It was tight all the way ….
Emirates Team New Zealand finished the fourth day of the America’s Cup World Series regatta at San Francisco disappointed with the day’s results and looking for much better.
Grant Dalton says the team has started a debrief process to analyse why the team is not clicking as it should. “This team is good at adapting to suit changing circumstances and that’s what we plan to do
“In San Francisco there are some obvious reasons. Teams based here and have experience of the venue and local knowledge are at an advantage. Teams with two or more AC45s have an advantage. But they are not the only reasons.
“Emirates Team New Zealand has put the bulk of its resources into the AC72 programme and because of that we did not come to San Francisco expecting to blitz the fleet. But we did expect to do much better than we have so far. Twice today we had good leads and we were not able to finish them off.
“We are looking at three elements – venue, speed and people combinations. It’s unlikely to be just one of the three, more likely the problem lies across all three.”
In the match race semi-final, Dean Barker led from the start to the third gate. It was always close. Oracle 4 separated on the upwind leg, got a puff and was able to go into the gate at speed to round first but only seconds ahead. Emirates Team New Zealand fought hard on the short downwind leg to mark 4 but could not pass. Oracle 4’s winning margin was 13s.
Barker got a dream start in the first fleet race, getting away cleanly at the committee boat end of the line and leading around the first mark.
It was close all the way to the fifth gate with New Zealand under extreme pressure from Energy, Artemis White and then Oracle 4. The breeze, lighter than on Friday, was shifty creating potential passing lanes.
Barker and crew – Ray Davies, Glenn Ashby, Derek Saward and James Dagg – beat off attack after attack until first Energy and then Oracle 4 slipped past on the approach to the fifth gate.
That was the finishing order – Energy, with Oracle 4 16s back and Emirates Team New Zealand 32s followed by Luna Rossa Piranha, Luna Rossa Swordfish, Artemis White, Oracle 5, Team Korea, Artemis Red, JPM-BAR and China.
The second fleet race start was not quite so good. New Zealand was caught in traffic at the first mark to round seventh, then moved up through the fleet on the right of the course on the down-wind leg approaching the bottom mark in third place.
The leaders – Oracle 4 and Korea got through cleanly – the rest of the fleet was caught in a traffic jam from which Emirates Team New Zealand emerged in 10th place. This time there was no recovery and we finished ninth.
Fleet race points after six races:
- Oracle 4 61 points
- Energy Team 48
- Team Korea 45
- Luna Rossa Piranha 45
- Artemis White 39
- Luna Rossa Swordfish 35
- Emirates Team New Zealand 35
- Oracle 5 29
- Artemis Red 28
- JPM-BAR 26
- China Team 9