Americas Cup Challenger Race Report Summaries
ABRACADABRA BEATS AMERICA TRUE IN CLOSE RACE
After two light air days, northerly winds welcomed the visiting challengers, building to 20 knots, and raising one-metre seas by the time racing had completed. The "big three" continued unbeaten. Race watchers will have to wait until tomorrow for a tie-breaker between Luna Rossa, AmericaOne, and Young America. Meawhile, today the FAST 2000 boat be hAPpy showed a much better turn of speed in the fresher conditions. The closest match of the day was between the American challengers Abracadabra and America True. In a tightly-contested race, Dawn Riley's San Francisco co-ed boat beat John Kolius' challenger from Hawaii.
LUNA ROSSA BEAT BRAVO ESPANA - DELTA 01:02
Bravo España (ESP-47) won the favoured end of the start line and both boats sailed out to the right side of the course, with Luna Rossa (ITA-45) to windward. The Italians gained on a windshift, and pressed their advantage up to the top mark. An intense tacking duel to the layline allowed the Italians to sit on Spain as they approached the mark, and de Angelis built on his lead. Bravo España looked to be the faster boat downwind, but Luna Rossa was never seriously threatened. Some spinnaker problems on the Italian boat on the final hoist allowed Spain back into the match, but Italy pressed on to win by 1:02.
STARS & STRIPES BEAT ASURA - DELTA 01:14
Some tight circling and then Stars & Stripes (USA-55) started at the committee end, while Asura (JPN-44) started at the pin. Advantage Dennis Conner, one second. Conner continued on starboard. Gilmour followed but was eventually forced away. When they crossed again, Conner on port tack cleared Gilmour's bow by about 20 feet. Breeze was 5 knots at 015 degrees at the start but went right and built to 15-knots. Conner established a comfortable margin and protected his lead when Asura, only one second behind at the leeward mark was penalized.
YOUNG AMERICA BEAT 6e SENS- DELTA 02.04
Young America (USA-53) raced with precision to totally dominate this race. However, the die was cast in the pre-start maneuvering when 6e Sens (FRA-46) was forced out above the committee by Young America with 30 seconds to go before the gun. 6e Sens tacked through the wind alongside the Committee Boat and skipper Bertrand Pace spun the boat like a top as he desperately tried to get back into the box and follow Young America across the line. 6e Sens hit a photographer boat in the process. Advantage to Young America at the start was 57 seconds. A commanding lead had been established by Young America and she was never put under pressure.
AMERICA TRUE BEAT ABRACADABRA 2000 - DELTA 00.26
In an exciting and close race America True (USA-51) beat Abracadabra 2000 (USA-54). The start of the race was dead even. Although the boats were evenly matched, the Hawaiian Team (delta 32 seconds) won the first upwind leg. On the run Kolius and his tactician Chris Larson did not cover when Cutler gybed. The San Francisco Yacht Club boat passed on the inside. From that moment on America True dominated this very close match race. At the bottom mark, the delta was only seven seconds in favour of America True. With a fake tack Aloha forced America True to the right. A tacking duel with more than 15 tacks followed with America True successfully defending the favoured right side. America True has been faster than its opponents on seven downwind legs out of eight.
YOUNG AUSTRALIA 2000 BEAT BE HAPPY - DELTA 00:12
Following a short delay due to low wind, YA2K (AUS-29) and be hAPpy (SUI-59) got off to an exciting race. During the pre-start YA2K out-manoeuvred the Swiss to gain a 29-second lead. YA2K expanded that lead to 1.13 seconds upwind. While the Swiss proved faster downwind, the Aussies played a smart leeward leg to stay ahead. More of the same followed on the next two legs with the Aussies re-establishing a firm lead of 1:19 seconds upwind and losing distance to the Swiss downwind. A gybing duel near the finish nearly cost Young Australia 2000 its first victory of the series, but the Aussies covered the Swiss to finish 12 seconds ahead.
AMERICAONE BEATS 6e SENS - DELTA 01:26
AmericaOne trailed the French 6e Sens over the start line, but was able to gain that distance back on a drag race out to the right. Paul Cayard's AmericaOne pointed higher, and sailed slightly faster than the French boat and led by 36 seconds at the top mark. 6e Sens gained a little downwind, but AmericaOne pulled away for the rest of the race. AmericaOne has now won all five races she's sailed.
ASURA BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA - DELTA 1:50
A delay on this course after the five-minute gun. Young Australia gets permission to replace her mainsail. The Cup newcomer James Spithill brushes with the Aussie master Peter Gilmour. Some tight circling, then Gilmour goes out beyond the committee boat and comes back on a timed run at the committee boat. Spithill is luffing on the line near the committee. He starts early and Gilmour hits the line at speed. Spithill restarts. Startline delta, 35 seconds. Asura pulls away in 15-17 knots of air. On the last spinnaker set, a crewman on Asura is hit by the pole and injured but the boat finishes the race.
BRAVO ESPAÑA BEAT ABRACADABRA 2000 - DELTA 0:43
A fairly tame start where the two boats sailed long out to the bottom of the start box and returned slowly to the line with the Spanish boat on the right. The Hawaiians bounced the Spanish over onto port just before the gun but this was the favoured side. The Spanish started at the biased end of the line and showed good upwind speed to pull out a 30 second lead at the first mark. The Hawaiian boat, faster downwind, managed to pull 12 seconds back but Luis Doreste maintained control of the race all the way to the end.
LUNA ROSSA BEAT AMERICA TRUE - DELTA 01.25
In the first race over 12 knots of wind, the Prada Challenge logged another win. The stylish grey and red boat helmed by Francesco de Angelis beat John Cutler and his men and women on America True. They controlled them in the pre start, won the start and stayed on top of things during the whole race. The boat speed of the Italians is good but they also sailed a strong tactical race. Torben Grael called the shifts correctly and the only thing the afterguard on America True could do was follow the Italians around the course.
STARS AND STRIPES BEAT FAST 2000 - DELTA 00.42.
Conner's boat suffered a broken halyard before the starting manoeuvres had begun so the start was delayed. When it actually got underway, Stars & Stripes crossed the line to windward of FAST 2000 and was never headed. The Swiss boat, although always behind, was not outclassed today as it had been in the past. Observation of the boat during manoeuvres showed two helmsman, one steering the bow rudder with the inner wheel to leeward, and one to windward with the outer wheel.