Emirates Team New Zealand took another point today in the Louis Vuitton cup challenger series, beating Luna Rossa by 2m 20sec.
For most of the race, Dean Barker and crew sailed without a jib. On the first upwind leg, the clip at the head of the jib broke and the sail flapped uselessly for several minutes before it was brought down to the trampoline.
It could have been a disaster – but it wasn’t. With a lead of 300m when the clip broke, Barker did well to keep boat speed up and minimise the opportunities for Luna Rossa.
As Adam Beashel worked to clear the sail from the stay, Luna Rossa started nibbling into the lead. Then the sail was free; the plan was to throw it over the side. The sail caught inside the side stays with head in the water making it difficult to clear.
Chris Cameron’s pictures from today are here
Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, the sail was in the water clear of the boat, with only about 50m of the lead lost. Barker and crew set out to generate maximum boat speed in the 17-18 knot breeze.
To the amazement of spectators and commentators alike, the AC72 was quickly up to speed and racing without a jib, almost as if nothing had happened.
It was a remarkable recovery. The deltas at the marks tell the story. Mark 2 25sec. Mk 3 42sec, Mk 4 1m 17sec, Mk 5 1m 56sec, M6 6 2m 34sec, finish 2m 20sec.
Quotes from today:
Dean Barker: “We’ve never had a clip break like that in all the sailing we have done. We will find out why. It could have been a race-ending failure.
“The boys dealt with it and we were straight back into the race. The boat was a little harder to sail.”
Grant Dalton: “I was impressed with the composure on board. We have sailed together for a long time – through the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup match in 2007 and since then.
“We have sailed a bit without a jib so we knew it could be done. Ray Davies did a beautiful job of picking shifts on the second beat so we managed pretty well.”
Facts about today’s race
Seven-leg America’s Cup course
Course length: 15.43 nautical miles
Elapsed times: ETNZ – 48:10; LR – 50:29
Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 19.4 nautical miles; LR – 19.99 nautical miles
Average speed: ETNZ – 24.19 knots (27.8 mph); LR – 23.77 konts (27.35 mph)
Top speed: ETNZ – 38.72 knots (44.5 mph); LR – 37.73 knots (43.4 mph)
Wind speed: average 13.8 knots; peak gust 20.5 knots
The schedule ahead:
Tuesday, July 23, Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Emirates Team New Zealand
Thursday, July 25, Artemis Racing vs. Luna Rossa Challenge
Saturday, July 27, Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Artemis Racing
Sunday, July 28, Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Luna Rossa Challenge