Two points from victory
Emirates Team New Zealand seemed to make easy meat of their opponent in race five of the the 30th anniversary Louis Vuitton Cup, the only race to be held today to go 5-1 up against Luna Rossa. Tomorrow two more races will be held, which, provided the form book holds, could see Emirates Team New Zealand become the first to seven points, winning the Louis Vuitton Cup and book their berth in the America's Cup match itself.
Entered the start box on port, Luna Rossa looked strong in the leeward position coming into the gun, but they lacked the speed of the Kiwis which once again rolled them to windward, with the tide taking them down to lead comfortably lead around the reaching mark. Dean Barker's crew sailed another flawless race 10 ahead seconds at the first mark, 50 seconds at the second mark, 1:16 at the third mark, completing the 10.30 mile course with a 1:47 delta over its Italian opponents.
Chris Draper admitted that regardless of where they start, the Kiwis have a faster boat. “It would’ve been nice to have had a better start,” said Draper. “We can talk about the start as much as we want, but the cold reality is they’re going to sail past us whether they’re to windward or leeward.”
The conditions today were on the softer side for San Francisco Bay, 14 to 17 knots versus a forecast of 17 to 20 knots at the start of the day. Skipper Max Sirena added that the breeze was lighter than Luna Rossa likes: “We like more wind, we are way more stable in a stronger breeze than light breezes, we know that. Unfortunately, the forecast changed. The clouds didn’t clear by the start time and the breeze didn’t come up. We know we suffer quite a lot in this type of breeze.”
However conditions were tricky day. As Dean Barker said: “The course was difficult to read with shifts, puffs and a flood tide. It was really hard to get it right. Ray (tactician Ray Davies) did a great job of getting us through it. He’s been working on gathering the local knowledge since the ACWS regattas here last year.”
During the race Emirates Team New Zealand took the opportunity to practice foiling upwind. Barker commented: “The boat’s going well. We have our modes figured out reasonably well across the range. We’re always learning. We were mucking around at one stage on the upwind leg. It’s quite interesting the way the boat responds in different conditions. We just have to keep improving and get consistent with the right mode calls for the right time and how it factors in on the course.”
Race 6 Performance Data
Course: 5 Legs/10.30 miles
Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 28:03, LR – 30:00
Delta: ETNZ +1:57
Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.6 NM , LR – 11.9 NM
Average Speed: ETNZ – 24.82 knots (28 mph), LR – 23.90 knots (27 mph)
Top Speed: ETNZ – 37.28 knots (43 mph), LR – 39.33 knots (45 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 14 knots, Peak – 17 knots
Today’s Emirates Team New Zealand crew was skipper/helm: Dean Barker, tactician: Ray Davies, wing trimmer: Glenn Ashby, trimmer: James Dagg, pit: Jeremy Lomas, bow: Adam Beashel, grinders: Chris Ward, Rob Waddell, Grant Dalton, Chris McAsey, Derek Saward.
On Luna Rossa was: Max Sirena (skipper and pitman), Francesco Bruni (tactician), David Carr (pitman/grinder), Pierluigi de Felice (trimmer), Giles Scott (primary grinder), Chris Draper (helmsman), Xabi Fernandez (wing trimmer), Nick Hutton (bowman), Lele Marino (wing grinder), Marco Montis (freestyler) and Wade Morgan (hydraulic grinder).