The U.S. and New Zealand catamarans proved on Thursday that they can effectively walk on the foyles even in wind conditions that are minimal for a foyling. Both teams beat their opponents - Groupama Team France and Land Rover BAR - with a huge advantage of over 5 and over 6 minutes respectively. With 6-7 knots of wind, the teams did the impossible, reaching a speed four times higher than the wind speed.
On Thursday, the difference in the design of the foyles of catamarans of the USA, New Zealand and their rivals became apparent even to laymen. Unlike Oracle and ETNZ, Britain and France could not hold their boats above water for long periods of time in low winds.
Emirates Team New Zealand bypassed the Land Rover BAR when the latter scooped the water with its nose and couldn't get on its wings later. «The system made a mistake and we lost control of the foyles," said British skipper Ben Ainsley at a press conference after the competition, "but they would have definitely outdone us even if they hadn't».
The ETNZ foyles are much longer than the Land Rover BAR. Their «tails» are about 2.5-3 meters long and end with a sharp «knee».
The difference between the catamarans was so great that Ben Ainsley preferred to finish the race early, admitting defeat: «We had no chance to catch up with them and I wanted to give our engineers time to fix the control system before the next race».
The boats and the design of SoftBank Team Japan and Oracle Team USA foils are identical, this was confirmed by the match between them. The Japanese got a small advantage at the start, not letting the Americans get into the starting zone on time and a fine. Oracle breathed SoftBank Team Japan in the back all the way and on the top fifth sign overtook them by making the right tactical decision.
The final race between Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France, teams equally suffering from weak wind conditions, was nervous: three times the leaders changed. The French were faster on the downwind signs and the British on the windward side. «Team France foils were a little bigger. Obviously, the pressure is really critical for them, and Giles Scott did a great job, especially on the last sign»," explained Ben Ainsley.
In this race, which Land Rover BAR miraculously won, the British again had problems with the boat systems. At one point Ainsley told the crew: «The rudders had disappeared». At that point, the rudder hoists apparently stopped and the boat sank into the water.
Winning the match against Team France brought Land Rover BAR the point needed to reach the playoffs. The team uses the remaining matches in qualification to train and tune the boat before the next round of competition. «In some conditions we feel competitive, in others we do not. We have tomorrow to decide what we can improve»," said Ben Ainsley.