Credit: Gilles Martin-Raget/ACEA via AP
“It’s a tough day for the team to lose two races that early on,” said Ben Ainslie. “But I’ve got a lot of belief in the team and this is something we can come back from.”
He was talking about the mechanical damage to the boat’s wingsail, the first they’ve experienced ‘in years’, they say. But, ever the optimist, Ben added: “We’ve had tough times in the past and been able to turn those around.
“The guys are in the shed now, working out what went wrong and fixing things so we can be out again and pushing hard tomorrow.”
Unfortunately, LandroverBAR also forfeited the second race because the team had to use chase boats to push the wounded catamaran back to its base for repairs to be carried out.
But the racing carried on and at the skippers’ briefing, Peter Burling, ETNZ helmsman said: “We were really happy with the first start and stayed nice and clean, but at the bottom mark, you never want to look across at your competitor and know they’ve got some pretty serious damage on board.”
However, two wins went on the slate for ETNZ that day. Ande Peter Burling, ever the realist, said: “But we’re still happy to walk away with 2pts.”
The next race was between SoftBank Team Japan and the Swedish Artemis Racing. And it was nice to see SoftBank taking the race to Artemis.
“We’re going to go a way pretty happy all round, to be honest,” said SoftBank skipper Dean Barker. “We didn’t have a great end to the first reach so behind, but the guys did a great job to get back into it and clearly the boat’s going pretty quick upwind in particular and we’re feeling strong in those conditions.
“The second race, again we sort of got away well and had a good little lead up the first.
“The top mark we went around and the first downwind we’re a bit out of phase with the shifts, we had a bad gybe at the bottom and Artemis chose the better gate at the bottom, which put them in phase.
“And it’s very hard to change that momentum.”
Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge agreed: “It was pretty tight racing in both races and two very close starts. We just got the edge by getting a bit more pressure on the reach.
“In the next race, Dean did a great job by defending the hook and took that race from us.
“We were happy with some of our moments, but there were moments we could have done better, said Outteridge. “That first race was pretty expensive not getting a lay into the bottom mark and allowing them to get the split.
“But it was super shifty out there if you are in phase, you can put the bow down and make the boat go really quick. But if you’re out of phase, you have to sail high and slow.
“It was nice everyone on boartd kept pushing hard on that second race and it was good that we got a good right shift and managed to pull off a rally nice tack off the boundary and take the lead.”