BACK TO WHERE RACING BEGAN IN PORTSMOUTH
Emirates Team New Zealand head back to where it all began this week. One year ago the first event in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series was sailed in front of a huge crowd on the foreshore of Portsmouth, England.
The 2015 event started with all six teams even on zero points.
The 2016 event begins after seven events raced around the world with Emirates Team New Zealand enjoying a slim eight point lead over Land Rover BAR and 10 points clear of defender Oracle Team USA.
This time last year Emirates Team New Zealand were doing their best to manage expectations because of a lack of time sailing together as a crew.
The same can be said again for this year’s event, as the Kiwi crew will see a major reshuffle with regular Helmsman Peter Burling and crew Blair Tuke absent from the line up while in their final preparations for their gold medal bid at the Rio Olympics.
“Effectively we have a whole new team set up on board. Only one of our five guys onboard will be sailing in his regular position, the rest of us are almost learning the ropes and roles again, so we will be doing our best with that.” said skipper Glenn Ashby who will be taking the helm for the first time in the series and handing his wing trimming duties to tactician Ray Davies.
“We have always known Peter and Blair have had the Olympics to focus on entirely from now and of course we want to do everything in our power to support them towards winning that gold medal, so we will have to do the best we possibly can this weekend to try to maintain our lead over an ever increasingly competitive fleet.”
Certainly Emirates Team New Zealand won’t be giving up points easily during racing in Portsmouth, Ashby himself a 16 times World Champion has helmed many a yacht to victory in the past. Add to that the experience of long time Emirates Team New Zealand bowman Richard Meacham, and added muscle of young kiwi grinder Sam Bell, the team will be doing everything it its power to win.
“Expect it to look ugly at times, I am certain we won’t be the most polished of crews out there because these events allow very little time to train. It is just straight into racing. But we have quality guys onboard and if we can all learn our respective roles quickly we might be OK.” continued Ashby.
The results so far in 2016 have seen an improvement across the fleet. There are no easy beat teams on the race course, so every manoeuvre, every tactical decision and every start needs to be spot on to give any team a chance at winning the event.
“If we can come away from Portsmouth still within shot of the top of the leaderboard we will be happy.” concluded Ashby.
The forecast looks ideal for racing in Portsmouth this weekend, with practice racing beginning on Friday and points racing on Saturday and double points racing on Sunday- which is where the regatta will be won.
The Emirates Team New Zealand crew for Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is:
GLENN ASHBY (Helmsman & Skipper)
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Leaderboard:
EMIRATES TEAM NZ 295
LAND ROVER BAR 287
ORACLE TEAM USA285
SOFTBANK TEAM JAPAN 259
GROUPAMA TEAM FRANCE 235
The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth will be broadcast LIVE on Sky Sports NZ
Day 1:LIVE from 11:30pm Saturday 23 July on SKY Sport Pop Up 56
REPLAY 8:30am Sunday 24 July on SKY Sport 2
Day 2:LIVE from 11:30pm Sunday 24 July on SKY Sport Pop Up 56
REPLAY 7:00am Monday 25 July on SKY Sport