Softbank Team Japan Making ‘Good Progress’

July 23, 2015

SoftBank Team Japan wing trimmer and sailing team director Chris Draper says the new challenger is learning rapidly in preparation for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth.

The team is putting in daily training sessions in the week leading up to racing and Draper says they are making good progress.

“Monday was day five and we had our race crew for the first time with Derek Saward joining us from racing the TP52s last week. He slotted in seamlessly which was a good sign,” Draper said.

“It’s coming together. BAR have been sailing boats similar to this [one-design foiling AC45] a lot so they look pretty slick out there but on our side we’re improving rapidly and it’s all going the right way.

Photo courtesy of Ian Roman

Softbank Team Japan On The Upside Of The Curve July 22 2015

“Ben [Ainslie] looks pretty solid, but everybody expected that. We all have a bit of improving to do but we’re on the upside of the curve.”

Draper says training days at the end of the week will be critical, with practise sessions on the same race course area that will be used for the competition on the weekend.

“The race course is going to be pretty funky. There’s a lot of cross-current in parts of it so there will be plenty of features to learn on Thursday and Friday when we get some time to practice on the race course.”

SoftBank Team is the newest challenger for the 35th America’s Cup but is led by Draper and skipper Dean Barker, both of whom raced on the foiling catamarans used in the last America’s Cup, so inexperience shouldn’t be a factor.

“We just need to spend as much time out there as we can this week before racing starts and we’ll be in good shape,” Draper says.

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