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Oracle goes 2-1 to take lead in America's Cup qualifiers
January 22 2018, 08:29 | Rex Rios
"Obviously it was a bit of a "love tap" as Ben calls it in the start of the second race", said SoftBank Team Japan skipper, Dean Barker making reference to Land Rover BAR's earlier collision with Emirates Team New Zealand.
There's a British knight, a mob of Aussies even though there's no Australian team, a crew of New Zealanders looking for redemption and the now-familiar billionaire set. If Oracle wins the qualifiers, it will carry a one-point bonus into the first-of-seven America's Cup match beginning June 17. This series is going to be aggressive and brutal.
Land Rover BAR's first day of racing at the America's Cup Qualifiers was full of drama after a clash between the British team and SoftBank Team Japan left R1 with a "sizeable hole" in its port hull.
But this smash was much more unsafe.
Land Rover BAR bailing out to keep R1 afloat.
"It's now down to the shore team to work their magic and fix the damage and try to get us back out for racing tomorrow".
"We've had a bit of an up-and-down world series event and I think that's been good for our team to find the right way to approach the America's Cup", he said. They soared through nearly every tack without touching down.
Land Rover BAR went 1-1 Saturday.
It was the third collision this spring for Ainslie, who sailed with Oracle in 2013 and is the most decorated sailor in Olympic history. Could be, as some observers immediately noted, and Land Rover BAR's Martin Whitmarsh later confirmed.
Team New Zealand, SoftBank Team Japan and Artemis Racing of Sweden also went 1-1 Saturday while Groupama Team France looked overmatched in losing two races.
What has Land Rover BAR done to get that improvement - foils, controls, software for the controls...?
Oracle bounced back in the final race of the day with a dominant 54-second victory over Japan, showing just how unpredictable these boats can be.
The British shore team has less than 24 hours to fix the boat before Sunday's races, when Land Rover BAR faces Oracle and Team New Zealand. The projected "starting six" for Oracle Team USA includes just one American - grinder Cooper Dressler of Coronado, California, across the bay from San Diego. But it was always close. In fact, it had it all: protest flags, lead changes, tactical manoeuvres: everything you could wish for from these flying machines.
In easily the shock of the regatta so far, little fancied Swedish side Artemis played David to bring down the Goliath that is Oracle Team USA. That first race was won by the schooner America.
Racing is due to take place between 2 pm and 5 pm on Saturday.
Some of the differences in speed seen today may relate to the choice of light wind or heavier wind foils. Kostecki, the tactician, was replaced by Ainslie as the team struggled early.
Winds will be shifting to more southwest through the afternoon.