Paul Cayard at the Louis Vuitton Trophy - An up and down day for Artemis

Paul Cayard at the Louis Vuitton Trophy - An up and down day for Artemis

Friday March 19 2010 Author: trimsailing Location: New Zealand

We sailed a best two out of three against Mascalzone Latino today. They got the first one, we got the second one and they got the third one. All the races were very tightly contested and it was quite a battle.

The wind was down in velocity today, mostly in the 10-15 knots range. It was still shifty and tricky as ever with the breeze coming off the land. We raced the first race in the harbor as usual, but then the wind just got too fluky and Race PRO Peter Reggio moved us out on to the Hauraki Gulf where we had the America's Cup races in 2000 and 2003.

In the first race, we got off the line to the left and battled out way into the lead. Near the top, the Italians got a wind we never saw and went from 4 meters behind to 1 boat length ahead. We stayed on their heels all the way around but could never pass.

Then Emirates Team New Zealand and Azzurra had their first match. The Italians had a penalty and were behind but managed to the left of the Kiwis for the second windward leg. They passed the Kiwis and then got far enough ahead to take the penalty and win.

Then Artemis and Mascalzone Latino got back out on the water. Terry Hutchinson got a great start against Gavin Brady, forcing the latter over the line early and that was a lead that we would not give up. 1-1.

Then we rolled into our third and final race. In this one, Gavin got a penalty on us in the pre-start. We hung tight and even got the penalty wiped off on the first run when Mascalzone Latino took us both past the gates. But we could not close up the final 80 meters and they went on to win the decisive race.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Azzurra got back in the boats, now at 1800, and had their second race. Azzurra put a penalty on ETNZ in the pre-start and it boiled down to weather or not the Kiwis could get far enough ahead to do the penalty turn and still cross the line first. They waited until right on the finish line to do it and they got it done with just one second to spare. So they are tied 1-1 and will race their decisive semi-final race first thing tomorrow.

If time permits, we will then take on the loser of that semi-final to battle it out in the petit-final, while the final will take place Sunday.

Obviously, we are disappointed not to be in the final but we have made a big improvement in our performance over the Louis Vuitton Trophy - Nice and we feel we are competitive with any team out there now. So this is a good foundation for us to build on.

Paul

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