Carbon splinters, shreds of sail and a torn up contract make for a lively penultimate day at Act 6
There’s nothing quite like a resignation to get a day’s racing off to a sparky start as news of another senior crew member handing in his T-shirt and taking the one way walk down the pontoon spread around the AC park this morning. This time it was Gavin Brady, BMW Oracle’s former helmsman who had been shuffled further back in the boat to become tactician after Chris Dickson’s return to the wheel, who was the latest to leave the team. His departure follows that of John Kostecki a few weeks before and while the new line up appeared to be working to start with, this latest development does little to suggest that the team has found a new harmony within its ranks.
On the race course the action was pretty spicy too, with a needle match between the Americans and the Kiwis that saw the Kiwis suffer defeat on the route to victory when a jib sheet broke on the second beat and let the Americans through.
Up until then the match had been among the most intense modern Cup race many could remember with both boats throwing in tacks every 20 seconds up the windward legs as if climbing a rock face, inch by inch. To lose their hard earned position in the sailing equivalent of a blow-out must have been particularly galling, especially on the back of a loss yesterday to the Italian 39 team, slipping on a self made banana skin at the start. Losing to the Americans kissed goodbye to the Kiwis’ hopes of winning Act 6. That honour has now gone to Alinghi who win with a day to spare.
Here, victory was no walkover either, with an equally close match between the Swiss and Luna Rossa with the Italians succeeding in planting a penalty on Alinghi in a slam dunk tack up the first beat. To trail, carry a penalty and then get far enough ahead to off-load the black mark, demonstrates once again just how impressive the Swiss team is when their backs are up against the wall.
In the second flight of the day, Luna Rossa continued their fighting mood in their very close match with the Swedish Victory Challenge. With a slim lead at the top mark the Swedes looked threatening on the downhill slide, so much so that by the bottom of the leg James Spithill spun the wheel on Luna Rossa into an aggressive luff that left the Swedes with a broken spinnaker pole and a bill for a blown out kite.
Elsewhere, there were further sparks as the Chinese put one over on K-Challenge to put their first point on the board in Act 6. During the match one of the crew from the French team had to be taken off the boat after being injured.
Iain Percy’s 39 broke a headsail strop and conceded a point to the Spanish, but won their match against the Chinese while the South Africans continued their struggle with the toy box, failing to raise their mainsail beyond halfway for the first race of the day.
Cram all this into five hours afloat and there was little room for anything else.
Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 67) beat 39 Challenge (ITA 59), delta 3:22
China Team (CHN 69) beat K-Challenge (FRA 60), delta 1:09
United Internet Team Germany (GER 72) won, Team Shosholoza (RSA83) did not start
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA76) beat Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team (ITA77), delta 1:39
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 82) won, Victory Challenge (SWE 73) did not finish
Alinghi (SUI 75) beat Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 74), delta 0:25
39 Challenge (ITA 59) beat China Team (CHN 69), delta 2:05
Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 67) beat Team Shosholoza (RSA 83), delta 1:43
K-Challenge (FRA 60) beat United Internet Team Germany (GER 72), delta 0:47
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 76) beat Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 82), delta 0:24
Alinghi (SUI 75) beat Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team (ITA 77), delta 1:07
Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 74) beat Victory Challenge (SWE 73), delta 0:39
Malmö-Skåne Louis Vuitton Act 6 Points Leaderboard
BMW ORACLE Racing 9
Emirates Team New Zealand 8
Luna Rossa 8
Desafío Español 2007 5
39 Challenge 5
Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team 4
Victory Challenge 4
United Internet Team Germany 2
Team Shosholoza 1
China Team 1
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