Artemis Racing of Sweden and ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team of Portugal won this afternoon at the Red Bull Youth Challenge on SF Bay giving the sun-kissed Labor Day audience a beautiful race on the ten America’s Cup catamarans, each the same design and 45 feet long, with no team guaranteed victory in this wonderfully close competition where no day on the bay is the same.
However, members of each team must be the nationality of the country represented so that USA teams mean Americans, the Portugal team means Portuguese, the team from Sweden means Swedes and so on. As with that other amature competition, the Olympics. The professional sailors in the America's Cup hail from all over although many come from Commonwealth countries, the historic race originating in England.
Meanwhile, back on the water. Race commentators Taylor and Andy listened in on the yelling near the mark at Alcatraz today when Sweden cried foul and the race committee immediately denied it and said sail on, which Sweden did, admirably. Artemis Racing indeed sailed well today and took chances, crossing to a side of Alcatraz alone subjecting the boat to different tide and current. While most of the boats stayed evenly spaced while stretching from the Financial District to Fort Mason at one point, Sweden did find itself alone for a time with many boat lengths between itself and who would become the challengers, New Zealand 2 and Switzerland’s Team Tilt.
Winning skipper Charlie Ekberg of Sweden’s Artemis Racing commented today the muscle he’s using the most is his voice since he must yell across the boat and the wind for his four crewmen to hear his directions. He has a relay going which gets more intense when the action gets faster.
Tactics and requests for redress
Tactics may appear the same but don’t necessarily work after the first time, for example New Zealand gennaker flying seems to overtake Sweden when Sweden’s gennaker is down but that didn’t work at the finish line today with Sweden cruising over conservatively five seconds ahead for the win.
Getting a good start
New Zealand hovered around the starting mark before the race and practiced taking it but in the actual start, they aligned with the others. However. The Portuguese team Cascais got a good start by sliding behind and past the whole line-up of nine others at the starting line, doing so in race three and race four, then bearing away at the downwind end of the line furthest from the Golden Gate Bridge. Although they were up on one hull and heeling while everyone else was still flat and preparing to accelerate, the Portuguese won the first race but didn’t finish in the top three the second time.
America’s Cup youth racers, 19-24 years old and from eight countries, enjoyed their second of four race days on San Francisco Bay again with gorgeous conditions but also a growing audience, enjoying Labor Day with little car traffic, lots of sun, topped off with families meeting the sailors face to face for autographs and photo ops.
Meanwhile New Zealand races two boats and holds first and third place overall after race four today while France’s New World Energy holds second. New Zealand’s Full Metal Jacket Racing is actually in a three-way tie with Sweden and one of the two USA teams American Youth Sailing Force while the Portuguese have fifth place. USA’s American Youth Sailing Force helmsman Michael Menninger appeared at the mixed zone stage informally after the races, quiet, lean, angular, tall and smooth shaven.
Australia’s team Objective Australia and that gennaker in the water
The race is unpredictable in a great way because it’s so close even if it’s not that fast with the heat and relatively smooth water and ten knots of wind. One frustration is that Australia was doing well today, working around Sweden but Australia’s gennaker dropped again, troubling them for the third time as it did yesterday. It was indeed a mechanical failure yesterday in one of two instances and Australia receives official redress as it deserves.
Essentially, Australia’s boat is like everyone else’s but had a problem with the running rigging, the lines that move to hoist or drop sails. The gennaker’s halyard slipped the first time they tried to use the gennaker and the thing, also called a Code Zero, failed to drop.
The second time the gennaker dropped in the water was due to crew error, according to the jury who issued the decision yesterday, the day of the incidents. Gennakers take on a lot of water and become nearly impossible for one sailor to haul back on board. Everything on these AC45s carries a lot more load than what most of these youth sailors are used to, even if they are used to sailing alone.
Results of today’s gennaker dipping to come.
Note while sailing requires no driver’s license per se and the America’s Cup though historic and prestigious comes with no purse, racers have many more rules to follow other than traffic safety. Races come complete with umpires at the marks, race committee boats on the water and juries.
Check out youth sailing around the Bay at www.SailSFBay.org, particularly the 75 year old program on Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
The pavillion is along the Embarcadero before Fisherman's Wharf and is an easy walk, pedicab ride, bike ride or Muni ride from the ferry building and Embarcadero BART.
For more information: www.AmericasCup.com
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