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Americas Cup - Twas Another Strange Day's Sailing

Another Strange Day:

Thursday's racing started under heavy conditions, the wind blowing from the North at near 20 knots, the seas heavy with a two metre swell. What followed was a day of postponements, withdrawals, penalties and an outstanding display of aggressive match racing between Asura and America True. In other words, it was just another exciting day at the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Other Atlantic Course races featured big deltas on wins by Luna Rossa and AmericaOne.

On the Pacific Course, races were postponed twice due to wind conditions in excess of the Conditions of Race. When racing started, Young America could not hoist a mainsail and sailed once around the course before retiring, its red protest flag prominent on the stern. We are still waiting for the team to file its protest. In the other match Bravo España just needed to sail the course alone to collect four points after the Swiss boat be hAPpy did not start.


LOUIS VUITTON CUP ROUND ROBIN TWO, RACE 10
AMERICAONE BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA - DELTA 05:39
AmericaOne (USA-49) forced James Spithill on Young Australia (AUS-31) to the right of the starboard tack lay line, above the committee boat to win the pre-start and cross the line 13 seconds ahead. The wind shifted right by quite a margin on the first beat. Paul Cayard on AmericaOne defended the right but the Australians did a good job hanging on. The delta was 33 seconds at the top mark. With the wind far right, the run became a reach to the bottom mark. Young Australia sailed past that mark with its spinnaker up and took some time to solve the problem. The delta grew to more than three minutes before Spithill was sailing upwind again. The next two runs AmericaOne sailed away to finish first.

LUNA ROSSA BEAT LE DÉFI - DELTA 03:49
Bertrand Pacé sailing Le Défi (FRA-46) lost out before the gun in the battle for the left, but succeeded in accelerating away from the line faster than Francesco de Angelis at the helm of Luna Rossa (ITA-45). Both boats pounded into big seas as they fought for control. But the Frenchman's glory was short-lived. Less than two minutes after the start, de Angelis had poked his nose into clear air and forced Le Défi away. Five minutes into the match they came back on opposite tacks and the Italian on port was able to cross and tack clear ahead. On the next meeting, de Angelis crossed three boat lengths ahead, took control of the right-hand side of the course and sailed steadily away, gaining on every leg, especially the beats. Luna Rossa finished over a kilometre ahead of the French.

AMERICA TRUE BEAT ASURA - DELTA 00:12
Rough water and strong winds saw aggression and violence in the pre-start box. Peter Gilmour sailing Asura (JPN-44), chased America True (USA-51) sailed by John Cutler through the full array of rules situations. Asura forced a penalty on America True, which led off the line with such a clear advantage the Umpires gave the Americans another penalty which had to be taken straight away. The two headed off the line separated by the distance of a penalty turn. Straight away Nippon showed to be the slower boat and America True pointed higher to benefit from the better position relative to a right hand shift. Nippon led around the first weather mark by 37 seconds. America True gained just five seconds on the first downwind leg and the distance at the top of the second beat was fairly similar. The second run saw both boats gybe early and America True set an asymmetric spinnaker and roar up to take another 14 seconds off the leader. The last weather leg sailed in lighter and lighter winds saw America True take off. Nippon failed to cover and America True, obviously faster, was allowed to sail away and pass its opponent three-quarters of the way up the leg and round with a 28 second lead. In just 10-12 knots of breeze the pair set symmetrical spinnakers. America True still had a penalty to do and with Gilmour sailing faster the chance for Cutler to sting one back on his opponent was soon presented. Half-way down the run a flurry of gybes brought the boats to within metres of each other, and normally this would have been enough. Both boats had manoeuvered themselves beyond the layline to the finish and so headsails were prepared. With poles forward and Gilmour to weather, America True dropped its kite and started a series of luffs. Gilmour, still with his spinnaker set, had to stay high and couldn't avoid the luff that finally caused a collision. The Umpires gave Asura a penalty and Cutler had equalised - the penalties cancelled each other out. America True, now ahead, re-set their spinnaker and sailed unobstructed to the f


STARS & STRIPES WON, YOUNG AMERICA RETIRES
Ed Baird, skipper of Young America (USA-58) requested a delay to fix a problem that prevented the crew from using its mainsail. The request was granted, and then the delay was extended due to strong winds. When the Race Committee initiated a second start sequence, Ken Read, at the helm on Stars & Stripes (USA-55) asked for a short delay. Again, the wind was judged to be too strong and a delay was granted. When racing resumed a third time, Young America started its race against Stars & Stripes without a mainsail, the Young Americans crossing the start line flying a red protest flag off the stern. Ed Baird's crew tailed Stars & Stripes for one circuit of the course in hope of a major breakdown on Team Dennis Conner, before withdrawing from the race. Stars & Stripes sailed alone to collect four points.

BRAVO ESPAÑA WON, BE HAPPY DID NOT START
The other race on the Pacific course featured Spain's Bravo España (ESP-47) sailing alone, after the Swiss be hAPpy (SUI-59) announced it would not sail again in Round Robin Two. Pedro Campos and his Spanish team started without a mainsail, and sailed the course alone to collect four points.

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