INEOS TEAM UK win Race 1 of Round Robin 2
Round Robin 2 – Race 1
Course: combination between C&D
Current: 0.4 knots @ 337
Wind: 8-12 knots / 220
Winner: INEOS TEAM UK 4:59
As the sky opened up, the heating on the land showed hints of the ingredients for a sea breeze as the wind speed climbed slowly towards double figures. The wind direction had also changed slightly causing the race committee to delay the start of the race as they re-aligned the course axis. But once again, the rise in the wind speed was deceptive.
On the pre-start entry INEOS TEAM UK (GBR) were travelling at speed, fully in flight as they entered the zone at speed, on time and on port tack. They crossed their opponents American Magic (USA) with ease who appeared to have got their timing wrong, entering the zone too early and gaining a penalty as well. Even worse they came off their foils and struggled to get back up to speed.
With 30 sec to go, INEOS TEAM UK were at speed burning time on the right hand side of the pre-start area as they headed back towards the line and American Magic who were dead in the water.
Seconds later INEOS TEAM UK tacked onto port, crossed the start line and charged off on the upwind leg at speed leaving American Magic dead in the water.
One minute and 30 seconds later the British team were 500m ahead of American Magic. Seconds later it was 700m and growing.
As Sir Ben Ainslie approached gate 1 there was concern aboard the British boat that it would be difficult to avoid the light patches further up the course. As they rolled into a tack onto port the breeze dropped and the British came off their foils. This would be the first of many splash downs for both teams.
Meanwhile, American Magic were up and running and charging up the beat at 30 knots to INEOS TEAM UK’s 2knots. But the advantage was short lived as the Americans sailed into the same lull in the breeze.
Britannia sneaked through gate 1 and inched their way downwind. Boat speeds were now down to 4-8knots.
Having inched their way down leg 2 INEOS TEAM UK were the first to get onto their foils, but it was a brief moment. One gybe and they were back in displacement mode, sailing like an everyday race boat.
As they did so American Magic had found some breeze and were back up on their foils, closing the distance on the leaders. But it wasn’t enough, INEOS TEAM UK had found a slither of breeze too and were sailing at over 30knots, enough to get them down to gate 2 as they rounded the right hand mark.
The next lap of the course was tense for the race leaders in trying to avoid the flat patches and ignore the moments when American Magic was reeling in the distance.
But as the British approached gate 3 for the final leg, (the had been shortened), the concern was now around whether there was enough time to complete the race.
Eventually, with 7 minutes to go before the time limit expired INEOS TEAM UK found the breeze and got back up to speed. Two thousand metres to go, three and a half minutes left, the British were travelling at over 30 knots, this was going to be close.
In the event they crossed the finish with two minutes to spare to take their third race win from three starts.
Winner: INEOS TEAM UK 4:59