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(C)update: The off of Round 2
12-17 knot winds and flat seas greeted the 11 boat America's Cup challenger fleet on day 1 of the second round of trials. Round 2 maybe somewhat easier for these fragile boats as they race once per day. However, the one race is 18.5 miles in length. There is no question these races are more important as a win gets you 4 points.
The first day proved that although some boats made major alterations the effect on the course is not major. The French who extensively modified their boat lost to Team Dennis Conner as they did in Round 1. America True made changes and lost to Young America also a repeat of round 1.
In other races Nippon soundly beat Abracadabra 2000, America One got the best of Spain, and Prada remained unbeaten bearing Fast 2000. Despite sailing every day to learn how to maneuver their twin keeled machine, Fast 2000 was out maneuvered at the start and trailed by 19 seconds. Skipper Jochen Schumann comments on the steering learning curve: "I still have the big rudder in my hand, thats the aft one. But as I told you the story might change. Its still difficult to keep the balance on the boat, and in the pre-start it is very difficult, but we are learning."
Up and down the fleet all teams claim general happiness with their boats. However, America One's John Kostecki sums up all of the teams goal: "The goal right now for all of the teams is to optimize boat performance in this second round." Despite all the modifications it seems like certain teams have more speed to optimize than others.
Day 2 of the trials will see the debut of Young Australia's new boat which raced in 1995 as One Australia. Perhaps the days best match will see first place Prada vs. Nippon. Some feel Nippon has top speed and beating Prada would lend credence to that theory.
(C)update: Monday 15 November
Results of Race 7 of Round 2 are as follows:
Races again featured the lite stuff. The key to many a race was control of the left side. For instance Prada got the left at the start and held America One in check. America True's Dawn Riley commented on the left handedness of the race course: "It wasn't just one big shift but oscillations of about 10 degrees, back and forth. The lefties had more pressure, and we seemed to gain on every one of those." This is not to say that the left side call was a no brainer. Stars and Stripes Ken Read had the right side in mind saying: "We wanted the right; we won the right on the starting line; we took the right and we were wrong!"
Updated Standings: Table
Schedule for Race 8 is as follows:
Round Robin 2 Standings through races of Saturday 13 November