Americas Cup Challengers Flex Muscle
America One’s skipper Paul Cayard says he’s surprised by some of the more aggressive pre-start manoeuvres from his race with Nippon Challenge.
The two squared off in an afternoon match that featured a near pre-start collision, before the race was postponed to allow some repair work on AmericaOne.
Cayard was assessed a penalty before the postponement, but an obscure rule allowed AmericaOne to sail the restart without any penalty obligations.
The near collision occurred in a pre-start dial up, as both boats entered the start box, sailed towards each other, rounded up parallel, before stalling head to wind.
The two sterns came within inches, and the umpires flagged AmericaOne for failing to give Nippon sufficient room to keep clear.
But just one minute before the start, the AmericaOne crew requested a postponement due to gear failure. The steering chain linking the wheel to the rudder had parted.
During the 45-minute postponement, the crew was able to make a repair, and challenge Japan to a restart. The boats again circled close, passing within inches before a clean start. AmericaOne went on to handily defeat the Nippon team by 02:26.
At the post race press conference, AmericaOne skipper Paul Cayard said he was surprised to see the boats so aggressive before the start. A win is only worth one point in the first round, and many expected the boats to sail conservatively to avoid damage.
Cayard said he was looking at the first round as an opportunity to get information, not to wind up his opponents, or risk damage to his boat. But his actions were louder than his words, and this fierce competitor wouldn’t give an inch on the course.
Cayard said he knows Japan’s Peter Gilmour to be an aggressive sailor. With a history of great races against each other, many will wonder why Cayard was surprised at all.