It might be considered slightly unusual for sailors to hope for light winds; after all, wind-powered craft such as Emirates Team New Zealand entry in the America’s Cup finals match against U.S. Team Oracle relies on brisk breezes to achieve maximum speed.
The results to date, however, have shown conclusively that in the light winds that have been the norm for the competition thus far, the Kiwi boat enjoys a distinct advantage in lighter air, in the 10 – 12 knot range (18.5 – 22.25 kph).
Of course, all the teams knew more or less, what to expect of the breezes in Bermuda Sound, but Emirates Team New Zealand seem to have found the perfect formula. Experts are of the opinion that Team Oracle cannot make sufficient modifications in time to their foils to bring their boat equal to the Kiwis.
Team New Zealand would like to have more opportunities to devise and test strategies ahead of the finals series, but now that the challenger series has concluded, rules prohibit any training runs alongside of any of the other racing syndicates.
The Kiwi syndicate had little trouble with the classy Artemis Racing team that many considered the ones to beat before any actual sailing took place, but the challenger final was won handily by Emirates by the score of 5 – 2.
Oracle has been touting gains from practice sessions against Team Japan over the past week, but that talk did not much affect New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling. “We’ve had a great training partner for the last three days in Artemis Racing. There was obviously a lot of pressure and a lot on the line, and whoever came out of that series ahead was definitely going to be in pretty good shape for the next round,” he said.
With four days to prepare for the first race of the match for the Cup, Team NZ skipper Glenn Ashby has the boat in the shed in top form.