Round Robin 1 – Auckland, New Zealand – AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Club’s America’s Cup 2000 Challenger completed Round Robin 1 of the Louis Vuitton Cup Challengers Series with a score of 8 wins, 2 losses. AmericaOne raced against each of the challenger syndicates for a total of 10 races on the Haruaki Gulf, New Zealand. Racing took place October 18 to 28, 1999.
The first of three round robins in the Challenger’s Series, a win was worth one point. A Round 2 win is worth 4 points and a win in Round 3 is worth 9 points.
“Looking back on Round Robin 1 and our first month here in New Zealand we have a lot to be pleased with,” said AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard. “Our boat is fast, our team is strong and we have all the pieces around us necessary to win the Louis Vuitton Cup. ”
Summary of AmericaOne Races in Round Robin 1
[October 18, Races 1 & 2] AmericaOne defeated the Spanish Challenge’s Bravo Espana (ESP 47) by 1m 9s, and won against America True (USA 51) by an even greater margin of 3m 45s.
“The boat performed well in the first race,” said Tactician John Kostecki. “It was really our first race so we took it slow and talked out a lot of maneuvers. It was a good race for us.
“The wind was fickle that day and we had a nice break at the start because they (America True) were over early.” USA 49 continued to gain on each leg and went on to win comfortably.
[October 19, Races 3 & 4] AmericaOne easily defeated FAST2OOO’s be hAPpy (SUI 59) by 14m 9s, and finished the second race against the Nippon Challenge’s Asura (JPN 44) by 2m 26s.
“We had a good day of racing today which turned fairly aggressive in Race 4 against Nippon,” commented AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard. “We were unfortunate in that we broke down prior to the onset of the race. Luckily, we were able to qualify for a postponement in the rules and took the 45 minutes we were allotted, fixed the part and then went on to win the race.”
[October 20, Races 5 & 6] AmericaOne had a bye in Race 5 and in Race 6 defeated Le Delfi’s Sixieme Sens (FRA 46) by 1m 26s.
Having lost the start against the French by seconds, AmericaOne overtook the lead position in the first leg and continued to gain on each leg to eventually win. “The start of the race with the French was interesting,” said AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard. “He (Bertrand Pace) was very aggressive and really pushed the line hard to have a slightly better start than we did. We climbed out to windward to have a four boatlength lead at the first cross.” The lead continued on each leg and USA 49 won the race.
Racing on October 21 was postponed due to weather by the race committee.
[October 22, Race 7] AmericaOne lost to the Prada Challenge by a mere 17s. In a race plagued with spinnaker maladies for both teams, the Italian syndicate racing on Luna Rossa was able to recover from their onboard mishaps in time to cross the finish line ahead of AmericaOne.
“We were pretty happy to be in such a tight boat race with Prada. We know that they’ve put in a lot of time training during the last three years,” said Cayard. “All in all I’m pleased to have been so competitive.”
[October 23, Race 8 & 9] In Race 8, AmericaOne defeated Aloha’s Abracadabra (USA 54) by 1m 8s, and defeated Stars & Stripes in Race 9 by 1 minute.
“Our first race of the day was great,” said AmericaOne Tactician John Kostecki. “Each day we are learning more about our boats, our team and further raising the level of our boat speed.” Star’s & Stripes fouled AmericaOne in a pre-start maneuver. The umpires tagged Team Dennis Conner with a penalty for colliding with AmericaOne’s transom in a misjudged duck below AmericaOne’s stern. Although seriously damaged, the AmericaOne Team cautiously sailed the course and finished ahead of Stars & Stripes by 1 minute.
The international jury granted AmericaOne’s request for time to effect repairs to the transom. AmericaOne’s matches were rescheduled for Thursday, October 28.
[October 28, Race 10 & 11] AmericaOne defeated Young Australia (AUS 29) by 1m 32s, and withdrew in the final race against Pact 2000’s Young America (USA 53).
“We suffered some damage to our mast before the first race against Young Australia. We tried to repair it in between the two races, but six minutes before the warning signal we knew that we weren’t able to complete the race with the damage.
“Actually, it has come time to show up at the starting line ready to sail,” said Cayard. “If you have damage and you breakdown, you’re probably not ready to race.”
The AmericaOne Team is looking forward to the next round of racing. “You look at where Prada is at this point,” said Mainsheet Trimmer Terry Hutchinson. “They’re basically two years ahead of us in sailing time. If we can go out with three months of sailing time and and only lose to them by 12 seconds, then that’s great news for us.”
Final Scores Round Robin 1:
Prada /10 points
AmericaOne /8 points
Young America /8 points
America True /6 points
Abracadabra 2000 /4 points
Nippon Challenge /5.5 points
Spanish Challenge /5 points
Stars & Stripes /4.5 points
Le Defi Francais /2 points
Young Australia /1 point
FAST2000 /0 points
Round Robin 1 Sailing Crew: Bill Bates of San Diego, CA, mast/sewer; Josh Belsky of Hood River, OR, pit; Curtis Blewett of Los Angeles, CA, bow; Gavin Brady of Annapolis, MD, runner; Paul Cayard of Kentfield, CA, helmsman; Sean Clarkson of Middletown, RI, main assist; Lexi Gahagan of Wilmington, DE, navigator; Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, mainsheet; John Kostecki of Fairfax, CA, tactician; David McClintock of Portsmouth, RI, upwind trim; Bruce Nelson of San Diego, CA, traveler; Jim Nicholas of San Diego, CA, grinder; Greg Prussia of Oroville, CA, bow; Russ Silvestri of San Francisco, CA, downwind trim; Ralph Steitz of Port Washington, NY, mid bow; Phil Trinter of Lorain, OH, grinder; Morgan Trubovich of Newport, RI, downwind trim; Matt Welling of Bay Shore, NY, grinder; Mike Howard, Malibu, CA, grinder.
17th crew sailing aboard USA 49 in Round Robin 1:
Race 1, St. Francis Yacht Club member and AmericaOne supporter Larry Finch, San Francisco, CA; Race 2, St. Francis Yacht Club Commodore Monroe J. Wingate, San Francisco, CA; Race 3, United Airlines Mileage Plus Auction winner Ted Springstead, Port Townsend, WA; Race 4, St. Francis Yacht Club Vice Commodore Bruce Munro, San Francisco, CA; Race 5, bye, Race 6, David Pensky; Race 7, Hewlett-Packard Design Challenge Winner Terrel Silvers, Iowa Park, TX; Race 8, Michael Herlick, Wellington, NZ; Race 9, Kerry Dobbs, Auckland, NZ; Race 10, James Allison, Auckland, NZ; Race 11 not completed.
About the Louis Vuitton Cup, Round Robin 2 Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger’s Series is scheduled for November 6-18, 1999, with one race scheduled per day. There are three reserve days.
With Auckland’s summer season and its related weather patterns coming on full blast in November, spectators can plan on another Round Robin full of thrilling racing. Every race counts, but with the value increasing to 4 points per win in round robin 2, the stakes will be higher for each syndicate. Stay tuned for some exciting racing come November 6.