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Am Cup Replay: Heart stopping first day of Challenger Final

by Richard Gladwell 23 Jun 2018 22:19 PDT 24 June 2018
Race 3 - Finals, America's Cup Playoffs- Day 14, June 10, 2017 (ADT) © Richard Gladwell

Our apologies for getting a little behind with Sail-World.com/nz's replay coverage of the 12 month anniversary, however we will allow the catch up in time for the win on Thursday June 27, NZT) .

Following is the Sail-World coverage of Day 1 of the Challenger Final, along with the report from America's Cup Media and the same from Emirates Team New Zealand. Also included is the timeline from the Race Management team - showing wind strengths, timings and key events. This was not available to be published at the time of the Event.

The all-important weather forecasts for the opening day of the Challenger Final of the Louis Vuitton Trophy for the 35th America's Cup were consistent - and wrong.

The official forecast had the breeze at 11-14kts at the start, around 2.00pm and staying around that level. But at the start and for the race the SW breeze dropped to 8.5 kts, gusting to 9.5kts.

The word around the Great Sound was that Artemis Racing had opted for their light weather foils, while Emirates Team NZ had gone for their All Purpose setup anticipating a freshening breeze later in the afternoon.

But Kiwi hearts sank as it was obvious before the start that Aotearoa New Zealand was struggling to do a foiling gybe - a sure sign that the higher speed, lower lift foils were fitted.

Wrong foil selection has caused several unexpected results, as fancied teams have an unexpected loss after being caught with light air foils in a rising breeze, or vice versa.

In fact, for the first race, the geography and reduced wind speed forced Race Director, Iain Murray to reduce the leg length to just .88nm - the first time in the regatta that the leg length has been less than 1nm. It was the correct call with the time taken for the race being on the long side at 19min 20sec.

Surprisingly despite having what was ostensibly the wrong set of foils fitted, Emirates Team New Zealand recovered from a less than perfect start to pass Artemis Racing as the Swedes did a slow tack underneath the Kiwis midway up the first beat.

Artemis made an unforced error soon afterwards as they crossed a course boundary after Emirates Team New Zealand had tacked away, allowing the Swedes time and room to keep clear of the virtual obstacle.

Once through the New Zealanders stretched away on a day in which an early lead was generally rewarded with a race win - barring incidents.

Emirates Team New Zealand had a very comfortable 47-second win as Artemis appeared to give up the chase and save themselves for Race 2.

Jib change

The breeze increased between races, with some rain, to over 12kts, gusting just under 15kts by the time the race started. Emirates Team New Zealand changed their jib between races opting for the second of three supplied one design jibs.

Race Director Iain Murray stretched the course back out to the regulation 1.2nm, getting the finish time down closer to the target of 17-18 minutes.

Emirates Team New Zealand fans, knowing the board configuration, breathed a sigh of relief, but they soon had a reality check as Artemis Racing's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Percy got the Kiwis under control at the start.

Like Percy's compatriot Ben Ainslie of Land Rover BAR, they searched for the Kiwi's Achilles heel - being unable to break a close cover.

After winning the start, the Artemis Racing afterguard never let the Kiwis off anything but a short leash.

Surprisingly Artemis with her light air boards was able to hold out New Zealand with their expected advantage of all purpose boards, configured for the mid-range breeze.

At the finish, Artemis Racing was 14 seconds ahead taking the final to a win each.

The grim reality of this phase of the regatta is that one of the two teams will be going home in a day or two. While the Kiwi fans always work on the basis that it will be the other team getting the chop, but now they could see the executioner's axe poised above them with a two loss one win scorecard being quite possible at the end of the first day.

Emirates Team NZ slip through

Race 3 began with Emirates Team New Zealand having control of the start, but both boats got too close to the start line - having to sail parallel with the line to burn up time.

The start was close to being equal with as Race 2 - but Artemis pulled through from windward to enjoy a small gain at Mark 1 - and then once in front made sure they stayed there.

