Emirates Team New Zealand suffered its first breakdown during racing today in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, but that didn’t stop the Kiwi crew from defeating Luna Rossa Challenge.
Sailing on the third of seven legs, a clip failed at the head of the sail that holds it to the headstay of Aotearoa. It took the crew more almost three minutes to detach the sail from the headstay and pitch it overboard, where it was retrieved by crew in the team’s chase boat.
Skipper Dean Barker and the Kiwis continued on, powered only by the 131-tall wing foot sail, and defeated the Italian syndicate by 2 minutes and 19 seconds to score their sixth point of the challengers’ series.
“It’s one of those frustrating, annoying things,” said Barker. “We’ve never ever had an issue with the attachment of the jib before, but as is normal, when you start racing things like this happen. The encouraging thing is the guys did a very good job to address the situation and deal with it. The way the guys responded and settled into it was good.”
Emirates Team New Zealand hardly seemed affected by the lack of a jib, but Barker said they need the headsail to balance the 72-foot long catamaran.
“It’s very hard to get the boat hooked up in jibes, we didn’t jibe as well without the jib,” Barker said. “If you were going to sail with the jib only you’d have different board and rudder positions to balance out the boat better.”
Skipper Max Sirena’s Italian crew improved its performance from the teams’ previous meeting on July 13. They cut more than three minutes off the time difference, but couldn’t capitalize on the New Zealanders’ breakdown.
“We did a few changes on the boat, increased the aero package and a few changes in the systems to the boards,” said Sirena. “Today the Kiwis showed really good speed around the course. We sailed well around the course, which was the main goal, but we need to try and improve as a crew and our boatspeed in the next few weeks.”
About today’s race:
- Seven-leg America’s Cup course
- Course length: 15.43 nautical miles
- Elapsed times: ETNZ – 48:10; LR – 50:29
- Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 19.4 nautical miles; LR – 19.99 nautical miles
- Average speed: ETNZ – 24.19 knots (27.8 mph); LR – 23.77 konts (27.35 mph)
- Top speed: ETNZ – 38.72 knots (44.5 mph); LR – 37.73 knots (43.4 mph)
- Wind speed: average 13.8 knots; peak gust 20.5 knots
Photo Credit : ACEA / GILLES MARTIN-RAGET
– PR –