The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series racing today in Portsmouth, with light winds across the course in a slowly building south-easterly sea breeze was far more exciting than any of us were expecting. Feedback from all of the teams put this down to a tight start line, tidal influence and the constantly shifting breeze to the right resulting in “bumper car” action that kept spectators on their toes, wondering what was going to happen next.
Ben Ainslie said before racing today, that “aside from winning the actual America’s Cup, the event here in Portsmouth in the next most important to us. As sportsmen, that is why we compete, we want to do it in front of our home crowd.”
The local hero and his team of Land Rover BAR didn’t disappoint, even in the exceptionally tricky conditions, winning the final two races of the day to hold first place on a countback from Groupama Team France.
Adam Minioprio, wing trimmer on board Groupama put their scorecard today down to their boat positioning on the starts thanks to skipper Franck Cammas and the team work on board. I asked if the GC32 was helping give them racing experience, what all teams are chasing “I think you have hit the nail on the head there Nic” was his firm answer.
In third position, the third of the new teams to the Cup who are interestingly enough leading in Portsmouth after day one, is Softbank Team Japan. Dean Barker wasn’t too happy with their day, even sitting in third due to broken starts. “Our time on distance was a little bit out… we don’t have much time in between races to reset, but that is something we will have to work on for tomorrow”. This team is continually improving, and no wonder with a force like Dean who isn’t happy with what is effectively equal second, “we will have to step up tomorrow”.
Another skipper with the fighting spirit, Jimmy Spithill said that Oracle Team USA “have a lot to learn” and he thinks the team “will take another step up tomorrow”. I was keen to get his thoughts on some of the penalties that were handed out, he also said that the team were “surprised” and that they would check out the video and “have a chat to the umpires”. No doubt this team will come out all guns firing tomorrow.
I also spoke to Ray Davies from Emirates Team New Zealand and Iain Percy from Artemis Racing. Check out video below to see the full interviews with all of the teams, and to hear more on the racing today, and what each team will work on to improve tomorrow.
I will be live tweeting the racing tomorrow at www.twitter.com/sailorgirlhq and I will have interviews up as soon as possible after we have the final results!