Double Victory For Victory - Two Chances Left
Press Release 42 - Thursday 14 November, Auckland
Double victory for Victory - two chances left for LE DEFI AREVA
A great start for LE DEFI AREVA today in their second match against the Swedish Victory Challenge was not enough to put the French team ahead. Just like yesterday, the Swedes took an early lead which they gradually extended over the course of today’s three-round match. FRA 69 came home 1.10 minutes behind Örm SWE 73.
The approach to the start line was extremely close, with the SWE 73 tacking twice at the committee boat end of the line before following FRA 69 up the left hand side of Course Romeo.
The French chased Örm up to the top mark, tacking 13 times in an effort to minimise the Swedish advantage but SWE 73 had already established a comfortable lead of three to four boatlengths. The Swedes rounded the windward mark with an advantage of 17 seconds, and headed down the left hand side of the course with the French team trailing by 110m.
"We had an excellent start today", says navigator Philippe Mourniac. "Philippe [Presti] helmed well and maintained good boatspeed in the leeward position. We held onto a slight advantage for the first part of the leg but we couldn’t compound the good work and the Swedes overtook us before rounding the first mark. We looked better today, but unfortunately, so did they!"
With their kite set, LE DEFI AREVA hounded Victory down the initial downwind leg - at one stage, reducing the advantage to two boatlengths. But Örm – Swedish for serpent (and aptly named) – was well ahead and played the wind to maximum effect, increasing its lead over FRA 69 to 190m and its delta to 39 seconds at the second mark.
The French managed to regain some ground on the third leg, but the Swedes were again faultless in their boat handling today leaving no room for manoeuvre. FRA 69 rounded the halfway mark 33 seconds behind the black boat.
A big windshift on the second downwind leg saw the French team falter, the Swedes immediately increasing their lead to 300m. SWE 73 rounded the fourth mark 1.07 minutes ahead of FRA 69, increasing that by another 5 seconds at the penultimate mark.
Pierre Mas, Sailing Manager of LE DEFI AREVA, is satisfied with the team’s performance today. "There was definitely onboard performance progress – even since yesterday. The windshifts were more difficult today but the Swedes were just as solid. But that’s not to say they’re unbeatable. We just have to keep working to improve our performance for the next two big matches."
It was a game of follow-the-leader to the final mark, the French unable to do anything to make up the time and the distance lost over the course of three rounds. Trailing Örm by up to 430m for the last downwind leg, LE DEFI AREVA finished the second match of the Quarter Finals 1.10 minutes behind Victory Challenge.
Other results from today’s racing: Stars & Stripes (USA 77) beat GBR (GBR 70) by 1.17 minutes; Alinghi (SUI 64) beat Prada (ITA 74) by 0.08 seconds and Oracle BMW Racing (USA 76) beat OneWorld (USA 65) by 0.17 seconds.
NB. Small errata for yesterday’s Press Release: it was Victory who crossed the startline 1 second ahead of LE DEFI AREVA, and not the other way around.