Official race reports
FICKLE WEATHER ON THE HAURAKI GULF SEES THREE MATCHES ABANDONED THROUGH LACK OF WIND
The Hauraki Gulf played more tricks on the competing yachts today, with massive switches in wind strength and direction playing havoc with the fortunes of the teams.
Three matches had to be abandoned when a lack of wind slowed the boats and they exceeded the 45-minute time limit for completing a leg of the course.
The only race to finish saw Prada’s Luna Rossa (ITA-74) racing the clock to inch across the line just minutes inside the time limit. For most of the race Prada trailed the Swedish Victory Challenge team, but took a big gamble out on the right side of the final beat. The Swedes failed to cover and paid the penalty, conceding the lead to the Italian team.
The abandoned races included the feature match between US heavyweights Oracle BMW Racing (USA-76) and OneWorld Challenge (USA-67), the match between Team Dennis Conner (USA-66) and le Défi ARÉVA (FRA-69) and the battle between GBR-Challenge (GBR-70) and Mascalzone Latino (ITA-72).
With several matches abandoned over the past two days, and a poor forecast for racing tomorrow, CORM and the Race Committee are examining their options for completing Round Robin One within the prescribed dates.
“For tomorrow we’re going forward as scheduled,” said Dyer Jones, Regatta Director. “The postponed matches from Flight 5 and Flight 6 will be sailed at a later date. We’re looking at the weather to decide whether we need to adjust the schedule and go with two races a day on the B course to complete the schedule in the number of allotted reserve and race days. We’ll meet with the teams and get their input and then make a decision over the next day or two.”
LOUIS VUITTON CUP ROUND ROBIN ONE, RACE ONE
STARS & STRIPES (USA-66) VS. LE DÉFI AREVA (FRA-69) – RACE ABANDONED
After several lead changes, Stars & Stripes claimed the lead in its match against Le Défi – only to see the race abandoned when they rounded the second windward mark 33 seconds outside the time limit.
ONEWORLD (USA-67) VS. ORACLE BMW RACING USA-76 – RACE ABANDONED
On the same course, OneWorld Challenge rounded the first windward mark one minute 16 seconds clear of USA-76 and then watched helpless as the trailing yacht closed the gap and sailed on by – gaining extra horsepower with a staysail set inside their gennaker. But, a massive wind hole lay ahead of both yachts. They stalled – and ran out of time.
LUNA ROSSA (ITA-74) BEAT ÖRN (SWE-63) – DELTA 02:35
It took two consecutive dial-ups for Örn with Jesper Bank at the wheel, to get over Luna Rossa’s bow and take the right hand side of the start line. The Italians then found themselves pushed and shoved towards the line with Örn shunting the pair up to the starting line for an early start. As they approached the line, Örn still had room to tack off onto port, dip, build speed and then wind up onto the line to cross on port tack. But Luna Rossa had enough room to do the same and by the time both boats had started, the Italian boat had a slight advantage.
Eventually Luna Rossa and skipper Francesco de Angelis were bounced off onto starboard and by the time both boats made it over to the port lay line, Örn was in a strong controlling position, holding Luna Rossa out beyond the layline. As both boats tacked back onto port, Örn led the pair into the mark for a 14 second advantage. After that, the racing remained close with the Italians gradually losing more distance on both upwind and downwind legs, albeit in small increments. But shortly after the second leeward mark rounding the Italians decided to go for the right hand corner of the beat. Apparently testing the water out to the right, they then came back to meet Örn in the middle of the course, but for the last time.
After tacking back onto port, Luna Rossa went hard out to the right hand side, picked up a shade more breeze and rounded the weather mark nearly four minutes ahead of Örn. The move was a bold gamble that paid off handsomely.
But it wasn’t over yet as the downwind leg turned into a nail biting race against the clock as well as against Örn. In the event, Luna Rossa crossed the finish line with just over four minutes to spare, with Örn finishing behind in the only match to be completed on the day.
WIGHT LIGHTNING (GBR-70) VS. MASCALZONE LATINO (ITA-72) – RACE ABANDONED
The Italian Mascalzone Latino crew led for two laps of their race against GBR-Challenge, but then lost control of the race as the British overtook on the second beat. In a dying breeze, the Italian crew fought back into the lead – only to be denied their first point of the regatta when their race was abandoned.