The Auckland event gathers pace. Matthew Sheahan reports
For the teams and the organisers, the first day of racing at the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Auckland had been difficult. For race officer Peter Reggio, the fickle and shifty breeze seemed to bubble up wherever it fancied, causing delays to the starts and a late finish for the fourth and last race of the day. Many were already sitting down to dinner when the last two teams finally crossed the finish line. Gearing up for a 10am first start had meant teams and shore crews were up and into the first of what will become their daily cycle for the next fortnight, at 6am. Finishing at dusk in the antipodean summer marks a long day for everyone.
But day 2 (Tuesday) was different, despite an initial postponement ashore in the morning.
A gradient breeze from the west built gradually throughout the day and meant that there were few delays on a race course that was tantalisingly close to downtown Auckland. It may be a workday, but those in the many office blocks that overlook the Waitemata harbour (which is just about all of them), were able to watch the racing blow by blow.
First up was Team Origin, who after a frustrating opening day when a complex kite hoist at the top mark turned their lead into a loss come the finish, turned their fortunes around with a confident win against the French/German team All4One.
Next up, Emirates Team New Zealand demonstrated how to come from behind and grind down your opponents in a sprint style windward leeward course of just over 1 nautical mile per leg in their match against Mascalzone Latino. Unfortunately, the Italian team suffered gear failure when the genoa halyard clip broke, ending their race. But, frustrating as it was for them, the Kiwis had already demonstrated that they intended to take a win.
The following two matches, Azzura (ITA) versus Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) and Artemis (SWE) versus Aleph (FRA), were more one-sided affairs with the Italians and Swedish teams putting points on the board.
Tomorrow’s forecast (Wed) sees the breeze start to build from a modest 12-15knots in the morning to 25knots by the afternoon, or ‘fast to frightening’ as one team member put it, which should make for some spectacular racing.
This year each boat has an on board camera man broadcasting live, key crew members have radio mics and there’s the usual superb animation from Virtual Eye, all of which provides excellent coverage of this event. Race summaries and re-runs are also available online (see links below), so all you need in addition is a spare open window on your computer screen to click to when the boss slips by.
Tomorrow’s racing sees Ben Ainslie go head to head with Dean Barker in boats that the pair know very well indeed having been part of the same team for the 2007 America’s Cup.
Throughout the last three days I’ve been shadowing the British team in what is in many ways the first real start to their America’s Cup campaign now the 33rd Cup is out of the way. Any notion that the results don’t really matter too much in this series and that practise and exposure is all that really matters is nothing more than a complete fallacy. Having sat in on virtually all of the crew meetings, briefings and de-briefings, as well as riding aboard the boat in race 1, I was hard pressed to think that this is anything other than the selection series proper.
Tomorrow’s opening pairing should make for a fascinating match.
HOW TO WATCH
Racing will be broadcast live online throughout the event and include TV from three cameras plus extensive Virtual Eye animations and audio off the boats.
10:00am (21:00 GMT): Opening trailer and welcome by Peter Lester
10:00 – 10:05 Weather, races of the day information, further news
10:05 Start procedure;
Approximately 16:30 (03:30 GMT) Finish live race broadcast
Approx. 18:00 (05:00 GMT) Press conference
Approx. 18:30 (05:30 GMT) Highlights of the races go on air
21:30 – 1:00 (08:30 GMT) Replay of the broadcast of the day
March 9 ‐ 15: Start of racing; Round Robin 1
March 16: Alternate Race Day
March 17: Elimination Round I
March 18 – 19: Elimination Round II; Semi‐Finals (best of three)
March 20 – 21: Semi‐Finals; Finals (best of seven)
Team Origin (Great Britain: Skipper Ben Ainslie)
Mascalzone Latino (Italy, Skipper: Gavin Brady)
Azzura (Italy, Skipper: Francesco Bruni)
All4One (France/Germany, Skipper: Jochen Schumann)
Synergy Russian Sailing Team (Russia, Skipper: Karol Jablonski)
Emirates Team New Zealand (Skipper: Dean Barker)
Artemis (Sweden, Skipper: Paul Cayard)
Aleph Sailing Team (France, Skipper: Bertrand Pace)
SKY TV COVERAGE IN UK
Louis Vuitton Trophy 16/03/10 18:00 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 16/03/10 23:00 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 16/03/10 26:00 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 17/03/10 09:00 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 2 17/03/10 18:00 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 2 17/03/10 22:00 Sky Sports 4
Louis Vuitton Trophy 2 17/03/10 23:30 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 2 17/03/10 26:30 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 2 18/03/10 09:00 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 3 18/03/10 18:00 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 3 18/03/10 23:30 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 3 18/03/10 28:00 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 3 19/03/10 09:30 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 4 19/03/10 18:00 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 4 19/03/10 23:30 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 4 19/03/10 26:30 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 4 20/03/10 06:30 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 5 20/03/10 18:00 Sky Sports 4
Louis Vuitton Trophy 5 20/03/10 23:30 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 5 20/03/10 29:00 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 5 21/03/10 10:00 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 6 21/03/10 18:00 Sky Sports 4
Louis Vuitton Trophy 6 21/03/10 23:30 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 6 21/03/10 29:00 Sky Sports 2
Louis Vuitton Trophy 6 22/03/10 10:00 Sky Sports 4
Louis Vuitton Trophy 7 22/03/10 18:00 Sky Sports 3
Louis Vuitton Trophy 7 22/03/10 25:00 Sky Sports 4
Louis Vuitton Trophy 7 22/03/10 28:30 Sky Sports 4