Quarter-finals repechage - Race 2
PRADA AND ONEWORLD TAKE THEIR SCORES TO 2-0 IN THE QUARTER FINAL REPECHAGE
Prada and OneWorld both increased their grip on the Louis Vuitton Cup quarter final repechage in Auckland today by taking their scores to 2-0 over Sweden’s Victory Challenge and Team Dennis Conner respectively.
Prada and OneWorld led their matches against Victory Challenge and Stars & Stripes all the way around the course, with almost identical starts and uncannily similar mark rounding deltas for most of the race.
Prada and OneWorld each need just two more wins to advance to the semifinals, although both Victory Challenge and Stars & Stripes have shown they remain dangerous opponents.
Light winds once again greeted the four teams competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup quarter final repechage on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf today, but after a short delay the Race Committee was able to get racing under way.
Shifty south-easterly winds that swung into the south-west and then back again tested the skills of the afterguards, as positioning the yachts to take best advantage of the puffs and shifts counted for more than boatspeed.
The starts were very similar with OneWorld and Prada powering off the line at speed, while their opponents were forced into last minute tacks at the committee boat end and came off the line at less than full power.
The pattern then saw the lead yachts gain upwind and then lose downwind as the trailing yachts brought breeze down with them. But the leading yachts were seldom threatened and crossed the finish line more than a minute ahead of their opponents.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP QUARTER FINAL REPECHAGE
LUNA ROSSA (ITA-74) BEAT VICTORY CHALLENGE – DELTA 01:23
Luna Rossa entered the start box from the left hand side and opted to dial down as she headed towards Orn. As the boats met, Luna Rossa was able to cross the Swedes’ bow and both boats then headed out to the right hand side of the start box area. On the lead back to the line, Luna Rossa managed to control Orm from the leeward side. Although just one second separated the boats at the start, Luna Rossa was up to speed and on the pace as the starting gun fired. After the start, it was the Italians who managed to stay in phase with the shifty conditions up the first beat, to round the weather mark 43 seconds ahead. But by the first leeward mark rounding, Orm had reduced Luna Rossa’s lead to just 12 seconds and set a pattern for the next two rounds of the course. By the finish, despite some huge wind shifts during the last two legs, the positions remained the same with Luna Rossa ahead, although a last minute charge from the Swedes tightened the racing up towards the end. In the closing stages of the race, as the breeze dropped to around 6 knots, Orm performed a peel change but tore the asymmetrical spinnaker on the jumper struts and had to peel change once again.
ONEWORLD (USA-67) BEAT STARS & STRIPES (USA-77) – DELTA 01:50
Facing a shoreside protest from Team Dennis Conner, the Seattle Yacht Club’s OneWorld Challenge soundly defeated Stars & Stripes on the water to move within two victories of the semifinals. OneWorld took control of this match in the pre-start. The boats approached the line early with OneWorld to leeward of Stars & Stripes. OneWorld helmsman James Spithill forced his counterpart, Ken Read, to tack away to port. Too close to the line, Read was forced into a big dip to gain separation from the line. As the start gun sounded, OneWorld crossed the line with speed on starboard tack near the pin end while Stars & Stripes was tacking to starboard at the boat end in a downspeed maneuver. OneWorld held the advantage at the first crossing, riding port across Stars & Stripes’s course. From there OneWorld applied a tight cover and always seemed to be inside on the lifted tack. Stars & Stripes trailed by 42 seconds at the windward mark, but used a shift on the run to close to within 12 seconds around the leeward mark. Stars & Stripes initiated a tacking duel beginning the second beat, but OneWorld accelerated faster out of the turns and extended its lead. Spithill guided OneWorld around the windward mark with a 31-second lead. The delta became skewed on the last beat due to a large left-hand windshift.