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Draper confident success is close

Giving chase: Team Japan came close to their first podium in New York (Photograph by Matt Knighton/SoftBank Team Japan)

SoftBank Team Japan are confident “their turn will come” after narrowly missing out on a podium finish in New York yesterday.

Shifting wind conditions deprived Team Japan of first place in the final race of the day, a piece of luck that seemed to sum up their weekend.

After missing a wind gust by two boat lengths at the top mark in race one to finish fifth, Team Japan climbed to well within striking distance of a podium finish in the last race of the day; controlling the third leg of the race and gaining a commanding lead in the last downwind leg.

However, just as a first place finish looked almost certain, the right side of the course was swallowed by a wind shadow causing the top five teams to stop and drift onto the racecourse boundary.

Emirates Team New Zealand capitalised on the park up skirting around the traffic jam to win the race upsetting the standings.

“It was tiring, it was hard work,” Chris Draper, Team Japan’s tactician, said. “Quite the scramble, the breeze was so random as you could see with Emirates Team New Zealand coming from behind.”

Team Japan did win one race over the course of the weekend, unfortunately for them it was Saturday’s substitute race which did not count.

Still, Draper said the team were taking plenty of positives out of their performance.

“We are making so much progress, I can’t say that enough,” Draper said. “The ‘real deal’ of what’s going on in Bermuda is [we are] going awesomely. We lacked that tiny bit of luck today, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Our turn will come.”

With Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Chicago less than five weeks away, Draper said the team would head back to Bermuda to continue their design work on their AC45 test platform.

“We’ll be straight back into testing Tuesday, the boys have been hard at work while we’ve been gone putting in some more modifications [that] we’re confident will make the test boat a bit quicker,” he said. “We’ll get into a bit of racing with Artemis Racing and Oracle Team USA as well.”

Team Japan’s fourth place finish today leaves them fourth overall on 203 points.