Next World Energy is still well up there at the end of the second day of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, the America’s Cup for the under 25s. The French youngsters finished eighth and fourth in the day’s two fleet races on Monday in San Francisco Bay. With half of the races behind them now, they are in 7th place in the overall rankings, which remain extremely close with just three points separating the first seven teams. Here are the summaries of race 3 and 4 from Monday 2nd September.
Fleet Race 3: A penalty, which was to cost them dear…
The conditions were really pleasant for the third race in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup: sunshine and a twelve-knot WSW’ly wind. After rather disappointing starts in the first two races on Sunday, the young French sailors on Next World Energy skippered by Arthur Ponroy with Antoine Lauriot-Prévost at the helm, were determined to do better today. Well placed in the middle of the line, they almost pulled it off. Unfortunately, they were given a penalty for being over the line too soon. They therefore had to slow down and lost some precious time. Three other crews found themselves in the same situation: Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL), American Youth Sailing Force (USA) and Team Tilt (SUI). At the rear of the fleet at the first mark, the French AC45 was in a rather tricky position as they tackled the first downwind leg. But it is not over until it’s over in these races, where the positions keep changing, and it is quite possible to claw your way back up through the fleet. For the French, it was a matter of never giving up. But Next World Energy simply could not move up through the fleet this time. After 25 minutes of a race they had dominated from start to finish, the Portuguese crossed the line first. They were the third winners in three races. The penalty at the start of the race was very costly for the French and they ended up in eighth place.
The top five in Race 3: 1/ ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (POR) ; 2/ Team Tilt (SUI) ; 3/ American Youth Sailing Force (USA) ; 4/ Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL) ; 5/ All In Racing (GER) … 8/ Next World Energy (FRA)
Fleet Race 4: Next World Energy responds well
The second race of the day took place in more or less the same wind conditions. The ten AC45s got off to a good start building up speed as they headed for the first mark. Rather left behind, the Next World Energy was back in eighth place after the first reaching leg with the Australians, Swedes and Swiss out in front. The positions would not change by the end of the first upwind leg. However, the second downwind leg saw a huge change in the situation. Suffering from a major problem with their Code 0, the Australians dropped right back in the rankings, while the French moved up two spots to be in fifth place at mark 4. And that in spite of a close call with the New Zealand Full Metal Jacket Racing crew, who almost collided with them. Next World Energy called for a penalty and were judged to be right. After a good upwind leg, with the AC45 skippered by Arthur Ponroy battling it out with the Portuguese for fourth place, the French grabbed the advantage at the fifth mark. In spite of coming under pressure from the Americans, the young French crew held on and just managed to stay in fourth place at the finish. Well played!
The top 5 in Race 4:1/ Swedish Youth Challenge (SWE) ; 2/ Team Tilt (SUI) ; 3/ NZL Sailing with ETNZ ; 4/ Next World Energy (FRA) ; 5/ American Youth Sailing Force (USA)
Antoine Mermod, team manager for Next World Energy: “The races are still just as exciting and closely fought. As on the first day, our starts weren’t that good today – that’s obviously something we need to work on. But we’re satisfied with everything else. The crew once again proved its ability to get out of tricky situations in today’s second race. In the first, there were no openings allowing us to get back up there. But it’s no big deal, as all the crews are experiencing some tricky races. The competition continues and everything is still to play for: it will all be decided in the final gybe in the eighth and final race!”
Arthur Ponroy, skipper of the Next World Energy AC45: “All of the crewmen are on a war footing and we’re ready for action. It’s just a pity that we haven’t managed to get off to a better start in the races… We really need to improve on this aspect. If we got off to a good start, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t come up with some very good results. The second race of the day was promising: any race where you finish in the top five is a good race. The overall rankings remain close and the rest of the event looks like being a closely fought contest, particularly the last race, which counts double. But first of all we need to concentrate on tomorrow’s races.”
Rankings after 4 races
1 NZL Sailing with ETNZ (NZL) 28 pts
2. American Youth Sailing Force (USA) 28 pts
3. Team Tilt (SUI) 27 pts
4. Swedish Youth Challenge (SWE) 26 pts
5. Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL) 26 pts
6. ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (POR) 26 pts
7. Next World Energy (FRA) 25 pts
8 All In Racing (GER) 17 pts
9. Objective Australia (AUS) 9,3 pts
10. USA45 Racing (USA) 9 pts