Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa /

First signs of a match race

Two more points on the board for the Kiwis at the Louis Vuitton Cup finals

Wednesday August 21st 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

Two more races were held today in the Louis Vuitton Cup Final rounds on San Francisco Bay with Emirates Team New Zealand providing another flawless masterclass in how to go foiling on AC72s. Claiming both today's races against Luna Rossa now takes them to 4-1 in the first to seven competition and it is looking increasingly likely that Luna Rossa's only way into the Kiwis is if they break. 

Today's first race took place in lighter winds of 13-15 knots of wind from the southwest, with a flat sea at the start of the ebb tide, however the wind built to the top of the permitted range for race two - the first occasion in this Final that two races have managed to be held. 

Five races into the final and the racing is slowly becoming vaguely competitive. However the outcome still seems to be about who can win the start and be first to the reaching mark and so far Luna Rossa has come close but failed to lead into the run.

In the pre-start of the first race, Luna Rossa was nicely tucked to leeward, potentially poised to shovel Emirates Team New Zealand up the line only Dean Barker and the Kiwi troupe was left with enough room to bear away and hit the line at speed as Luna Rossa appeared to be too close to the start line and crucially floundered after a mis-communication between helmsman Chris Draper and his tactician Francesco Bruni. The Italian team trailed the Kiwis into the reaching mark and then continually lost ground around the race track. 

The start of the second race was the best we have seen from the Italian team. On this occasion they held back and hit the line at speed to weather, sailing two knots faster than Emirates Team New Zealand. However once again Luna Rossa wasn't fast enough and the Kiwis were able to hang on to the inside berth at the reaching mark, albeit with the two boats genuinely overlapped. 

On this race once again, the Kiwis extended away down the run, as usual able to sail deeper than their opponent. They arrived at the leeward gate 18 seconds ahead, but on Luna Rossa tactician Francesco Bruni chose to split withthe Kiwis, rounding the port gate mark and heading off to the left of the beat. Making the most of the ebb tide enabled them to cut into the Kiwis' lead. Emirates Team New Zealand tacked to cover and...shock, horror...there was the beginnings of a match race with Barker and tactician Ray Davies keeping the Kiwi AC72 between their opponent and the mark. However it didn't last long and the Kiwis once again cruised away to put their fourth Louis Vuitton Cup Final point on the board.

“We had a solid day all around," said Ray Davies. "The guys sailed really well. We’re really happy with how the boat’s going in these conditions. We’re stoked to come away with a couple of wins. The Italians have picked up their game. They had a close second race, it was proper match racing – covering and protecting a side of course. We’ll have another day ashore tomorrow, but there’s still plenty more performance to get out of this boat.”

“We played well to take the right gate at the bottom,” said Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena. “Checco (Francesco Bruni) did a good job in the first part of the upwind leg, but then it was a match race, the other boat puts you in dirty air and forces you to do the opposite of what he’s doing.

“The positive is that we improve more and more every day, but I’m starting to get upset because it would be great to have another four or five months. We’re not that far from these guys, but the Cup is in a couple of weeks.”

Of today's starts Max Sirena said: “The outcome of the first race was influenced by our start: we were in control and had almost closed the door on the Kiwis but unfortunately we were early and we paid a high price for this. The second race instead has probably been one of the best races we’ve done so far, both from a boat handling and a performance point of view: good start, excellent tactics, and we didn’t make any mistakes in manoeuvers. Also, especially on the run, our speed was excellent. Every day we are coming closer to our opponents and this proves that what’s penalizing us is the lack of time.”

Race 4 Performance Data

• Course: 5 Legs/10.18 nautical miles
• Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 25:39, LR – 27:57
• Delta: ETNZ +2:18
• Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.5 NM , LR – 11.7 NM
• Average Speed: ETNZ – 26.94 knots (31 mph), LR – 25.29 knots (29 mph)
• Top Speed: ETNZ – 44.04 knots (50 mph), LR – 39.99 knots (46 mph)
• Wind Speed: Average – 14 knots, Peak – 17 knots

Race 5 Performance Data
• Course: 5 Legs/10.18 nautical miles
• Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 24:26, LR – 25:54
• Delta: ETNZ +1:28
• Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.5 NM , LR – 11.7 NM
• Average Speed: ETNZ – 28.44 knots (33 mph), LR – 27.29 knots (31 mph)
• Top Speed: ETNZ – 43.77 knots (50 mph), LR – 39.23 knots (45 mph)

Louis Vuitton Cup Final schedule (best-of-13 series)
• Friday, Aug. 23: Final Race 6 (1:10 pm PT)
• Saturday, Aug. 24: Final Race 7 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 8 (2:10 pm PT)
• Sunday, Aug. 25: Final Race 9* (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 10* (2:10 pm PT) (* If necessary)

Louis Vuitton Cup Finals schedule:

Friday, Aug. 23: Final Race 6 (1:10 pm PT)
Saturday, Aug. 24: Final Race 7 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 8 (2:10 pm PT)
If required: Sunday, Aug. 25: Final Race 9 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 10 (2:10 pm PT)


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