SoftBank Team Japan thrilled the crowds with a tremendous rally on Super Sunday to finish in second place at Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Toulon today.
With the pressure on following a trying Saturday showing that saw the team heading into racing today in last place, the team rose to the occasion early scoring a second and fourth place finish in the first two races.
With one race left, the team sat in fourth place needing as they zeroed in on the hometown favorites, Groupama Team France, ahead by only one point.
Groupama Team France led around the race course as SoftBank Team Japan inched closer upwind with the team’s split by near seconds at the top mark.
Emirates Team New Zealand soon followed as a nail biting, three-way sprint for the bottom mark and finish line played out in front of the cheering French crowd ashore.
“We knew it was close”, said Skipper Dean Barker.
“Chris did a great job looking for opportunites and on the final run we managed to slip past Groupama Team France and win the race. It was nice for the team to bounce back after what felt like a tough and frustrating day yesterday.”
Seeing consistent strides in tactics and boat handling, Barker was most encouraged by the team’s ability to fight back from their last place position and climb the leaderboard to a podium result.
“I think one of the signs of a strong team is the ability to bounce back after a tough day. It’s something I’ve always worked on with other teams and it really comes down to the character of the people on the boat and the team in general. It’s easy to use negative sentiment to not prepare properly for the next day. It was great the way the team took lessons from yesterday and applied them to today.”
This event’s podium finish marks the third such result in a row for SoftBank Team Japan and the highest finish yet on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Circuit – a trend the team hopes to continue as they next travel to their hometown event in Fukuoka, Japan.
“For us it would be great to have a great result in Fukuoka and we’ll work hard to make that happen. When we turn up for the racing on Saturday we’ll be ready to perform.”
The team now travels back to their Bermuda base as they eagerly await delivery of their fifty-foot America’s Cup Class yacht due in November.
“It’ll be exciting to have it in the shed and start installing our modifications to it. It’ll be awesome to finally have the boat we’ll be racing in the America’s Cup next year in Bermuda.”
SoftBank Team Japan will next travel to their hometown event in Fukuoka, Japan –Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka to be held November 18-20th – the first America’s Cup event to ever be held in an Asian country.