Plus, the pretenders and the boat benders in Louis Vuitton Flight 6 & 7. Matthew Sheahan reports

 They may still have to go head to head with the Kiwis, but BMW Oracle Racing proved once again just how powerful they are with their so far unblemished 6-0 record. True, they only had one race today, taking a bye earlier in the day, but in their performance against Areva in the second flight of the day they drove a decisive win home against their French opponents and made it clear just how powerful they are.

Elsewhere on the race course the excitement came once again with Shosholoza. In the first match of the day the South Africans lost to Emirates Team New Zealand, hardly surprising perhaps, a few days earlier South African navigator Mark Largesse had said that the only boat they really feared was the Kiwis. Clearly with good reason. Although the match was close up the first beat, the Kiwis despatched the South Africans on the first downwind leg sailing deeper and faster to haul out a comfortable lead.

In their second match of the day the South Africans were squaring up to the Spanish. Since the South Africans found their new form and confidence, this was always going to be an important race between two middle ranked teams looking for a place in the semi finals. The Spanish, as capable of an impressive performance as there are a fumbling defeat, were forced to chase Shosholoza up the first beat in a race that promised to be very tight indeed.

At the weather mark a less than slick hoist, after having to stay high after their rounding in order to stop the Spanish climbing over their weather, appeared to make the kite set harder work than it should have been. The result was that Desafio Espanol got inside them and worked the slim advantage perfectly down to the bottom mark to take the lead.

Yet no sooner had the Spanish pulled out in front than they had a fright themselves as one of their crew went over the side as they rounded the leeward mark. Fortunately he was holding onto the spinnaker head which someone else grabbed hold of as he floated by, pulling him back aboard. A narrow escape.

Once in front the Spanish lit the afterburners and scorched around the track to a comfortable win.

Elsewhere on the course there were tales of breakdowns including a broken trim tab on Plus 39 during a match against Luna Rossa that had previously been very tight indeed. There was a broken finger aboard team China and then, in the second race, a loud bang, the source of which couldn’t be identified. Fearing the potential for the worst the Chinese team retired and limped home to investigate.

For those that have sailed one of these boats, the normal noises and the loads that accompany them are frightening enough, yet the crew soon get used to them. To see the TV footage of the crew jump after this minor explosion shows just how loud the bang must have been. For any mere mortal a trip to the laundry would have been in order later on.

The other near drama on the race course was when the breeze shut off on the north course as if someone had closed a door at the weather mark, while on the south course, just eight miles away the breeze hit 18 knots for most of the second race.

And to think that after Alinghi’s comprehensive briefing and explanation this morning we thought we were starting to understand the issues that drives the weather around Valencia. Time for another re-think.



Luna Rossa BEAT Areva
Victory Challenge BEAT Plus 39
Desafio Espanol BEAT China Team
Mascalzone Latino BEAT United Internet Team Germany
Emirates Team New Zealand BEAT Team Shosholoza


BMW Oracle Racing BEAT Areva
Luna Rossa BEAT Plus 39
Emirates Team New Zealand BEAT United Internet Team Germany
Mascalzone Latino BEAT China Team (Retired)
Desafio Espanol BEAT Team Shosholoza

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