An exciting head to head implodes at the leeward gate. Matthew Sheahan reports on what promised to be the match of the day
Bow to bow at the first cross, Ben Ainslie and Team Origin muscled out a small but important lead over their Kiwi opponents on the first leg of the first race of day three. Kiwi skipper Dean Barker and his afterguard had fought for the left hand side, Ainslie and Co. were working to keep control of the right. The tussle brought the pair head to head, time and again up the short and shifty beat in the gusty conditions just off the shore of downtown Auckland. Each time they met, the Brits had squeezed out a few more metres.
At the weather mark Team Origin rounded just 14 seconds ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, the race was on for the downwind leg in what looked to be an exciting head to head.
As the boats approached the bottom gate, a big left hand shift had kept Team Origin, blocking this mark for the Kiwis. They responded by heating up before a gybe that would take them to the opposite mark, a move that didn’t escape the attention of tactician Iain Percy. Leading them into the opposite mark that they had originally lined up was a move that would be even more effective at blocking the Kiwis out but it meant a quick change of plan aboard the British boat.
Performing such a change with very little notice ended up costing them dearly as a chain of small problems grew faster than the sum of the parts to see the British team barrel past the leeward mark, kite still up, headsail partly up and the spinnaker pole in two, wrapped around the leeward chain plates. A humiliating and frustrating way to end what promised to be an exciting match.
“A good start and a bad ending,” said Ainslie as he stepped onto the pontoon. “Everything happened very quickly at the end of the bottom run, we made a mistake of trying to do something we could not pull off – a lesson learnt for sure.”
Team director Mike Sansderson added his views saying, “The more training we do, the more options we open up to chose from to react to situations and sadly we crossed that line today and could not pull off that manoeuvre. The positives of leading at the first top mark in all the races we have done so far is important and may make or break some of the races later on in this event.”
Although the race ended prematurely it’s a match that’s well worth watching on the replay.
As is race two between All4One and Azzura, especially if you like seeing match racing played out to the full.
In this match the German/French All4One team forced a lead change at the top of the weather leg by pressing their opponents Azzura well beyond the lay line. At the bottom gate they pressed the idea home with more pressure on the layline to make sure that they kept their hard earned lead. They did.
In the other two matches Gavin Brady steered Macalzone Latino Audi team to another win and Artemis beat the Russian Sailing team in the last match of the day.
The forecast for tomorrow (Friday) doesn’t look to flash with 25-30 knots on its way.
Not all will be lost though, that should give us all a chance for a stroll around the Auckland boat show that has successfully filled up the Viaduct basin to the point that you can walk from one side to the other across the boats.
Race results today:
Race 1: ETNZ (NZL) beat TEAMORIGIN (GBR) retired
Race 2 : All4One (FR/GER) beat Azzurra (ITA) – 46s
Race 3: Mascalzone (ITA) beat Aleph (FRA) – 55s
Race 4: Artemis (SWE) beat Synergy (RUS)
Race wins/losses so far:
ETNZ: 3 wins, 0 losses
Azzurra 2 wins, 1 loss
All4One 2 wins, 1 loss
TEAMORIGIN 1 win, 2 losses
Mascalzone 1 win, 2 losses
Aleph 1 win, 2 losses
Artemis 1 win, 1 loss
Synergy 0 wins, 2 losses
Race schedule for tomorrow, Friday 12th March, is as follows:
Race 1: ETNZ (NZL) vs All4One (FRA)
Race 2 : Aleph (FRA) vs TEAMORIGIN (GBR)
Race 3: Artemis (SWE) vs Azzurra (ITA)
Race 4: Synergy (RUS) vs Mascalzone (ITA)
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