Quarter Final Repechage - Final races
THE END OF THE ROAD FOR TEAM DENNIS CONNER AND VICTORY CHALLENGE ?
Racing started on time today, hastening the demise of ‘Mr. America’s Cup’, Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes squad, and the tenacious Victory Challenge, from Sweden. Following defeats on the water, both teams were eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup today, subject to protest.
Team Dennis Conner has protested OneWorld to the International Jury, alleging a breach of Rule 2 – Fair Sailing. In association with Prada, Team Dennis Conner has also brought a case against OneWorld before the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel. Decisions on these are expected before the start of the Semi Finals on December 9th.
The Seattle Yacht Club’s OneWorld Challenge, and the Italian Prada Challenge, representing the Yacht Club Punta Ala, now provisionally advance to the Semi-Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup where they will race each other beginning December 9th.
Facing elimination, the Swedish boat changed helmsmen today, handing the reins to Magnus Holmberg. But despite looking strong early, Victory Challenge trailed at every mark – the Italians were just too strong.
Team Dennis Conner elected to stick with the same sailing squad, and the result followed the pattern established earlier in this Repechage. OneWorld’s James Spithill got the better of Conner’s Ken Read on the start line, and went on to lead around the race course.
Conditions were good for racing today with 12 – 14 knot Northeasterlies gracing the race course. LOUIS VUITTON CUP QUARTER FINAL REPECHAGE
LUNA ROSSA (ITA-74) BEAT VICTORY CHALLENGE – DELTA 01:37 Luna Rossa wins best of seven Repechage 4 – 0.
The valiant Victory Challenge finally came to an end at the hands of an ever improving Prada team, led by Francesco de Angelis. Despite a change of helm with Magnus Holmberg stepping up to steer in place of Jesper Bank, Swedish fortunes did not change as Rod Davis did a great job as starting helm on Prada to win the start at the pin end. After a ‘dial up’ in the pre-start, Prada was able gain the initiative by accelerating away faster, whilst Orm was left wallowing in the water after the boat stalled, as it tried to pick up speed on port tack. Prada won the favoured left side and crossed the line at speed and swiftly tacked onto port to cover the Swedish boat. Initial gains on the right helped Orm to a slight lead but Prada kept its faith in the left and gained from a shift as it approached the port lay line and rounded the windward mark 15 seconds ahead. Holmberg guided Orm straight into a gybe set and Prada gybed to cover immediately. Thereafter Prada’s superior downwind speed prevailed and the Italian boat was able to slowly extend to get to round the leeward mark 26 seconds ahead. Disaster struck the Victory Challenge on the final beat when the genoa halyard shackle broke. The foredeck team on Orm were very quick to tackle the problem, but the breakage acted as the final ‘nail in the coffin’ as boat speed dropped by two knots until a repair was effected, leaving Prada to inexorably extend its lead and sail into the Semi Finals.
ONEWORLD (USA-67) BEAT STARS & STRIPES (USA-77) – DELTA 01:00 OneWorld wins best of seven Repechage 4 – 0.
Stars & Stripes helmsman Ken Read came out more aggressive in the pre-start today, hoping to gain an early advantage on OneWorld and stave off elimination. Although he controlled the early part of the 5-minute period, he broke off early and went for the pin end. But with plenty of time to line up for the start Stars & Stripes was late to the line near the pin end. OneWorld, too, was late to the line at the Committee Boat end. At the first convergence on the racecourse, Stars & Stripes lee-bowed OneWorld, sending USA-67’s James Spithill back to the right side. But a right shift gave OneWorld a slight advantage that they converted to a 20-second lead at the windward mark. Stars & Stripes hasn’t been far off the pace speed-wise, and kept the pressure on OneWorld. They gained precious seconds on each of the next three legs until OneWorld sailed a solid final beat to boost its advantage back to 21-seconds rounding the final windward mark. Then Stars & Stripes did themselves in when their spinnaker grazed the windward mark as it was hoisted for the last time. Stars & Stripes’s requisite penalty inflated OneWorld’s delta.