With Artemis Racing sidelined for at least another week as they complete testing on their second AC72, Emirates Team New Zealand raced unopposed again on Tuesday to earn their second point of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
As Queen Victoria was told in 1851, there is no second. At least not until Luna Rossa decide to join the party. Or Artemis Racing put their second boat through its stress tests and work it up into racing condition.
Despite sailing alone, Kiwis looked impressive today, hitting a top speed of 43.26 and shaving about one minute off their elapsed time around the course compared to Sunday.
As America’s Cup Director of Technology Stan Honey said, “We finally have boats fast enough to get a speeding ticket in a school zone.
Most striking was ETNZ consistently fully foiling through jibes where the boat speed barely dipped below 30 knots.
“We feel we can still improve quite a bit to be honest,” said Kiwi tactician Ray Davies after the race. “That’s what everyone is striving for, the fastest configuration that they can still maneuver with.”
“They’re slick in jibing,” said ORACLE TEAM USA’s Murray Jones as he watched the Emirates performance on television. “But our programs are different. They have to race now and we don’t have to start racing until September. We’ve been working on our straight-line speed and now we’re moving into the race training portion of our program.”
ORACLE TEAM USA was out all morning on Tuesday putting both of its AC72s through their paces.
And Davies acknowledged the defender is no slouch on crew work either.
“We were pretty impressed when they were doing some (foiling jibes) yesterday too,” Davies said, when told of Jones’ compliment. “I think both teams are improving quickly. You’d like to think you have an edge but in reality it’s going to be a proper race at the end. It’s been good that we’re both pushing each other to improve.”
As for gamesmanship, Davies said it isn’t a factor.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “Both teams are eager to learn. They’re getting good two-boat testing in which is great for them. Hopefully we get a challenger out there with us soon. We feel for Artemis and their situation. I’m sure they’re just gagging to get out there.
Artemis Racing helmsman Nathan Outteridge confirmed his team was eager to get on the racecourse and was learning all it could from watching the racing, even when there is just one boat on the course.
“The Kiwis are sailing the boat really nicely. It’s great for us to get the TV footage and see exactly what’s happening on board,” he said.
Outteridge doesn’t think the Kiwis are holding anything back. He says its hard not to be full-throttle on an AC72.
“There’s no other way to sail these boats,” he said. “They’re the benchmark. That might be coming to light more now that it’s on television, but we’ve known since March that they can do foiling jibes, for example. We’ll keep watching and trying to learn from what they’re doing but for sure they’re sending a strong message to the fleet at the moment.”
Message sent and received.
- Peter Rusch