Artemis have convincing victory over Oracle
All six teams were out on the Great Sound on Tuesday afternoon during a full schedule of informal races.
First up were Oracle Team USA and their colleagues SoftBank Team Japan. Team Japan got the port end of the line on the reach out to the midcourse mark and took the inside of the downwind turn. Oracle passed them going downwind, had the lead at the leeward mark and went on for a decisive win.
These two teams are design partners, a unique agreement for this cup match, and it is hard to tell where Oracle ends and Team Japan begins.
They are constantly testing and Team Japan may not be showing us all they have got in the tank ... Oracle neither.
In Tuesday's second match Emirates Team New Zealand handed Groupama Team France another loss. Team France seem to be suffering in both speed and boat handling and have not been able to match the development programmes of the richer, more mature teams.
The Kiwis are just quick and fast. Their tacks and gybes are foiling and flawless. As usual, they seem very focused and mean business.
Following a wind shift to the south on a breeze building to around 12 to 15 knots, the course was reset. Artemis Racing took on Oracle. The win that Artemis's put on the defender was remarkably convincing.
An Oracle team member watching the race from shore had a long face. He said that Oracle had been set up for light winds for the day and were not up to the winds that built through the afternoon. He added that predicting the forecast correctly and setting the boat up for those conditions “would be key.”
In the next match Team New Zealand led Land Rover BAR around the course until retiring after on the final weather leg. That was claimed as a win on paper for the BAR team, but Rita still did not show the speed BAR will need to win in the Qualifier round. Luckily for them, they carry two bonus points into the Qualifiers from their World Series win.
Team New Zealand reported another rudder incident … a tap on one of their rudders, so they retired to check for damage. They had been sailing with yellow Pirelli-branded rudders but went out with solid black ones on Tuesday.
Stuff.co.nz reported that Team New Zealand were taking no chances three from the start of the first race against France tomorrow. Blair Tuke was sent overboard to inspect the shaft and elevators and reported no damage.
“Blair went over and had a look at the foils and everything. We couldn't see any damage,” Team New Zealand's performance coach Murray Jones said. “We pulled out of the race.”
The Kiwis continued to make practice runs in the Great Sound after finding there was no damage to rudders or daggerboards.
In the final race of the afternoon Team Japan matched up with Artemis, but the Swedes withdrew before completing the course to conclude the day's practice racing action. No reason for the withdrawal has been given, but Artemis did stay out on the Great Sound well into the evening after the racecourse marks had been towed back into the harbour near the team bases in Dockyard.
No racing was allowed yesterday, but it is today if teams choose to risk it.
If qualifying round-robin racing is cancelled tomorrow the teams could go back on the water for more testing on that day according to the protocol amendment signed by five of the teams on March 16.
It is probably not worth the risk in any case if the wind is gusting to 30 knots, as predicted.