Bad day for TeamOrigin
A terrible day on the water for TeamOrigin and another one of high drama for the British team who faced back to back races against Mascalzone Latino Audi Team and then Artemis, the latter with Ainslie up against fellow former Emirates Team New Zealander Terry Hutchinson, the most exciting race to have taken place at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland to date.
Today was also significant for breaking the four-way tie for third between TeamOrigin, All4One, Azzurra and Mascalzone Latino Audi Team.
Light shifty winds caused an initial short delay to Tuesday’s programme that got underway mid-morning. There was shifty breeze all day from 14 to 20 knots , but remained gusty with large regular shifts from the south to the southwest and back. Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio and his team miraculously squeezed in seven matches to complete the Round Robin.
The monster match between TeamOrigin and the Hutchinson/Cayard-led Artemis saw a close first beat with the Swedish team leading the Brits at the top mark by just six seconds. Tactician Iain Percy called for a gybe set and this allowed the team to run almost straight at the leeward gate following a significant left hand shift.
The team picked up the gusts and benefitted from the close trailing position on the run and by the time they were approaching the leeward gate had caught up and were overlapped to windward. Artemis continued to keep the pressure on and as both teams started to prepare for their drops, Artemis luffed at the same time as the spinnakers dropped. TeamOrigin’s spinnaker streamed out to leeward touching the Swedish boat’s spinnaker pole, causing TeamOrigin to collect a penalty.
Quick thinking on the part of the British crew and the position they found themselves on the course meant that they had to tack around to get back to the leeward gate allowing them simultaneously to offload their penalty. Meanwhile the Swedish team went for the right hand and perhaps the less favoured buoy, allowing TeamOrigin to round the nearer mark. As a result they recovered quickly to head off upwind on the second beat in an advantageous position.
The pair traded tacks up the beat, Artemis in better phase with the shifts and managing to eek out a small advantage they maintained to the top mark. But the British team were given a small opportunity to get back into the game on the approach the weather they approached with starboard tack rights with Artemis coming in on port. Ainslie pushed into the gap with rights, successfully planting a penalty on the Swedes.
Ahead and with a penalty up, the final run should have been relatively benign for the British team. All they had to do was finish close to their opponent, as even if they let the Swedish boat pass them they would win because of the penalty they carried. Unfortunately the pair became locked together again. Approaching the layline to the finish the Swedish boat initiated a gybe to port. Simultaneously TeamOrigin committed to a gybe and found themselves caught out as Artemis quickly gybed back onto starboard. TeamOrigin were now on port tack and not clearing ahead of the starboard gybe Artemis with just a few hundred metres to go to the finish line and as a result picked up a penalty followed by another when the umpires deemed the Brits to have made a significant advantage from the move. One penalty cancelled out the Swedish penalty from the top mark incident, but there wasn’t time carry out the other and stay ahead and this allowed Artemis to take the point.
Sadly TeamOrigin had also lost their previous match of the day against the Gavin Brady-led Italian team on Mascalzone Latino.
With a port entry and a biased line the British team tried to get across the starboard entry boat in the pre-start and made it, but at a cost of being deep in the unfavourable sector of the start box. The Italian team was able to gybe tightly behind TeamOrigin and then remain in control of the pre-start eventually causing the British team to be late and on the unfavoured side of the start.
Mascalzone sailed fast and in phase with the wind shifts covering TeamOrigin up the first beat and not letting them get away to round the first mark with a comfortable lead of 32 seconds.
Both did straightforward bear away sets and TeamOrigin attempted to come from behind to try and cast some wind shadow on their Italian competitors. Both boats did a simultaneous gybe but the Italians kept their cool.
At the bottom gate, the leading Italian boat took advantage of the phase of the wind shifts and rounded the left hand mark, with the Brits 20 seconds behind. On the second weather leg, the gap closed down a further four seconds. At the top mark for the final time TeamOrigin gybe set and took full advantage of the better pressure coming to them from the right side of the run. This they found and were able to reduce the gap right up but the shift had caused the leg to become one sided and it finished with a straight reach into the finish with the British team losing by just five seconds.
Mike Sanderson, Team Director, concluded: “What a day, amazingly close racing but not our day results-wise. There were still many positives which we have to build on and we simply need to go out and win tomorrow.”
Of their match against the Brits, Artemis skipper Paul Cayard said: "That was a good team building exercise! We should have had to pay for that (team building), but luckily the Brits paid for it for us!”
About the final gybe incident Cayard added: “It gave us an opportunity to come in and start a bit of a war with them. Terry did a great job managing the war. And then we had a bit on down there with the kite and everybody just got into it and somehow we got the win!”
