TDE: Assessing the Teams
November 9, 2008
Looking at the performance of the four Trofeo Desafío Español entries:
Desafío Español laying the mark.
Tick, tock, tick, tock. Their metronomic performance was of Swiss
precision. Apart from the torn kites on day one, they looked imperious
throughout. They are the America’s Cup holders, they are fast and that
breeds confidence which they have in abundance, and they rammed home that
advantage. As the breeze built, their superior upwind performance was
seemed effortless. "They found sixth gear," shouted one wag onboard a
trailing competitor. The biggest problem for their opponents is they
probably have another three higher gears still. Undaunted winners in
Going into this regatta, LR was readily expected to have run Alinghi a
little closer, but the Italians never seemed quite at home. They
continually had good starts from new addition Peter Holmberg, but it just
didn’t come together after that for the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup
semi-finalists. During the LVC this boat appeared to prefer lighter
conditions, so with maximum winds only around 11-12 knots for the TDE it
was easy to think they would thrive this weekend. The best news was that
they were back on the water after their decision last year not to compete
for another Cup. Hopefully that decision has changed, or will.
It was nice to see the Brits out there, especially for their countrymen.
Racing with an older boat, kindly loaned, hastily assembled -- and a team
with little time together -- really they shouldn't have been in the fray.
That they were was great news for British America’s Cup fans, and for the
Cup in general. We belong there. It was our pot. We just
happened to be the first to lose it.
The team is at the bottom of a very steep learning curve.
They know that, and among them a real sense of unity was apparent. They
are still missing members such as Neal McDonald, which goes to show their
depth if they can sail as well as they they did this weekend without their
full roster. Origin performed way past expectations -- I'm British, I
know how to lose, and am used to it. This team has the potential to go
far, especially with sailors like Mike Sanderson at the back. Hopefully
they will get the funding they need.
One would have thought that based on their performance last year, they
would be mixing it up with Luna Rossa this time, with Alinghi in front and
newcomers Team Origin well behind. It didn't work out that way.
Desafío sometimes struggled to get into races after the start, and ran a
constant battle with Team Origin most of the time. The boat may have some
influence as I believe she was moded more for breeze than the light we
Team of the weekend? It has to be Alinghi.
Best surprise? Undoubtedly, I'm pleased to say, the
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