FINAL PRACTICE RACE WEEK BEGINS IN BERMUDA

© Matt Knighton

With the America's Cup Qualifiers less than two weeks away, SoftBank Team Japan opened the first day of practice racing this week on a high-note, scoring two wins against Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France while losing to defender Oracle Team USA after an unfortunate winch overrride.

Tactician and Sailing Team Director, Chris Draper, recapped the day's racing and the standing of the team with the America's Cup looming around the corner:

"Everythings going really well. Like Ian Percy from Artemis Racing said the other day, I don't think the race scoring to date has flattered our performances, counting races we've missed, etc.

"We're really pleased with how it went today. We've not had a huge amount of days in the past 7-8 days and there's been some massive modifications to the boat.  Big credit to our shore team that we went as well on the water as we did today.  We only had 20 minutes of warm-up before the first race and it went well.

"With BAR we were a bit out of our timing in the start and had our backs against the wall but did a nice job as a team to get back in there. Deano did a great job tactically against Ben at the boundary.

"Then the race against Oracle we had great positioning at the start line, a good first reach, and then an unfortunate override with a winch cost us pretty dearly though we kept it close to the end."

Asked if there was still more fans can expect from SoftBank Team Japan in the next 11 days until the start of the America's Cup Qualifiers, Draper laughed.

"Our boat's going to change a little bit more and there's lots to be tidying up that we've done recently. It's the most exciting time of the Cup, it's awesome to keep improving and developing the boat."