Louis Vuitton Cup continues

Tomorrow the quarter final repechage best of seven kick off

Friday November 22nd 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
The Quarter Final Repechage of the Louis Vuitton Cup starts tomorrow (23 November) with four teams competing for the last two places in the Semi Finals.

The Repechage group is made up of the two winning teams from the single chance (bottom) group of the Quarter Finals and the losers from the double chance (top) group. The teams are OneWorld and Prada Challenge from the top group, Victory Challenge and Team Dennis Conner from the lower group.

In a change from the proceedings in the last Louis Vuitton Cup, the Repechage provides a second chance for teams to go through to the Semi Finals.

As the highest ranked boat in the Quarter Finals, OneWorld was able to select its opponents for this round and chose another American syndicate, Team Dennis Conner. This in turn pits the Swedish Victory Challenge against the Italian Prada Challenge.

When it came to the teams' choice of boats, OneWorld announced that it would be reverting to the boat it used in the first Round Robin, USA-67, a boat that gave them a 12-7 record, (allowing for their one point penalty), in the first two Round Robins.

The Prada Challenge took all the time it possibly could to make the decision about which of its two boats it would use and went all the way to the deadline before deciding. In the end it announced it would be using the modified ITA-74, the same boat it has used since Round Robin 1, but now with its third bow configuration.

The Swedish Victory Challenge will stay with SWE-73, the boat that it used in Round Robin 2 and the Quarter Finals and a boat that has an 8-5 record, while Team Dennis Conner will use the boat it used in the Quarter Finals, USA-77.

The first warning gun in the Quarter Final Repechage is scheduled for 13:05 daily.

Matteo Plazzi, navigator on Luna Rossa, commented: "It's been an important day for us as we have been able to complete all the modifications we had planned on Luna Rossa ITA 74. We had a very long night yesterday: we stepped the mast around 2 am, put the boat in the water at 4 am and at 5 am began measurement. Around 7 am we were able to carry out the first structural tests and at 8.30 we left the dock.

"Today's outing was used primarily to check that everything was functioning correctly. Unfortunately the wind was very shifty and we were unable to assess the speed of the boat. However, the few hours that we spent on the water were precious because they enabled us to gain, once more, confidence in our boat and tomorrow we will be able to focus only on racing.

"In the ideal world we would have obviously liked to have 3 or 4 days to train with ITA 74 before the repechage round, but this was not feasable as we didn't have enough time. We trained with ITA 80 and were able to test some solutions that we might decide to use on ITA 74.

"It's been a tough week and the team worked really hard around the clock in order to reach an ambitious goal.

"Victory Challenge is a strong opponent with a good crew and a good boat. They are at their firts America's Cup experience but have spent a long time here in Auckland training before the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

"They achieved some good results in the races and during the past month they have certainly improved. We will have some tough matches and are confident in the modifications that we decided to carry out on ITA 74".

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