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Emirates Team NZ tops table at America's Cup World Series prelims

by Warren Douglas on 8 Aug 2011
Emirates Team New Zealand win the Speed Trials of the first America’s Cup World Series event in Cascais with a best speed over 500 metres of 42.35 km/h. 7/8/2011 - America’s Cup World Series - Day 2 - Cascais Chris Cameron/ETNZ

Emirates Team New Zealand collected the prizes at the end of the preliminaries of the first America’s Cup World Series regatta sailed at Cascais, Portugal.

The team was at the top of leader board on 35 points at the end of the fleet racing and claimed fastest yacht in the 500m speed trial with a top speed of 42.35 km/h or 22.86kts.

Second overall at the fleet racing was Oracle Racing 5 on 31 points and third was Artemis on 29 points.

In the last fleet race today the team - Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, Ray Davies, Winston Macfarlane and James Dagg – got a great start and quickly built a commanding 300m lead.

Halfway into the race Barker’s lead looked unassailable as he relentlessly extended.

Then rounding the second mark, bowman Macfarlane was grinding in the gennaker when the winch handle snapped. With his full weight over the winch he went over the top and into the water.

There’s no penalty for losing a man overboard, the lack of the crewman’s weight going upwind is considered penalty enough.

Macfarlane’s only concern was being run down by the following boats, but the lead was large enough that he was never in danger. He swum out of the course area and was picked up by the team’s chase boat. He was back on board the Ac45 for the speed trial.

Barker said after that the lack of Macfarlane’s 100kg was sorely felt on the upwind leg. We were doing all right downwind, hut missed Winston on the beat.

Oracle 5 passed on the last leg, Barker regained the lead and lost it again right on the line. With a third and three second places in the fleet racing the team’s overall lead was safe.

Extreme Sailing Series - Cowes, Isle of Wight

At Cowes, Adam Beashel and crew (Andrew McLean, Chris Ward and Richard Meacham) competing in the Extreme Sailing Series regatta got another taste of racing multihulls in big winds on a confined race track.

The Extreme Sailing Series fleet raced with one reef and no gennakers today – and there were also no guests were on board - testimony to the strength of the wind.

Race organizers wisely split the teams into two fleets of six rather than risk the inevitable collisions if 12 yachts raced in the restricted waters.

Skipper Adam Beashel: 'There was big breeze to begin with. We were involved in an incident at the top mark and unfortunately the umpire’s decision went against us.

'We made an unforced error and were over at the start in the second race, but we had a good start in the final race and came away with a third.

‘We are all learning a lot and gaining some valuable insights into racing multihulls in a good breeze in confined courses.'

Strong winds are forecast for tomorrow.

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