US and Kiwi teams tied at the top
Perhaps it is not surprising, but the complexion of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup is turning out to be similar to that of the main event, with a showdown between the USA and New Zealand. However it remains impressively tight with just three points separating the top seven boats and each of the ten teams having suffered at least on big score. The share of bullets has also be evenly handed out with four different countries – USA, New Zealand, Portugal and Sweden - each having won races.
Portugal's ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team won the day’s first race. While the majority of the teams preferred to take a standing start, gaining position on the start line and then 'pulling the trigger' 10 seconds before the gun, Portugese helm and Olympic 49er sailor Bernardo Freitas chose a hard time and distance run at the line, which his AC45 crossed at speed as the other boats were slower to pick up speed in the relatively light conditions.
The Portugese crew led at all six mark roundings enroute to a 28-second victory over the Swiss crew on Team Tilt.
“Today we pushed a little harder on the start - that was our bad point yesterday,” commented ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team Skipper and Wing trimmer, Antonio Mello. “The start was really good, we got to the reach mark first and then we tried to make the race as simple as possible. The fleet is very competitive.”
Race 4 might’ve been the closest of the series. The Australians were also doing well until they were further beset by Code 0 issues. The Swedish Youth Challenge, Team Tilt and the NZL Sailing Team then battled it out at the top of the fleet, with the Swedes and Swiss trading the lead at least four times. The Swedes led around the last windward mark and held on for a 5-second victory over the Swiss.
“There was a lot of up and down today,” said Swedish skipper Charlie Ekberg. “We were second-to-last in first race and first in the second, so a lot of up and down. We pulled through nicely as a team in the second race. That was the gold standard for the day and what we will bring with us forward in the competition.”
After four races NZL Sailing Team leads but is tied on points with US favourites American Youth Sailing Series. Kiwi skipper and London 2012 49er silver medallist Peter Burling observed of the day: “We’re surprised to be in the lead, but happy to be there and looking forward to getting back out tomorrow. We didn’t have a great start to the day but got an alright finish on the board in the second race to bring us back into it. I think it’ll come down to the last day anyway, so we’re trying to build as a group and looking forward to each day as it comes.”
American Youth Sailing Force skipper Mike Menninger added: “The racing’s really tight, so it’s not too surprising that the standings are as close as they are. I think we’re sailing well, but we’re not too worried about the standings with two days to go. We have to treat each day separately.”
The Swiss on Team Tilt were the day's winners with a pair of seconds. “We changed our start procedure to concentrate more on timing in general and time to the line in particular,” explained crewmember Lionel Vaucher. “Everything is easier when you get a good start, motivation increases and you pass more boats!”
Red Bull Youth America’s Cup – Provisional Standings
1. NZL Sailing Team with Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 2-4-7-3 – 28 points
2. American Youth Sailing Force (USA) 1-7-3-5 – 28 points
3. Team TILT (SUI) 8-5-2-2 – 27 points
4. Swedish Youth Challenge (SWE) 6-2-9-1 – 26 points
5. Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL) 7-1-4-6 – 26 points
6. ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (POR) 3-6-1-8 – 26 points
7. Next World Energy (FRA) 4-3-8-4 – 25 points
8. All In Racing (GER) 5-8-5-9 – 17 points
9. Objective Australia (AUS) RDG-10-6-10 – 9.3 points
10. USA45 Racing (USA) 9-9-10-7 – 9 points
(RDG = redress awarded by International Jury)