Artemis the class act

Terry Hutchinson' crew top the seedings going into two days of match racing at the America's Cup World Series

Thursday September 15th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

For the second day running, Artemis Racing won two of the three heats at the Plymouth Match Racing Championship. With a second place to add to their two victories today, Terry Hutchinson’s team has dominated the seeding fleet race phase of the Match Racing Championships.

“The boys did really nice work,” said skipper Terry Hutchinson. “The boat was going really well all day. The trimmers had us going as well as the boat has ever gone. But we're mindful it's only two days and we have a lot more work ahead of us.”

Tactician Iain Percy added: “The team is starting to gel and we had great starts. We were hitting the line at speed and were always up there at the top mark.”

“Morgan and Sean [Clarkson] had the boat set up really nicely. We are fine-tuning and making our systems better, so it’s good to see some of the work we’ve done pay off. The boat is going very well, that helps when you make a reasonable decision as things go even better,” said Hutchinson. “I am incredibly respectful of those we are racing against. On any given day, anyone can win races. Our time on distance to the start line is better, so is our boat speed, but we are still miles from where we want to be. We see every day of racing as an opportunity to get better. Working on continuous improvement on how we sail the boat.”

Artemis Racing has earned a bye for tomorrow’s racing but will be out training with Emirates Team New Zealand early on and potentially Green Comm as well.

“No day off tomorrow,” said Skipper Terry Hutchinson. “We’ll go out and go sailing. It would be a mistake to rest. It’s not everyday we get to go multihull sailing. It’s nice to have the short term victory, but we will go out and practice. We have to keep putting the hours in.”

There was good news too for China Team, who earned a third place finish in the final race of the day; a rewarding result for a hard-working crew.

The breeze was steadier and slightly stronger than yesterday, making it easier for the leaders to stay ahead once they'd got in front. This put a lot of emphasis on the need for a good start, and time after time some crews pushed it too hard, finding themselves OCS. In the first race Oracle Racing Coutts fell to this. In the next it was Team Korea, and in the final race both Green Comm Racing and Oracle Racing Spithill.

In addition to Artemis Racing, Energy Team was a consistent performer across the two days of racing, finishing fourth in the seedings, a good boost for Loick Peyron and his French crew.

There were moments of brilliance for other new teams highlighted by China Team’s third place finish in the last race of the afternoon. Skipper Charlie Ogletree was pleased after a tough couple of days getting the boat fixed after a spectacular pitchpole on Tuesday. “We felt like we deserved that after the last couple of days. A great one for all the guys involved, nice to see the hard work paying off,” he said.

Racing was close too. In the first race Emirates Team New Zealand almost snatched the win after Artemis had taken an early lead and defended well, as a match race developed between the first two boats. Approaching the last mark, the Kiwis came in at speed, closing quickly. Artemis, slower, dropped its gennaker as it rounded the mark while Barker held on to his for the short reach to the finish line. With greater speed, Barker closed right up and ran out of race course just before he could overtake. Artemis’ delta was a mere three seconds.

Oracle Racing Coutts struggled in the early part of the day, but made amends with a resounding victory at the end of the afternoon. “We finally got a good start,” said Coutts. “If you can get off the start line and around the first mark in good shape it makes a world of difference; you’re able to sail where you want on the racecourse and not in the back of the pack.”

Coutts had a decent start about mid-line. The crew got around the first reach mark just behind leader Emirates Team New Zealand and held a similar position through the leeward gate. But on the next upwind leg they got to the right of the Emirates Team NZ crew and rode a long starboard tack up the middle in nice pressure. They crossed ahead with about 100 metres to spare and went on to a solid win.

Coutts' team mate James Spithill on the other hand could not get back into the final race after going back to restart and saw his seeding drop to fifth place.

“We've still got to do a better job at getting back from an OCS,” Spithill said. “There are a couple of teams good at it and obviously Russell did it in the first race. There's still a bit of work to do there.”

While Artemis has a day off from racing tomorrow, so Emirates Team New Zealand will face Oracle Racing Coutts in the semi-final round. “It’s been a while since I raced Team New Zealand,” said Coutts.

Green Comm didn't have such a good day. Since the replacement of their damaged port hull two days ago, the telemetry onboard has been malfunctioning. The Spanish boat has appeared to be over course boundaries and been given unfair penalties. The distance to boundary display tends to freeze at 100 metres and then suddenly show a penalty.

Helmsman Vsailij Zbogar said: “We are still experiencing problems with our electronic devices, just like yesterday. In the first race we were clearly next to the starting line and we got penalised for being over the course boundaries! Yesterday we got the exact same penalty in the long race! From that point it is very hard to have a competitive start since we don't know where the borders are. I was actually more worried about the borders than about nailing the start and positioning the boat. Despite these problems we showed again we are improving every day. In the first two races we were always in the fight for fifth place. We are still making mistakes that we have to correct such as in the third race where we started early. In these short courses it is very difficult to come back after such a start.”


Pos Team Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Tot
      Pos Pos Pos Pos Pos Pos  
1 Artemis Racing Terry Hutchinson 1 4 1 1 1 2 56
2 Emirates Team New Zealand Dean Barker 4 2 2 2 2 4 50
3 ORACLE Racing Coutts Russell Coutts 5 3 5 5 5 1 42
4 Energy Team Loick Peyron 2 7 4 4 4 6 39
5 ORACLE Racing Spithill James Spithill 3 5 6 3 3 8 38
6 Team Korea Chris Draper 6 1 3 9 6 5 37
7 China Team Charlie Ogletree 8 8 8 8 8 3 23
8 Aleph Bertrand Pace 7 6 9 7 9 7 23
9 Green Comm Racing Vasilij Zbogar DSQ 9 7 6 7 9 19

More photos from Sander van der Borch/Artemis Racing




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