Artemis v Synergy
Russia’s Synergy Racing Team and the Swedish team Artemis share the top of the point’s table, each with five points. Emirates Team New Zealand, Britain’s TeamOrigin and the French/German team All4One are all equal third on four points.
With two days’ competition remaining in the round robin, the pressure began to tell in strong winds this afternoon as Sweden’s Artemis broke a gennaker pole and shredded a gennaker, and a jib began to self-destruct on Emirates Team New Zealand. Both top teams lost their respective races.
The Artemis breakdown was self-inflicted. The Swedish boat skippered by Paul Cayard was pushing to overtake the Russian boat when the pole went overboard, triggering a sequence that saw it trip and explode into pieces before dragging the sail under the boat. Artemis retired. On the Team New Zealand boat, racing All4One, the hapless Kiwis could only watch as the head of their jib began to split in 20 knot winds.
The Kiwis had more success off the water, at least temporarily, when the Race Committee gave them a reprieve by ordering a resail of their race yesterday against BMW Oracle Racing when they were disqualified for having inadequate backstay tension. however the Jury tonight will hear an appeal by Oracle against the resail decision.
The dispute hinges on a safety order issued yesterday telling teams to maintain tension on forestays during spinnaker runs. After an umpires’ protest and a jury decision denied Team New Zealand any chance of a win in their match against Oracle, the organizers relented today, withdrew the safety order and ordered the resail.
TeamOrigin was back on the water today against Luna Rossa with Ed Baird on the helm, Torben Grael as tactician and Ben Ainslie's old Laser nemesis Robert Scheidt as strategist .
With a relatively stable breeze of 12 knots, Ainslie brought TeamOrigin into the start box from the port end. It was never clear over the course of the next four minutes which side of the beat would be dominant and so after a fairly long dial-up Ainslie chose to make a tight to leeward start and try and benefit from a slight line bias at the pin end.
Within 30 seconds of the start gun firing it became clear that the British team had started better and were pushing into a dominant position to leeward of Luna Rossa. This quickly resulted in the Italian boat being forced to tack away. TeamOrigin matched the tack and from a position to windward and slightly ahead benefitted from sailing into an increase in wind pressure from the left, and started to pull ahead. Half way up the beat Luna Rossa came back at the British boat and crossed behind by nearly three lengths. This allowed TeamOrigin to take up the right hand side and dominate the tactics for the rest of the beat.
Several tacks later TeamOrigin had got into a position to force Luna Rossa to make two extra tacks in the final approach to the top mark, resulting in a lead of 35 seconds at the turn.
With a stable breeze, a short course and a healthy first mark lead, all that was required to take the race win was consistent good crew work and boat handling and smart defensive tactics. All of these elements were delivered by the British team, and the final winning margin was 37 seconds.
TeamOrigin main trimmer Chris Salthouse said: “A good start today, there was no obvious ‘must win’ side so we selected as best we could and started well to leeward, got a nice shift, from then on did a really nice job controlling them for the rest of the race. For us in this stage of the competition, every race is a must win and we are simply focusing on one race at a time.”
Julian Cressant, the British team's mast man added: “The guys at the back did a great job getting a good clean start, it was hard today tactically to chose one side or another, but we got away cleanly and quickly managed to have a 5 boat length lead, that made matters a lot easier at the front of the boat, calm and confident and really clear communication on board today.”
Blow by blow
Flight 17, Race Two: TeamOrigin def. Luna Rossa, 00:37 – They started at speed on starboard with Britain’s TEAMORIGIN bow-out in the leeward berth. Ed Baird steering Luna Rossa was forced away early on port as Ben Ainslie on ORIGIN sailed into more pressure and continued to pull ahead.
Flight Six, Race Two: Azzurra def. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:15 – Italy’s Francesco Bruni pulled off a breathtakingly close port cross on the first leg to defeat Synergy Russian Sailing Team. On the second beat there were 17 punishing tacks up the 1.2-mile leg but Synergy skipper Karol Jablonski, on the right, could never gain enough ground to get past Bruni.
Flight 23, Race One: Artemis def. Azzurra, 00:15 – Saddled with a penalty in the pre-start Francesco Bruni and his Italian Azzurra team stayed on the attack and took the fight to the Swedish team Artemis around all four legs as the lead changed multiple times. However the Italians were trailing Terry Hutchinson and Artemis by 100 metres at the finish and they were still carrying the penalty.
Flight 18, Race One: SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team def. Artemis, retired – A spinnaker pole overboard at the end of the second run dragged Artemis to oblivion, breaking the pole and shredding the Swedish boat’s spinnaker.
Flight 20, Race Two: All4One def. Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:21 – The French/German boat started ahead in the middle of the line on starboard, just ahead of the Kiwis on their weather hip. All4One helmsman Sébastien Col gradually inched ahead and his lead increased as the jib on ETNZ began to self-destruct.
=1. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 5-4, 5 points
=1. Artemis, 5-2, 5 points
=3. Emirates Team New Zealand, 4-2, 4 points
=3. TEAMORIGIN, 4-3, 4 points
=3. All4One, 4-3, 4 points
=6. Azzurra, 3-4, 3 points
=6. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-1, 3 points *
=8. Luna Rossa, 2-6, 2 points
=9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 1-5, 1 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-4, -2 points *