The Louis Vuitton Cup Finals to determine which syndicate will challenge Oracle Team Racing for the America’s Cup got off to a lively start over the weekend, with Team New Zealand’s catamaran burying a bow while rounding a mark and tossing two crewmembers overboard.
The Kiwis carried on and won the first race over Luna Rossa Challenge.
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The team’s AC72, Aotearoa, was up on its hydrofoils rounding the mark when a gust of wind nailed it. The port bow buried and reduced boat speed from 40 knots to 13, flicking Rob Waddell and Chris Ward overboard. The team’s chase boat recovered the two grinders.
Fellow grinder Chris McAsey described the experience:
“I’m on the forward pedestal and was holding on for dear life,” McAsey said. “I was the second guy under water, with Jeremy Lomas in front of me. I was holding on as hard as I could. It all was a blur, everything’s wet and white, you come up, there’s a bit of broken carbon around the place, and we’re two guys short. From there on it was just a matter of trying to cover the two guys lost.”
McAsey added: “It was an interesting day. I spent a lot of time wondering how this day would play out. We were stoked to start the Louis Vuitton Cup Final, and it’s nothing like I expected it would be.”