Race Day 4 - 22 October, 1999, Full Report
Fresh Southwesterly breezes of 15-19 knots, somewhat reminiscent of Fremantle conditions in 1986-87, made for lively racing today on the Louis Vuitton Cup courses. Italy’s Luna Rossa prevailed in a pitched battle with AmericaOne. The Italians decisively won the start but surrendered the lead with two spinnaker failures. Then they put the Americans under pressure and retook the lead 300 metres from the finish when the American boat’s spinnaker shredded. The Australians made a spirited but unsuccessful bid against Spain while Dawn Riley’s America True knocked out fellow American challenger Stars & Stripes.
BRAVO ESPANA BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA – DELTA 00:37
Bravo España (ESP 47) versus Young Australia (AUS-29) was postponed while the Spanish boat replaced a broken batten. When they got underway, helmsman Luis Doreste on Bravo España won the start, just a bit ahead and to leeward of James Spithill. On the first beat the Australians got some separation to the right. A right shift enabled Spithill to take the lead. The Aussies led by 23 seconds at the first mark. On the run Doreste sailed deeper for a while, closing the gap before he rolled the 1995 vintage Australian boat.
AMERICA TRUE BEAT STARS & STRIPES – DELTA 00:41
America True (USA-51) won this race on the first beat upwind. The boats dragged out to the left side of the course, and after a short tacking duel up the left, Dawn Riley simply sailed away from Ken Read aboard Stars & Stripes (USA-55). America True could point higher while sailing at the same speed and had a 22 second lead at the windward mark. The America True team added a little to its lead each leg. The win moves America True into a mid-fleet tie with Team Dennis Connor – both syndicates have three points.
ASURA BEAT LE DÉFI – DELTA 1:53
Asura (JPN-44) had a great start, 17 seconds ahead of Le Défi (FRA-46). Peter Gilmour out-manoeuvred the French at the start, forcing Bertrand Pacé out to the right of the committee boat. This is the second time in three starts that Pacé has been trapped here. The first downwind leg allowed the French to gain 15 seconds when Nippon did not cover, but from there onwards, Nippon covered the French and extended its lead. This is the third win for Nippon in the first Round Robin.
YOUNG AMERICA BEAT ABRACADABRA 2000 – DELTA 01:24
Ed Baird dominated John Kolius in the pre-start. Baird positioned Young America (USA-53) directly upwind of Abracadabra (USA-50) and in the tacking flurry, while Abracadabra tried to shake free, both boats started really late, with the New Yorkers well ahead. Abracadabra 2000 headed away to the right to gain some separation laterally and then tacked back for a long drag out to the left-hand side of the course. The black boat showed superior speed upwind to increase its lead, rounding 38 seconds ahead. Abracadabra gained 14 seconds on the first run only to lose a whole minute on the next windward leg. The pace settled down after that and Young America was never challenged again.
LUNA ROSSA BEAT AMERICAONE – DELTA 00:17
This was billed as the match of the day between two unbeaten rivals and it lived up to expectations. Luna Rossa (ITA-45) controlled AmericaOne (USA-49) at the start, shutting the Americans out at the committee boat just before the gun. First advantage to Francesco de Angelis. The Italian boat dominated the first leg with superior boatspeed but lost the lead with two spinnaker failures on the first run. Paul Cayard protected the left on the second beat. AmericaOne was slow to set its spinnaker at the second weather mark and de Angelis attacked. The Italians were closing on the run when Cayard’s spinnaker blew out about 300 metres before the finish. Luna Rossa retook the lead and continues the series undefeated.