day. So really our goal of this regatta is to continue to build and strengthen as a team, with an eye on the long term goal in 2017.”

“But today was great, It gave us a good feel for what the race course is going to be like and how the race committee are going to set up the race course tomorrow, so we are looking forward to getting into it then.”

Racing starts tomorrow with two races, followed by two double points races on Sunday, which make up the regatta.

Two races will be sailed on Saturday local time, and a further two on Sunday in the waters of the Solent off Portsmouth.

According to Predictwind the wind will ease to around 18kts for Saturday's racing, however at this stage, it is forecast to be gusting over 35kts for Sunday's racing - well over the wind limit of 25kts agreed for America's Cup Racing.

There is no live TV broadcast or YouTube coverage in New Zealand of the regatta, which counts for Points to be carried over into the Louis Vuitton Qualifier Series for the 35th America's Cup.

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