Today has been the final practice day for the team, who after such a long break are looking forward to racing again. Naples presents a very different challenge to the two previous events in San Francisco. J.P.Morgan BAR has been adjusting to the light Mediterranean conditions.
Skipper Ben Ainslie, “It’s definitely a different environment to race in, it means we’re learning some new skills, we have to get our head around sailing in a lighter breeze, it’s a challenge but we are adapting well”.
For the crew onboard J.P.Morgan BAR they have a clear objective ahead of them, as J.P.Morgan BAR headsail trimmer Simon Daubney explained. “I’ve got to be honest with you we won’t be entirely happy unless we win this regatta, we have to be realistic and we have a healthy respect for the other teams we’re up against and there are good guys that are out sailing here, but you ask me a question and I’ll give you an honest answer, we won’t be happy with anything else but winning. “
There will be three races for J.P.Morgan BAR tomorrow, one match race in the first quarterfinal against Team Energy, followed by two fleet races.
Skipper Ben Ainslie gives his thoughts on the challenge ahead for the crew and how the team has been adapting to sailing in Naples.
“For us at J.P.Morgan BAR, we’ve only competed in two events, both of them in San Francisco and both in pretty breezy conditions. So every practice session we can squeeze in makes a big difference to us. In addition, the weather for the rest of the week in Naples puts us in territory that we have little experience of in the AC45s. In up to 12 knots of true wind we will be using the big gennakers downwind as opposed to the code zeros that we used in the breezier conditions in San Francisco. We’ve only used this sail a couple of times in practice and still have a lot to learn.
The gennakers present a number of key differences for us as a crew, in particular handling. Unlike most boats that get harder to sail as the wind increases, the AC45s are almost the opposite. The gennakers are much larger than the code zeros and are therefore trickier to gybe. When the breeze gets towards the upper limit for these sails they do become a handful. We’ve had little experience of this so we’ve still yet to get our systems sorted on board.
Add to this the forecast sea breezes of around 10 knots or maybe a little more and we’re into the top end of these sails making it just about as difficult as it gets for the crew.”
Read more from Ben’s blog here