America's Cup World Series
29 Aug 15
ORACLE TEAM USA won both races on opening day at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Gothenburg.
Germany's five-time world champion Wolfgang Hunger had a runaway lead in the third and final race when he left the course and packed up for the day. Hunger and crewman Holger Jess had no shot at a podium finish, and some people have a superstition that winning the pre-worlds brings bad luck in the Worlds. Hunger's absence opened the door for a two-way battle between two Californians who won the 1999 Worlds together, Howie Hamlin and Mike Martin. Now they are the best of friendly rivals, and they gave each other what-for on Thursday, because that's how the game is played.
Martin-the only person ever to win the 5O5 Worlds as crew and then, in 2009, as skipper-broke through Hamlin's lead to win the final race, but an 18th in race one meant that he could not overcome Hamlin's 1-4-2 performance for the series.
There were times when the leaderboard looked heavily American, but the unofficial final results are very international. Behind Hamlin we have Australians Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh, Danes Jorgen and Jacob Bojsen-Moller, and Britons Ian Pinnell and Ian Mitchell, with Martin and crewman Jeff Nelson in fifth.
Of 76 registered entries for the SAP 5O5 Worlds, starting on Saturday at Barbados Yacht Club, 60 boats sailed one or more of the pre-worlds races, which provide a stage for practice and experiment. The hard-luck cases are the teams who sat it out-watching the races on SAP Analytics technology-because their boats are in a container, shipped on March 11 from the West Coast of the USA and not yet arrived. Will Friday be Container Day? At least, given SAP Analytics, and even without being on the course, they got something out of the race.
The 505 dinghy, 5.05 meters long, was designed in 1954 and has become a classic on the high-performance competitive scene. The regatta opens with two races on Saturday 27 April and continues through with the eleventh and final race on Friday 3 May.