The second day of racing in the America’s Cup World Series in Naples started with a bang, literally, for Emirates Team New Zealand.
In the first race of the day, a match race with Luna Rossa Swordfish, Dean Barker and his crew got off the start line with a penalty on Francesco Bruni allowing the New Zealand crew to round the first mark with a slim lead.
The real drama of the race came at the top mark having led throughout the upwind beat the Kiwis approached the top mark zone with their nose in front on starboard tack. The Italians coming in with pace on port dramatically crashed into the side of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC45.
Tactician Ray Davies: “We were sailing a pretty nice race until the top mark and Luna Rossa came in with buoy room, it was touch and go whether we were going to cross them and their only chance of winning the race was to stick it in there and they did.”
ETNZ rounded the mark in front but the umpires judged the Italians bow reached the mark zone a just prior to the Kiwis and had therefore gained the right of way a moment before the collision.
Dean Barker and his crew were penalized down the final run by the umpires, effectively sealing their fate and taking any chance of coming back into the race and the Match race series.
Ray Davies: “From there it was pretty hard to get the penalty done and win the race.”
Pictures from Race Day 2 are here.
The fleet race story of the day was about making the best of bad situations and fighting back from them.
In both races Emirates Team New Zealand was across the line prematurely, but the team showed the fighting spirit for which they are renowned and battled their way back through the fleet to gain a respectable 5th and 3rd which leaves the crew in second equal place in the overall standings.
Skipper Dean Barker reflects on the day: “As a positive we salvaged some good results out of pretty bad situations. The boat is going well and the guys are sailing well. We have got a lot of work to do around the start line because it is not acceptable being over twice in two starts. But if we can sail this badly and be in second place just two points off the lead then if we can get it together we will be dangerous.”
America’s Cup World Series Naples Standings
(Provisional, after 4 of 7 scheduled races)
1. ORACLE TEAM USA (Tom Slingsby) – 38 points
2. Energy Team (Yann Guichard) – 36
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) – 36
4. J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie) – 35
5. Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper) – 33
6. Luna Rossa Swordfish (Francesco Bruni) – 23
7. Artemis Racing White (Charlie Ekberg) – 21
8. HS Racing (R. Hagara/H.S. Steinacher) – 17
9. China Team (Mitch Booth) – 14
Saturday’s Match Racing Schedule
Semifinal 1: Luna Rossa Piranha vs. Luna Rossa Swordfish
Semifinal 2: ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY vs. J.P. Morgan BAR