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America's Cup World Series - Tricky day 3 in Naples for Energy Team

by Pierre Giboire on 21 Apr 2013
Energy Team - 2013 America’s Cup World Series Naples Stephanie Billarant / Energy Team
At the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, one day is very different from another for Energy Team. Unable to line up for the start of the first race due to a technical problem on Saturday, Yann Guichard’s crew finished sixth in the second race of the day.

Fifth in the overall rankings, the French are nevertheless still in with a chance of making it to the podium on Super Sunday, with the final race marking the conclusion of this Naples leg of the AC World Series. A lot could indeed change tomorrow (Sunday) with one final fleet race with the winner attributed 40 points – as opposed to 12 points in the first six.

Because of a technical problem with the martingale on the Energy Team AC45, Yann Guichard and his men were unable to line up for the start of the fifth race in Naples. The race was won by Emirates Team New Zealand, who were really on form today, ahead of Oracle Team USA and Luna Rossa Piranha. They quickly dealt with the problem and the minor damage would not stop the French team from competing in the second race of the day.

After getting off to some great starts yesterday, Yann Guichard hoped to confirm this success in the only fleet race of the day in which he could compete in Naples in light winds and choppy seas. Unfortunately, the start of the race was tricky for Energy Team who rounded the first mark in seventh place. On the first downwind leg, the AC45s chose the right hand side of the race course, except for the French crew. This strategy paid off, as they moved up three places by the second mark: a great comeback.

The first upwind leg was not as kind to the French: they were in fifth place at mark 3, 28 seconds behind the leader, Luna Rossa Swordfish and neck and neck with the other Italian boat, Luna Rossa Piranha in fourth place. Ahead of them, Francesco Bruni (Luna Rossa Swordfish), Dean Barker (Emirates Team New Zealand) and Ben Ainslie (JP Morgan BAR) widened the gap and even if you could count on nothing on this race course in Naples, it clearly looked like victory would go to one of them.

The race to mark 4 was quick, with the multihulls flying along at almost 20 knots with Energy Team remaining in fifth place at the mark. But they really needed to keep an eye on eager, young Tom Slingsby (Oracle Team USA), who got dangerously close to them on the final upwind leg and ended up overtaking them.

Sixth as they started on the final downwind descent towards the finishing line, Yann Guichard had to ward off attacks from the other American boat, HS Racing. But he managed to do that and ended up in sixth place in a race won once again by Emirates Team New Zealand, ahead of Luna Rossa Swordfish and JP Morgan BAR. Energy Team, fifth in the overall rankings is just ten points off the podium, and will really want to show what they can do tomorrow in the final decisive fleet race.

Naples fleet race rankings after the third day and before Super Sunday:

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) / Dean Barker 60 pts (1st/4th/5th/3rd/1st/1st)
2. Oracle Team USA (USA) / Tom Slingsby 55 pts (2nd/6th/1st/2nd/2nd/5th)
3. JP Morgan Bar (GBR) / Ben Ainslie 52 pts (3rd/1st/6th/4th/4th/3rd)
4. Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA) / Chris Draper 50 pts (4th/2nd/4th/5th/3rd/4th)
5. Energy Team (FRA) / Yann Guichard 42 pts (7th/3rd/2nd/1st/DNS/6th)
6. Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA) / Francesco Bruni 40 pts (5th/5th/3rd/DNF/5th/2nd)
7. Artemis Racing (SWE) / Charlie Ekberg 31 pts (6th/7th/7th/7th/6th/8th)
8. HS Racing (USA) / Roman Hagara 26 pts (8th/9th/8th/6th/8th/7th)
9. China Team (CHN) / Mitch Booth 22 pts Energy Team website

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