A point on the board finally for TeamOrigin
Ben Ainslie's team was the first flight up when after yet more delays due to the light shifting breeze, the first warning signal wasn't sounded until 1355 GMT with racing continuing well into the evening as the breeze built.
In their match against BMW Oracle Racing, the Brits had the port entry and managed to cross ahead of their American opponent. This was a significant first small victory for the team who then went on to dominate the rest of the pre-start period as it headed towards the start signal. Both teams could see from looking up the course that the left was going to be favoured. As the pair fought to approach the left hand end and win the left hand side skipper Ainslie hustled and pressured the America’s Cup defender towards the line too early forcing BMW Oracle Racing into either starting early or committing an error. The result was a sequence of events that left the British team with a better start and a penalty awarded to their opponents.
TeamOrigin started on port on the right hand side at speed and quickly tacked back to shadow their opponent from a dominant position to windward and on the right. The pair continued up the race course for some minutes before starting a tacking duel. TeamOrigin, by remaining in phase and sailing well, never getting too close to the lighter right hand side of the course, extended their lead over the next six tacks to round the first mark with and 18 second lead. From there they sailed fast and safe and built the lead up over the following legs to win by more than a minute.
“It was a close one on the pre-start with both teams fighting hard for the left hand side of the course," recounted Ainslie after. "We managed to get an overlap on them and a penalty issued. In doing so they were slowed and at the pin end on the start so that gave us the edge we needed to get away. The guys did a great job of sailing the boat fast around the course to take the win. A nice result for us but a long way to go.”
Unfortunately Ainslie and his team were unable to defeat Emirates Team New Zealand, the Kiwis benefitting from a shift on the right side going up the first beat, and not letting the Brits in with a chance to engage from then on.
Some of the closest raing today was between the Italian teams. At the close of play today the Gavin Brady-steered Mascalzone Latino was the top scoring Italian boat with a 2-1 record after losing today to All4One in a race that saw the umpires impose a red flag penalty on the local boat for a collision just before the weather mark. However she may be assessed a further scoring penalty – redress hearings are scheduled for tonight. The Francesco Bruni-steered Azzurra won her first race of the series, beating an Ed Baird-driven Luna Rossa, and now has a 1-2 record. Luna Rossa’s loss today puts her on 0-2.
Francesco Bruni commented: “It felt very exciting. I did struggle a little bit on the start line today, but we drove the boat fast and kept the game close. I’m very happy because it was a group win, not down to one single department on board, but a team effort. We did a very beautiful Sambuca [tack, gybe, set] and the match was open again."
The cleanest record of any of the ten international teams competing in matched America’s Cup boats is the Swedish team Artemis with two wins and no losses.
Blow by blow:
Flight Seven, Race One: TeamOrigin def BMW Oracle Racing, 01:03 – Ben Ainslie steering TeamOrigin herded Oracle’s James Spithill in to the pin corner of the start box with time running out before the start. The America’s Cup winner struggled to escape but earned a penalty in the process. They split with Ainslie starting at the gun on port and eking out an early lead in a 6-8 knot breeze. At the first cross the British boat led by two boat lengths. Spithill kept it close for the first two legs but Ainslie stretched out to finish 160 metres in front.
Flight Seven, Race Two: Synergy Russian Sailing Team def All4One, 00:35 – Karol Jablonski sailed the Russian boat to victory in a race that saw multiple lead changes. Sebastien Col won the split start and the right. Jablonski initially prevailed on a long lead out to the port tack layline but the French/German boat led by 10 seconds at the top mark in shifty conditions. Synergy controlled into the bottom mark, forcing All4One to the unfavoured gate. With both boats on starboard Synergy was ahead by 60 metres and never relinquished the lead. All4One was requesting redress on Monday night.
Flight Eight, Race One: Azzurra def Luna Rossa, 00:29 – Baird controlled the start until Bruni got clear and pushed the 2007 America’s Cup winning skipper into coffin corner. Baird gauged his escape perfectly and started on port at the pin with Bruni below him on port. Luna Rossa enjoyed a 35 to 45-metre lead and rounded the top mark with a seven second margin only to surrender the lead early after a tack-gybe-set that cost time and speed.
Flight Eight, Race Two: Artemis def ALEPH Sailing Team, 01:12 – After an initial dialup, Terry Hutchinson on the wheel of Artemis chose the left and took it. Bertrand Pace split away to the right. Artemis tacked and followed out to the right into an early four boat-length lead. Pace fought back but never really threatened the Swedish boat around the next four legs.
Flight Nine, Race One: All4One def Mascalzone Latino, 00:43 – Gavin Brady went for the left side and won it but All4One split away on port. Both boats level-paced on port but All4One enjoyed the starboard tack advantage in two close tacks approaching the mark. Mascalzone made two lee-bow tacks but there was contact the second time with the safety wand from Brady’s boat hooked into the bow of All4One.
Flight Nine, Race Two: Emirates Team New Zealand def TEAMORIGIN, 00:15 – Ben Ainslie seized the left and an early advantage in a split tack start that saw an 850 metre split before the British boat tacked to follow the Kiwis on port. Dean Barker bided his time to take over the lead approaching the weather mark. Ainslie closed on the run but the Kiwis led as they rounded opposite gates at the bottom mark.
Provisional win-loss leaderboard after Flight Nine (redress hearings are pending):
=1. Artemis, 2-0, 2 point
=1. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-1, 2 points
=1. All4One, 2-1, 2 points
=1. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 2-1, 2 points
=5. Emirates Team New Zealand, 1-0, 1 point
=5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 1-0, 1 point
=5. Azzurra, 1-2, 1 point
=5. TEAMORIGIN, 1-3, 1 point
=9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 0-2, 0 points
=9. Luna Rossa, 0-2, 0 points.
From Ian Roman/TeamOrigin:
From Chris Cameron/Emirates Team NZ/www.chriscameron.co.nz