Prada levels

Italian team make dramatic comeback on day two of Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals

Wednesday December 11th 2002, Author: Louis Vuitton Media Centre, Location: Australasia
Semi Finals 9-16 December
Best of Seven
Race 1
Race 2
Race 3
Race 4
Race 5
Race 6
Race 7
*will be deducted one point due to ACAP ruling

In a day marked by gloomy conditions and massive windshifts, Alinghi strengthened its grip on the semi-finals with a second win over Oracle BMW Racing, while Prada once again came from behind to post its first win of the round.

At times, the rain across the course was so dense, the yachts resembled grey ghosts in the gloom, barely visible sliding across the Hauraki Gulf. As the rain squalls marched across the course, the crews had to cope with huge windshifts.

Racing began with the wind at 240 degrees. It went as far right as 280 degrees and as far left as 200 degrees.

For much of the racing, it looked as if the results would be a foregone conclusion. Alinghi, skippered by Russell Coutts, and USA-76, skippered by Chris Dickson, both wanted the right hand side of the start. Helmsman Peter Holmberg gained the favoured side, but Alinghi soon gained the upper hand and then once again sailed a classic match race, covering closely and never allowing the American crew any opportunities to gain.

Every move on USA-76 was matched with a counter-punch from the Swiss team, including the use of staysails on the final downwind leg.

In the OneWorld versus Prada match, the start was hardly contested as OneWorld chose the right and Prada favoured the left. OneWorld very quickly established control and led around the course until the final beat. OneWorld favoured the right side and split away, leaving Prada to go left.

As a separation of 1000m opened between the yachts, the wind went left, Prada gained and swept into the lead. Once in front, Prada covered closely and held on to take their first victory gun of the semi-finals.

For individual race reports see the following pages...

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