AC35: Day 2, Race 9 (of RR1) – NZL comes from behind to win comfortably over arch-rival JPN
JPN VS. NZL. ARCH RIVALS TO BE SURE as former Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker (NZL), who was fired by his team after AC34, is now skippering for SoftBank Team Japan. He goes up against his replacement, the Olympic Gold Medalist from Rio (49er class) Peter "Golden Boy" Burling (NZL) who is now helming for ETNZ. Both teams are 1-1 after yesterday's racing. It looks like NZL will win the start, but they go off the line nearly side-by-side and JPN pops onto their foils first accelerating over the top of NZL and into the early lead. Upwind on Leg 3 ETNZ starts to close, often sailing 4 knots faster in what appears to be the same breeze. JPN's tacks are suspect, and at the Leg 3 gate it is nearly dead even with the yachts rounding opposite ends. Running down Leg 4 JPN is only 50m ahead at the first cross. It's getting lighter and puffier near the bottom of the run, and JPN gains back 100m just before the gate. They split again, ETNZ going to the upwind left, and JPN the right, at least initially. There's more breeze on the left and ETNZ make a big gain, tack, then ducking and crossing only a few meters behind starboard tack JPN. JPN extends to the left sideline then crashes their tack. ETNZ's beautiful foiling propel them into the lead at the next cross by 100m. Kenny Read comments, "ETNZ's maneuvers are beautiful, so the pedaling is for sure not hurting them." Ya think? Thereafter ETNZ speeds away and wins by 33 secs, going up 2-1 in Round Robin 1.
ETNZ pedaling into the finish. A lot of chatter, too, about whether the "cyclors" are more or less windage. Regardless, I'd be hoping that my teammate ahead of me has not had a British cooked breakfast complete with baked beans.