Spain - France - Young America - All Suffer Critical Defeats
The Americas Cup Louis Vuitton challenger series is now getting serious with international teams competing for nine points a win. Only the top six teams will advance to the semi-finals so performance is critical in this round.
Weather conditions were perfect for racing today as the wind fluctuated from 10 - 18 knots, oscillating near South - Southwest, with flat water.
The teams on the cusp of the Semi-Finals need to win early and today, Abracadabra was the only syndicate in that category to put a win on the board.
The Hawaiians beat the Spanish, while France and Young America suffered critical defeats.
Here are the race reports - who won - who lost - who sails against who -
LUNA ROSSA BEAT YOUNG AMERICA - DELTA
Italy's Prada team will be pleased with the win with the new yacht ITA48.
Skipper Francesco de Angelis sailing Luna Rossa (ITA-48) found himself too early for the start and dangerously low on the layline to the buoy.
He tacked onto port to recentre himself, and found Ed Baird right on his stern and perilously close. One last tack to starboard to try and wriggle away from a risky situation, a green flagged incident, but Young America (USA-58) won the favoured boat end as the start gun fired. One minute after the start the Italian boat tacked and crossed one boatlength behind the Americans.
Baird and his team were comfortable with the left hand side of the course and pulled out some distance as the pair progressed up the first weather leg - Young America would eventually round 17 seconds ahead. The first run was even and the pair were only 20 seconds apart at the start of the second beat.
Italian tactician Torben Grael called for a tack to the right and the Young America team chose not to cover. The pair separated considerably with Young America again hoping for the benefit on the left, but it didn't come.
Worse, the Italians had found some better pressure on the right and took control, rounding the second weather mark with a lead of 25 seconds. The pair stayed close on the run only for the Italians to gain more on the last beat.
The final run saw the advantage move back to the American boat and they gained in better breeze. But the course wasn't long enough and the Italians chalked up their first win in their second boat.
IDATEN BEAT LE
DÉFI - DELTA 03:06
Bertrand Pacé sailing Le Défi (FRA-46) was late entering the start box, and Peter Gilmour jumped all over him. Sailing Idaten (JPN-52) for the first time, Gilmour pushed Pacé above the line in a dial up.
As both boats fell off to reach back to the line, Gilmour established a leeward position, and again luffed Pacé head to wind. The Japanese were able to fall off first, and reach around the committee boat to cross the start line two seconds ahead - a lead Gilmour would never relinquish.
Pacé fell further behind on an early left shift and rounded the top mark 31 seconds back. Le Défi showed speed on the first run and Pacé gained five seconds but then gave up time on each of the following legs.
Gilmour collects an important nine points early in Round Robin Three to cement his position in the top six.
STARS & STRIPES
BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA - 01:14
Stars & Stripes (USA-55) steered by Ken Read beat Young Australia (AUS-31) to the start line.
Read was to leeward and one second ahead of Spithill with both boats on starboard tack. One minute and thirty seconds after the start Stars & Stripes squeezed out the Australians to tack away to port.
The first two shifts went to Stars & Stripes and the Americans went around the top mark 38 seconds ahead. On the run Spithill sailed smarter and gained some but the next beat Stars & Stripes extended its lead again and finally finished more than one minute ahead. On three occasions the Y-flag went up during the pre-start.
Read had to keep clear and Spithill had to give him room to do so. All three incidents were green flagged by the umpires.
ABRACADABRA BEAT BRAVO ESPAÑA -
Abracadabra pulled a new boat out of the shed (USA-50) and sailed to an important win over Spain's Bravo España (ESP-47).
Both teams are in a desperate struggle to jump into the top six and thus qualify for the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals and Abracadabra wins the important nine points.
Spain's Luis Doreste led Abracadabra out of the pre start dial up, before luffing to let the Americans pass. Abracadabra gybed first but the Spanish held a windward position as the boats dragged to the start line on starboard tack.
Spain crossed the start line first and the boats looked even dragging up the first windward leg. At the right layline, near the first weather mark, the Americans were able to fight off a Spanish luff, and tacked around the mark just six seconds ahead of the Spanish.
Abracadabra stretched that lead downwind and then pulled away a little more on the second lap of the course, before giving back 20 seconds on the final sprint to the finish.
AMERICAONE BEAT BE HAPPY - DELTA
The twin-foil Swiss boat be hAPpy (SUI-59) made a perfect start in her first race attempt today, despite a glancing collision with an umpire boat that left propeller scars down her starboard topsides.
But the race was abandoned to allow the Swiss time to assess the damage. AmericaOne (USA-49) got the better of the Swiss boat on the second start, leading at the gun by three seconds and about one and a half boat lengths.
American skipper Paul Cayard claimed the committee boat end of the line at the second start and sailed into a right hand shift that helped consolidate his lead.
The boats were even in speed and pointing ability on three weather legs.
The Swiss gained on the downwind legs, but gave it all away and more when mark rounding and tacking.