Atalanti X proved her status as favourite and won the first day of racing at the One Ton Cup in Wales
New Zealand helmsman Gavin Brady is the man of the day. Two races competed, two races won, already 4 points ahead of the second place in the overall ranking. Atalanti X was obviously above the other boats. “The boat has received the best possible preparation.” explains Gavin Brady, before tempering : “This was a real advantage today, but it will be less and less true as races go on.”
American tactician Robbie Haines confirmed yesterday, “We have got a good preparation before the race and today, we made less mistakes than the others.” That is the key point in one-design racing. And a game in which even the best skippers can do the most basic mistakes. Ben Ainslie can testify. He made a pretty good first race at the helm of David McLean’s Babbalaas right behind unbeatable Atalanti X ; but in the second race, he refused the way to Faster K-Yote I and had a penalty : a 320 which was quickly done, but could not prevent the Welsh boat from being passed over by all the other boats. The boats are so close one to each other that you do not have a second chance.
American Dawn Riley, the skipper of Faster K-Yote I all-women crew said, “Our first start was in the average, the second one was pretty good. But each time we were trapped in shifty conditions. The tactics was difficult today.” French helmsman Laurent Delage from Faster K-Yote II agrees : “We made good starts, but we concentrated too much on wind, not enough on control. And we did not find the good spots.”
As Babbalaas experienced in the second race, it is easy to move down in the ranking. Competitors stay confident for the coming races and are more motivated than ever. Gavin Brady knows his advantage is real but fragile. Ben Ainslie wants to forget the second race. Jeremy Robinson on Bounder and Nigel Bramwell on Hawk showed how regularity could help a crew mainly composed of amateur sailors to compete with the world’s best.