You must be joking!
Local weather statistics show clearly that the wind direction over the course of the year ranges from east south east, to north, a range of around 250 degrees. Today the breeze swung through 235 degrees during which time we had flat seas, steep seas, sunshine, near darkness at lunchtime, torrential rain, lightening, 6 knots and 28 knots.
The only benefit of such volatile conditions was that anybody who chose to venture a forecast, no matter how wild, could claim to have been close at some stage or another.
The variety of conditions proved taxing for the teams too, few escaped some form of an issue, either before, during or after a race.
Shosholoza were the first to run into difficulties when they chose to change their mainsail and then couldn’t get the new one up in time for the start. Cup boats have to drop their tows six minutes before the start. If they have to ditch their tow with the mainsail not fully up hoisting the huge sail is a hit and miss affair. Get it wrong and at best it costs you money. At worst you hurt someone.
Wisely, yet miffed at such a mistake, the team decided to duck out of their first match against Alinghi.
In the Italian derby between Luna Rossa and Mascalzone Latino, the silver grey boat with its Prada logo blew its kite to shreds allowing Mascalzone Latino to pass. The underdogs were having their day, at least for part of the leg before the dominant team took their lead back.
Meanwhile K-Challenge and Victory challenge were having a very close match until that is, the French team blew the head out of their genoa and handed the Swedes victory on a plate.
Another win on the board is further confirmation that the Swedes seem to have recovered from their embarrassing time in home waters. Yet so far in Trapani, the jinx of the home team has hung over 39. A second win on the board after beating Mascalzone Latino today will be cold comfort for a team that looked so good in Sweden.
Elsewhere, the Kiwis had to send a man aloft on the downwind leg to inspect a hole in the mainsail, BMW Oracle were unable to set a spinnaker pole on their second downwind leg and Mascalzone blew out their spinnaker. The German team blew out a headsail then a spinnaker and retired from the race.
And that was just the morning session.
To mark the start of the afternoon, a huge and evil looking squall line swept across the course, thunder and lightening striking down precariously close to the race course areas. If you’d managed to sleep through this and wake up an hour later you’d wonder whether an entire day had passed. Sunshine, breeze from the north instead of the south and a nasty chop provided a completely different set of conditions.
Highlights of the day came from the least expected matches and saw Team China lead the Germans around more than 70 percent of the course, the South Africans throw away a commanding position against the Swedes, 39 regain their composure to score their second win and K-Challenge retire with a ‘structural problem’.
In the match that should have been a clash of the titans, the Kiwis appeared to whither against Alinghi right from the start. Dean Barker looking deeply frustrated by the end of the day and taking full blame for a lacklustre performance on the start. But their problems appeared to be more than just the start, as Alinghi blew them away on both of the upwind legs and out manoeuvred the Kiwis at the mark roundings. It’s not often we see Team New Zealand look sloppy at mark roundings but a near miss with the headsail over the side at the top mark and a kite that had to be cut free at the bottom, were sights the team would rather not have seen for themselves, let alone put on display.
Other than that, little else happened today!
****** RESULTS ******
****** LIVE AUDIO ******
Follow the action live from Malmo as Richard Simmonds, Mark Covell, Andy Green and Matthew Sheahan report live from the course.
Broadcast starts at 12:15 local time (11:15 GMT)
To listen to the daily commentary and recorded highlights of the racing, log on to the official site at;
If you’re in town, listen on either;
VHF Ch60 – English or FM 89.6
VHF Ch62 – Italian or FM 102.0