Today marked the start of Round Robin Three of the Louis Vuitton Cup and now a victory is worth nine points. Only the top six teams will advance to the Semi-Finals so performance is critical in this round. Conditions were perfect for racing as the wind fluctuated from 10 – 18 knots, oscillating near South / Southwest, with flat water. The teams on the cusp of the Semi-Finals need to win early and today, Abracadabra was the only syndicate in that category to put a win on the board. The Hawaiians beat the Spanish, while France and Young America suffered critical defeats.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP ROUND ROBIN THREE, RACE 1
LUNA ROSSA BEAT YOUNG AMERICA 2 DELTA 00:23
Francesco de Angelis sailing Luna Rossa (ITA-48) found himself too early for the start and dangerously low on the layline to the buoy. He tacked onto port to recentre himself, and found Ed Baird right on his stern and perilously close. One last tack to starboard to try and wriggle away from a risky situation, a green flagged incident, but Young America (USA-58) won the favoured boat end as the start gun fired. One minute after the start the Italian boat tacked and crossed one boatlength behind the Americans. Baird and his team were comfortable with the left hand side of the course and pulled out some distance as the pair progressed up the first weather leg – Young America would eventually round 17 seconds ahead. The first run was even and the pair were only 20 seconds apart at the start of the second beat. Italian tactician Torben Grael called for a tack to the right and the Young America team chose not to cover. The pair separated considerably with Young America again hoping for the benefit on the left, but it didn’t come. Worse, the Italians had found some better pressure on the right and took control, rounding the second weather mark with a lead of 25 seconds. The pair stayed close on the run only for the Italians to gain more on the last beat. The final run saw the advantage move back to the American boat and they gained in better breeze. But the course wasn’t long enough and the Italians chalked up their first win in their second boat.
DATEN BEAT LE DÉFI DELTA 03:06
Bertrand Pacé sailing Le Défi (FRA-46) was late entering the start box, and Peter Gilmour jumped all over him. Sailing Idaten (JPN-52) for the first time, Gilmour pushed Pacé above the line in a dial up. As both boats fell off to reach back to the line, Gilmour established a leeward position, and again luffed Pacé head to wind. The Japanese were able to fall off first, and reach around the committee boat to cross the start line two seconds ahead a lead Gilmour would never relinquish. Pacé fell further behind on an early left shift and rounded the top mark 31 seconds back. Le Défi showed speed on the first run and Pacé gained five seconds but then gave up time on each of the following legs. Gilmour collects an important nine points early in Round Robin Three to cement his position in the top six.
STARS & STRIPES BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA 01:14
Stars & Stripes (USA-55) steered by Ken Read beat Young Australia (AUS-31) to the start line. Read was to leeward and one second ahead of Spithill with both boats on starboard tack. One minute and thirty seconds after the start Stars & Stripes squeezed out the Australians to tack away to port. The first two shifts went to Stars & Stripes and the Americans went around the top mark 38 seconds ahead. On the run Spithill sailed smarter and gained some but the next beat Stars & Stripes extended its lead again and finally finished more than one minute ahead. On three occasions the Y-flag went up during the pre-start. Read had to keep clear and Spithill had to give him room to do so. All three incidents were green flagged by the umpires.
ABRACADABRA BEAT BRAVO ESPAÑA DELTA 00:27
Abracadabra pulled a new boat out of the shed (USA-50) and sailed to an important win over Spain’s Bravo España (ESP-47). Both teams are in a desperat