Artemis Racing Takes America’s Cup Toulon
Published: Monday, 26 September 2016
Late summer sunshine greeted the thousands of spectators who made it out in force for Super Sunday at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Toulon Sept 10-11, and it is Artemis Racing who leaves France celebrating after taking the regatta honours.
(Photos: ACEA 2016 - Artemis Racing)
“Very happy indeed! To come away with a win in Toulon in what were very light, difficult conditions is good. We had a very good day on Saturday but to back it up with another strong performance on Sunday is obviously very pleasing,” says Artemis Racing Skipper Nathan Outteridge.
Behind them, Softbank Team Japan went from last on Saturday to finishing second overall, an incredible turnaround, but the British boys on Land Rover BAR were also looking much happier than it had on Saturday night, ending up third overall from fifth the day before.
That result extends their overall lead in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series as attention now turns to the final event in Fukuoka, Japan.
The first race of Sunday was race four, led away by Emirates Team New Zealand under the helm of Olympic Champion Peter Burling, but, as per Saturday, Artemis Racing was quickly up ahead and around the first mark ahead of Softbank Team Japan who was very keen to make amends for its disappointing Saturday.
Behind them Land Rover BAR had a penalty before the startline but fought hard up to third place at the halfway mark with ORACLE TEAM USA, Groupama Team France and Emirates Team New Zealand behind. Artemis stretched its lead, crossing the line at the end of race three first for the third time over the weekend, but it was Groupama Team France who was most disappointed with race four, finishing in sixth behind Emirates Team New Zealand and slipping to fourth in the regatta standings. Land Rover BAR held that third place, but ORACLE TEAM USA kept up the overall standings pressure just behind in fourth, so everything was there to play for in races five and six.
(Softbank Team Japan and and Rover BAR)
The thousands of fans lining the Toulon shore were hoping for a better showing from Groupama Team France in race five but it was Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR who seized the early advantage, streaking ahead to the first mark, but to loud cheers from the shore, Groupama Team France was second, showing the sort of form that put it into second place overnight in the regatta on Saturday. Artemis Racing and Softbank Team Japan both had to serve penalties after the start, but all eyes were on the French team in second and it did not disappoint, pushing the Brits all the way. However, yet again in Toulon, Artemis Racing was the team to watch, moving its way up to third by the start of leg four. Behind them, ORACLE TEAM USA was having a race to forget in sixth, as was Softbank Team Japan who was in fifth, leaving Emirates Team New Zealand in fourth.
At the finish line of race five the positions had not changed – Land Rover BAR in first, Groupama Team France second and Artemis Racing third, but Softbank Team Japan had moved into fourth, leaving ORACLE TEAM USA battling it out with Emirates Team New Zealand for fifth and sixth respectively.
Race six, the decider and an utterly enthralling and topsy-turvy race. A messy start for ORACLE TEAM USA and Artemis Racing who were both hit with penalties for crossing the startline early, but Groupama Team France finally showed its mettle, putting clear air between itself and Softbank Team Japan in second and taking a huge early advantage. Land Rover BAR picked up a penalty for not giving room to Emirates Team New Zealand, relegating it to the back of the fleet, but throughout the race that ensued there were lead changes in the overall standings throughout, keeping the fans watching live at the event and on TV on the edge of their seats.
One minute it was Groupama Team France up ahead, then suddenly Softbank Team Japan were out in front, Emirates Team New Zealand were second and the home team, Groupama Team France, were third, and thus race six finished.
With that result in the last race, Softbank Team Japan, sixth on Saturday, had, incredibly, put itself into second overall in the regatta, but it was Artemis Racing who was really celebrating, taking overall regatta honours despite finishing fifth in race six.
“Yesterday was a tough day. We felt like we’d sailed ok but we just had some bad results,” says Softbank Team Japan Skipper Dean Barker. “Today though we spent a lot of time talking through the situations and how we could do things better and to bounce back with a strong day means we’re really happy with how this weekend has ended. To be on the podium is very pleasing, and that’s obviously the goal, to keep improving.”
SoftBank Team Japan will next travel to their hometown event in Fukuoka, Japan – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka Nov 18-20 – the first America’s Cup event to ever be held in an Asian country.
Land Rover BAR finished the weekend third, Groupama Team France fourth, Emirates Team New Zealand fifth and ORACLE TEAM USA sixth.
“It was a tricky day. We were a bit disappointed with the way we started yesterday in particular and last night we came together and had a really productive debrief,” says Land Rover BAR Tactician Giles Scott. “We went through what we needed to change today and I think we showed that worked. We went back to being our normal selves and started sailing the right way. It’s a bit of a shame that in the last race we came off poorly from the penalty at the start, but overall we recovered somewhat.
Those results extend Land Rover BAR’s lead in the overall series to 14 points over ORACLE TEAM USA, so the pressure in the last round in Fukuoka, Japan, will be intense, but for now, the Swedish are celebrating harder than anyone and will be looking to continue that form in Asia.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Toulon Leaderboard:
1. Artemis Racing – 76 points
2. SoftBank Team Japan – 71 points
3. Land Rover BAR – 70 points
4. Groupama Team France – 68 points
5. Emirates Team New Zealand – 63 points
6. ORACLE TEAM USA – 57 points
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Leaderboard
1. Land Rover BAR – 437 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 423 points
3. Emirates Team New Zealand – 420 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 399 points
5. Artemis Racing – 391 points
6. Groupama Team France – 360 points