FRUSTRATION ON THE HAURAKI GULF AS PRADA AND ALINGHI EXTEND WINNING STREAKS
Squalls streaking across the Hauraki Gulf meant a two-hour postponement on both race courses before action resumed on the shorter, 12.5 mile Course B.
Once racing got underway, frustration soon set in as the wind died and massive wind shifts gave fits to tacticians, sailors and Race Officers alike.
Leg time limits saved OneWorld and Victory Challenge who were losing their matches when the leading boats ran out of time to cross the finish line. Luna Rossa and Alinghi beat the clock however, and both scored their fourth point in four outings in Round Robin Two.
All Flight Six matches were postponed without starting.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP ROUND ROBIN TWO, RACE DAY FOUR
LUNA ROSSA (ITA-74) BEAT MASCALZONE LATINO (ITA-72) – DELTA 01:42
A spinnaker wrap on the second half of the last leg cost Mascalzone Latino her race against Prada. The second helping of the Italian derby was a close affair from the start. As the boats entered the box, Mascalzone Latino took a dash for the right hand side, choosing a dial down to get across Luna Rossa’s bow. Little happened in the push and shove that followed, other than to split both boats at the start with Mascalzone Latino taking the right and Luna Rossa the left. As the pair tracked up the first beat it was the right hand side that paid as the breeze swung hard to the right. Mascalzone Latino rounded the windward mark ahead by 32-seconds before stretching her lead to 58 seconds by the bottom mark. But on the second windward leg the breeze swung hard left and their 200m lead evaporated. Mascalzone Latino hung on, to round the weather mark 6 seconds ahead. In the last third of the final run, and having pulled out a reasonable lead, Mascalzone Latino wrapped her kite in a gybe and Prada rolled straight through. Mascalzone Latino never recovered and Prada won by 1min 42 sec, a margin that betrayed what had been a very close race indeed.
ORM (SWE-73) VS. USA-76 – RACING ABANDONED
USA-76, helmed by Peter Holmberg, was the aggressor right from the outset, harrying Orm and skipper Jesper Bank throughout the pre-start and eventually forcing the Swedes into a premature start. Nevertheless Victory Challenge kept the racing close in the first two legs. Then, in a dying breeze, USA-76 hooked into a significant windshift and within minutes had opened up a very big lead. In the end, however, the clock won and the race was abandoned when the yachts failed to complete the final leg within the 45-minute time limit.
ONEWORLD (USA-67) VS. STARS & STRIPES (USA-66) – RACING ABANDONED
Probably the craziest match of the Louis Vuitton Cup was abandoned on the final run within one mile of the finish when the 45-minute leg time limit expired with Stars & Stripes leading OneWorld’s USA-67. Up to that point Ken Read and Stars & Stripes alternately trailed, led and trailed James Spithill and USA-67 as the wind shifted up to 70 degrees after the start. The Race Committee attempted to re-align the course but found that the new leeward mark position was in the middle of a rocky outcrop. In reacting to this a new leeward mark position was established with a mark boat. OneWorld was forced to beat upwind to reach the new mark. Stars & Stripes simply hardened up with its genoa to take the lead and held it until the time limit expired. It might have been the best outcome for the match as both boats were flying red protest flags over the incidents of the first run.
ALINGHI (SUI-64) BEAT WIGHT LIGHTNING (GBR-70) – DELTA 07:45
An exciting pre-start saw a split start, with Andy Beadsworth steering Wight Lightning fighting for the pin-end, whilst Russell Coutts on Alinghi, made a late switch for the Committee Boat end. With a big shower cloud passing to the north of the race course, giving a persistent right-hand shift, Alinghi on the favoured side was able to make a huge gain to lead by 1:42 at the first mark. Wight Lightning ended up on the outside of the shift and ended up sailing the first beat without having to tack. As the wind continued to shift then drop, the Race Officer struggled to reconfigure the course and had to lay the leeward mark close to Orarapa Island. Alinghi was able to extend in the light conditions to nearly a mile ahead and just made it across the finish line less than two minutes before the leg time-limit expired.