Day two of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers fell on America’s Cup Endeavour Day, a celebration of the America’s Cup Endeavour Program, the America’s Cup’s youth education and sailing initiative.
Six races were scheduled and the day started perfectly for Groupama Team France who clinched their first win of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers with a thrilling and morale-boosting three second victory over Artemis Racing in the first race of the day, race 7 of Round Robin 1
Having suffered back-to-back defeats on the opening day of the competition, Franck Cammas’ team enjoyed the sweet taste of victory with a vastly improved performance over the hotly tipped Swedes.
Getting out of the start box ahead, the French team then looked to have thrown away their advantage, following a poor manoeuvre in the second leg which gifted the Swedish team the lead. However, refusing to let their heads drop, Groupama Team France responded in spectacular fashion, foiling smoothly to gain a 22 second lead at gate 3, then staying ahead at the next two gates
However, a nosedive by the French team in the penultimate leg lead to a nervy conclusion as both teams raced for the finish line. However, despite Nathan Outteridge’s team chasing down their French rivals, Groupama Team France kept their nerve and clinched an impressive victory.
“It is a very good feeling for the whole team, we have been waiting two years for that feeling,” said Franck Cammas after his team’s victory in their only race of the day.
Race 8 proved an intriguing battle between former teammates Jimmy Spithill and Sir Ben Ainslie as ORACLE TEAM USA sealed a third successive win by beating Land Rover BAR.
It was the British team who started the stronger. Seizing the advantage out of the start box, they stayed ahead of their rivals until gate 3 when a big nosedive after the turn proved the decisive moment of the race, allowing ORACLE TEAM USA to seizing the advantage.
It was a costly mistake that Land Rover BAR failed to recover from and the American team built up a 32 second lead by Gate 5 before heading home to cross the line 39 seconds ahead of their British rivals.
“We saw today how the conditions can make it easy to make mistakes out there,” said ORACLE TEAM USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill, who wasn’t completely content despite claiming two victories from three races.
“We made too many mistakes really and you could see throughout the day that it’s about who could get off the line the quickest and get around with the least amount of mistakes.
“We set pretty high standards so we’re not satisfied. We’ll take the lessons we’ve learnt and move forward.”
Meanwhile, Land Rover BAR helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie took the opportunity to praise his shore team for getting Rita to the start line after their collision with SoftBank Team Japan on the opening day.
“It was an incredible effort from the shore team who worked tirelessly through the night to repair the damage and get us ready for today,” said Ainslie whose team suffered back-to-back defeats on day two.