Losing both races today leaves TeamOrigin out in sixth place, but they are still in with last ditch chance to get into the top four going through for the semis round as over the next two days there are two elimination rounds. In the first of these teams are paired up 1st v 8th, 2nd v 7th, etc so this will see TeamOrigin pitched against the Franco-German All4One (which TeamOrigin beat in the Round Robin). The top two teams from this go through to the semi-finals while the bottom two are out of the competition. There is then a second elimination round for the remaining four teams, the top two of which also qualify for the semis.
Race One: Emirates Team New Zealand def. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 01:00
Before the start, ETNZ’s Barker set up to the right of Karol Jablonski, on the Russian boat as they came up to the line on starboard but it was Jablonski who was bow out, and the Russians led as ETNZ tacked away. The breeze was 17 knots but shifty. Synergy, on port, led at the first cross, and pushed the Kiwis back to the right. The Russian boat led for the first two thirds of the leg but then Jablonski was slow to cover. Synergy sagged off on a big shift and the Kiwis were out of jail. Barker led around all marks, by as much as 1:53 at the second weather mark.
Race Two: Azzurra def. ALEPH, 01:39
Bertrand Pacé steering the French boat ALEPH bailed out after an initial dialup and was chased by Francesco Bruni of Italy’s Azzurra team. They came back to the line with ALEPH trailing. A victory here would keep the Italians in contention for the second seed. Bruni went for the pin end at speed while Pacé tacked away to the right. The Italian skipper covered up the first leg in puffy, shifty 10-15 knot conditions but Pacé tenaciously kept it close, rounding the top mark just 12 seconds behind. ALEPH failed to make any inroads on the run and then lost a full minute on the second beat as light, puffy conditions favoured the boat on the left side.
Race Three: Artemis def. All4One, 00:22
Sweden’s Artemis, with Paul Cayard as skipper and Terry Hutchinson on the wheel, seized control at the start, coming off the pin end into a big right-hand shift that boosted them to an early four boat length lead. The German/French boat All4One rounded the top mark four lengths astern but closed on the spinnaker run only lost ground getting the chute down and the jib up. Helmsman Sébastien Col sailed a good second beat and then made substantial gains on Artemis when favored by another big shift on the run to the finish but trailed by 22 seconds.
Race Four: Mascalzone Latino Audi def. TEAMORIGIN, 00:06
A mano-a-mano confrontation 1 min 40 sec before the start, with both boats stalled and backing down on port, ended badly for Ben Ainslie and Britain’s TEAMORIGIN when Gavin Brady, and ML Audi were green-flagged on a British protest call. Brady sailed away to start on starboard at the committee end while Ainslie trailed, three boat lengths in his wake. The Kiwi skipper of the Italian boat opened a 32 second lead at the top mark but Ainslie kept the pressure on, whittling the margin down at every mark, and closing at the end until they were overlapped. This was the closest race of the regatta.
Race Five: Artemis def. TEAMORIGIN
TEAMORIGIN copped an initial penalty at the leeward mark, and cleared it, then got a flag against Artemis when Ainslie, on starboard, got inside the Swedish boat as it came into the top mark on port. On the run Ainslie led bow to stern but Hutchinson was on TEAMORIGIN’s port quarter and an attempt by Ainslie to gybe for the finish saw Artemis rounding up as she turned to keep clear and two flags against the British plus a red, signaling an immediate penalty turn. Game over.
Race Six: Mascalzone Latino Audi def. Azzurra, 00:13
In the battle of the Italian contenders, Gavin Brady, at the helm of ML Audi, hooked Azzurra on starboard before the start, forcing Francesco Bruni to split away on port. Racing was very even. Azzurra did a long board out to the port layline and led at the top mark by five seconds. Brady went on the attack on the run and a flurry of protests were green-flagged before he gybed away on port to sail through Bruni’s lee and round the bottom gate ahead. Bruni kept it close but the next two legs were Brady’s.
Race Seven: All4One def. Synergy Russian Sailing Team
The German/French boat helmed by Frenchman Sébastien Col went into this race with the opportunity of a third seeding if they won and a sixth if they lost to the Russian boat skippered by Karol Jablonski. They earned a third seed, leading at every mark and winning by six boat lengths as the evening light faded on the Waitemata.
Provisional leaderboard after Flight Seven:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 6-1, 6 pts
2. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 5-2, 5 pts
=3. All4One, 4-3, 4 pts
=3. Azzurra, 4-3, 4 pts
=3. Artemis, 4-3, 4 pts
6. TEAMORIGIN, 3-4, 3 pts
7. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-5, 1 pts *
8. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 0-7, 0 pts
* Penalty point deducted