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Sailing Daily NewsPage

Published Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

16 November 1999

Issue # 93

(C)update: Pressure

Note:  For results and standings see (C)update Daily

Race 8 of the 2nd round the America's Cup challenger trials saw the fleet sail in 10 to 16 knot winds.  These conditions are ideal for the less than stout fleet of IACC boats.

Since the conditions were mild enough that breakdowns didn't decimate the fleet, sailing skill had a chance to show.  It looks like the pressure is building on teams as it relates to sailing skill.  It also seems that some of pressure has been preparation, or shall way say lack of preparation induced.

One example of how pressure affects events was seen in the Aloha Racing camp.  When Abracadabra 2000 reached the race course to battle America One there was a new set of hands on the wheel.  Skipper John Kolius had handed the keys to Chris Larsen. Later Larsen said: "John Kolius, the skipper of our programme, made a decision that he wanted to switch things around a little bit."  With a poor round 2 going, Aloha made a standard move for losing sports teams they changed prominent personnel.  There is pressure to win, or at least be in the top 6 and make the semifinals for this Hawaii based group.

Larsen steering an IACC for the first time showed his lack of experience.  He drove Abracadabra 2000 into the starting area on port tack.  As America One approached Larsen misjudged and America One had to alter course to stay clear.  America One protested and a penalty was assessed to Abracadabra 2000.  As the race progressed America One was clearly superior, so it can't be be said that the penalty turn was decisive.  However, clearly Abracadabra is not handling the pressure at all well.

One reason maybe that although it's a two boat effort rarely have the two boats sailed together.  Also, skipper John Kolius did not do any match race preparation.  Combine the lack of sailing time and match racing practice with what appears to be off the pace boats and Abracadabra may end up being defeated by the pressure.

Young America's battle with pressure came in their match with Prada.  Again this was a chance for one of the American teams to beat the so far only once beaten Italians.  For the first 3 legs Young America hung close.  Margins were in the teens of seconds.

As Young America approached the 2nd leeward mark they attempted a late spinnaker takedown hoping to gain every second they could.  However, things went awry.  The spinnaker went in the water.  It fouled USA 58's keel and eventually had to be cut away.

Again in an anticipated match Prada had benefited by not making sailing mistakes.  Prior to Young America's error Prada looked just slightly faster.  Certainly Young America could easily have won though.  However, with the boats so close USA 58's error was fatal.

Young America skipper Ed Baird commented: "We came into this event lacking quite a bit of boat-handling time and we are learning under fire. So, that was a mistake that we have not had, and we need more practice..”

The above statement shows that Young America knows their sailing team is not prepared.  This has been a common theme, boats not stout enough and teams that have at least in part neglected the essence of the Cup- sailboat racing.  At this point it looks like the Cup will be won on the water by the sailors who can best stand the pressure.

Olympic Sailing: Mistral Worlds

As Sailing Daily is written the results of the Mistral Sailboard world championships have not been updated.  Both a Men's and Women's fleet is contesting this regatta in New Caledonia.  This island is located in the Pacific and is part of the French Polynesian Islands.

Besides the class championship at stake are slots in next years Olympic games.  10 places in the Men's fleet and 8 women's berths will be awarded.  Since sailors from already qualified countries are sailing, finishes lower than 8th or 10th can still grab an Olympic berth.

Sailing Daily will cover this event as information becomes available.