Emirates Team New Zealand behind. The breeze dropped a couple of knots leaving the Kiwis maybe a little vulnerable with the smaller jib and smaller foils.

However, this was a much tighter race with Emirates Team New Zealand showing they were able to live within just a three-second margin of the Swedes.

After rounding Mark 3 at the end of the first beat, Iain Murray elected to lengthen the leg length from 1.06nm to 1.24nm - a decision which worked the Kiwis' way at the end of the next beat coming into Leg 5.

Iain Percy came off the pumps several times to play the role of tactician, while the New Zealand style is to let Burling have his head and live and occasionally die by the 26-year-old Olympic Champion's natural flair, and virtuoso helming skills as he looks to exploit the smallest slip or gap.

One such opportunity flashed at the bottom of Leg 4 as Artemis Racing splashed badly during a gybe. Burling's response was to do a near perfect foiling gybe and go for the other mark and usually favoured right-hand side.

That slip was enough for the Kiwis to close to within a boat length or two and put the pressure back on Artemis as they traded tacks on the final beat.

A couple of hundred metres short of Mark 5 at the top of the final beat, with Emirates Team New Zealand swapping the lead, the pressure told on Artemis as helmsman Nathan Outteridge misjudged his crossing of the catamaran. He stepped on the after cross-beam and went overboard, leaving Emirates Team New Zealand to finish the course uncontested.

The crowd which had been cheering loudly as Artemis rounded each mark ahead of the Kiwis and at the finish of Race 2, were silent as Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finish line to take their second race win. The reality of this regatta seems to be that the Bermudan fans support two teams - Oracle Team USA and whoever is sailing against Emirates Team New Zealand.

Artemis sailed the remainder of the leg, with one of the grinders steering. To cap off a bad day were penalised once again for sailing outside a virtual boundary line and were recorded as a Did Not Finish.

For the three races scheduled tomorrow in the best of nine series - lighter winds are predicted. The foil selection will be followed with great interest - as despite the talents and intellect of the design teams it is a far from perfect science.

Official Reports:

From America's Cup Media:

A dramatic man overboard incident on Artemis Racing handed the scoreboard advantage to Peter Burling’s Emirates Team New Zealand squad on day one of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs Final.

Nathan Outteridge, the skipper of Artemis Racing, slid off the back of the Swedish challenger at a critical point in the third race of the day, immediately handing the lead to Burling, who never looked back.

The Kiwis now hold a two - one lead in the first to five point series.

“I think I just got a little flick off the back of the boat,” Outteridge explained. “These boats turn quite quickly and we sprint across. Just as I was crossing, we straightened the turn, which had me sliding down the aft beam…

“Had I not slipped off in that last race I think it would have been two - one for us, so it’s a bit disappointing, but overall we’re very happy with our performance today.”

“It was an incredibly tricky day,” said Burling. “We were very happy with how we were going. We struggled a little bit with the starts but there were some tight-fought battles. We’re happy to have battled back into that last race and it was shaping up to be a very close top mark before Nathan went off.”

The final stage of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs started on Saturday afternoon in Bermuda in light to moderate winds of eight to eleven knots.

The match has two great young helmsmen pitted against each other – Nathan Outteridge of Sweden’s Artemis Racing and Peter Burling of Emirates Team New Zealand.

The teams went into the day with different set-ups: Artemis Racing with its big, light wind boards, while the Kiwis had smaller foils, thought to be more efficient in stronger winds.

Race 1:

The teams didn’t engage closely in the prestart of race one and it was advantage Outteridge when the starting gun fired as he crossed the line on time, with speed, three lengths clear ahead of the Kiwi boat. By the time the teams reached the bottom gate for the first time, Burling had narrowed the lead to just five-seconds.

With two efficient tacks on the upwind leg, New Zealand closed the gap down and with the boats approaching the edge of the course, Artemis Racing made an unforced error, sailing just outside the course boundary and picking up a penalty. Burling and his Kiwi team banked the advantage and extended the rest of the way to go up one - zero, with a winning delta of 47-seconds.

