Day One of racing at the ACWS Naples. © ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
by America's Cup media
After yesterday’s riveting opening day to America’s Cup World Series Naples, one accentuated by tricky sailing conditions, today might be an easier day for the sailors. The weather forecast calls for a southerly breeze of 7 to 12 knots.
The final event of the 2012-13 racing season has a few newcomers in the fleet. One in particular is China Team. Although helmsman Mitch Booth is a veteran with many years of experience in multihulls, the crew is comprised of Chinese nationals who were selected at a training camp the team held last autumn, and many of them got their feet wet yesterday.
“I’m very proud of the guys on our boat. They did such a good job,” said Booth, a double Olympic medallist in the Tornado class. “This was their first day of international competition of any sailboat race. If we can keep improving we’ll be happy.”
The Day 1 “Catty” award, for best acting performance on a catamaran, goes to Luna Rossa Piranha skipper Chris Draper. Draper got a penalty on Artemis Racing White and its young helmsman Charlie Ekberg for a port-starboard incident with what looked to be an over-exaggerated jerk of the helm. “There might’ve been a little bit of Hollywood in that move,” allowed Draper, “but that’s part of the game.”
Story of the Day, including interviews with Ben Ainslie and Yann Guichard
For Dean Barker and the Emirates Team New Zealand crew, their return to AC45 racing was a breathtaking reminder.
“We were definitely rusty when we arrived, but you do a few days of practice and it all comes back,” said Barker. “What comes back is you realize how hard these boats are to sail. They’re so demanding on the guys, they’re getting flogged from start to finish. They’re tough boats.”
Racing is scheduled to begin at 14:00 CEST and can be viewed on the America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial restrictions).