AmericaOne New Zealand Chronicles:
First Practice Race
The compound on Halsey Street, in Auckland, opened on October 1, 1999, and final preparations are under way for the beginning of Round Robin 1 which starts on October 18. Follow the final workup with accounts of activities ashore and afloat.
It was a great day today! We raced a two lap match race against the French syndicate in 14-19 knots of wind. This was the first time we had sailed USA 49 in race mode, rather than the testing mode that we seem to have done a hundred years of since the new boat came out. For that reason everyone seemed more excited than normal as we left the dock. Although it may not feel like it at times, the America's Cup comes down to a sailboat race in the end and all the sailors were excited to get another step closer to the sailing part of the regatta today.
We were the first start of four pairs of IACC boats. Doing our laylines and pre-start preparations amongst some of the other 1999 generation boats was pretty cool. Unfortunately, there wasn't much time to have a look around as we worked on getting a good knowledge of the starting line and the conditions.
At five minutes to go we entered the starting area on port tack, with the French team (skippered by very experienced match racer Bertrand Pace) entering from the committee boat on starboard tack. They didn't press their right of way as we came together and the rest of the start followed the same sort of cautious pattern. This was to be expected in both teams' first meeting with new boats. When the gun fired for the start both boats were on opposite tacks, at opposite ends of the line. The French tacked onto port shortly after the start and paralleled our course. We were gaining slowly and by the time we tacked onto starboard we were a few lengths ahead.
The rest of the race was really a crew drill. Our mark roundings were OK and the French never really threatened us again on the last three legs. We didn't look back very much as the crew focused on getting the drops and sets right, so I couldn't tell you what the deltas at the marks were, but I think that we gained gradually throughout, and probably finished a few minutes ahead.
It really was a fun day. Good breeze and a good trial run at the real thing, which is so close now. Now everyone on the sailing team is excited as we face one of the challenges that always seem so scarce in an AC campaign - a DAY OFF ! Forecasting rain tomorrow so I guess the trip to the Auckland Zoo is off. Back to work Saturday - Billy tells us the University Gym will bring their opening hours forward on the weekends from 9am to 6am just for us - apparently we are supposed to be grateful!
Thanks for the support
AmericaOne Sailing TeamAbout The Challenge
AmericaOne is dedicated to recapturing the America’s Cup by applying U.S. technology in computer equipment, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, sail design, naval architecture and structural engineering to America's Cup sailboat design. Technology partners include Hewlett-Packard Company, Bellcore/SAIC and Ford Motor Company/Visteon. The AmericaOne team is comprised of 43 professionals, including 30 members of the design team actively working on the research and design of its sailboats. Operating since June 1, 1996, AmericaOne is the challenger on behalf of San Francisco’s St. Francis Yacht Club.
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