Despite the rain, thousands of spectators lined the shore to watch the racing. Having defeated Emirates Team New Zealand and secured a slot in the semi-finals, Artemis lined up against Luna Rossa – Swordfish with Paul Campbell-James (GBR) at the helm in the first match race of the day.
Terry Hutchinson’s years of match racing experience shone through as the Swedish team defended then stretched their lead around the race course to win by 14 seconds. Soon thereafter, Luna Rossa – Piranha defeated ORACLE Racing Bundock to move into the finals against Artemis Racing.
An excellent start by Terry Hutchinson put the team out in front of Chris Draper and the Italians from the outset. Draper worked hard to try to close the gap on the Swedish team. Despite wide splits on at least two occasions, Hutchinson stuck to his game plan and led the team to victory to win the Match Racing Championships.
Winning the ACWS – Naples Match Racing Championships puts Artemis Racing at the top of the overall leaderboard after four ACWS events with 33 points, while ORACLE Racing Spithill and Emirates Team News Zealand are tied for second place both with 30 points. The speed trials immediately followed and once again Artemis was on the top of their game for the 500m sprint, with an average speed of 20.42 knots, placing the team just two one hundredths of a second behind ORACLE Racing Bundock.
The grand finale ensued and the heavens opened. In about four knots of wind, the most important race of the event got underway. Luna Rossa -Piranha closed out Emirates Team New Zealand at the start and it was Team China who led to the first two marks. Artemis Racing gradually worked its way through the pack in the extremely light air conditions. Luna Rossa – Piranha put in an impressive performance to win the race, with ORACLE Racing – Spithill second and Artemis less than two boat lengths behind in 3rd. “It was a great effort on the part of the entire team to get the boat to the spot we are in after our disastrous first day racing here in Naples.
The guys onboard did a fantastic job. In the next few months, we won’t have two boats to train with until San Francisco later summer, but we will be focused on the much larger wing when we get back to Valencia. This a good base line to set for ourselves,” said Hutchinson. “We’ve been focusing a lot on the match racing in the last six weeks back in Valencia. So it was good to see all the hard work that we put in pay off.
These events are a great to test the metal of our team in the match racing, but there is a lot more work ahead of us. It is a long road to the America’s Cup,” continued Hutchinson. For Artemis Racing, it’s back to Valencia where design, development, testing and training for the 34th America’s Cup continues.