The Swedish team Artemis, skippered by Paul Cayard and steered by Terry Hutchinson, won another race at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena today to preserve an unbroken record of four wins and no losses, taking a clear lead in the regatta. Their nearest competition after five days of competition between ten international teams is the French/German All4One. They have three points but with six races sailed, they also have three losses. Five teams are equal third, each with two points, including TeamOrigin (which didn't race today).
Superb sailing conditions on the Golfo di Arzachena off the Sardinian island of La Maddalena saw five matches completed today but, with half of the opening round robin now completed, many of the top names of America’s Cup competition remain at the bottom of a topsy-turvy results table.
“It’s only four races so far. These races are very, very difficult. They are tight and we’re working hard on keeping with the ‘winning by a boat-length theory’ which puts a lot of internal pressure on the boat but so far its still moving along,” said Artemis helmsman Terry Hutchinson, after defeating fellow American Ed Baird who is skippering and steering the Italian Luna Rossa. “There is still a lot that we can do and a lot that I can do. Our learning curve with the team is still fairly vertical. Looking at the big picture, our goal is to be here in 12 days time on Sunday.”
In their race against Luna Rossa, Artemis got off the start line bow-forward with more speed. “It was a really good job of boat handling on our boat,” Hutchinson continues. “The guys in the middle of the boat and the bow did really nice choreographed work. I think Luna Rossa stalled a little bit in an effort to shut the door on us as they went for their speed build. We had really nice time and distance and when they stalled it made our slingshot pretty handy.”
Blow by blow
Flight Three, Race One: Mascalzone Latino def Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:08– Mascalzone Latino earned a thrilling come-from-behind win in this match on the final run to the finish. Skipper Gavin Brady and his team did a masterful job of positioning their boat on the first gybe of the run and were able to roll over the top of Synergy. Karol Jablonski, the skipper on the Russian boat, was then too aggressive in attempting to protect his position and the Umpires penalised him for sailing above his proper course. Game over.
Flight Thirteen, Race One: Emirates Team New Zealand def Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:04– The Kiwis made a bold move out to the right hand side of the race course on the first beat while Synergy played the left. When they converged before the top mark, it was Emirates holding a narrow lead. With the boats nearly overlapped approaching the top mark, Kiwi skipper Dean Barker threw a hard luff at the trailing Synergy, gaining a few extra metres in the process.
Flight Seventeen, Race One: BMW Oracle Racing def All4One, 00:17 –Sébastien Col on All4One got the best of this start, bow out James Spithill steering Oracle. Spithill hung in and got an edge but Col took him all the way to the port layline and they rounded the top mark bow to stern with the French/German boat leading. One gybe on the run and Spithill rolled his opponent approaching the lee mark in a flurry of gybes and unanswered protest flags.
Flight Twentyone, Race One: Artemis def Luna Rossa, 00:35 – Terry Hutchinson pulled off a perfect start at speed but the Italian boat steered by Ed Baird went on the attack with 17 tacks up the short weather leg to round the top mark close astern, with a time difference of just five seconds. The next three legs were a minefield of shifts and holes but Artemis prevailed.
Flight Two, Race Two: All4One def Luna Rossa, 35 seconds – Sébastien Col driving All4One paid a heavy price to win the right hand side of the race course with two slow tacks near the starting line. But the wisdom of that sacrifice became clear two-thirds of the way up the race track when All4One, with starboard tack advantage, was just able to prevent Luna Rossa from crossing clear ahead.
The international jury will tonight hear a request for redress filed by All4One against the race committee. The French/German team is questioning the setup of the leeward mark in the race they lost to BMW Oracle Racing Team.
Provisional leaderboard after Wednesday's racing
1. Artemis, 4-0, 4 points
=2. All4One, 3-3, 3 points
=3. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 3-1, 2 points *
=3. Emirates Team New Zealand, 2-1, 2 points
=3. Azzurra, 2-2, 2 points
=3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 2-2, 2 points
=3. TEAMORIGIN, 2-3, 2 points
=8. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 1-3, 1 point
=8. Luna Rossa, 1-5, 1 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-2, -2 points *
From Chris Cameron/Emirates Team NZ www.chriscameron.co.nz