Race 2:

Artemis Racing’s Nathan Outteridge won the start cleanly over Emirates Team New Zealand’s Peter Burling. Outteridge set up to leeward and was first across the starting line for the second consecutive race. On the reach to mark one, he kept pushing the Kiwi boat to windward, away from the mark, before turning downwind and accelerating into the lead.

Once again, Burling kept it close, not splitting until the final windward gate, hoping superior boat speed would allow him through. But Outteridge and his tactician Iain Percy relied on every trick in the match racing book to cover their opponent, staying between the New Zealanders and the next mark, often pushing disturbed air onto the Kiwi wing.

It was a hard-fought 15-second win for the Swedish challenger, to level the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs Final at one - one.

Race 3:

Race 3 was an even start, with both boats crossing the starting line simultaneously. Outteridge was set up slightly to windward and vulnerable to a luff, but he accelerated well off the starting line to lead into mark one by less than three-seconds. Trailing into the first bottom gate for the third consecutive time, Burling finally elected to split away, looking to make a gain through a favorable windshift.

It nearly worked. The boats converged at the top gate with Outteridge ahead by less than one length. With a split on the downwind leg, Artemis found a vein of wind to stretch slightly, but a bad gybe approaching the gate meant the lead was just three-seconds. The first cross on the upwind was to Outteridge by less than two boat-lengths. The next one was even closer and Burling had the favored right hand side for the final meeting.

But in a dramatic turn of events, on the final tack to the gate, Outteridge slid off the Artemis Racing boat as he sprinted across the platform. Without their helmsman, Artemis surrendered the lead immediately and limped down the final run, retiring from the race after the Kiwis finished for the win and a two - one series lead.

Three races are scheduled on Sunday, with the first start at 14:08 local time.

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs – Final:

Race 1 - Emirates Team New Zealand beat Artemis Racing – 47 seconds
Race 2 - Artemis Racing beat Emirates Team New Zealand – 15 seconds
Race 3 - Emirates Team New Zealand win – Artemis Racing do not finish

From Emirates Team New Zealand:

The cry of “man overboard” was the climax of a dramatic first day of the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series final in Bermuda, with Emirates Team New Zealand taking a 2-1 lead in the best of nine series.

Under pressure from the Kiwis towards the end of race three, Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge was sprinting to the portside wheel when he lost his footing and slid off the boat.

Rival helmsman Peter Burling had been in the process of creating another come from behind lead change at mark five when the drama unfolded and with the Swedes retiring he sailed unopposed to the finish.

Outteridge’s swim took some of the shine off what’s developing into an incredibly close contest between two very evenly matched teams.

With Artemis ruling the start box in all three races, the Kiwis found themselves playing catch up all day.

In the first race Burling was able to climb back courtesy of two Artemis errors – a miss-timed tack and a penalty for the for crossing the boundary line.

But in race two Outteridge was able to convert his superior starting into a win with flawless boat-handling and sharp tactics which forced the Kiwis into having to make an extra tack and gybe whilst also sailing 400 metres more than the Swedes.

Again in the third race Burling was outgunned at the start. But this time the Kiwis managed to keep it tight which enabled them to create a split and set up an opportunity to pass.

A poor gybe by the Swedes opened the door and Burling was in the process of driving through it when a Outteridge took his dip in the Great Sound.

As predicted, the series is developing into an incredibly tight fight, and with light winds forecast for tomorrow both crews will face a whole new range of challenges.


