Impressive start to ACWS - Naples for Swedish team
Sunshine and great wind conditions for the first day of the America’s Cup World Series in Naples. The wind was about 10-12kts, which provided steady conditions for today’s three match race qualifiers and two fleet races.
The first match was China Team versus HS Racing won by the Austrians, followed a win for Ben Ainslie Racing/ JP Morgan over France’s Team Energy and lastly, Artemis Racing White lined up against Luna Rossa Piranha with Olympic medalist Chris Draper at the helm.
Today was the first official day of AC45 racing for 23-year-old helmsman, Charlie Ekberg onboard Artemis Racing White. The young Swede, who is the leader of the Swedish Youth Challenge for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team, overtook Luna Rossa on the first downwind leg despite their best efforts to stall the team and gain at the start.
Ekberg made extensive strides in his match racing skills today and managed to keep himself between the finish line and Chris Draper’s team at all times and was ahead in all maneuvers.
It was at the final leeward gate however, where Artemis Racing incurred a penalty against for not giving way to the Italians who were on starboard on the downwind leg…. it proved to be a very costly penalty, at a critical time in the race with just a short sprint to the finish leaving no time to recover. Luna Rossa Piranha gybed past Artemis and went on to take the victory.
“We developed a lot from yesterday and the main goal for today was to learn and we want to exit this regatta with a couple good scores,” says Ekberg. “We are looking forward to tomorrow and we will be further up the results the further into the regatta.”
Alongside Ekberg is his coach for Swedish Youth Challenge, Björn Johansson. “For Charlie this experience couldn’t be more valuable. The chance to sail against the top sailors in the world in preparation for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will give him the knowledge and skills to compete in September.”
Racing continues tomorrow with the match racing quarterfinals and two more fleet races.
Click here for full racing schedule.