AmericaOne New Zealand Chronicles:
About The Challenge
Daily Report - Thursday, November 11, 1999 -
Some things go bang,
Some things go bang in the night and others go bang on the race course. Today it was Nippon's turn as their mast went swimming after a thunderous bang!
We started the race in a normal 15 knots of breeze with left over seas from the last few days storm. After several prestart circles Nippon broke off and fought hard for the leeward end of the starting line with over a minute to go. Nippon was excited as they saw huge cumulus clouds and rain on the left side of the course and clear skies on the right. Paul pushed hard back to the starting line but it was Nippon's start at the pin. Paul tacked off and setup on Nippon's weather quarter. Patience paid off as the wind shifted right with our team on the right gaining a bit. The wind then went left and the two boats tacked together almost on command.
For the next five minutes or so AmericaOne closed gauge and almost got in front of Nippon. And then, the jib sheet 'roasted' on A1 (as Rolfe Stietz says). Drats and double drats! Nippon slipped by and lead us at the weather mark as both boats gybe set. For the next lap and a half the shards nipped at the heels of the samurai's but with no success. And then on the second downwind, Paul chased Gilmour up a bit and let him gybe onto port crossing in front. Paul gybed on his starboard quarter lining up for the inside overlap at the mark. Just as all this was happening, the wind gods were starting to blow and the boats started cooking. I'm sure Lexi our navigator was watching the ETA on the GPS accelerate like crazy encouraging the crew to start jigging. It was clearly going to be one incredible mark rounding as both boats still had their rigs forward and jibs on deck in bags with less than a minute to go. As Nippon was struggling to get control of their rig after their gybe, it inverted. I remember feeling the hairs on the back of my neck stand up just like when you know something bad is about to happen. For the non sailors this is when a mast is bent backwards in a wishbone with the middle flexing forward out of control. And then BANG BOOM SPLASH! Seventy feet of carbon fiber mast with sails and rigging went for a swim in the Haurakai Gulf. Bummer! Everyone was OK which is the good news. The bad news is Gilmour and his shore team will be pulling an all nighter getting ready to race Stars & Stripes. Our weather guy says that they may get a reprieve because yet another storm is expected tomorrow.
Stay tuned it is getting better.
AmericaOne is one of the leading challengers for America's Cup 2000. The team is currently competing in Auckland, New Zealand for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to challenge New Zealand for the America's Cup in February 2000. AmericaOne has built two boats based on 4 years of technology development and innovation. The top level technology partners are Hewlett-Packard Company, Telcordia Technologies/SAIC, Ford Motor Company/Visteon and United Technologies Corp. AmericaOne represents San Francisco's St. Francis Yacht Club. To learn more about AmericaOne visit: www.americaone.org.
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