On board with Team Korea

Gilles Martin-Raget / www.americascup.com
Our AC45 ride in Plymouth, plus Chris Draper's comments on sailing the AC45
Thankfully I wasn’t on board when Team Korea first lined up against Emirates Team New Zealand in the final of the America’s Cup World Series – Plymouth Match Racing. A phenomenal run of three back to back wins on Friday propelled them through to Saturday’s semi-finals against Artemis Racing, winner of Wednesday and Thursday’s fleet racing. Come Saturday, against expectations, Chris Draper and his team dispatched Terry Hutchinson’s elite crew of Cup veterans and their multiple Olympic Gold medallist comfortably and without incident, 2-0. Unfortunately the Korean team’s winning streak came to a grinding halt when they took on the mighty Kiwis in the finals, on a confused Plymouth Sound that was alternating lulls and powerful gusts, sun and overcast skies, with the occasional torrent of rain. One race down to the Kiwis, I hoped that I might be the lucky talisman for Team Korea and her predominantly English crew of Chris Draper, Mark Bulkeley, Chris Brittle, Matt Cornwall and Troy Tindell. I clambered on board the White Tiger Racing Team’s AC45 having spent an hour on the team’s RIB chewing the cud with their AC72 designer Brett Bakewell-White, Team Principle Kim-Dong Young and Swedish match racing guru and former Victory Challenge skipper Magnus Holmberg, who has been coaching newbie match racer Draper since the AC World Series regatta in Cascais. On the AC45, inevitably I found myself drawing comparisons with the Extreme 40. For the sailors one of the most noticeable differences in usability between the two boats is the AC45’s spine that runs fore and aft down the centre line of the boat, to handle the fore and aft rig loads. As a result of this the net is lower so that during tacks or gybes the crew can propel themselves beneath the articulating elements of the solid wing