Day one of racing at the America’s Cup World Series kicked off in San Francisco Bay with the match racing qualifications. The forecast soon went from an indian summer into the depths of winter this afternoon as the race course was covered in a blanket of fog filled with winds gusting over 20 knots. For Team J.P.Morgan BAR it was set to be a testing day, as the crew headed out into the strongest conditions they have sailed in so far. They lined up against Luna Rossa Swordfish in their first match race of the day, a win would see J.P.Morgan BAR head straight into the quarter finals.
A perfect start by skipper Ben Ainslie saw J.P.Morgan BAR fly past Luna Rossa, extending to hold a five boat length lead heading up the first beat. Spanish skipper Iker Martinez struggled to stay in touch, conceding a penalty after passing the boundary line on the downwind leg. J.P.Morgan BAR extended and crossed the line for a comfortable win seeing them qualify for the quarter-finals. Their paring is due to take place on Friday 5th against number two seed ORACLE TEAM USA – Spithill.
Speaking dockside after racing, J.P.Morgan BAR skipper Ben Ainslie commented,
“It was a great day, we had some really difficult conditions. We really haven’t sailed in that level of breeze before so there was a bit of uncertainty there, but the guys dealt with it really well. We had a great start and we got round the course well, the maneouvres were very clean so it was a good confidence boost, especially in such challenging conditions so a good result for us heading into the fleet racing tomorrow. I was a little under the weather yesterday which didn’t help, but it certainly helped for the weigh in! Anyway, hopefully I will be feeling more on form tomorrow, I think it’s going to be good fun getting into the fleet racing and we can’t wait to get started”.
J.P.Morgan BAR trimmer Simon Daubney,
“Ben did a great job at the start, we’ve done a lot of practice starting drills and he’s been going really really good. That’s the thing that I keep getting impressed with by Ben, he learns something once and then he just nails it, he’s figured out a lot of stuff really quickly, and the last week and a half of training has been great for all of us, but really good for him. That was the start that we needed and hopefully we can keep it going. The result and performance today is a great boost going into tomorrow’s racing. Today was about as windy as we sail in here, so it was good to have a solid performance out there”.