America’s Cup: Dicey Forecast Ahead
Published on May 30th, 2017
Paul Cayard, seven-time America’s Cup competitor, files this report after the fourth day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in Bermuda.
Hamilton, Bermuda (May 30, 2017) – Three races were held today on Great Sound in 12-14 knots of wind. It was a day to get more racing in as the forecast for the next few days is very light. However, the schedule was set in stone and so no changes were made. Four races are on the schedule for tomorrow.
It looked to me that most teams had their light air boards on, certainly Artemis and Land Rover BAR did. Artemis had to race in the first and last races of the day and could not afford to get caught in the last race of the day with the small boards as the forecast had the wind dropping. It’s possible Emirates Team New Zealand had smaller boards on in the race against Artemis as the Kiwi’s had just the one race to deal with today.
The first race of Round 2, Race 16, was a rematch of the last race of round 1. Artemis was up against ETNZ and certainly looking for some redemption after they were wronged by an umpire call yesterday. Nathan Outteridge schooled Kiwi helm Peter Burling at the start and Artemis held a comfortable lead all the way around the first lap.
Up the second windward leg, ETNZ began making in roads on the Swedish lead. It looked to me like mostly speed. The wind did turn right all day so often the boat on the right in the splits would make gains. Near the top of the second windward leg, the Swedish lead was all but gone.
The Kiwi’s were coming on starboard and laying the port side of the windward gate. Artemis was not crossing and should have gone behind but maybe that was too bitter of a pill to swallow after having a 200 meter lead just 3 minutes earlier. Instead, the Swedes tried to cross and fouled the Kiwi’s who still managed to get around the windward mark after bearing away to avoid a collision. Penalty to the Swedes, game over.
Race 17: France vs. Oracle. No story here really. Spithill schooled French helm Franck Cammas on the start and Oracle went on to win by a big margin. One technique was interesting. When Oracle came to the leeward mark a bit “thin”, they put the windward board down to add lift to the package so the boat would not drop into the water as they “soaked” down to the mark. Essentially, they crawled in on all fours.
Race 18: This was a huge race. Artemis vs. BAR, and either Artemis was going to suffer yet another loss or BAR were going to extend their losing streak to 5 in a row. Artemis got too close to the line too early and Ainslie was able to create gauge off the Swedes which allowed him to pull the trigger earlier and have more speed at the start.
BAR rolled around the Swedes and led the whole way. The race never got close. The teams seemed pretty even in speed, both on light air boards I think. Artemis has a hard 90 degree radius in their board where BAR is a softer radius. The harder the run, the more draggy I believe but also makes the span and the righting moment greater which are both pluses. Interesting trade-offs. So far, technique and sailing skill has outweighed all these small design details.
The second round robin continues tomorrow at 2:00 pm (local time) with four matches scheduled: Japan vs France, Great Britain vs New Zealand, USA vs Japan, and France vs Great Britain. Winds are forecasted to be light and potentially below the 6 to 24 knot wind range. The call is northerly 4 to 8 knots, becoming variable 2 to 5 knots in the afternoon, then settling southwesterly 4 to 8 knots overnight…not great.
America’s Cup Qualifiers: From May 27 to June 3, all six America’s Cup teams – yes, that includes the Defender – will compete in a double round robin match race series where each competitor races every other team twice. Each win earns one point, and the four Challengers with the most points advance to the next round. As the top two teams from the 2015-16 America’s Cup World Series, Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA gained an advantage of 2 points and 1 point respectively going into the AC Qualifiers.
Race results – Day four
RR2, Race 1: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Artemis Racing by 1 minute and 31 seconds
RR2, Race 2: ORACLE TEAM USA beat Groupama Team France by 1 minute and 56 seconds
RR2, Race 3: Land Rover BAR beat Artemis Racing by 30 seconds
ORACLE TEAM USA (USA), 5-1 – 6 pt (1 pt from ACWS)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 5-1 – 5 pt
Land Rover BAR (GBR), 2-4 – 4 pt (2 pt from ACWS)
Artemis Racing (SWE), 2-5 – 2 pt
SoftBank Team Japan (JPN), 2-3 – 2 pt
Groupama Team France (FRA), 2-4 – 2 pt