Red Bull Youth America's Cup - Mixed day 3 for Next World Energy

Next World Energy in action
© Balazs Gardi / Red Bull Content Pool
After day three of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, the America’s Cup for the 19-24 year olds, Next World Energy remains in seventh place in the overall rankings. The young French sailors finished fifth and ninth in the two fleet races that took place today in San Francisco Bay. To make it to the top five, they are going to have to catch the Swiss and Portuguese teams tomorrow, as they are respectively one and three points ahead of them. A narrow gap with two races left to go with the final race counting double. We look back at races 5 and 6 that took place on Tuesday 3rd September.

Just three points separated the first seven boats in the overall rankings before this fifth race. In other words there was hardly anything between them before the final four races. Conditions were excellent for this fifth race in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup: sunshine a 16-knot WSW’ly wind and calm water on the race course. The French Next World Energy team had another tricky start crossing the line too soon and had to carry out a penalty. But the AC45 skippered by Arthur Ponroy with Antoine Lauriot-Prévost at the helm is used to making good comebacks since the start of the competition. So it was far from over. Ninth at Mark 2, the French never gave up and had a very good upwind leg moving up four places to round mark 3 in fifth place. They had their Code 0 up for the second downwind run with their eyes on the leading boats, but under pressure too from the German team, who grabbed the advantage at mark 4, but it was very close. They could still make it to the top five. On the second upwind leg, the French and Germans were neck and neck.

Meanwhile, the American Youth Sailing Force team lost a crewman overboard, but continued to race. Proof, if we needed it, that these AC45s are extreme boats. The Americans lost a lot of time and Next World Energy took advantage of that. fifth at mark 5, the French boat remained in that position until the finish. A positive result, and as Arthur Ponroy said yesterday: 'Any race where we end up in the top 5 is a good race.'

The second race of the day started once again in a 16-knot wind in San Francisco Bay. Next World Energy got a better start and was up with the pack at the first mark. At the end of the first downwind leg, the French youngsters rounded mark 2 in fifth place. They remained there at the end of the upwind leg, but dropped back a spot on the second reaching leg: sixth at mark 4. But getting back there in the top five remained in their grasp, as the American Youth Sailing Force crew was not far ahead. But they needed to keep an eye on those chasing them, who had certainly not given up. Next World Energy remained in sixth place after the second upwind leg. After 23 minutes of racing, NZL Sailing With ETNZ won the race ahead of the Australians and the other New Zealand team. Behind them, no fewer than five boats were battling it out for fifth place. Including the French, who made a mistake during a manoeuvre at the final buoy: their gennaker fell in the water and they were overtaken by four boats, so ended up in ninth place…

Antoine Mermod, team manager for Next World Energy: 'The crew had a great first race and they were close to getting a very good result indeed. We seemed particularly at ease on the upwind legs. But unfortunately they got it timed wrong at the start… In the second race, the lads finally got off to a good start. But the gennaker falling in the water cost them dear. I think the crew was just a bit tired by the end of the course. A lot can still happen on the final day. We have a lot of qualities, so we need to make the most of them to finish this competition in style.'

Antoine Lauriot-Prévost, helmsman on the Next World Energy AC45: 'Today’s results weren’t exactly what we had hoped for. In spite of a poor start, the outcome of the first race was positive, as we were once again able to make our way back through part of the fleet. It was really the mistake in the second race, which we regret. At the final buoy, the gennaker, badly furled, came down during the manoeuvre. The halyard went under the hull and the Swiss crew cut it to be able to continue the race. The sail falling down like that was the consequence of a communications problem on board, probably because we were tired. We shall be looking at that closely to see what went wrong, but one thing is certain: that’s not the sort of mistake you make twice.'

Rankings after six races

1. NZL Sailing with ETNZ (NZL) = 50 pts
2. Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL) = 39 pts
3. American Youth Sailing Force (USA) = 39 pts
4. Swedish Youth Challenge (SWE) = 38 pts
5. ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team (POR) = 35 pts
6. Team Tilt (SUI) = 33 pts
7. Next World Energy (FRA) = 32 pts
8. Objective Australia (AUS) = 30 pts
9. All In Racing (GER) = 28 pts
10. USA45 Racing (USA) = 11 pts

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