Day one of race action in Japan at the final round of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series promised spectacular action with the latest forecasts predicting foiling conditions for the six teams battling it out.
Hakata Bay in Fukuoka was the scene for the historic first ever day of America’s Cup racing in Japan and it was Land Rover BAR who finished day one of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka racing on top, adding one more point to their overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series lead.
The Event Village was full of thousands of Japanese fans and the wind helped the six America’s Cup teams put on a spectacular show of America’s Cup racing for the first time ever in Japan, and with a win for SoftBank Team Japan among the day’s highlights, it could not have been a better start to America’s Cup action in Japan.
In race one the start was tightly contested but it was series leaders Land Rover BAR who were quickly into the lead. Groupama Team France crossed the line early, leaving them with a startline penalty and putting them back into sixth, but as the boats headed to gate two it was the British team who were stamping their authority on the pack with only Emirates Team New Zealand giving close chase.
Saturday’s second race saw SoftBank Team Japan take the early advantage, streaking into a lead with the boat up on its foils as they headed ORACLE TEAM USA and the rest of the pack to gate two. This time, Land Rover BAR were at the back of the pack, perfectly demonstrating the sheer unpredictability of America’s Cup racing in its modern guise.
The final race of the day was race three and even though SoftBank Team Japan had a good start it was ORACLE TEAM USA who rounded the first mark in the lead. Behind them the Japanese and British teams were fighting for second and third and it was Ben Ainslie’s team who took the advantage, moving ahead of Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan crew in third, but only for a short time as the Japanese team pushed themselves back into second on the fourth leg.
The results of three races mean Land Rover BAR heads ORACLE TEAM USA on both the Fukuoka and overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboards.
With bonus points for next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in play for the top two finishers in the overall series, it’s still all to play for with four teams in with a shot at earning a head start in Bermuda.
Find out where to watch tomorrow's Super Sunday racing in Fukuoka here.