Drawing up battle lines
The nine skippers of the America's Cup World Series met on Tuesday morning in Naples. All of the talk was on the excitement of getting back to racing following a long break after the last event in San Francisco.
"The big thing this week is for the team to practice going racing," said Luna Rossa Piranha helmsman Chris Draper. "We've put a lot of work in over the last six months so we're keen to see where we stack up."
His comment was echoed by Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker who noted that with all the testing the team has been doing on for its AC72 program, this week would be a great opportunity for the crew to sharpen their race skills. "It's easy to get rusty," he said. "We're looking forward to getting race ready again."
Charlie Ekberg, Artemis Racing: It's the best possible way for us to prepare for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup. Getting used to the boats has been a challenge. It will be exciting to see if we can manage the boat as well as the others do. There are some great sailors out here. It might be a good thing I don't know too much about all of them!
Ben Ainslie, J.P. Morgan BAR: The lighter air sailing is something that's quite new for us. But we want to be up at the top of the fleet like we were last time. We'd like to be fighting it out with the leaders. We had a really good day of training yesterday and we'll make the most of our time before racing starts to get ready.
Mitch Booth, China Team: We've had a few weeks of training in Sanya, China, sailing 28ft catamarans. That doesn't necessarily prepare you for racing an AC45 against the best sailors in the world, but it allows you to practice on your communication skills on board. Most of our guys haven't raced at anything like this level. The loads are higher and the intensity is much greater, so it's going to be a great learning experience.
Dean Barker, Emirates Team New Zealand: We've spent the last 10 months focused on testing the AC72 and unless you get into racing the small boats again, it's easy to get rusty. So we're looking forward to getting race ready again.
Yann Guichard, Energy Team: Naples is a fantastic place for racing. It's really a stadium racing arena, because you can sail so close to the shore. Last weekend we were sailing along the shoreline for the Coast Race and it was really, really nice.
Chris Draper, Luna Rossa Piranha: The match racing is something we'd like to do well in but obviously if you make just one mistake there you're out. So the big thing this week is for the team to practice going racing. We've put a lot of work in the last six months so we're keen to see where we stack up.
Francesco Bruni, Luna Rossa Swordfish: I'm really happy to be in Naples again. The public is warm and passionate and I'm sure that Luna Rossa will enjoy a lot of support. I think it will be tough but also a lot of fun.
Roman Hagara, HS Racing: We are looking for some good racing here. We need to work on our maneuvers as it's a little bit different to the Extreme 40s we've been sailing on but our crew is good and we'll be ready.
Tom Slingsby, Oracle Team USA Slingsby: I think we're a bit of the underdogs as it's our first event and some of the other skippers didn't do that great in their debuts. But I think we've got a good young team that could surprise some people. Our boat handling looks pretty good so we just need to get our race experience up.