Alinghi in the pre-start against Victory Challenge
The start of the sixth act of the pre-regattas of the America’s Cup in Malmö was also the start of an unusual day of racing. While the first match races were as uneventful as the gray rain clouds over the Oresund on Thursday afternoon, the sailors were hit by a series of breakdowns in the second race in the afternoon.
Up to 17 knots of wind, that was a tough strain on the equipment and the crew. "When you sail in these conditions, something always happens," said Matti Paschen from Hamburg. At the turn, Team Germany tore the foresail on the spreader. Bad luck for the German crew, who had at least calculated a bit against Desafio Espanol, but had to accept two defeats against New Zealand and Spain on the first day in Malmö.
In addition, the Germans still have to struggle with new material. "We have replaced the motor and clutch," said Skipper Jesper Bank, "now we have to learn how to use it first." Banks crew had problems finding the right sail trim, especially when the winds were weak in the meantime. "After the start we followed New Zealand for a long time, but when the wind subsided they made up five boat lengths in two or three minutes," said Bank. "But I think we got smarter today and hope we will look better in the next few days."
Birthday child Tim Kröger was also unlucky. The man from Hamburg on board the Shosholoz had to face heavyweights BMW Oracle Racing and Alinghi on his 41st birthday and suffer two defeats. "We were happy with our starts, but we have to accelerate even better," said Shosholoza tactician Ian Ainslie. In the second match race against Alinghi, the South Africans' spinnaker case got stuck and had to be replaced, shortly afterwards the lower backstay also tore. The distance to the Swiss was over 1200 meters in the final phase; Alinghi crossed the finish line with Jochen Schümann at the wheel 3:07 minutes before the South African boat.
Schümann, whose team was one of the few to get away without a break, was also able to gain something from the weather conditions: Compared to Valencisei, this is "a really good breeze. You don't think about the wet and cold". But the Alinghi once again lived up to expectations. Except for the afterguard, the Swiss have swapped the entire team. "We have twelve new people, but it's still the same team," said Schümann. Alinghi has a system of rotation. "We can all swap without it making a difference to us."
The start of the breakdown series was made by the Italian Mascalzone, which also had to give up in the second race with a broken mainsail.
Then Team New Zealand got hit. In a duel against the actually completely inferior Chinese, the spinnaker pole broke into several pieces, they pulled the spinnaker behind them and finally had to cut it. The fact that the ChinTeam also got into trouble probably saved the win for the crew of skipper Dean Barker. The Kiwis sailed across the finish line with a lead of just 32 seconds.
The Italian team +39 Challenge even went overboard with two sailors who had run to the bow quickly, but probably carelessly, with their spinnaker sack. Because the crew could not lift the unwilling swimmers back on board without help, they had to drive a penalty loop.
On Friday, Team Germany has to deal with the Italian LunRoss. In the afternoon duel against the ChinTeam there could be a first win for the GER 72 in Malmö.