Artemis seek improved fortunes
Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand are hoping their fortunes take a turn for the better when Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series racing starts in Gothenburg today.
The two Challengers were forced to return to port prior to the start of yesterday's official practice races, with Artemis's AC45F catamaran capsizing and Team New Zealand's suffering a minor breakdown.
The crew of Artemis went for an unscheduled swim in Frihamnen Harbour after a gybe set went horribly wrong.
“We were doing a bit of routine training before the start,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, said.
“We did a good gybe and then we thought we would do one more and the calls weren't very clear as to what the next move was. We're all out there pushing hard and that's what happens when you push too much.”
Artemis' one-design catamaran suffered minor damage to its wing sail while the crew escaped injury.
“Unfortunately, we didn't get to line up with anyone today,” Outteridge said.
“It was a little bit disappointing. But that won't slow us down and we'll be ready to go tomorrow. We are really excited to be here and more importantly excited to put on a good performance.”
The crew of Team New Zealand also spent most of the afternoon on dry dock after their AC45F also had to be hauled out of the water for repair.
“Very disappointing,” Glenn Ashby, the team's sailing team manager, said. “We all love sailing these boats in good conditions and today was perfect with flat water and good winds, so we're thoroughly looking forward to tomorrow to getting stuck in with these guys”.
Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA both laid down early markers after claiming a victory in each of the day's two practice races.
It was just the start that America's Cup World Series points leaders Land Rover BAR, led by former Oracle tactician Sir Ben Ainslie, was looking for.
“We've all seen how close the racing was [in Portsmouth] and one mistake makes all the difference,” Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper, said.
While team confidence is high, Ainslie knows he and his team-mates have their work cut out.
“With the race course being that much tighter, all of the teams are getting more experience, it's getting harder to stay ahead on the development curve,” he added.
A pumped-up Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, is champing at the bit to mix it up with the world's best sailors.
“It's always good to be pushed and go up against the best,” he said. “We love competition, we love being pushed and that's what we're going to get this weekend.”
Softbank Team Japan and Groupama Team France were the remaining teams that sailed in yesterday's 16-20 winds, which provided a test for some of the crews with no experience sailing the AC45F in strong conditions.
“Yesterday and today was good for us as it was windy, for the first time for us on these boats,” Franck Cammas, the skipper of Team France, said. “We're still in a learning process.”
Dean Barker, the skipper of Team Japan, who finished second in both practice races, added: “It was good to be back out racing.”