…during practice and a new regatta format is announced on the second of the two lay days in Plymouth
Today the America’s Cup World Series teams prepared for racing in advance of the reformatted Plymouth Match Racing Championship.
While the majority stayed ashore on a blustery day, Artemis Racing had a successful short training sail in the strong conditions. But China Team wasn’t as fortunate, suffering damage to their wing from a spectacular capsize.
“Unfortunately the way the boat landed, the wind got under the wing and caused more damage. The boat then flipped over and over going downwind, from stern to bow, which was pretty exciting,” said Will Howden, a crew member on China Team. “A pretty nasty one but everyone is OK and that’s the main thing.”
Shore crew will be working through the night in an effort to get the team to the start line tomorrow: “Our technical team and ACRM will be working together to repair the boat,” said skipper Charlie Ogletree. “It will be a long night, but we think we’ll be up and running tomorrow… Our neighbors – Artemis Racing, ORACLE Racing, have all offered help, which is very nice.”
The three teams who had previously capsized in Sunday’s heavy conditions have all reported they’ll be ready to race Wednesday after making minor repairs. Team Korea, one of the teams to capsize, was able to finish the race, and even briefly considered participating in the following speed trials. Skipper Chris Draper says the key to minimizing the damage was being prepared in advance, along with the quick work of their chase boat crew.
“Our support crew did a great job in moving so quickly,” said Draper. “The thing is the wing is in danger of filling up with water and the longer the boat’s on its side the more likely the damage is going to increase. So there’s a double incentive to get the boat upright as quickly as you can – to preserve the boat and finish the race.”
The teams with minor wing damage were also able to take advantage of a new initiative where the organizers have provided a standby ‘pit crew’ to assist teams in repairs. This has helped smaller teams in particular make timely repairs.
Wednesday is the first day of the Plymouth Match Racing Championship, which begins with two days of seeding races ahead of Friday and Saturday’s finals.
“Following feedback from the teams, we’ve made some tweaks to make all of the races meaningful for each of the teams,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “Everybody will sail in the important seeding fleet races (three per day) on Wednesday and Thursday, and then we’ll have the final match racing on Friday and Saturday. This is a more exciting format for teams and fans alike.”
Importantly, even the ninth place team from the seeding fleet races can advance to the final by winning all of their match races. The winner at the end of the four days of racing is the Plymouth Match Racing Champion.
On Sunday, September 18, all nine race crews will line up for the Plymouth Fleet Racing Championship. This 40-minute fleet race is a winner-takes-all, fight for the title.
The teams collect points from the Match Racing and Fleet Racing Championships at each AC World Series event towards the overall America’s Cup World Series title.
Three AC World Series prizes (Match Racing, Fleet Racing, Combined) will be awarded at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season in Newport, Rhode Island on July 1, 2012.
All racing in Plymouth will be streamed live on www.youtube.com/americascup, beginning on Wednesday at 14:10 local time (GMT+1).