Three days ago when the wind and wave conditions were unbelievably rough we went flying off of a wave while trying to get to the race course. We checked everything and FRA 60 seemed to be OK. Now we suspect that the damage from that wave was lurking. The next day we broke a tack strop against the South Africans, then yesterday morning we broke a jib halyard against Victory and as we were getting ready for the race against Luna Rosa we broke the boat. It is now 7am and the design and shore team worked all night and she looks to be ready to go. Two races today. Alinghi and Spain. We just have to win one or the other and we end up 6th. Onwards!
The team won a tough negotiation with the K-Challenge chef today. How? By winning two races!
Denise, our awesome chef drove a tough bargain when she was cornered in her ‘kitchen container’ by our British contingent with requests of ice cream for desert. She countered – if you win two races I’ll give you ice cream.
The team had a good start and a tight first beat with +39 the local team and just before the leeward mark we hit a wave and the spinnaker exploded the call came for a ‘samurai takedown’!@#@!# meaning that the spinnaker is cut away and left for the chaseboat to pick up. With +39 straight on our heels it seemed that it was going to be a disaster but theirs was bigger than ours. They shrimpped big time! spinnaker around the keel and all over the mark… Which the umpires didn’t see by the way and they came to a virtual stop while our team recovered and went on to a big lead.
The next race was against the Chinese team that has a lot of the LeDefi team and equipment from last cup so in our minds, under stress, we have envisioned them as our ‘arch enemies’ even thought their boats are not that good and their team is ‘learning’. Today was a different story. The start was awesome and the race was led by K-Challenge wire to wire!
Ice cream is not on the diet but today it was a bet well won!
We won two races today. Coach Marc Bouet pointed out that in one day we have earned 66% of the total points we earned in Malmo. The first race we beat Masclazon in a close but solid race. The tactics were a bit challenging because our Port primary winch was broken in the very first tack. The team did a good job going to plan B and not letting it become a major issue.
Race two – Team New Zealand – The wind was getting a little unstable and lighter. One of our team commented.. a light and shifty race might be just what we need. We were ahead on the first leg but we closed in a bit on the top half to round about 2 boat lengths behind them. Then about 1/3 of the way down the leg we started to jibe about 1 second before they started and they halted the jibe. Ours was quite a radical turn and as we got up to speed and they pulled the guy back out. We realized that both boats were pointed almost to the leeward gate and they were on opposite jibes! K-Challenge – sailing FRA 60 which we are leasing from Team New Zealand (TNZ) and which was the boat that won the America’s Cup in 2000 finished 1minute 45 seconds ahead of her sister ship NZL 82.
The funny part is that in the press Grant Dalton from TNZ is always talking about how they are driving a ‘Jordan’ and Alinghi is driving a ‘McLaren” … so Brad Butterworth (from Alinghi and formerly from TNZ) was riding by the TNZ base and yelled out to one of the guys – “Hey tell Dalts that he just got beaten by a Capri” 🙂
Today is the first day of racing so last night was the opening ceremony. All boats were requred to be ready for the “Parade” by 6:45 for a 7:00 start…… well we aren’t in Sweden any more 🙂 Around 7:20 they started to get things going. I learned that this is common in soccer matches where they don’t start the match if there are still fans waiting to get in to avoid rioting but we really didn’t expect this to be a danger with people pushing to see some AC boats towing around the harbor.Well – there were thousands and thousands of people.
There was a dinner in the city center that was amazing by all reports.
Off to the race course.
Four days ago, I did another 26-hour travel day to arrive in Palermo Italy. I arrived in the dark but WITH my luggage, which is better than 60% of our team. The housing for the regatta (a cruise ship) wasn’t scheduled to arrive yet so we were in a hotel. Of course it was dark so I couldn’t see much but when I woke up I realized it is naturally beautiful here. The next night after work we got home just in time to see the sun approaching the water and take some pictures from my room.
Yvonne (logistics) and Denise (chef) and I went about 50 yards away to a bar and pulled up plastic chairs down an alley between the bar and a house and watched the day turn to night above a rocky beach with wonderful crash, rumble, hiss of the waves rolling the rocks and polishing blocks of marble that happened to be there. After 3 drinks it was time to go to the restaurant next to the bar where we had ‘spaghetti’. Our question: “Any salads?” Answer: “NO Spaghetti” – welcome to Italy 🙂