America’s Cup: One Down, One To Go
Published on May 29th, 2017
After strong winds postponed the start of the America’s Cup Qualifiers on May 26, the double round robin series designed to reduce the field of five Challengers down to four teams, completed the first round on May 27-29 in Bermuda.
The course layout, with gates at the windward and leeward mark, creates racing where it is difficult for the leader to control their opponent. The result is separation to the boundaries, and in the shifty and puffy conditions on the Great Sound, lead changes are common in close races.
To win the 35th America’s Cup, karma may be as important as speed and skill.
A factor at this stage is the bonus points that were accrued during the 2015-16 America’s Cup World Series, which gave Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA an advantage of 2 points and 1 point respectively going into the AC Qualifiers.
With USA able to race in this round, they have the overall lead, and would be leading regardless of the point. However, the Brits would be last without the points instead of their current position of third. Their lack of consistent speed and boat handling has them, along with the French, as candidates for elimination.
Here is the recap:
May 27: The big story of the day was the significant damage caused by the Brits in a pre-start foul with the Japanese. This is the second collision that helm Ben Ainslie has been faulted for, with the first being inflicted on the Kiwis in practice. Perhaps control issue on Land Rover BAR? Full story and video here.
May 28: The second day saw the Kiwis win all their races, the Brits lose all their races, and the French get their first win. The Swedes continued their erratic ways seen during the AC World Series, where today they lost to the French and then issued USA their first defeat. Full story and video here.
May 29: On the final day of the first round, the French beat the Brits, which as French helmsman Franck Cammas says, “To beat the British is always good for the French.” The thriller race was between the Swedes and Kiwis, which had commentator Ken Read counting nine lead changes. With both teams even as they approached the final turn to the finish, the Swedes made the pass but lost the race when umpires called foul. Full story and video here.
The second round robin begins tomorrow at 2:08 pm (local time) with three matches scheduled: NZL vs SWE, FRA vs USA, and SWE vs GBR. Winds are forecasted to veer more westerly with the best breeze expected in the morning, and easing to eight – 12 knots by midday.
ORACLE TEAM USA (USA), 4-1 – 5 pt (1 pt from ACWS)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 4-1 – 4 pt
Land Rover BAR (GBR), 1-4 – 3 pt (2 pt from ACWS)
Artemis Racing (SWE), 2-3 – 2 pt
SoftBank Team Japan (JPN), 2-3 – 2 pt
Groupama Team France (FRA), 2-3 – 2 pt