ACWS. American Magic win race 4 against Emirates Team New Zealand

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New York Yacht Club American Magic win race 4 against Emirates Team New Zealand

Would this be the match of the day? If the speed and timing that American Magic (USA) executed on their entry into the box was evidence, Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) were in for a solid challenge.

In the pre-start the Kiwis entered slowly and didn’t seem to want to engage with the Americans. Emirates Team New Zealand looked very slow, did they have a problem?

American Magic charged into the line at speed and on time and well ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand whose crew comms suggested a technical problem. But as the pair got underway, both boats were running at 32-35knots upwind. American Magic were to the left of the course with Emirates Team New Zealand underneath as American Magic protected their position up the beat.

At the first windward gate American Magic rounded 0:15 ahead as they screamed downwind to the righthand boundary of the course, the boats 275m apart. This was already the closest race of the day.

As the gusts swept across the race course, the Kiwis were able to sail deeper at times as they took a more direct route to the bottom gate. But to do this meant putting in a few more gybes in the process, negating any advantage they had gained.

By the bottom gate they were 17 seconds behind as they rounded the same left hand mark on the course as American Magic. Taking the decision to put in a snappy tack onto port, a very difficult manoeuvre at speed, didn’t go well and they failed to keep their boat on its foils. Suddenly the margin had doubled from 200m to 400m. In subsequent manoeuvres they continued to lose distance raising speculation that they had a problem on board.

By the second windward gate American Magic had stretched their advantage to 0:26. But while the distance had grown on the second upwind leg, Emirates Team New Zealand gradually hauled back a few seconds to pass through the bottom gate 0:20 behind.

Choosing the left hand mark allowed them to take the opposite side of the course before then instigating a tacking duel. This eroded the Americans advantage as the Kiwis were now executing better tacks between the two. By the windward gate the margin had reduced to 70m, American Magic still had the advantage but only just and they were being pushed hard.

But at the left hand mark at the final upwind gate Emirates Team New Zealand got to the zone first and gained rights over American Magic to round inside and ahead. A protest was dealt to the Americans and cleared shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile Emirates Team New Zealand gybed quickly but were in less wind and when the when the pair came back together American Magic had regained their lead and had engineered a better approach to the finish to take the win.