Team BDA ninth on Lake Garda
Team BDA, Bermuda’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup entry, had a tough first day of racing yesterday in the GC32 Riva Cup on Lake Garda in Italy. The young sailors had scores of 8, 10, 8, 8 for 34 points and are in ninth place out of 11 entries. They trail the other two youth teams Team Tilt by nine points and the Team France Jeune by 13.
Team BDA have a lot of learning to take home for the Youth America’s Cup. This is the first time two of the crew have ever been in a regatta and the first time three of them have ever sailed a catamaran in a “real” race situation.
Team BDA leads Malizia–Yacht Club de Monoco and Codigo Rojo Racing by six and ten points.
“Racing against ten other foiling high performance catamarans in the tight confines of a northern Italian lake is a very new experience for this team,” Team BDA head coach Richard Clarke said. “The team’s ninth-place standing after four challenging races does not tell the complete story. Sure it indicates a level that all on board are hungry to improve upon but this is an unforgiving game where small mistakes compile to lost positions and in a blink of an eye all that’s left to battle for are the scraps at the table.
“The team can handle this boat as well as the best here but still need time and experience to learn how to start consistently, execute maneuvers flawlessly and change gears effectively while battling in close quarters against 10 other boats traveling in excess of 25 knots.
“This team has proven they are quick studies and tonight we spent more than an hour reviewing the coach’s video, came up with many areas to focus on tomorrow and are eager to get back out there for more.
“With only 2 more days of racing everyone knows the extreme value of this experience and how it will make the team better prepared for the RBYAC in one months time.”
Today the plan is to run two races, two rounds of the Anonimo Speed Challenge followed by two more races, with a start time of 1300 CET.
The GC32 Racing Tour got off to an exceptional start with four races completed, one round of the new Anonimo Speed Challenge and a leaderboard with the top three boats separated by one point. This was despite Lake Garda being in fickle mood with the wind typically 10-15 knots, occasionally gusting more but also dropping off in the middle of the day.
At the top of the competition Spanish double Olympic medallist Iker Martinez once again proved that 49er sailors can make the best foiling catamaran sailors, winning today’s opening race – his first ever race in a GC32. Following with a 2-6, Martinez’s I’M Racing Movistar was leading going into the last race, only for a broken block and some bad luck to finish the day with a 10th, them to fifth overall.
“We need to learn a bit more to get used to it and then we’ll have more fun,” said Martinez, adding that they were struggling for speed when it got lighter. “At the moment we can’t do what we want. As soon as we understand more about the light breeze, then it will be good. It was a great first day – now we know how we stand.”
It was another first for Team Engie today, ending the day tied with Realteam, but leading overall by winning today’s fourth and final race. French skipper Sebastien Rogues was delighted: “We had a beautiful day. The feeling with Team Engie is very good, very fast. This is the first time we have led the GC32 Racing Tour which is nice.” Rogues attribute their success to their winter training in Oman and the crew was performing well especially mainsheet/tactician Gurvan Bontemps. “But this is just the first day and tomorrow it might be more windy.”
Compared to last season’s performance, Realteam are also performing well.
“It was great to sail after two days off,” said skipper Jérôme Clerc. “We were really happy to get sailing. The fleet is very close and you have to fight hard to be at the front of the fleet.” Realteam, perhaps more than any other made great use of the usual Lake Garda tactics of heading straight into the sheer cliff face on the western shore. “It was tricky – it was never over. You could lose everything even on the last leg. It was hard on the nerve.”
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