The Americas Cup challenger series Round Robin Two
got off to a great start on Saturday.
Race reports courtesy of www.louisvuitoncup.com
After a gloomy, grey morning the skies quickly cleared. The wind built through the afternoon from 8 knots to 15 knots from the North East.
The wind shifts on the first beat forced the Race Committee to change course. Lead changes in two matches took place because of the leader giving up the favoured side of the course rather than due to a speed deficit.
The big three continued to win their races. Prada Challenge beat Fast 2000, Young America won from America True and AmericaOne beat Bravo España. Nippon had a flying start and won the match against Abracadabra.
The French gained on every downwind leg but this was not enough to beat Stars & Stripes.
There were no umpire calls during any of the five races today.
Here are the results:
ROUND ROBIN TWO, RACE 1
BEAT AMERICA TRUE - DELTA 00:33
An exciting pre-start saw these two boats with different opinions about the side of the course they wanted. America True crossed the start line with a comfortable lead of seven seconds at the Committee boat end. Young America, two thirds of the way down the line, was keen on the left-hand side of the course. A drag race up the left side of the course proved that Young America had chosen the correctly. It led at the first windward mark by 49 seconds. The downwind leg saw Young America pull out another few seconds and it rounded the first leeward mark with a lead of over 1:20. From here on it was America True that made all the gains in the building breeze. The last windward leg saw Young America take the right-hand side of the course and separate significantly. America True on the left, sailed into a nice header and the constant shift to the left saw it gain 23 seconds and round less than a minute behind the black boat. The last run saw seven gybes as John Cutler and his team attempted to grind down Young America. They succeeded in gaining another three seconds but never quite threatened the New York Yacht Club's challenger.
LUNA ROSSA BEAT BE HAPPY - DELTA 02:19
Italy's Luna Rossa (ITA-45) chased the Swiss be hAPpy (SUI-59) out into the spectator fleet on the right side of the starting box as time ran out in the five-minute pre-start. Italian skipper Francesco de Angelis led the parade back to the starting line with a 19 second advantage on the starting line. Luna Rossa sailed faster and higher than the Swiss boat to lead by 1:34 at the first weather mark. The Italians picked up nearly a minute on each of the next two beats, but sailed the runs with their mainsail pinned on the centreline gaining only marginally downwind.
AMERICAONE BEAT BRAVO ESPANA - DELTA 01:15
Both boats on starboard tack at the start. AmericaOne (USA-49) had a slight advantage, ahead (0:01) and to windward. Both boats were heading out to the left side of the course. Just after the start Bravo España (ESP-47) found the right gear and impressively pulled out from underneath Cayard bouncing him off to the right. Further up the beat the Spanish tacked over and crossed ahead by two lengths, changing sides. AmericaOne's tactician John Kostecki was reading the windshifts well and gained on the next left-hander. The next cross was to the Americans and Cayard's lead was 20 seconds at the top mark. On the first run AmericaOne gybed first and Bravo España sailed a longer course losing more time. During the second beat Cayard gained more than one minute, some of it due to a jib sheet problem on Bravo España, and the American was never threatened again.
STARS & STRIPES BEAT LE DÉFI - DELTA
Le Défi (FRA-46) and Stars & Stripes (USA-55) got into a good circling duel before Bertrand Pacé took the French boat across the line first. The boats split tacks right at the start, and on the first cross Pacé chose the left side of the course. It would prove fatal as Ken Read took advantage of a windshift to earn a lead for the Americans on the next cross, well up the leg. Stars & Stripes led the rest of the way. Le Défi closed on the first leeward leg, and actually established an overlap at one point, but a poor gybe near the mark allowed Stars & Stripes to round first. Ken Read was relentless in covering the French boat upwind, and he managed to maintain control. Pacé never seriously threatened again.
ABRACADABRA 2000 - DELTA 02:08
Abracadabra (USA-54) led Asura (JPN-44) away from the Committee boat on a long port reach before the start. They turned back, with two minutes to the start, with the Japanese boat gybing aggressively inside its opponent. Peter Gilmour luffed up John Kolius above the starboard tack layline, locking him out from bearing off for the Committee. Gilmour eventually bore off and led back to the start line, hardening up and crossing exactly at the committee boat, two clear lengths ahead. Kolius fought to get clear after the start but was trapped on the unfavoured left side of the pair. After two close crossings, with Gilmour protecting the right, the Japanese boat began to move steadily away.