Ten Louis Vuitton Trophy teams took to the waters off La Maddalena on Tuesday for the first official training session of the regatta.
After several days of very strong winds due to mistral conditions in the area, the winds moderated for most of the morning and into the early afternoon allowing three of the four scheduled scheduled sessions to take place. But by mid-afternoon, with winds approaching 20 knots again, the final slot was cancelled to ensure the boats remain undamaged.
One of the teams to get in two training sessions today was the French Aleph team. Damien Iehl, in the strategist/traveller position described his day: "We started in lighter winds of 10 to 12 knots. Then, for the second session it went up to 22 knots. But for us, it was perfect. We are still adjusting to sailing with each other so it was great to get through several manoeuvres and practice starts. Our afterguard has changed a little bit since Auckland, and there have been some other changes amongst the grinders and the trimmers, but the basis of our team is the same, so our level is better now than it was before the event in Auckland.”
BMW ORACLE Racing was among the teams to sail in the morning session. The America’s Cup defender is returning to the Louis Vuitton Trophy after missing the Auckland regatta due to its Cup commitments. With new navigator Ian Moore on board, the team had a good training session with Azzurra.
“The sessions are quite short - 75 minutes - so you don't want to waste time,” Moore explained. “You get the crew on board, trim on to make sure everything is ok, and then get straight into practice starts with your training partner.
“We try to do two practice starts and then on the third start we sail a very short race, windward-leeward, and try to repeat that cycle if there is time. We might have copped a penalty in one of the pre-starts, but that's also good in a way, to learn what you can and can't get away with while it doesn’t count against you!”
With Moore moving to BMW ORACLE Racing from TeamOrigin, the British team has called upon veteran navigator Peter Isler, who sailed with them in the Pacific Series in February 2009, to rejoin the team for the Louis Vuitton Trophy. And Isler says he’s very happy to be back.
“These regattas are the best,” Isler said after getting off the water this afternoon. “I can't imagine anything better from a sailor's perspective. There's a lot of good racing, and I think we all have a lot of friends out there. In these events you spend time not just with your team, but also with your competitors, when you’re transferring boats or on shore. So you feel like you’re at a regatta and not just isolated with a single team. And above all, the racing is at a very high level. So I think everyone looks forward to it.”
Training resumes on Wednesday, with the opening press conference on Friday and the first races of the Round Robin on Saturday.