Emirates Team New Zealand heads for final
Emirates Team New Zealand has announced it will exercise its right as winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup round robin stage to advance directly to the Louis Vuitton Cup final leaving Luna Rossa and Artemis Racing alone to contest the semi-finals starting on 6 August.
Barker said the team considered racing the semi finals, but in the end opted to advance development program of Aotearoa, the team’s second generation AC72.
“We thought hard about doing the semifinals to get more racing and more starting, to get more race time under our belts,” Barker said. “But we also have a fairly large amount of work to do to our boat, a lot of changes and modifications intended to improve the performance.
“That takes time, so we will take the next period to make changes and we look forward to lining up against whoever we will race in the Louis Vuitton Cup Final."
Barker added that his team has informed Artemis Racing that it won’t be on the start line for their scheduled match on Tuesday, but it’s unlikely Artemis Racing would participate.
Artemis Racing skipper Iain Percy said his team is still targeting 6 August, the start of the semifinals for their first Louis Vuitton Cup race.
“We’ve had great support from all of the teams, and it’s nice to see the camaraderie from everyone,” said Percy. “But in terms of racing before the semis, that might be one step too far. You never say never, but one thing that’s important to us is to keep our focus on safety. We suffered a horrendous accident and we need to take baby steps and progress at our own speed. It’s fantastic being on the racecourse practicing, just getting out there and seeing the boats and having a look at the start sequences is all good practice, but we don’t want to run before we can walk.”
Percy said that when Artemis Racing lines up against Luna Rossa Challenge they know they’ll be facing a team that’s well practiced. Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena expects to be racing a competitor that’s been hardened through a tough period.
“We’re fully respectful of Artemis Racing; it’s full of talented guys and sailors,” Sirena said. “In their first day of sailing they were able to foil and do way more than what we did on Day 1 with our AC72. We need to appreciate the effort they’ve put in the past few months, I’m pretty sure it’s been a tough period for them. It was a pleasure for us to see them sailing in the Bay.”