Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa /

Luna Rossa evens the score

As a technical issue dogs Emirates Team New Zealand in race two of the Louis Vuitton Cup final

Sunday August 18th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

Race two of the Louis Vuitton Cup Final was when the winning streak ended for Emirates Team New Zealand. Sadly they weren't beaten in a straight sailing battle, but Luna Rossa was able to level the score at 1-1 when the Kiwi AC72 suffered a technical problem.

The wind today was 15.4 knots, gusting to 19.9 knots from the southwest. It was foggy and a 2.3 knot ebb tide was kicking up a chop. 

In the shortened pre-start, Luna Rossa once again seemed to make a better job of it, hanging back behind the line and then making a charge to take up the leeward berth. However as they hit the gas with just seconds to go it was Emirates Team New Zealand who was the faster out of the blocks - not by much, but enough to get its nose out in front to lead into the reaching mark, by around a boatlength.

The Kiwis AC72 led around the course and had extended to 400m over its opponent when approaching the top mark towards the end of leg three they slowed to a crawl with hyraulic issues. The New Zealanders continued on upwind, dead in the water allowing Luna Rossa to continue on around the five legs, 10 mile course, showing Emirates Team New Zealand its transoms for the first time in this competition and ultimately to level the Louis Vuitton Cup Final scoreline 1-1. 

The electronics issue was quickly fixed by the Kiwi shore crew, both teams were ready to sail a second race, however the start of this was delayed because the wind was over the maximum limit and was subsequently postponed until tomorrow.

The Kiwis were disqualified from the race when as they drifted towards the Golden Gate Bridge in the 2.3-knot ebb tide, they received outside assistance as its tender came alongside and the shore crew jumped on board to help effect repairs. “The issue was with our hydraulic system," confirmed Kiwi Tactician, Ray Davies. "What controls that is an electronic circuitry within the boat. It was more the electronics side of things that shut down, which meant we had no switching of the hydraulic function. So it was an electronic issue which caused a hydraulic issue.

“But it’s all fixed. We put new batteries on board and were good to go for the second race. We couldn’t have fixed it on board without assistance from our chase boat.”

Skipper Dean Barker added: “These boats are driven by hydraulics. It’s a bit of a problem when you can’t tack or jibe the wing or rake the boards, the boat’s pretty much crippled."

Luna Rossa helmsman Chris Draper added: “That’s not the way we want to win points, but I was pleased how well we were going against those guys in the race. Our speed downwind and upwind looked a lot better than the round robins. We’ll see how it plays out.”

With the Louis Vuitton Cup finals schedule now behind, the two AC72s will be out racing again tomorrow when Races 3 and 4 are due to be held.

Luna Rossa also has another fix that needs to be made tonight. Team members were working on an unknown problem on the Italian AC72's wing. Italian skipper Max Sirena explained: “We had a small issue on one of the ribs that keeps the shape of the Clysar. You don’t want that, but we were ready to race. It’s an easy fix, not structural.”

Draper commented that breakdowns are a consequence of racing the technicall complex AC72 at full throttle. “It was pretty breezy on the upwind leg. We’re pushing the boats and loading the wings up way harder, and that sort of stuff is making it harder on the boats. We’ve sailed the boat for four days solid now, which is tough on the shore crew and there’s another day to come here. It’s pretty full on for everybody keeping these boats on the water.”

Max Sirena added: "This is our first point in a Finals race against the Kiwis so we are pleased to have interrupted their series of victories. Today it was their turn experiencing a technical problem; I know we have improved a lot and are closing the gap… and this has allowed us to both optimize on an opportunity and to exploit an unforeseen issue that, for once, was in our favour.”


From Luna Rossa/Studio Borlenghi/Borlenghi-Butto



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