Just one race sailed
The snail's pace Louis Vuitton Trophy in La Maddalena continued today with just one match raced before the Mistral kicked in and racing was cancelled for the day.
The one race proved to be a hard-fought battle between Emirates Team New Zealand's Dean Barker and BMW Oracle Racing's James Spithill which went the Kiwis' way when the American team lost a penalty call in an aggressive luffing match approaching the second weather mark.
“It was close, just half a metre between the boats, as close as you’d ever want to be,” said Barker, describing the incident . “You could lean across and shake hands if you wanted to.”
The match was sailed in the blustery 18 to 20 knot winds of the building Mistral. Race officials later cancelled all further racing with strong windswere forecast to make conditions impossible for competition. They plan to resume on Tuesday and complete the remaining races of the round robin on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Today, the umpires penalised Oracle when Team New Zealand luffed their opponent, forcing them up head-to-wind, as the boats raced side-by-side towards the weather mark on port tack.
“They made a gain to the left approaching the top mark,” Barker said. “They were in a position where they probably would have led us around if we didn’t make something happen, so we did a couple of luffs. The first one, we were required to give them room to get clear but they didn’t take the room straight away and make an attempt to keep clear so we luffed a second time and could easily have made contact with them if we hadn’t avoided. The umpires saw it the same way and penalized them.”
The confrontation momentarily cost the New Zealanders the lead and gave the advantage to Oracle, so the umpires added a red flag calling for an immediate penalty turn. The American boat circled before rounding the mark but was judged not to have completed a full turn. The umpires called for a second circle before clearing Oracle.
“It was a good hard race for us. We back our crew work against any team and we came out on the right side of that one,” Barker said. “It’s hard because the emphasis has got to be on keeping the boats apart. We can’t afford any more damage here with one pair of boats already out of action.”
=1. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 5-4, 5 points
=1. Artemis, 5-2, 5 points
=1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 5-2, 5 points
=4. TEAMORIGIN, 4-3, 4 points
=4. 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, 1-6, 1 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-4, -2 points *