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America's Cup Round 1 Day 5
Day 4 of the America's Cup Challenger Trials saw the breeze up and an undefeated down. Winds were in the 16-20 knot range, windy but not windy enough to keep the fleet at the dock. Spanish skipper Pedro Campos described the conditions this way: "When the wind gets up to 15 to 18 knots, it just begins to get fun in other boats," Campos said. "But in the America's Cup, 15 knots is a storm. It gets dangerous. On the run, the mast was bending forward; it was very risky."
The match with the most interest today saw the undefeated Prada vs. the unbeaten America One. Prada is listed as the favorite due to funding, an early start and a good design team. Some have questioned their sailing team. At the start, Italian skipper Fransceco De Angelis managed to push Cayard outside the box and America One had to follow the leading Prada across the line. Cayard said of the start: "I felt pretty bad about the start...I'm not on top of my game yet." The start removed one doubt about the Prada team. Prada kept the advantage gained at the start and rounded the 1st mark 23 seconds ahead.
The 1st downwind leg saw the first crucial breakdown of the race. Twice Pravda's spinnaker afterguy shackle opened. The first time Prada rehoisted a spinnaker. The 2nd time Prada was close to the mark and completed the leg under genoa. So, at the 2nd mark America One led by 24 seconds.
The third leg saw America One fight off Prada. A tacking duel ensued. Prada posted a 7 second gain, but American One entered the final downwind leading by 17 seconds.
On the run to the finish America One maintained the lead. That is until under half a mile from the finish when America One's lime green spinnaker blew up. America One was left with a scrap of spinnaker hanging near the masthead. With Prada so close they overtook America One and finished 17 seconds ahead.
After the race America One skipper Paul Cayard was still optimistic: "I think it's going to be a few boats vying for two spots, initially, and then one spot in January," he said. "I'm just thankful that it looks like we're going to be one of those boats" America One still stands to benefit from a still to be delivered 2nd boat.
Other race winners in Thursday's one flight of matches were: Spain by 37 seconds over Young Australia, America True over Team Dennis Conner by 41 seconds, Nippon over France by 1' 53" and Young America over Abracadabra 2000 by 1' 24".
For the day one boat teams won 2 races, while two boat team took 3. Four flights of races remain in round one. In tomorrow's morning flight Prada and Young America sail in another battle of unbeatens.
Tomorrow a special Saturday edition of Sailing Daily will take a look at the unbeaten Young America team, and their battle against Prada.
Transat Jacque Vabre
Following yesterday's capsize of the trimaran Group Andre and the disappearance of Paul Vatin, it is now known that Jean Maurel has been rescued. A freighter flying the British flag picked Maurel off the upturned Open 60 trimaran. Maurel should reach land by Sunday.
The fleet is still being pounded by the low pressure. From Gartmore/First Call Alex Thomsen reports: "The boat is crashing from one wave to the next at 10knts. She doesn't seem to slow down just get noisier! some of the diesel cans have leaked a little making conditions even worse down below. You would think that life couldn't get much worse but infact we are happy in the knowledge that life must be much worse for the boats to the north."
This weather had led to damage for Aquataine/Kingfisher. A lower shroud parted. They took the boat down to bare poles. However, last report has them at 4.2 knots so the problem may have been solved.
Still leading the monohulls is Whirlpool-Europe 2. Whirpool's lead is now 130 miles over Aquatiane/Kingfisher. Still 3rd is Somewhere only 9 miles further back.
Several of the newer 60's have moved up with Sobedo 4th, and Still Enterprises 5th. The remaining 60 foot monohulls are all Around Alone veterans, Fila 6th, Group 4 7th and Gartmore/First Call 8th.
The multihulls have a new leader. Foncia with the Bourgnon brothers on board has a 12 mile advance on Fujicolour. These two trimarans have separated a bit with 16 minutes of longitude in between them. 3rd is Groupama 110 miles back. Farther back the crew of Banque Populaire describes the conditions: "Outside it's hell, impossible to reach the deck which is constantly swept by the waves. The boat looks like a submarine. We have three reefs on the main and storm gib and progressing through 45 to 55knot stable wind."
It's expected that once the depression
clears by tomorrow the fleet will converge and we will get a look at who
benfitted the most north or south.
Thursday saw sailors hoping for Olympic berths back on the waters of Florida Thursday. Wednesday had been a scheduled off day. For all fleets
For the men's and women's 470 fleets Thursday was a 3 race day. The men's fleet after 7 races has 2 boats with very good shots at victory. Still in 1st place is the team of Paul Foerester and Bob Merrick. Thursday saw them win 2 races and finish 2nd in the other. Counting one discard they have 8 points. 3 points back are Morgan Reeser and Kevin Burnham. They had 2 2nd's and a 1st on Thursday and have 11 points. These teams have won all but one race. It looks whoever can win races the next 3 days will be the Olympic team.
In the women's 470 fleet J.J. Isler and Pease Glaser kept the lead with 2 1sts and a 2nd on Thursday. So far Isler and Glaser have won 4 of the 7 races. They lead 2nd place Courtenay Dey and Alice Menard by 4 points. In 3rd is the team of Whitney Connor and Elizabeth Kratzig with a win on Thursday and 15 points.
In the 49er fleet the brother team of Jonathan and Charlie Mckee won 3 of the days 4 races to take the lead. They are trailed by Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall who won the days other race and have 16 points. 3rd are Andy Mack and Adam Lowry with 21 points.
Spring Lake's Chad Hough and David Fox are 9th with finishes of 9th,DNF,7th and 9th and Thursday.
The men's and women's Mistral boardsailing continues to be dominated by two sailors. In the women's fleet Lanee Butler has won all 7 races and leads 2nd place Mariel Devesa by 11 points. The men's leader is Mike Gebhardt who has also swept all 7 races. He leads 2nd place James Alden by 14 points.
Three days of racing remain for all 3 fleets.
Mini Transat Leg 2 Start
Leg 2 of the Mini Transat started yesterday in Lanzarotte Canary Islands. The 44 boat fleet had light north westerly winds. The 2700 mile leg will finish in Guadeloupe.
On this leg sailors face two course options. They can sail a direct route to the north. This carries the risk of being becalmed by high pressure. Or they can head south to get to the trade winds first. This adds miles sailed. After the start 38 boats went north, 6 south.
Former Whitbread navigator Andrew Cape is sailing Aberdeen Asset Management. He describes his strategy: "I'm going to head South of Gran Canaria, through the gap between Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura to a waypoint at 23N, 20W and move quite south of the course." Further Cape says, "The danger is that there possibly may be more wind to the North, but I am going to do my own thing - I've studied hard all the meteorology over the past three years at this time of the season and I think that I have the right route. It may be right, it may be wrong, but it's my strategy. That's sailing for you."
Cape feels that there could be up to 500 miles of separation between the north and south boats. Unlike Leg 1 which was about survival, Cape feel that Leg 2 "leg is all about strategy, much more than the last one. It's critical. I'll be closely studying the barometer as wind speed is a major factor. The route will decide the winner."
Torresen Sailing Site will cover Leg 2. For more information see www.offshorechallenges.com