SoftBank Team Japan dominated the America’s Cup Challenger Playoff action on day two of racing beating Artemis Racing in both races despite the white-knuckle conditions on the Great Sound.
With the two wins, the Japanese team now lead the Swedes 3-1 in this Semi-Final first-to-five round.
Sustained winds of 23 knots with gusts past 25 knots and rain squalls littered a treacherous racetrack that hosted the fastest and wettest day of racing to date in the 2017 America’s Cup.
“Really happy to get two race wins today in on a course like that”, said Skipper and CEO Dean Barker.
“On a day like today it was just enough to try and get the boat around the track in one piece, much less stay ahead. A huge credit to our shore crew and put us on the water today with a strong boat because it was a war of attrition out there.”
The war began with the Japanese nailing their start and leaving Artemis Racing wanting and slow in the start box.
From that point on SoftBank Team Japan extended their lead throughout the race posting record setting speeds for the team as the Swedes lagged – citing systems failures as partially limiting their performance.
As winds built, the second leeward mark rounding then caused breakage on the Japanese boat as the port daggerboard fairing – a carbon-fibre aerodynamic structure – tore free, flapping for the rest of the race.
However, Softbank Team Japan sailed through the carnage with no significant damage caused to the yacht.
The race was over mid-way through the final downwind when Artemis retired from racing being over a half leg behind.
“You get a course like you had today where it’s three laps, it’s very taxing and the boys did an amazing job today”, said Barker.
With their yacht repaired in time for the second race, it was more of the same as SoftBank Team Japan won the start and led by a boat length at Mark 1.
As the Japanese team rounded the mark the team took a huge nosedive forcing the Swedes to then made an aggressive upwind manoeuver, ultimately drawing a boundary penalty on the far side of the course.
Compounding penalties kept Artemis at bay while SoftBank Team Japan put the hammer down and sailed a clean, well-managed boat race for the win.
“The conditions today were at the very upper-limit of anything we’ve sailed these boats in”, said Barker.
“A huge credit to the team to handle the boat the way we did around that course today. We’ve been confident that we’ve got all the pieces we need to win and today proved it.”
“We’ll be hunting now for two more wins in the next few days to make it through to the Challenger Finals.”