Emirates Team New Zealand came within one second of elimination from the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta
Throughout the event there has been one team that has impressed consistently. Mascalzone Latino, skippered by Gavin Brady has excelled in a wide range of conditions and managed to fight themselves to the front of the fleet time and again. Thursday’s semi final best of three match against Artemis saw them excel once again, beating the Swedes, led by Paul Cayard 2-1. The result sees Brady’s team go through to the final.
Paul Cayard, skipper of Artemis, was philosophical about his team’s dismissal. “We’re assembling a new team here, and we’ve got a lot of America’s Cup experience on board, and we need to get that all glued together,” he said. “We made a huge step forward here in Auckland, and we’re really happy with how we sailed.”
By the end of play on Friday and after attempting to get the final race of the match between Francesco Bruni’s Azzurra and Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand under way, the race was abandoned at 7.15pm as the light and breeze faded. With both boats on one win, Friday’s race will now be a sudden death match.
Friday had ended with the Kiwis taking their win in the second match by just one second after having to offload a penalty at the finish. The last time they were involved in a finish like this saw their 32nd Americas Cup dream disappear as Alinghi crossed the line with just 2 seconds to spare.
Although this isn’t the America’s Cup, there is plenty of pressure for Barker and his team to deliver the goods. The most experienced team in the event by far and playing at home, dropping out of the finals would be a big disappointment. But Barker has proved that he can handle the pressure. Shortly before the Louis Vuitton Trophy started he scraped into the semi-finals of in the Omega Auckland Match Racing regatta by the skin of his teeth only to go on and beat his former team mate Ben Ainslie to win the event.
Ray Davies, tactician for Emirates Team New Zealand described the penalty before the start that almost cost them their second race against Azzurra as “a bit of an unforced one.” He said, “we were in a real strong position, and we looked to gybe with them, but as they gybed, our jib just hit their sticks (wands) as we bore away. We were able to keep control of the start. It was a bit of a trade off.
According to Davies, on their approach to the finish, the Kiwis had a 135-metre lead but needed a margin of 134 metres to pull off the penalty turn.
“That would be our absolute limit,” he said. “We couldn’t have done it with any less. It’s always pretty hard to slow down and try to do that. We talked about it at the top mark and we thought we were rounding in quite good pressure with a chance to extend, which we did. We sailed really good from there on.”
SEMI FINAL RACE SUMMARIES
Race One: Mascalzone Latino Audi def. Artemis, 00:11 – Trailing all the first leg after losing the start, Gavin Brady and Mascalzone Latino Audi, rode a big right wind shift into the lead as they closed the top mark. Paul Cayard’s Swedish Artemis took the fight back to the Italians on the first run, pressing bow to stern into the gate, but ML Audi overcame a messy chute takedown to lead the rest of the way. “It was a split breeze up there,” said Cayard who had benefitted from left shifts throughout the beat. “He had a lot more rightie than we did. It’s hard to do two tacks in 25 seconds in these boats so you’ve got to live it out. We’ve been living and dying by the shifts all week. All the teams have and so far it’s worked good for us but, you know, we lost one.”
Race Two: Azzurra def. Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:18 – The host team sailed a brilliant first leg, winning the start and controlling Italy’s Azzurra through a punishing 18-tack duel on the 1.3-mile leg that took both boats above the mark. Emirates Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies had the scenario planned as they got closer. “We’re gonna park it up here,” he said. Park it they did, and in the subsequent head to wind luffing match the Italians were penalized for failing to keep clear. Emirates led around the top mark by 21 seconds but Azzurra came at them again. Francesco Bruni tacked hard around the leeward mark and got out to the left of Kiwi skipper Dean Barker and into an advantageous left shift that put him ahead. Closing the weather mark, Bruni had a 200 metre lead and the margin for a 360 degree turn that cancelled his penalty. The Italians still led by 26 seconds at the top mark and were never seriously threatened.
Race Three: Artemis def. Mascalzone Latino, 00:21 – Pushed over the line early by Hutchinson on Artemis, Brady was forced to restart and trailed by nearly five boat lengths just minutes after the start. Hutchinson had pounced with just 30 seconds remaining in the pre-start. Both boats were leading in on parallel starboard tack courses with plenty of separation when Artemis bore off and hooked under ML Audi pushing them up and over the line. Hutchinson hit the line at the gun, with speed, while Brady went back. Artemis was out to a five boat-length lead and never surrendered it.
Race Four: Mascalzone Latino def Artemis, 00:24 – It was pay-back time for Brady in this pre-start. Thirty seconds before the gun, he risked a close quarter tack on port, before tacking back onto starboard and squeezing Hutchinson above the starboard layline. Artemis tacked away and the umpires flew a blue penalty flag for failing to keep clear. From out to the right of the committee boat, Mascalzone Latino Audi led back in, a boat length and a half clear ahead and with the penalty advantage. On the run, a gybe set by Artemis put her on the right side of the course downwind and Hutchinson drew level, only for Brady to again hold him out above the leeward mark. Artemis got to the mark with a 270 deg. turn that negated the penalty but the third mark delta was 34 seconds and ML Audi had her berth in the finals.
Race Five: Emirates Team New Zealand def. Azzurra, 00:01 – Saddled with a penalty before the start and facing elimination from the series, the host team sailed out to a 135 metre lead over four legs and nailed a heart-stopping victory by one second as they completed a turn to offset it. After a relatively sedate dialup, Azzurra ran off deep into the start box on port and as she rounded up, Emirates Team New Zealand turned inside her with protest flag flying. It was green flagged. Azzurra bore off, Emirates turned to follow and her bow touched the safety wand on Azzurra’s stern. The umpire’s flag went up. Beginning the beat, the Kiwi boat crossed ahead of the Italians on port with about eight metres clearance and then slowly extended over the following legs.
HOW TO WATCH
**NEW**Virtual Eye animation now available – New graphics, great views and easy to use. Note: this is still in Beta mode CLICK HERE Also includes interactive Twitter.
Once the animation starts the graphics for the land loads a little later. Also note that there is no audio commentary with this viewer.
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 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