Outstanding! Close Racing, Penalty Turns, and Breakdowns
The Louis Vuitton Cup continues to provide thrilling match race action as Round Robin Three kicks into gear. The results are critical now, wins are worth nine points.
The Nippon Challenge solidified a strong position for the Semi-Finals with a big win against Young America. The loss drops Young America to eighth place on the points table.
The Japanese threw two penalties onto Young America and went on to win by over four minutes.
The Swiss FAST 2000 camp suffered what might just be the deathblow. be hAPpy broke its mast, the team doesn't have a spare and is unlikely to find the money to arrange a replacement.
The Prada Challenge continues to shine, with a win over Le Défi, but the French really made them work for it. Luna Rossa crossed ahead despite having to complete a penalty turn before the finish. America True and AmericaOne both won, and are solid in the top six.
Conditions were at the upper wind range limit for Louis Vuitton Cup racing. The wind was blowing at least 16-18 knots at all times, gusting upwards of 20 knots from the Southwest.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP ROUND - ROBIN THREE, RACE 2
BRAVO ESPAÑA WINS - BE
The Spanish boat (ESP-47), sailed by Luis Doreste, won the start and the right hand side of the course to keep control over the Swiss boat, be hAPpy (SUI-59). Doreste kept the boat on the favoured right and extended to round the first mark with a 53-second lead. The Swiss boat showed slightly better speed downwind and equal speed on the two legs before losing its mast over the side on the last windward leg when the spar broke. Bravo España continued on around the course to collect nine useful points.
IDATEN BEAT YOUNG AMERICA - 04:55
Ed Baird sailing Young America (USA-53) beat his opponent into the starting box and took early control before the gun. But Peter Gilmour at the helm of Idaten (JPN-52) was able to break clear after a couple of minutes.
Gilmour seemed reluctant to engage before the start and, at the gun, trailed the Americans over the line by more than a boat length. But, carrying a bigger jib, Idaten claimed the favoured right-hand side and had the lead after two short tacks.
A long starboard tack drag race with the boats half a length apart eventually saw Idaten tack away.
Young America went on the attack, only to be penalised in a subsequent exchange for tacking too close. Japan led around the first mark and extended on two subsequent legs to draw level to leeward half way down the run.
In a high-risk attempt to unload their penalty turn and wrest the lead from Idaten, the Americans forced the Japanese boat to the wrong side of the mark and below it.
In the following sequence that involved six protests (five of them green-flagged), Young America picked up a second penalty for not sailing a proper course. The Americans were obliged to take one penalty immediately. In the ensuing mess, they momentarily lost control, rounding up above head to wind, as Idaten streaked off on the weather leg. Idaten led the way home through an uneventful beat and run, finishing 1,200 metres in front of Young America.
A red flag protest by the Americans for interference from a photo boat on the course at the fourth mark was subsequently withdrawn.
AMERICAONE BEAT ABRACADABRA 2000 -DELTA
AmericaOne (USA-49) had a fortuitous start and forced Abracadabra (USA-54) above and to windward of the starboard tack layline to the committee boat just before the start. Abracadabra was seven seconds behind and astern of AmericaOne on the start line. Kolius's team tacked straight away.
Cayard gained some more on the first small left-hand shift and crossed clear ahead, taking the right side and gaining on the next shift to the right. After that Cayard bounced Abracadabra away to the left three times, defending the right with success. AmericaOne extended its lead to 41 seconds at the first top mark. After that Abracadabra never threatened Cayard's team again.
AMERICA TRUE BEAT STARS
& STRIPES - DELTA 00:30
The race was delayed for 45 minutes to allow America True to repair its broken boom vang. This match was a true battle, with the biggest lead being a slender 35-second delta at the second windward mark.
Ken Read, helming Stars & Stripes (USA-55) was nearly able to keep John Cutler on America True (USA-51) above the layline at the committee boat end.
But Read was a little early, and couldn't hold a luffing position at the line, and Cutler was able to reach down to cross the start line with good speed.
The America True afterguard pressed the start line advantage by choosing correctly on the wind oscillations and gaining a little on most of the crosses.
Read fought to break cover and pick his own shifts, but Cutler only left him alone when the America True camp was sure of the shifts. The only real threat came on the final downwind leg when America True shredded a spinnaker, but a replacement was quickly hoisted, and Cutler held his lead to the finish.
LUNA ROSSA BEAT LE DÉFI FRANCAIS - DELTA
Bertrand Pacé on Le Défi (FRA-46) got off to a great start leading Francesco de Angelis on Luna Rossa (ITA-48) off the line with good boat speed and in clear air at the committee boat.
Midway up the beat, the Italians had climbed back in to it but at the top mark, Luna Rossa coming into the mark on port failed to keep clear of the French, with a penalty resulting.
For the rest of the
race the French managed to remain in touch with the
Italians, even showing better speed downwind at times. Luna
Rossa was in control on the next beat, leading the French
out past the layline and then gaining as the wind shifted
left and it was follow-the-leader into the top mark.
On the next downwind leg, the two boats really mixed it up, with 14 protests -
half from each team -- all green flagged.
The Italian boat gained comfortably on the final beat, which it needed to assure the time needed to complete a penalty turn. On the final run to the finish, with the breeze fresh at 22 knots, Le Défi pressed Luna Rossa and made some gains, but then lost control of the boat in a gybe, dumping their spinnaker pole into the water, breaking it in half, and effectively ending its chances of catching up.
The Italians doused their spinnaker well ahead of the finish, completing their penalty turn in about 30 seconds and going on to cross the line with plenty of room to spare.
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