It is beginning to look like ‘crunch-time’ has come early for some at the 36th America’s Cup!
Day 3 of practice racing for the Auckland America’s Cup World Series and Christmas Race, which starts on Thursday 17 December, saw all three challengers locked in their base-sheds frantically working on their boats.
Only the Cup defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, came out to continue their impressive display of practice starts, and some short, fast, one and two lap courses against their chase boat.
Luna Rossa joined the British and American teams, who also missed Thursday’s practice racing, back on shore apparently finding the need to make last minute adjustments their boats, rather than get time on the water against the boat they have to beat.
Saturday the teams have to declare the configuration they will race their AC75 in for the ACWS and Christmas Cup event.
So a possible reason for the no-show is the sudden requirement to adjust/change foils and other measurable gear, following the results of the small amount of practice they did complete – or not in the case of Ineos Team UK.
The Kiwi’s have demonstrated a disturbing (for the challengers) amount of speed and slick boat handling, and although this could be down to the challengers not wanting to show their hand too early, it seems to have sent the challengers scuttling back to have a quick re-think.
The Italian team put on a reasonable show against the defending America’s Cup champions on the first two days, but American Magic seemed to have rudder problems and the Brits just had problems . . . full stop!
The ACWS and Christmas Cup events could be very interesting . . . not to be missed.