America’s Cup World Series leading skipper Dean Barker showed his Emirates Team New Zealand remains the class of the fleet by winning both fleet races on Thursday. In scoring two victories, Barker now sits clear ahead of his rival James Spithill by a whopping 9 points on the Naples leaderboard.
The local favorites, the two Luna Rossa Challenge crews, also had a good afternoon in the beautiful sea breeze conditions just off the sea front of Naples, with each crew earning a second place finish.
“That’s more like what we prepared for. The boys sailed awesomely today, the boat handling was epic,” said Chris Draper, the helmsman on Luna Rossa Piranha, who scored a 2-3 this afternoon. “We’re really pleased.”
Crowds lined the waterfront on this sunny afternoon to watch the racing, with the finish line just meters from the shore.
“The people of Naples are really turning out in force to support us,” Barker said, as he and his crew saluted the crowd after finishing. “If this is what happens on Thursday, I can only imagine what we’ll see on the weekend.”
Before the fleet races today, three matches were sailed, one of which pitted the two ORACLE Racing teams against each other. On this day, it was Bundock winning over Spithill, an upset of the form guide.
“We were up against the winner of the America’s Cup, so to walk away with his scalp was great,” skipper Darren Bundock said with enthusiasm. “It pushes us straight through to the semi finals, so we’re looking good in the match racing.”
Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa Piranha were the other match race winners and both will advance to the next stage of the competition; the losers in each match have been knocked out and assigned a final finishing position.
The teams also completed the ‘spare’ race on Thursday afternoon. This fleet race will only be scored if there is no racing on Sunday. In that case, the race will be broadcast on Sunday afternoon and reported on at that time.
Fleet Racing Championship – Provisional Standings Day Two (after four races):
- Emirates Team New Zealand (Skipper: Dean Barker); 38 points
- ORACLE Racing – Spithill (Skipper: James Spithill); 29 points
- Luna Rossa – Piranha (Helmsman: Chris Draper); 27 points
- Team Korea (Skipper: Nathan Outteridge); 27 points
- Energy Team (Skipper: Yann Guichard); 25 points
- Luna Rossa – Swordfish (Helmsman: Paul Campbell-James); 24 points
- ORACLE Racing – Bundock (Skipper: Darren Bundock); 16 points
- Artemis Racing (Skipper: Terry Hutchinson); 12 points
- China Team (Skipper: Fred Le Peutrec); 4 points
Photo Credit: © Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA
– PR –