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AC35: Day 4, Race 1 of RR2 – NZL catches and passes SWE, and cruise to an easy win

NZL v. SWE. Emirates Team New Zealand v. Artemis Racing. Peter Burling v. Nathan Outteridge. Plenty of breeze, 10.3 knots from the NW at the start. Clean start, NZL to leeward, SWE to windward. Artemis blows over the top of ETNZ and leads at Mark 1 by 3 secs. On the Leg 2 run, ETNZ has a better first jibe and pulls alongside AR. ETNZ protests AR for a windward leeward infraction. The TV commentators don't see the red light signaling the protest, and cut away to sell Bermuda tourism, CarFAx, NBC's Stanley Cup coverage, Progressive insurance and more. (I like the GEICO ads, but the Progressive ads drive me nuts.) Penalty or green-flag? I guess we will have to wait until the commercials are over.

NBCSN comes back to the live race coverage when the yachts are half-way up Leg 3. No mention of the protest. Artemis is still leading (as they were at the leeward gate), so it must have been green-flagged. Unlike yesterday, the Kiwis are faster upwind than Artemis. On the leg 4 run, Artemis maintains their 100m lead. On Leg 5 the commentators are talking wing span of the dagger foils – Artemis' wings are straighter, while the Kiwis have an up-tip. There's a confusing back-and-forth about their relative lengths. (SWE has to race two races today, and can't change their foils between races, so the call as which of two sets of foils to use, and that will be good for both races, could be key.)

Today's on-the-water commentator is Leigh McMillan (GBR) of Land Rover BAR. I wish they would stop talking about foils and rudders and cover the bloody race which is getting very close! NZL are on the move.

Leigh finally stops talking about foils. Until that point SWE had a 100% Fly Time (a stat brought to you by BMW), and just as they showed the stat SWE crashed off their foils just before tacking. Talk about a jinx – we saw the same thing happen to JPN yesterday. This allowed the smooth-foiling Kiwis to catch right up, and at a cross just to leeward of the gate there is a port-starboard incident with SWE on port crossing ahead of NZL on starboard, the Kiwis have to duck big time to avoid knocking off the SWE stern. Red protest light on NZL comes on again. SWE has to tack (slowly) to fetch the gate, and we have a lead change through with the Kiwis through the gate 10 secs ahead of SWE. Down the run the umpires penalize, properly, Artemis Racing, and the two-boat-length "go slow" penalty puts them even further back. NZL cruise to the finish, the Swedish team ease up, and the Delta is an artificially large 1m31s. SWE was probably going to lose the race even without the penalty, but yet another foul and penalty has to be demoralizing for the entire team. So another good, close race with a lead change, but the next race between USA and FRA will likely be another yawner.

After taking the lead at the the Leg 5 gate, the Kiwi "cyclors" cruised to a big win over Artemis Racing.

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