Artemis Racing gave a crowd-pleasing display of skill and tactics but they also made some mistakes, allowing the relentless Emirates Team New Zealand to get two races up
Artemis Racing has been the team that has given the America’s Cup most of a rollercoaster ride. Their comebacks, disappointments, fast starts and pace have been unpredictably brilliant, but today it wasn’t enough to halt the march of Emirates Team New Zealand towards the Cup match.
The Kiwi team made fewer mistakes and seemed faster upwind and managed despite some close racing to finish the day 4-2 up in the first-to-five playoff finals.
The Swedish team began the day 2-1 down. The set of three races between the two teams were all tight and treated spectators to as closely fought a contest as we’ve yet seen. We also saw some of the classic match racing moves many thought would be impossible in the AC50s – and the day’s racing ended with a virtual photo finish.
In the first race, Artemis had an alarming incident when they flew too high on their daggerboard and then plunged down before coming back up again and sliding sideways, uncontrollably towards the Kiwi boat.
A penalty call by Emirates Team New Zealand was dismissed and Artemis, which were using different, medium winds daggerboards, managed to guard their lead over their rivals to even the score.
With such shifty winds and the need to react quickly to covering tacks, the grinders on both boats were working incredibly hard, maybe too hard at times. There were occasions on both boats when it appeared as if perhaps hydraulic power might be running low for required manoeuvres.
Artemis paid a high price for small mistakes. On the first upwind leg of race two, they made an error by taking too close a covering tack and were forced to sail in ‘high mode’, but even so Emirates Team New Zealand were able to luff them.
Artemis tacked off, but it cost them dearly as the Kiwis got by and continued to extend.
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Emirates Team New Zealand run out of power?
There were some good covering tactics by Artemis on the final race but Emirates Team New Zealand managed to get ahead at the top gate. Yet what had looked like a comfortable lead for the Kiwis evaporated in seconds at the final mark when they gybed, plunged into the water and took what seemed an age to get up and going at speed again.
“There was a massive shift in the breeze and we had to do two more gybes to get to the finish…but we didn’t quite make the lay down to the gate and probably it was bad communication on my behalf because the boys weren’t quite ready to gybe back at that stage,” explained Burling.
Artemis came charging up from behind on a faster angle, looking as if they might just overtake in the sprint to the finish line, but Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the favoured end of the line just one second ahead.
Once again, despite less accomplished starts by Peter Burling, Emirates Team New Zealand looked marginally faster and certainly more powerful and composed. Their strategy, once again, was to wait it out patiently, be ready for a mistake and then pounce.
But Burling suggested they would have done better had they chosen a different foil configuration.
“We definitely thought it was going to be a little bit lighter than it was out there and it showed we weren’t in quite the right configuration, but the boys just dug really really deep to make sure we had plenty of oil, plenty of resource so we could keep tacking, keep taking shifts, keep chipping away.
“They tried everything they could, but we just ground them down,” Burling said.
This sets up a do-or-die race for Artemis Racing, who will be trying every single trick they know to keep Emirates Team New Zealand in check tomorrow.