James Spithill made amends for a lackluster Match Race Championship with an emphatic victory in today’s winner-takes-all fleet race. “It’s redemption after the match racing,” said Spithill, who seemed unfazed by the breeze that bulleted across the course. With winds gusting up to 30 knots (55 km/h / 35 mph), merely avoiding a capsize or a collision was a major challenge, but Spithill commented: “I still think we had a bit left in the tank to be honest. It was the puffiness and change in direction made it challenging, but what a fun race!”
Other sailors might have a different perspective. In the anxious minutes leading up to the start, Energy Team capsized trying to avoid Team Korea, although Loick Peyron’s crew managed to get the boat upright very quickly and rejoin the race. Moments later there was a dramatic collision with Artemis Racing riding up over the back of Green Comm Racing, with skipper Vasilij Zbogar falling off the back of the Spanish boat and suffering a minor injury to his hand. With their boat damaged in the collision, and carrying two penalties from pre-start collisions, Green Comm retired without crossing the start line.
“Vasco (Vasilij Zbogar) and the entire crew are doing well, nobody has been seriously hurt and we will try to be back on the water as soon as possible,” said team Executive Chairman Francesco de Leo.
Steering clear of trouble in the pre-start, the two ORACLE Racing boats and Emirates Team New Zealand burst off the start line with other teams following behind. At the first bear away China Team capsized but got up and running again. In fact when Artemis capsized later in the race, Charlie Ogletree’s Chinese team moved past and managed to cross the finish line 9 minutes and 54 seconds after the winner, just six seconds inside the finishing time limit. A great result for China Team, and a great result for Aleph who moved past Team Korea in the closing stages of the race to take 4th across the line.
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