America’s Cup World Series ~High winds, angry seas and driving rain spoil teams’ chances for practice
As the Extreme Sailing Series’ first regatta in Hamburg ended with a win for 2012 and 2013 champions The Wave, Muscat after 26 races over the four days, the first regatta of the 2017 cycle for the America’s Cup World Series was blown off the water by high winds, angry seas and driving rain.
The hardy souls who made up a crowd markedly reduced from Saturday’s sunshine turnout was asked to vacate all the spectator areas and the fleet of six 45-foot foiling catamarans was pinned in the Historic Dockyard.
It means that only two races have been possible over a four-day festival which, as well targeting a mass audience in Portsmouth, offered valuable racing time to teams anxious to hone their track skills.
No such problem for the teams in the Extreme 40 catamarans, though even they had to keep a careful eye on the weather and the Danish team SAP managed to turn turtle during the final race of Saturday. All the crew were recovered safely.
Britain’s GAC Pindar was forced to pull out of most of Sunday’s racing following a collision with SAP Racing, which had capsized when leading the regatta.
The incident occurred at the start line of Race 22, Act 5 as both teams jostled for starting position. Race umpires confirmed that the British crew was the innocent party and awarded points redress for the remainder of the day, but still finished eighth out of nine.
Race director Phil Lawrence explained: “The GAC Pindar port hull went under the SAP windward hull, which resulted in the collision on the start line. SAP was given a 45-second starting penalty for the next race whilst GAC Pindar was given redress for the remainder of the regatta.”
GAC Pindar Skipper Seve Jarvin commented “The main thing was that everyone was O.K, but it’s obviously a little frustrating that a misjudgment ended our regatta.”
The Portsmouth washout was particularly disappointing given the huge investment that went into hosting a series which moves to Gothenbery and Bermuda later this year run through to late 2016. Portsmouth is again on the list for 2016, along with Gothenberg, possibly Chicago and New York, either Japan or China, and even Auckland. Cumulatively they offer bonus points to first and second when the elimination races start in Bermuda in 2017.
“We had hoped to go ahead with early racing, but with winds gusting in excess of 30mph we could not risk the safety of the crews and public, and their welfare is paramount,” said the organisers. “For everyone who booked tickets in the Fanzone Arena and Grandstand today, refunds will be issued through Ticketmaster.” The next ACWS regatta is in Gothenberg, Sweden, at the end of August.
America’s Cup World Series; Portsmouth
Standings after two races:
1 Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) 19pts
2 Glenn Ashby (NZL) 18
3 Jimmy Spithill (USA) 16
4 Dean Barker (JPN) 13
5 Franck Cammas (FRA) 13
6 Iain Percy (SWE) 11