Then sort it all out in the afternoon. An extraordinary day afloat for the last day of Louis Vuitton Act 8
It has taken all year to beat them, but in the last race of the last Act of match racing for the 2005 season, BMW Oracle beat Alinghi by the kind of margin you could pass a small town through. But amazingly, that wasn’t the top news of the day.
Instead, this was the second time that the previously invincible Swiss team had had to look at the transom of their competitors as they crossed the finish line. In the morning, it was K-Challenge who broke the run of 31 wins on the trot for Alinghi, a big story on any day and a huge morale booster for the French team and a result that saw them finish fifth overall, a massive improvement.
Sliding past Alinghi early in the race, K-Challenge lost their lead and then re-re-gained it, a dream ticket for Dawn Riley’s team.
“A big win like this helps any team mentally but especially one where the race is fought back and forth,” she said. “To win when the other team breaks down is one thing, but this kind of a win is definitely mentally very positive for the whole team.”
Minutes before that, many of us had made a note in our books that the match between Luna Rossa and BMW Oracle was the match of the day when the Italian team led the Americans by 300m throughout most of the race, lost it and then regained it on the final run to the finish.
Another upset was the Spanish team leading the Kiwis around by the nose in their match. What on earth was going on? On the previous day, skipper Dean Barker had looked despondent after racing, a loss here would surely plummet the team into despair. Yet once again, late on in the proceedings, Team New Zealand hauled themselves into the lead.
So, by the last match of the Act, all the careful paperwork and planning based on the sensible performance assumptions by some experienced Cup observers was thrown into the air with the possibility that Luna Rossa now had a chance to win the Act, so long as few unlikely results took place.
Yet the results still didn’t pan out like many thought.
In the second session of the day, the Kiwis commanded their race against Luna Rossa, K-Challenge walloped the Spanish and BMW Oracle destroyed Alinghi. But the final result was even more bizarre.
As the last gun went for the final race of Act 8, the big four sat on equal points, each having lost two matches. Yet in a bizarre twist and thanks to the tie breaking rules, the boat that had been forced to accept the biggest upset of the day, ended up winning the regatta overall.
On the face of it Alinghi have won once again, a boring and predictable result? Only if you hadn’t been watching the racing.
Elsewhere there may not have been showers of champagne at the end of the day, but for Shosholoza, three wins had hit their target and for me, this team has been the biggest improver of the event. Local team 39 managed to restore some confidence after they put a couple of points on the board, as did their fellow countrymen aboard Mascalzone Latino who also won today’s matches.
Once again, a clear cut day on paper that turned out to be anything but once it got underway.
With Act 8 racing complete, Act 9, the fleet racing will start on Friday 7 October.
****** RESULTS ******
ACT 8 OVERALL
1 – Alinghi
2 – Emirates Team New Zealand
3 – Luna Rossa
4 – BMW Oracle Racing
5 – K-Challenge
6 – Victory Challenge
7 – 39
8 – Desafio Espanol
9 – Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team
10 – Team Shosholoza
11 – United Internet Team Germany
12 – China Team
****** LIVE AUDIO ******
Follow the action live from Malmo as Richard Simmonds, Mark Covell, Andy Green and Matthew Sheahan report live from the course.
Broadcast starts at 12:15 local time (11:15 GMT)
To listen to the daily commentary and recorded highlights of the racing, log on to the official site at;
If you’re in town, listen on either;
VHF Ch60 – English or FM 89.6
VHF Ch62 – Italian or FM 102.0