Emirates Team New Zealand got back into stride at Newport today and took a third in the first fleet race of the day then stormed home to win the second.
The margin was an emphatic 58 sec over Energy Team of France which stole second place from Oracle 4 right on the finish line.
Shrugging off the events of the past week which included injury to two of the AC45 crew, a collision with a mark boat and then a damaging capsize, skipper Dean Barker the sailing crew of Glenn Ashby, Ray Davies, Derek Saward and Jeremy Lomas are lying second overall after four fleet races at Newport.
With 32 points, they are six points adrift of Oracle 4 on 38. Energy Team and Artemis Racing are each on 26 points.
This is the last regatta in the America’s Cup World Series 2011-12 season. With the leader board tight at the top, points earned tomorrow in the final fleet race will determine rankings for the season.
Barker paid tribute to the team’s resilience. “Today’s win was a reward for the shore crew – and every other member of the small Emirates Team New Zealand contingent at Newport.
“We won today because they were able to keep the boat competitive despite the odds, which at times were formidable.”
Coach Rod Davis gives thanks for a good day on the water and looks ahead to the last day of the regatta…
A good day today after a rough start to the racing. The guys who really needed the solid performance was the shore team. They have been to hell and back putting boats and wings back together.
Yesterday’s pipping at the post was rubbing salt into every open cut. And we had taken a few cuts. So the third and first was just what the doctor ordered. A “settler” for everyone.
Tactics, boat speed and starting got good marks, crew work was best of the week and still improving.
Tomorrow is the big race with big points for each placing. We are second right now, just six points off first place.
The game plan tomorrow is not a lot different to the other races, the start will be a big factor and who leads at the leeward gate, should win the race.
But races are races and we never know how things will go. The hardest thing in the AC-45 is turning a 6th or 7th into a 2nd or 3rd. In fact, in so many ways, it is harder to get a second or third than it is a 1st.
So, normal routine for our pre-race build up. Then the coaches will watch from the chase boat, and pray…after all it is Sunday.