All six teams entered in the 35th America’s Cup will be back in the water after herculean efforts by the Japanese and British shore crews overnight.
Six races will be sailed today with Oracle Team USA competing in three of those, in a pre-arranged schedule which sees all boats sail the same number of races in each round.
Round 1, Race 7 – Artemis Racing v Groupama Team France (2.08pm)
Round 1, Race 8 – Oracle Team USA v Land Rover BAR (2.37pm)
Round 1, Race 9 – Softbank Team Japan v Emirates Team NZ (3.06pm)
Round 1, Race 10 – Oracle Team USA v Artemis Racing (3.35pm)
Round 1, Race 11 – Emirates Team NZ v Land Rover BAR (4.05pm)
Round 1, Race 12 – Softbank Team Japan v Oracle Team USA (4.34pm)
Winds are slightly stronger than expected at 10-13kts at 2.00pm increasing to 11-15kts at 3.00pm and 4.00pm before easing back to 10-13kts at the end of the racing period.
Key points of interest today will obviously centre around Emirates Team New Zealand’s performance as she comes up against Softbank Team Japan, a team that refused to race against the Kiwis in the Practice Sessions. The Japanese seem to improve with every outing and this should be a good match.
The Brits will be looking hard at Land Rover BAR, who was fast and sailed well in her first race of the day yesterday against the highly fancied Artemis Racing – the form boat of the Practice Sessions. The questions today will be whether there is any shaking of the British confidence after the collision in Race 6, and today will probably answer the questions as to whether they have achieved some long-sought speed improvements.
Artemis Racing will be also a key point of interest in her Match against Oracle Team USA. She should have an easy point from the first race of the day against Groupama Team France
On the opening day of the America’s Cup Regatta, a serious collision before the start of Race 6 occurred when the British entry Land Rover BAR approached Softbank Team Japan to windward and made a misjudgement as the British boat’s leeward foil suddenly lifted, and the catamaran slid sideways into the Japanese.
The damage to both was substantial but not enough to prevent either boat from continuing with the start and race – although Dean Barker aboard Softbank Team Japan crossed the line well after the starting signal. Ben Ainslie followed after performing his penalty delay imposed by the Umpires.
At this morning’s Media Conference with Regatta Director Iain Murray and Chief Umpire Richard Slater, it was explained that the on the water umpires assessed that Ainslie was at fault and was penalised.
Land Rover BAR could have been liable to a Black Flag penalty – which happens if there is serious damage and the innocent party decides the damage is sufficiently serious for them not to continue racing. If the umpires agree they can give (in this case Land Rover BAR) a Black Flag penalty meaning that the race is stopped and the win awarded to the innocent party (Softbank Team Japan).
That did not happen despite serious damage to both boats, which resulted in the British having to continually bail their boat after the race to stop it from sinking.
This morning it was revealed that the Japanese team had decided that their damage wasn’t sufficient for their to be a claim under the new Redress code for a suspension of racing for a day, and the matter didn’t have to go through a further process.
The Brits have repaired their boat sufficiently for them to be able to race today and a full card of six races is scheduled, beginning at 2.00pm local time and finishing at 5.00pm.
Tomorrow the schedule will revert to the standard 90-minute race session.
Measurement rule change kicks in
Regatta Director Iain Murray announced this morning that there had been approval of a change in the measurement protest process – which had been approved by World Sailing.
Each team will now be allowed one protest per series against another boat for a believed measurement discrepancy. If their protest is upheld, then they have a further claim allowed in that series until they are unsuccessful with one.
Iain Murray advised that the teams do not have access to each other’s full measurement certificates, so it is a matter of the teams being sharp-eyed to spot a measurement flaw and lodging a successful appeal to the Measurement Committee.
Another part of the new Measuring protest rule is that the Measurement Committee will have the right to full adjudication without needing confirmation of the Jury as would normally be required.
Murray also outlined the scrutineering process followed by the Measurers each day.
The teams are assigned a member of the Measurement Committee for the day whose role it is to ‘chaperone’ each boat through a compliance process each day.
Murray indicated that the boats will have multiple measurement certificates for the mode in which the teams have elected to race each day based on the wind forecast and other considerations.
The measuring team join their assigned boat at 7.30am each race day and check the AC50 has the gear specified on the measurement certificate chosen by the team for that day. A key is ensuring the boats remain in the compliance with their sailing weight – a term in the rules which says what items are allowed to be included to ensure the boat remains within the 100kg tolerance permitted in the rules.
The Sailing Weight for the AC50 is between 2332kg and 2432kg and includes 149kg of media and other equipment platform and a further 18kg of media equipment in the wing sail. Only one jib is allowed to be carried, and 6kg of food and water are permitted. There is also a crew weight restriction. A maximum crew weight of 525kg is also specified.
Once the boats are launched and leave for the race area, the measurer assigned to the boat joins the team chase boat and remains with the team for the day ensuring fair play and compliance.
Currently (midday in Bermuda) the teams are on the water testing set-up ahead of the start of racing in two hours time.
by Richard Gladwell