New Zealand wins America’s Cup World Series Gothenburg
by Risa Merl
The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg, Sweden saw the teams fighting for the illustrious cup on the racecourse for the second time. Four races were held over two days August 29-30.
This time, the big win went to Emirates Team New Zealand, who performed well in the tricky conditions and light winds on day two’s racing.
The other teams taking the podium in the America’s World Series in Gothenburg were Defenders Oracle Team USA in second and the British team Land Rover BAR in third, who had won the first World Series event on their home turf in Portsmouth, UK.
Led by skipper Glen Ashby and helmsman Peter Burling, the Kiwis were hot on the heels of BAR heading into Gothenburg in second place and moved ahead to top spot on the leader board after finishing no less than third in all four races.
The second day's light and shifty winds proved especially challenging for all of the teams. “It was a tricky afternoon, but our guys had a forecast for it being light like this for quite a few days, so we’ve been preparing for it since we arrived,” Peter Burling said.
Team Oracle USA took perfect scores in first day’s races, but, unable to cope with the light winds, two fourth place finishes on the second day knocked them down to second place overall, which is one better than third place standing they were ranked ahead of Gothenburg.
“We’re disappointed,” said USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “We were having a very difficult time speed-wise and with our technique in the lighter winds. We felt good when the breeze was up and we were on the foils. So we have to get back to work.”
Land Rover BAR had two second place finishes on Saturday and was set to maintain their top spot on the podium, but an unlucky start in the last race knocked them back to third place overall.
“That’s the nature of the sport,” said team leader Sir Ben Ainslie. “In these conditions, you need to get a good start and we didn’t do that. It’s hard to work your way back after that. I thought the Kiwis sailed a brilliant second race and deserved to get the win.”
Meanwhile, SoftBank Team Japan, led by Kiwi skipper Dean Barker, came in with a respectable fourth place. They enjoyed a strong final race, which should give them a good lift heading into the next World Series event in Bermuda.
Swedish home team Artemis racing has been plagued by inconsistent performance, which didn’t seem to improve. Case in point, the Swedish Challengers won the first race on day two, only to come in last place in the next race. However, they moved up from a dead last overall ranking on the leader board, where they had been ranked ahead of the World Series in Gothenburg.
This puts Groupama Team France into the final spot on the America's Cup World Series leader board, though they took third in the final race, a few last place finishes cemented their fate.
The next Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series showdown will take place October 16-18 in Bermuda, giving the teams a sneak peek to the racing conditions for the Cup in Bermuda in 2017.
The overall standings after the first two America's Cup World Series events are:
Emirates Team New Zealand - 72
Land Rover BAR - 65
ORACLE TEAM USA - 64
SoftBank Team Japan - 56
Artemis Racing - 53
Groupama Team France - 50