Race Management Timeline

Liveline Chatter Feed
9:23:22 TIM Good morning from Bermuda! Sat 10 June 2017
9:23:51 USA Yankee Flag
9:23:56 TIM Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Finals 2017
9:23:57 USA Yankee Flag
13:48:30 TIM Challenger Playoff Final, Race 1, SWE (port) v NZL (stbd), start 14:12
13:50:14 WND Wind 233 at 8.5 kn, 10.3 kn peak
13:54:03 WND Wind 236 at 9.2 kn, 10.8 kn peak
13:57:03 WND Wind 235 at 8.7 kn, 9.2 kn peak
14:00:03 WND Wind 239 at 8.3 kn, 9.3 kn peak
14:03:03 WND Wind 238 at 7.6 kn, 8.1 kn peak
14:06:03 WND Wind 234 at 8.2 kn, 9.4 kn peak
14:06:44 PRO SWE port
14:06:46 PRO NZL stbd
14:06:49 PRO Course 6-F
14:06:58 PRO Axis 240
14:07:04 PRO Length .88nm
14:07:13 PRO M1-boundary 300m
14:09:00 Race 1 (SWE,NZL): Warning, 3:00 until start
14:09:03 WND Wind 235 at 8.3 kn, 9.8 kn peak
14:09:54 SWE Began Entry
14:09:57 SWE Completed Entry
14:10:08 NZL Began Entry
14:10:11 NZL Completed Entry
14:11:33 WND Wind 233 at 8.5 kn, 9.5 kn peak
14:12:00 Race 1 (SWE,NZL): Started
14:12:05 SWE Crossed Start Line
14:12:13 NZL Crossed Start Line
14:12:51 SWE Rounded Mark 1, 0:51.8 after start
14:13:00 NZL Rounded Mark 1, 0:08.6 behind leader
14:14:56 SWE Rounded Mark 2, 2:56.3 after start
14:15:01 NZL Rounded Mark 2, 0:05.0 behind leader
14:15:03 WND Wind 236 at 8.8 kn, 10.2 kn peak
14:18:03 WND Wind 248 at 9.4 kn, 9.8 kn peak
14:18:45 UMP SWE Penalty
14:18:45 SWE sailed outside the boundary
14:18:46 SWE Yankee Flag
14:18:58 UMP SWE No Penalty
14:19:33 UMP SWE Penalty Complete
14:19:41 NZL Rounded Mark 3, 7:41.3 after start
14:19:50 SWE Rounded Mark 3, 0:08.7 behind leader
14:21:03 WND Wind 244 at 8.6 kn, 9.4 kn peak
14:22:31 NZL Rounded Mark 4, 10:31.8 after start
14:22:42 SWE Rounded Mark 4, 0:11.0 behind leader
14:24:03 WND Wind 241 at 8.6 kn, 9.5 kn peak
14:27:02 NZL Rounded Mark 5, 15:02.1 after start
14:27:03 WND Wind 242 at 8.5 kn, 10.4 kn peak
14:27:24 SWE Rounded Mark 5, 0:22.8 behind leader
14:29:27 NZL Rounded Mark 6, 17:27.4 after start
14:30:03 SWE Rounded Mark 6, 0:35.5 behind leader
14:30:03 WND Wind 237 at 8.5 kn, 9.4 kn peak
14:31:16 NZL Crossed Finish Line
14:31:18 PRO NZL Finished: time 14:31:16.755, 19:16.755 after start
14:32:04 SWE Crossed Finish Line, 0:47.3 behind leader
14:32:05 PRO SWE Finished: time 14:32:04.143, 20:04.143 after start
14:32:08 PRO Race 1 Terminated


