Day 2 of the three day of the Auckland ACWS regatta ended with American Magic and Emirates Team New Zealand tied the lead wih three points, with four races to be sailed on Saturday.
Race winners were ETNZ with two wins over Ineos Team UK, Luna Rossa with a win over American Magic, and American Magic with a win over Luna Rossa.
The troubled British team made it onto the water after an all night effort by the shore team to get the boat back together again with everything functionable as it should be.
It was the American Magic teams day for foil problems, when PATRIOT’s port-side foil arm failed to lift quickly enough from its lowered position, at the start of their first race with Luna Rossa.
This derived the the America’s of crucial windward ballast as her sails began to generate power on the new tack.
PATRIOT heeled hard to leeward and fell off her starboard-side foil, leaving American Magic in displacement mode, as had happened to the British team the day before.
But, in the end they managed to get the board to operate correctly, but by then they were in the water and Luna Rossa had sailed away.
Later mainsheet trimmer Paul Goodison explained, “The [board up] button was pressed, and the board didn’t come up. Luckily, we have alternate buttons that we can press to also raise the board, so in the end we managed to raise the board correctly, but it was a bit late. Then we’re in the water and we had some catching up to do.”
This incident negated the advantage American Magic had at the start, when Luna Rosse started with penalty.
The final downwind leg saw yet another comeback by American Magic, and while PATRIOT was able to close the gap to 12 seconds and a few boat lengths, the American team came up just short at the finish.
Dean Barker, helmsman for American Magic commented, “It was really impressive how well we got back into the race a couple of times, but [it was] frustrating not to get the win.”
Race two (R6) of the day was Ineos against Defenders ETNZ and saw a full-on pre-start dial up, with Ainslie calling for an unsuccessful pre-start penalty.
The Kiwis were first out to the righthand boundary and came back at Ineos as they tacked onto starboard. Ainslie matched the tack, well to leeward and with a decent lateral separation between the two there was little in the way of engagement and more in the way of covering tacks.
Then there was drama as the home team came perilously close to hitting the glass fibre 900kg windward mark in a mis-communication between helmsman Pete Burling and tactician Glenn Ashby who was positioned to leeward and talking him into the rounding.
Meanwhile, Ineos took the left-hand mark and rounded cleanly to trail by 20 sec. By the bottom mark the Kiwis lead had increased to 30 sec.
On the next lap there was more drama when ETNZ fluffed a gybe in their approach to the bottom gate as the rudder appeared to stall and the boat performed a high-speed wheelie.
Smart thinking by the crew saw the jib eased quickly and the windward foil raised as Burling headed downwind to avoid a capsize.
They managed to recover and rounded the mark cleanly, but it had cost them 5 sec shaving their lead from 45 to 40 seconds.
The third and final lap delivered no more in the way of dramas and saw the Kiwis extend their lead for a 1 min 32 sec win at the finish.
Race three (R7) of the day was a Luna Rossa v American Magic rematch, involved a multi-penalty pre-start reminiscent of previous Cups involving monohulls.
Patriot helm Dean Barker came out the winner and cruised off the starting line in a commanding position. After the first upwind leg American Magicwas over 300 meters ahead.
Leading by about 15 seconds at each gate, notwithstanding Luna Rossa’s significant gains on the windward legs, American Magic extended their distance on final downwind leg finish 30 seconds ahead.
The final race of the day, race 8, was a rematch between the British and Kiwi teams.
Ineos dominated the pre-start with Ainslie getting the better of ETNZ.
Helm Pete Burling was forced into a bad gybe in the last-minute, coinciding with a big left-hand shift, which left them parked and off their foils, taking what seemed like a lifetime to get up and going, chasing Ineo Team UK who were now 400 metres ahead.
Ineos rounded with a 12 sec lead, but the Kiwis took the lead when the two boats converged for the first downwind cross.
Duelling at over forty knots, the next time the boats converged Ineos was back ahead coming back on starboard, but their lead was short lived, ETNZ rounding the bottom mark just 4 seconds ahead.
For the first time in these boats there was a close boat-on-boat competitive leg with three lead changes on one downwind leg.
Both boats were bow to bow on the second upwind until the first cross, where the kiwis managed to cross on port and ease their nose in front.
With the wind dropping on course C, The Kiwis extended around the remainder of the course to finish 1 mn 42 sec ahead of Ineos Team UK.
Although the results were not what the team wanted it was a positive day for Ineos giving the team the much-needed time on the water before racing starts in earnest in the Challenger Selection Series in January.