In a fresh, building westerly breeze blowing down the Solent in a flooding tide, the scene was set for some exciting action in today's Admiral's Cup inshore races
Having started the day with a six-point lead in the Admiral’s Cup, the Australian from the Royal Prince Alfred YC were feeling fairly confident this morning as they sailed out to the start line for races seven and eight – the two inshore races.
In a fresh, building westerly breeze blowing down the Solent in a flooding tide, the scene was set for some exciting action particularly the IMS600 fleet. Not surprisingly and fairly true to form the Spanish team’s Bribon Telefonica Movistar, the Ker 55 helmed by Dutchman Bouwe Beking took two race wins.
“She a good boat to sail and seems to be fast upwind, commented Beking. “It’s good to get ahead of the other guys up the first beat, and have time in hand for the downwind leg because it’s downwind where we lose out if anything.” Jason Carrington who was also onboard as pit man decribes his day at the races.”It was fairly exciting out there to say the least, we had one big broach in the second race while we were just behind Wild Oats. Fortunately good team work put us back on track pretty quickly.”
In the IMS600 fleet the predicted excitement ran true to form and in the second race of the day when the wind picked up to 30kts there was all sorts of fun and games down the first run with boats broaching and Chinese gybing all the way down hill. In fact at one point, at the height of the squall, the racecourse looked more like a scene from a dinghy event rather than a high profile yacht race.
For the Spanish team, however, aboard the Rodman 42 Telefonica Moviestar, two second places was enough to fend off the Australians overall despite Aftershock’s race eight win. For Ben Ainslie however helming the Rodman 42 for RORC’s Sailability team it was one of those days. A couple of cracking starts including a true Laser-style port-tacker and a win in race seven was followed by a string of disasters which Ben will undoubtedly want to forget in a hurry: “We had great starts in both races but we had the wrong jib up in the second race. This was followed by a Chinese gybe while we were lying in second at the first leeward mark. We just sorted that out, retained our place but then the jib halyard shackle broke and the jib fell down. Although the guys did a really good job to get it back up again quickly we were unable to finish better than a fifth. We basically made too many mistakes. We also sailed really badly yesterday too which is not ideal, so we are going to have to get it right for the Wolf rock race on Saturday.” Despite this string of disasters Ben was still upbeat about big boat racing but and while the principals of sailing are the same as dinghy racing, he added: It’s totally different to dinghy sailing. It’s really good fun, particularly working with a team but you can’t get angry with yourself and sit out harder because nothing happens!”
So, with the first big exciting day on the water today, the scoreboard is now looking slightly different with the Australians one point ahead of the previous event leaders Telefonica Movistar Sailing Team.
With a layday tomorrow teams now have time to repair and prepare for Saturday morning’s Wolf Rock race which will be the biggest test of all particularly for the IMS600s fleet which, if today’s racing is anything to go by, will be more than a little interesting.