French Win Sixth In A Row - Young America On The Brink
For the third day in row, the intrigue at the Louis Vuitton Cup concerned Young America and Le Défi. Both teams are fighting for the final berth in the Semi-Finals. On the Pacific Course, Young America's Ed Baird found himself on the wrong side of a significant shift early, and that really determined this race. America True went on to win quite easily.
On the Atlantic Course, Young Australia was able to throw a penalty on Le Défi on the first upwind. But, trailing close behind the French on the first leeward leg, the Australians' mainsail disintegrated and they had to retire.
The other races saw Abracadabra lose to Luna Rossa - the Hawaiians officially eliminated - Stars & Stripes beat AmericaOne, and Idaten sailed the course alone in a walkover race against the Swiss.
Both courses saw early squalls this morning, influencing the weather right up to race time. Racing was delayed briefly to deal with a shift that brought the wind from the Northwest to the West. The wind was up and down, gusting as high as 15 knots early, but most racing took place in lighter breeze around eight knots.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP - ROUND ROBIN THREE RACE 9
LE DÉFI WON, YOUNG
In an active pre-start that saw most of the action in the last minute, Spithill sailing Young Australia (AUS-31) made a desperate attempt to get to the right and won it. The French boat, Le Défi (FRA-46), sailed by Bertrand Pacé trailed off the line to the left of their adversary and the pair sailed one long starboard tack for three quarters of the way up the beat. On the right the Australian boat enjoyed being on the inside of a 15-degree shift, whilst the French showed better speed and hung in on the outside. Eventually Pacé tacked back to start a tacking duel.
On the second cross Spithill slam-dunked the French boat, which then sailed into an overlapped position and luffed up forcing Spithill to tack away. Much flag waving and, although the French took the lead on the water, the penalty went against them. Le Défi led around the weather mark by 18 seconds and the pair set symmetrical spinnakers. Half way down the leg the Australians' PBO mainsail split from leech to luff and their race was over. Le Défi executed its penalty turn and sailed on to win an important nine points.
AMERICA TRUE BEAT YOUNG - AMERICA - DELTA
In a crucial race for Young America (USA-58), it was John Cutler on America True (USA-51) who gained on the first big windshift. Both boats were fairly aggressive in the pre-start dial-up, but it was Cutler who led the way back to the line. Baird nearly won an early hook on Cutler, but America True escaped to start just to weather, both boats on starboard tack at the pin end of the line. Baird luffed hard just after the start, forcing America True to tack away, and this would prove fatal. America True tacked back inside Young America, and pulled away on a shift to the right, carrying a one minute, 15 second lead around the top mark. Baird gained a little downwind, but could never close within a minute of Cutler, who sailed on for the win, and into second place on the points table.
LUNA ROSSA BEAT
ABRACADABRA - DELTA 01:30
Abracadabra (USA-50) steered by Chris Larson won the start and the first half of the race today against Luna Rossa (ITA-48) skippered by Francesco de Angelis.
That was it. The Italians overtook on the second beat to continue their winning ways. With just over a minute to go in the starting sequence, Francesco de Angelis broke clear from Abracadabra and made tracks for the pin end of the line while the Hawaiians headed out below the Committee Boat to return on a fast, timed reach. Larson started four seconds in front, sailing into more pressure and an early lead. Abracadabra defended, not always comfortably, for the next two legs. A big split on the second run turned into a nail-biter, with the boats level pegging on opposite sides of the course, but Abracadabra still led by 30 seconds at the lee mark. Half way up the next weather leg, the Hawaiians let their opponent go again, this time with disastrous results. Italy found more pressure and a couple of shifts on the left side of the course and Abracadabra notched up another loss. With today's results the Abracadabra 2000 syndicate has now been eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup series.
STARS & STRIPES BEAT -
AMERICA ONE - DELTA 00:35
Gavin Brady, steering AmericaOne (USA-49) lost the start to Ken Read on Stars & Stripes (USA-55). Read was ahead and to leeward on the gun. AmericaOne tacked away to port. It took a while for AmericaOne to accelerate. In the mean time Stars & Stripes sailed away on starboard into a small lead before swapping sides, benefiting from better pressure to the right of AmericaOne. Stars & Stripes pulled away even further. AmericaOne came back on the last run but did not really threatened Ken Read. Stars & Stripes never let AmericaOne out of its sight by covering all the way to the finish.
IDATEN - WON, BE HAPPY DID NOT START
Idaten sailed the Atlantic Course alone, be hAPpy has withdrawn from the Louis Vuitton Cup.
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