Emirates Team New Zealand still the daddy
“It's nice to win the match racing here after coming second in the last one,” Barker said after the sweeping victory. “It’s pretty cool to see this many people up on The Hoe. Hopefully we're putting on a good show, and now we'll get ready to do it all again tomorrow. It would be nice to get the double. It's a winner-takes-all race and anything can happen, as you saw today.”
As to Team Korea Barker added: "After watching them in the semi-finals we knew it was going to be good hard racing. We had an opportunity in both starts to get a bit of an advantage which is always nice. Try as we might, they were coming back all the time, but we managed to defend each time."
Earlier in the day, Chris Draper’s crew on Team Korea continued their giant-killing ways with a resounding 2-0 victory over Artemis Racing in the second Semi-Final. With four of Team Korea’s five crew from Great Britain, Draper’s success was very popular with the Plymouth crowds cheering on The Hoe. The wind was up and down, the sun battled to break through the rain clouds scudding across the Devon sky, but still the crowds were engaged and enjoying the action, especially Draper’s march to the final.
“We felt we learned a lot in Cascais. We're really pleased we got it together and hope that we’ve got some energy left for tomorrow,” said an exhausted Draper after sailing four races on Friday and three on Saturday – more than anyone else in the fleet.
“It’s disappointing in that we led both races at the bottom marks and then not to win them is not our best effort,” said Artemis Racing skipper Terry Hutchinson about his semi final loss. “But they sailed great races. A bit of brain fade, still thinking old school, not getting into the instinctive reactions yet. A good lesson but a hard lesson. We got a penalty for entering early in the second start. From where I was I reckon we were a second and a half late. But that wasn’t the deciding factor. They sailed a great race.”
Hutchinson’s team made amends for their Korean defeat by beating Oracle Racing Coutts in the race-off for third. Coutts fell foul of the course boundary just metres from the Plymouth shore, the Oracle penalty turning a tight match into a relatively easy win for the Swedish crew.
In the battle to for fifth, Oracle Racing Spithill applied some good old match racing skills in the pre-start, luffing up Energy Team and leaving them trailing in their wake down the first leg. From there James Spithill and crew were never threatened by the French.
"It was good, improved a couple of things that we wanted to," commented Spithill. "I guess it's never over until it's over on that race track. But now we just want to get into the fleet race. We'll be doing everything we can. Still got some things we need to improve as a team, but we're just itching to get back out there."
Spithill opposition - Loïck Peyron, skipper of Energy Team gave his take: "To lose against a great team - I do not have a problem if it's in style but today we did everything that we should not have done. Bad timing, we caught the runner in the wing, many things. We seem to do better in the fleet racing, so we have higher expectations for tomorrow."
In the fight for seventh, China Team looked set for a similarly dominant win when Green Comm Racing crossed the start line a split second too early. By the time the Spanish boat had restarted, Charlie Ogletree’s crew was more than a leg ahead. But at the second leeward gate the Chinese rounded one of the gate marks from the incorrect side and from that point were unknowingly sailing the wrong course. It was only when they crossed the finish line that the Chinese realised their error, and Vasilij Zbogar’s team learned that they had picked up the win.
“They had three marks down there all looking the same," explained China Team skipper Charlie Ogletree. "We had no doubt that we’d sailed the right course. We thought we'd passed through the right two. We were 100% confident we'd done the right course, but turned out we were 100% wrong. Obviously it was an error on our part.”
While Green Comm Racing's skipper Vasilij Zbogar said he was pleased with his race apart from the early start: “We were a little bit over the line, just a little too early. There was a lot of helicopter noise and we couldn’t hear the radio saying we were over. We did the penalty and were catching up big time. From then on everything went perfect and we nearly caught them. In the end we won anyway."
With a strong wind forecast for tomorrow’s winner-takes-all race for the Plymouth Fleet Racing Championship, the crews will be keen to get plenty of rest for aching muscles and minds after a very challenging day on the water.
Tomorrow (Sunday) racing is scheduled to start at 1500 local time (GMT+1).
Semi final two
Team Korea defeated Artemis Racing; 2-0
Green Comm Racing defeated China Team; 1-0
ORACLE Racing Spithill defeated Energy Team; 1-0
Artemis Racing defeated ORACLE Racing Coutts; 1-0
Emirates Team New Zealand defeated Team Korea; 2-0
Results Plymouth Match Racing Championship
1. Emirates Team New Zealand
2. Team Korea
3. Artemis Racing
4. ORACLE Racing Coutts
5. ORACLE Racing Spithill
6. Energy Team
7. Green Comm Racing
8. China Team