Aleph and Bertrand Pacé on a roll
It was a second unfortunate day for TeamOrigin at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena regatta when in her match against the Paul Cayard-driven Artemis.
An over-enthusiastic spectator fleet crowded the start area and blocked the view of a tiny lobster pot buoy which caught around their keel during the pre-start with one and a half minutes left to go until the gun. Pitman Craig Satterthwaite dived overboard to clear the foul-up and the British team were able to get underway but they were late to the line and despite recovering well up the first beat to round the windward mark 17 seconds astern, but could only trail Artemis around the course finishing 47 seconds behind their Swedish opponent and failing to get a point on the board for the second consecutive day.
“The water is pretty cold!" recounted Satterthwaite afterwards. "We had to wait until the boat slowed down so I could jump over the side, it was very clear so pretty easy to spot and cut free and the guys put a rope by the side so I could pull myself back in, not what we needed but at least we got it sorted quickly and calmly.”
David Carr, Runners/ Pit Assist, added: “What a nightmare, there were so many spectator boats and sirens going to try to get them to clear the area, we could cope with that as its part of the game but made it impossible to see a tiny white lobster pot marker buoy. The positive thing to take out of it was how quickly we got it sorted and how calm everyone remained afterwards and got straight back down to business - but for sure it was a tough break for us.”
Of their disappointing day Ben Ainslie, TeamOrigin Skipper & Helmsman commented: “A real anti-climax today, it was a really busy start area with lots of spectator boats around, large and small and it was pretty hard to manoeuvre around them. We managed to avoid one of them and moving away from another we unfortunately caught a lobster pot. Craig Satterthwaite had to jump over the side with a knife to cut it clear and by the time we got it sorted, Artemis had a good lead.
“The guys did a great job in keeping the race close and did a very nice manoeuvre around the second windward mark but the race result was decided by the unfortunate incident before the start.”
Elsewhere on the race course it was a good day for France with All4ONE and Aleph leading from start to finish their races respectively against the locals on Azzurra and BMW Oracle Racing. The Bertrand Pacé-steered Aleph, one of the lower ranked teams after having dispatched TeamOrigin yesterday, taking out the America's Cup defender was a second major scalp to claim. They are the first team to gain two wins with Pacé showing impeccible cool. Fending off James Spithill advances in the pre-start, the American team were on the French heels all around the first lap, with Spithill executing a breathtakingly close inside overtaking move around the bottom mark. Pacé’s protest was green-flagged but Spithill had to tack away to clear his air. The windward mark delta was just six seconds but on the final run, the French were able to extend to win by six boat lengths.
The greatest nail-biter of the day, held in a light northeasterly was an all-Italian derby between Mascalzone Latino and Luna Rossa.
Luna Rossa is making their debut in Louis Vuitton Trophy racing having just recruited 2007 America’s Cup winning helmsman Ed Baird as their new drive. Baird won the start against Gavin Brady steering Mascalzone Latino and controlled the first three legs.
Closing the weather mark for the second time Brady got out of phase in a series of short tacks and pulled up right astern of Luna Rossa to round just seven seconds behind. The leaders made a conventional bear-away gennaker set while Mascalzone went for a delayed gybe set that led to over 500 metres of separation and an opportunity to grab the lead. When Baird eventually gybed to cover, Brady was sailing slightly deeper in better pressure. The tables turned and Brady worked out to a 70-metre lead only to see most of it evaporate when he gybed for the finish and the spinnaker sheet came unclipped. Mascalzone, in a heart-stopping charge for the line, nosed ahead to claim victory by just five seconds.
“The end of the spinnaker was flying out loose and Alan Smith, our bowman, clipped onto a spare halyard and swung out over the water to capture it and clip it on again,” Brady said later. “We knew it was going to be close but by then we had overstood and came flying into the mark with plenty of speed.”
Provisional leaderboard after Flight Five:
1. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-0, 2 pts
=1. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 2-0, 2 pts
=3. All4One, 1-0, 1 pt
=3. Artemis, 1-0, 1 pt
=5. Emirates Team New Zealand, 0-0, 0 pts
=5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 0-0, 0 pts
=7. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 0-1, 0 pts
=7. Luna Rossa, 0-1, 0 pts
=9. Azzurra, 0-2, 0 pts
=9. TEAMORIGIN, 0-2, 0 pts