14:32:42 PRO Race 2 Start: 14:51
14:33:03 WND Wind 237 at 9.0 kn, 10.2 kn peak
14:37:46 PRO NZL port
14:37:47 PRO SWE stbd
14:37:49 PRO Course 6-F
14:37:58 PRO Axis 235
14:38:04 PRO Length .95nm
14:38:15 PRO M1-boundary 480m
14:41:03 WND Wind 237 at 11.4 kn, 13.3 kn peak
14:46:18 PRO WG+
14:46:23 PRO Length 1.2nm
14:48:00 Race 2 (SWE,NZL): Warning, 3:00 until start
14:48:54 NZL Began Entry
14:48:58 NZL Completed Entry
14:49:03 SWE Began Entry
14:49:06 SWE Completed Entry
14:50:33 WND Wind 231 at 12.6 kn, 14.7 kn peak
14:51:00 Race 2 (SWE,NZL): Started
14:51:00 SWE Crossed Start Line
14:51:02 NZL Crossed Start Line
14:51:53 SWE Rounded Mark 1, 0:53.9 after start
14:51:57 NZL Rounded Mark 1, 0:03.1 behind leader
14:53:23 SWE Rounded Mark 2, 2:23.0 after start
14:53:28 NZL Rounded Mark 2, 0:05.7 behind leader
14:57:50 SWE Rounded Mark 3, 6:50.9 after start
14:57:59 NZL Rounded Mark 3, 0:08.9 behind leader
15:00:40 SWE Rounded Mark 4, 9:40.4 after start
15:00:46 NZL Rounded Mark 4, 0:06.2 behind leader
15:01:03 WND Wind 232 at 12.7 kn, 15.4 kn peak
15:05:09 SWE Rounded Mark 5, 14:09.7 after start
15:05:21 NZL Rounded Mark 5, 0:11.8 behind leader
15:07:55 SWE Rounded Mark 6, 16:55.1 after start
15:08:09 NZL Rounded Mark 6, 0:14.7 behind leader
15:09:21 SWE Crossed Finish Line
15:09:22 PRO SWE Finished: time 15:09:21.361, 18:21.361 after start
15:09:36 NZL Crossed Finish Line, 0:14.6 behind leader
15:09:37 PRO NZL Finished: time 15:09:36.051, 18:36.051 after start
15:09:39 PRO Race 2 Terminated

15:09:55 PRO Race 3 Start: 15:30
15:12:28 PRO SWE port
15:12:32 PRO NZL stbd
15:12:34 PRO Course 6-F
15:18:26 PRO Axis 235
15:18:29 PRO Length 1.2m
15:18:36 PRO M1-boundary 480m
15:20:04 WND Wind 231 at 10.6 kn, 14.3 kn peak
15:25:39 PRO Axis 230
15:26:57 PRO WG -
15:27:00 Race 3 (SWE,NZL): Warning, 3:00 until start
15:27:04 PRO Length 1.06nm
15:27:52 SWE Began Entry
15:27:55 SWE Completed Entry
15:28:04 NZL Began Entry
15:28:06 NZL Completed Entry
15:29:34 WND Wind 229 at 11.4 kn, 13.1 kn peak
15:30:00 Race 3 (SWE,NZL): Started
15:30:00 NZL Crossed Start Line
15:30:00 SWE Crossed Start Line
15:30:44 SWE Rounded Mark 1, 0:44.2 after start
15:30:46 NZL Rounded Mark 1, 0:02.6 behind leader
15:32:10 SWE Rounded Mark 2, 2:10.2 after start
15:32:13 NZL Rounded Mark 2, 0:03.6 behind leader
15:35:55 SWE Rounded Mark 3, 5:55.3 after start
15:35:58 NZL Rounded Mark 3, 0:03.5 behind leader
15:36:43 PRO WG +
15:36:50 PRO Length 1.24nm
15:38:06 SWE Rounded Mark 4, 8:06.2 after start
15:38:09 NZL Rounded Mark 4, 0:03.2 behind leader
15:39:15 WND Wind 236 at 13.4 kn, 14.8 kn peak
15:42:11 NZL Rounded Mark 5, 12:11.7 after start
15:42:23 SWE Rounded Mark 5, 0:11.7 behind leader
15:43:54 UMP SWE Penalty
15:43:54 SWE sailed outside the boundary
15:44:10 UMP SWE Penalty Complete
15:44:45 NZL Rounded Mark 6, 14:45.3 after start
15:46:04 NZL Crossed Finish Line
15:46:06 PRO NZL Finished: time 15:46:04.024, 16:04.024 after start
15:47:34 PRO SWE DNF
15:47:41 PRO Race 3 Terminated
15:49:17 WND Wind 235 at 15.4 kn, 18.1 kn peak
15:49:50 TIM SWE skipper Outteridge went overboard about 15:41:40
15:50:25 TIM Racing finished for today
15:50:29 TIM Chatter out

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