Emirates Team New Zealand draw level
Emirates Team New Zealand won two races today at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena leaving her first equal on points with Sweden's Artemis, each with a 4-1 scoreline. Meanwhile the Swedish boat skippered by Paul Cayard and steered by Terry Hutchinson lost today for the first time since the regatta in Sardinia started.
Crews in the ten international teams spent another long day on the water with the first race starting soon after 0900 and the last not finishing until 1730. There was wind all day from the west, shifty and with big speed changes on different parts of the course. There were gusts up to 20 knots near the weather mark.
The shape of the scoreboard changed in the first four races as the Kiwis, third equal yesterday with two points, deftly dispatched Azzurra and then Aleph Sailing Team to claim second place. In the fourth race the Gavin Brady-steered Mascalzone Latino trounced Artemis allowing Team New Zealand to advance to first equal.
“It was tough losing a race to Luna Rossa (on Tuesday) but losses sometimes help kick-start the team and make us realize we’ve always got things to work on. I think we’ve been sailing a lot better since that race,” said Dean Barker, skipper and helmsman of Team New Zealand.
Mascalzone Latino slammed the door on Artemis with a strategy the Italian team had been refining for some time. “The guys on the boat made a great call for the left side and Gavin did a beautiful job of executing that,” said tactician Morgan Larson. “We spent a lot of time this morning talking about Terry Hutchinson’s weaknesses in the prestart. I think Gavin exploited that weakness. It was very close. Terry was really close to getting an overlap with us that would have shifted everything. If they got an overlap they would have got the left and probably won the race.”
TeamOrigin had an impossibly close with the Russian team on the Karol Jablonski-driven Synergy. With the Brits on port entry the British team had their work cut out to escape from the Russian team’s clutches in time to make an even start and take the left hand side of the pair.
With 13-16 knots of wind blowing with significant gusts and direction changes rolling down the course the tacticians on both boats had different approaches to the first beat. Initially, on the right, the Russian team led away to the right and opened up a two boat length advantage over the British boat 700 metres away on the opposite side of the course. Slowly the gap grew and the advantage to the Russian expanded. The British team knew that at some stage their opponent would need to return to the centre of the course and kept their cool. The wind advantage on the right ran out and when the Russians tacked back to the centre TeamOrigin started to win back the advantage and eventually crossed safely ahead to take up the right hand side of the pair approaching the top mark. But it was close on the last cross and once again skipper Ben Ainslie was required to engage in some slow speed match racing and pin his opponent out at the mark so as to increase the advantage from half a length to a length and a half as the pair bore away at the top of the first run.
TeamOrigin led down the first run with the Russian team breathing down their necks closing in to a threatening position when it came time to gybe. The British crew executed a dummy gybe and sent the Russian team off on starboard giving themselves some breathing space and the ability to set up for their final approach to the left hand gate mark looking downwind. This buoy had a significant bias meaning that the boat that rounded this buoy would sail a couple of lengths less distance than the boat rounding the other buoy. TeamOrigin’s manoeuvre at the bottom mark was not the slickest causing part of the spinnaker to drop under the bow and rip. By the time the team had got the situation under control some of their advantage had been used up.
The second beat was easier than the first however and there were no opportunities for the trailing Russian team to attack. TEAMORIGIN led around the top mark again and set off down the last leg with a couple of lengths advantage. The Russian team kept it tight all the way down gaining in the last part of the race to cross the line just six seconds behind TeamOrigin.
TeamOrigin Pitman Anthony Nossiter shared his thoughts on the day’s race: “Plenty of action on the race course today, we had a nice start and confident first beat and all was going to plan, then a few mechanical issues and problems with the drop. That said we recovered well and dealt with the heat from the Russians well and hung on to our lead. Not a very comfortable race for us but good to get another race win point.”
Blow by blow:
Flight Sixteen, Race Two: Emirates Team New Zealand def Azzurra 00:13– Francesco Bruni steering Azzura gauged his start perfectly at the pin with speed. ETNZ on his hip was forced to tack away. The leg and the race belonged to Bruni but approaching the weather mark on port and leading, the Italians tacked short of the mark and opened the way for ETNZ to seize the starboard tack advantage, slip inside and hold their opponents out. The surprising reversal put the Kiwis 13 seconds ahead and they consolidated from there on.
Flight Six, Race One: Emirates Team New Zealand def ALEPH Sailing Team 00:29 – ETNZ dominated an initial race which was abandoned near the top mark due to a mark positioning error. The new start was initally a mirror of the first, a long starboard tack with ETNZ on ALEPH’s hip, until the French forced them to tack. However the Kiwis had the power of the right and forced the persistently-clinging French team away as they carried ALEPH above the weather mark for a seven second delta at the top mark.
Flight Fifteen, Race Two: TEAMORIGIN def Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:06 – ORIGIN was bow-out in mid-line at the start with Synergy close to the committee boat. The Russians hung tough on the starboard tack but were forced away after two minutes. They led approaching the starboard layline, only to drop back in a left shift that put Ainslie ahead by 14 seconds at the top mark. The boats rounded opposite leeward marks. ORIGIN conceded valuable seconds as the gennaker went under the bow but held a handy lead.
Flight Fourteen, Race One: Mascalzone Latino def Artemis, 00:46 – Gavin Brady the Kiwi skipper of the Latin Rascals destroyed the perfect record of Sweden’s Artemis with a king-hit before the start. He locked out Sweden’s Terry Hutchinson on port tack before the gun, with both boats stalled below the line. Brady tacked, and got away first to lead at speed by 26 metres and pull away. The Italian boat was 22 seconds ahead at the top mark as the breeze built to 20 knots. Artemis set off on pursuit only to see their gennaker explode as they settled into the first run. Mascalzone sailed away.
Flight Sixteen, Race One: Synergy Russian Sailing Team def ALEPH Sailing Team, 00:33 – Karol Jablonski won the start as both boats sailed slowly up to the committee boat on port. Jablonski tacked and sailed Synergy off the line at speed while Pacé was slow to tack ALEPH and follow. ALEPH drew level close to the top mark but Jablonski had starboard tack advantage and was nine seconds in front at the top mark.
Flight 22, Race One, Luna Rossa def BMW Oracle Racing, 00:22 – This was a comprehensive victory for the Italians. They started at opposite ends of the line with Luna Rossa near the committee boat. James Spithill and BMW Oracle Racing got off the line faster near the pin but only enjoyed their lead for a few seconds. The Italian boat steered by Ed Baird was in better breeze and sailed steadily away from James Spithill and Oracle. Close to the port layline when Luna Rossa on starboard crossed ahead of her opponent, the Americans were 220 metres dead astern. They made subsequent gains but finished 50 metres back.
=1. Artemis, 4-1, 4 points
=1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 4-1, 4 points
=3. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-1, 3 points *
=3. All4One, 3-3, 3 points
=3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 3-3, 3 points
=3. TEAMORIGIN, 3-3, 3 points
=7. Azzurra, 2-3, 2 points
=7. Luna Rossa, 2-5, 2 points
=9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 1-4, 1 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-4, -2 points *