Friday 12 February 2010

America's Cup: Comments from the second postponed day of racing

by America's Cup media

Includes comments on getting racing going from Harold Bennett and the feel of Alinghi 5 from Loïck Peyron:

Harold Bennett (NZL), Regatta Director and Principal Race Officer:

“These are different boats from what we have been used to. And the understanding of them is still a learning curve. Conditions like today? That is interesting. I am not sure they would have done too well with it.

“The last thing you want to do is see one of these boats break, that is going to hurt someone or even maybe not finish.

“There was a lot of seaway and so the prudent thing to do was not too go out too early. Having got to that, around 0830, I thought it was more prudent to go and have a look for ourselves. We went approximately 23.5 to 24 miles off the coast here and that would have given us a windward mark somewhere not too far off the port here. As we got 10 miles off the coast it was getting rather lumpy. We were surfing down some of the waves with the power cat. Once we turned around in the area, starting to have a look at it, there were some pretty big seas. We had the swell from the NE and the wind blowing off the west and that was throwing up some pretty big waves.

"I would have not had a problem with the wind conditions. We were looking at 17-18 knots, I wouldn’t have had a problem with that.

“This is not the best time of year to be doing this. When it was announced that we were coming to here I said that everyone, the sailors, the public, the press everyone was going to have to be patient, because we had little information about the conditions outside of five or six miles and on Monday we found out about that breeze off the land which will go half way out but not right our. That was a point I made when I was asked. It will be a matter of being patient until we get it right.”

James Spithill (AUS), skipper-helm USA:

“We were keen to go. We think probably at 10 o’clock there was a window, but having that said that it is very easy to look from the outside. I think Harold Bennett is the right man for the job. I have full trust in Harold. He has a good track record and I would much rather be sailing that running racing.”

“We would be more than happy with conditions this morning, with those waves. We sailed in San Diego with two, two and a half metres. But obviously there are some variables with waves, the period, the direction etc but I think we would have been more than happy this morning. As I said it is not an easy job and I have full faith in Harold and I respect his decisions.”

Loïck Peyron (France), floater Alinghi 5:

“The best conditions are those in which you don’t risk the boat. We are both (teams) agreed on that. There are big waves coming all the way down from France. The conditions were possibly boat breaking. These boats are for Formula 1 racing and you do not take them off to do the Paris-Dakar.

“We did a few training races a week ago 20 miles to windward and back and it was perfect. But everyone knew before that this is not exactly the best place to do this.

“We did a very nice 20 mile course up and down and also a triangle but that was one time in a month, and it was in S’ly or SE’ly wind, maybe a lot before a low is coming. We had a little right shifts but it was within the official range plus or minus 30 degrees, definitely in the range for both teams.

“I have the chance to learn something every day. I love to jump from one boat to another. A year ago I was sailing around the world on my own and here I am sharing with tremendous guys with a lot of different sailing areas, from the Volvo race, from the Cup. For me it is the first time that I have felt the acceleration of a small multihull, like I love to do on the Swiss lakes, like the D35 or the small really light ones, but Alinghi 5 has the power of a big offshore multi and the acceleration of a small multihull. It is the first time I have felt both these two feelings.

“It is quite interesting to be at the helm of a boat like this having behind me Mr Butterworth, and in front of me Mr Warwick (Fleury) and Simon (Daubney), stars I have seen in the papers for so many years, and I have to say: “OK guys and now we have to do that...” And so for me that is quite interesting.”

33rd America's Cup

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