Nothing Is Certain On The Hauraki Gulf
Report is courtesy of www.louisvuittoncup.com
If anything is certain on the Hauraki Gulf it is that nothing is certain when it comes to racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Changeable winds, frolicking dolphins, collisions, crew overboard, and spinnaker slip-ups were all features of a lively day’s racing. Two races remain in Round Robin One and will be sailed tomorrow, Sunday.
There were light unsettled conditions on both Louis Vuitton Cup courses this morning after the passage of yesterday’s front.
One attempt to start was aborted, and both courses were delayed for 90 minutes before racing started in Southwesterly breezes, about 7-8 knots. The spectator fleet was the biggest yet, with over 100 boats.
The race of the day was a gripping duel between the two undefeated boats in the series. Although behind for the first three legs, Italy’s Luna Rossa stayed on the attack and overtook New York Yacht Club’s Young America after the American boat lost control of its spinnaker for a few minutes.
LE DÉFI WON, BE HAPPY DID NOT FINISH
Le Défi (FRA-46) led off the line at the pin end after a short circling duel with be hAPpy (SUI-59). The Swiss boat positioned on the French weather quarter and remained there, lifting gradually. Dolphins frolicked in the bow wave of the French boat. Be hAPpy was still getting the better of the French boat when the Swiss boat suffered structural failure in the bulkhead supporting the backstay chainplates. The Swiss withdrew and the French completed the course for one point.
ESPAÑA BEAT STARS & STRIPES – DELTA 01:08
Bravo España (ESP- 47) and Stars & Stripes (USA-55) got into a good circling duel before Stars & Stripes, in the leeward berth, led the Spanish boat over the line with both boats on starboard. Conner jammed up and Spain quickly tacked away, to be followed on port by Conner. The lead changed twice until Stars & Stripes had jib problems and sailed bareheaded for two minutes. Spain moved into the lead and was never threatened again.
AMERICA TRUE BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA
2000 – DELTA 01:16
Once again James Spithill, the young Australian skipper aboard Young Australia 2000 (AUS-29) demonstrated his match racing skills. He not only won the start from John Cutler on America True (USA-51) but also managed to give him a penalty. A port and starboard incident two minutes before the start resulted in a penalty on America True. Young Australia, in spite of a definite lack of speed, managed to keep the lead for two thirds of the first beat, before yielding to the more modern boat. America True sailed significantly faster, particularly downwind, managing to pull out a large enough lead to execute a penalty turn on the second windward leg without loosing the lead.
AMERICAONE BEAT ABRACADABRA – DELTA
AmericaOne (USA-49) beat Abracadabra (USA-54) soundly at the start, and held its lead the rest of the way. Paul Cayard was able to position his boat to windward of John Kolius about a minute before the start. He held that position through two quick tacks before the start, and crossed the line seven seconds ahead of the Hawaiian team. A mini tacking duel up the first leg saw AmericaOne pick the windshifts, and build a comfortable 1:11 lead at the top mark. Cayard was never threatened again, and maintained a one-minute lead into the final leeward leg.
BEAT YOUNG AMERICA – DELTA 00:10
Prada’s Luna Rossa (ITA-45) is still unbeaten. In an extremely close battle against Young America (USA-53), Luna Rossa finished only seconds ahead. Baird and his team were leading most of the race. They won the start by one boatlength. Young America then successfully defended the right side of the beat to gain from a consistent right hand shift. In the second beat they were even. Prada closed near the top mark. In the last run Young America’s spinnaker sheet came undone. Before the kite filled again the Italians were in the lead by a few metres. The American’s attacked with only inches between the boats but the Italians won the gybing battle to the finish line.
AMERICAONE BEAT STARS & STRIPES – DELTA 01:00
An exciting pre-start resulted in a penalty imposed against Stars & Stripes. Ken Read won the start and led away from the line. Cayard tacked away and Stars & Stripes followed. Cayard made a dummy tack, which Read swallowed, and the two boats separated. Read came back after about a minute but the lateral separation that Cayard had manufactured allowed him to turn on the speed and slowly move into the lead. AmericaOne rounded the first mark with a 14-second lead and controlled the situation downwind with superior speed and smart positioning. Although the race was relatively close the San Franciscans were never challenged again.
AMERICA TRUE WON, BE HAPPY DID NOT
Dawn Riley’s team from the San Francisco Yacht Club sailed around the course unchallenged after the Swiss boat be hAPpy failed to answer the warning signal for their race. The Swiss have reported that the runner support bulkhead separated from the hull during their first race today, due to the high loads associated with the boat’s unique design. Repairs will take three days. The Swiss have asked the Jury for redress on the remaining races.
YOUNG AMERICA BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA 2000 – DELTA
Young Aussie skipper James Spithill brushed vigorously with American Ed Baird in their pre-start circling duel. With seconds remaining to the start, Spithill pushed Baird to the right side of the start line before starting with speed on starboard tack at the pin. Baird did a quick tack and started on starboard, also at the gun, but with a fraction less speed. Any advantage the Aussies had was short-lived as Young America moved steadily away, displaying more speed upwind and downwind.
BRAVO ESPAŇA – DELTA 00:59
Peter Gilmour on Asura aggressively chased Bravo España in the pre start. The bow of Nippon hit Bravo España on the stern. Nippon had failed to stay clear astern and was penalised. There was significant damage on both boats. Following on that Gilmour forced the Spanish outside the starboard lay line for the committee boat. Gilmour controlled the Spanish on the first beat (delta 00.14). On the run Bravo España gained some distance but lost Antonio Payeras, the mast man, overboard. He was picked up by the chase boat and delivered back onboard on the next leg. Bravo España consequently collected a penalty. The penalties awarded to each boat cancelled each other out. Nippon did its turns. Bravo España flew a red flag protest against Nippon for the incident in the pre-start.
ABRACADABRA BEAT LE DÉFI – DELTA
Abracadabra held on to nip Le Défi in an entertaining race. Bertrand Pacé won the start for the French team. He followed the Americans and then broke for the line Abracadabra. Le Défi won the start by 10 seconds, and the boats split, with the French going right, and the Americans going left. Unfortunately for Pacé, the left side was favoured early. By the first cross, Abracadabra had gained the lead. Le Défi made a move on the first downwind, and gained an overlap, but Kolius won the inside at the leeward mark, Pacé gave him too much room, and rounded 11 seconds behind. Kolius covered the French on the last two legs and held on to win.