Three times wind speed
On the positive side, en route from the start line to the reaching mark skipper Dean Barker and the Kiwi crew recorded a top speed of 44.15 knots, despite wind speed peaking at 15.8 knots - so boat speed more or less three times that of the wind. The team’s previous record was 43.26 knots, set on 9 July in slightly stronger winds. With an ebb tide against the breeze, teams expected more of a sea state than that experienced in recent days.
On board today with Dean Barker were Ray Davies (Tactician), Dick Meacham (Bow), Chris Ward (Pedestal 1), Rob Waddell (Pedestal 2), Derek Saward (Floater grinder), James Dagg (Trimmer), Grant Dalton (Pedestal 3), Chris McAsey (Pedestal 4), Jeremy Lomas (Pit), Adam Beashel (Wing Trimmer).
“By far this is the coolest, most fun boat I’ve ever sailed on, there’s no doubt about that,” said Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby, who watched today’s race from the chase boat. “Doing 40+ knots reaching and downwind and low-to-mid 20 knots upwind, there’s no other boat as a sailor that you’d ever wish to sail on at that moment. The boats are getting faster and faster. Every month, we’re getting quicker. If we had another six or eight months of development we’d probably get another 3 to 4 knots quicker. The feeling sailing downwind is surreal, covering ground that quickly."
Emirates Team New Zealand sailed the 9.32 mile five-leg course in 23 minutes, 1 second at an average speed of 28.1 knots with the wind averaging 15.5 knots and gusting to 17.4.
Emirates Team New Zealand notched its fifth point of the series in five starts, four of which have been unopposed, yet the team has remained focused on the racecourse. “It’s good to keep mixing it up, good to have the pressure of time lines and race starts to make sure our reliability is there,” said Adam Beashel. “Beasho” has been the bowman through the first few races but today moved back to wing trim, giving Ashby a break.
“Practicing manoeuvres is invaluable,” said Beashel. “There’ll be a lot of that in the business end of the deal (the America’s Cup Final), so our maneuvers have to be up to scratch.
For skipper Dean Barker, today’s race was about the crew rotations and the great conditions. “The boys did a really good job. We are getting better and better at sailing the boat – but so are the other teams. We still have to work hard on performance."
Before Emirates Team New Zealand raced, defender Oracle Team USA had exclusive use of the race course for 45 minutes. Oracel Team USA had its two AC72s out, with skipper Jimmy Spithill and afterguard member Ben Ainslie at the helms.
“We managed to get a good hour on the racecourse. It was valuable time before the challengers started racing in the afternoon. We had a few races, good training,” said Kyle Langford, wing trimmer. “The AC72s are awesome to sail, nothing compares. They’re one-of-a-kind, pushing the limits of what boats and sailing can do.”
From here Luna Rossa is set to shadow box Artemis Racing on Saturday but we have TWO proper races within three days wit Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand lining up officially both on Sunday and on Tuesday!