The Challenger Playoff started today on Great Sound in 15 knots from the southeast. The first pairing featured ETNZ against BAR while the second pairing was Artemis vs. Softbank Japan. Each pair was to race two matches today.
In the first race, ETNZ handily won the start over BAR and led around the first mark and down the first run. After ETNZ rounded the gate and headed off to the right, BAR approached the gate. All of a sudden they heard a loud noise inside their wing and the team immediately stopped racing to inspect. It was ascertained that the camber arm had broken and BAR retired from the race.
Unfortunately for all, the fix was to change the wing and that could not be done within the hour that they had available. So the Kiwi’s went up 2-0.
In the Artemis vs. Japan pairing, Artemis started strong in the first race and led round the first mark and down around the leeward gate. Japan split to the right and immediately got in phase with the wind. At the first cross, Artemis on port, had to duck Japan now on Starboard. Japan was going well and stretched their lead and went on to win race 1.
Japan looked to be a solid competitor for Artemis. Should be a good series.
In Race 2, Japan got the better start and led for a lap and a half. Up the second windward leg, Artemis, sailing faster, closed and passed Japan. Artemis went on to win and tie the score in their series at 1-1.
It looked to me like Artemis made a change between the two races and was going better in race 2. Maybe a change to the rudders in some way…just a guess.
Two races for each pair are scheduled for tomorrow. The forecast has southwest winds at 18 knot building to 22 knots later in the afternoon. Should be a good day of racing at the upper end of the range. Wednesday looks too windy to race and Thursday looks like 10-12 knots.
Let’s hope BAR gets their back up wing on and comes out fighting tomorrow!