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Will modified yachts Prada and Orm be faster?

The Two Questions On Everyone’s Lips: Are Orm And Prada Faster?

(Auckland). Sailing experts in Auckland have two questions on their lips in the lead-up to the second round of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Is Orm faster than Örn? Will the Prada boat, which has been extensively modified in the last few days, be faster than it was in the first round?

It isn’t surprising that the day has been dominated by these two questions. Only Victory Challenge have taken the opportunity to change their boat, from the first-constructed Örn to the newer Orm, in the second round. And no other syndicate has modified its first-round boat more than Prada during the past week.

Magnus Holmberg, who was strategist onboard Örn for five of the matches in the first round and helmsman in the final match, represented Victory Challenge at the international press conference in the America’s Cup 2003 Louis Vuitton Media Centre.

It was Mr. Louis Vuitton Cup himself, Bruno Troublé, who wanted to know if Magnus Holmberg could confirm that Orm will be used in the second round.

“Yes, we believe it’s a faster boat. We have pretty good confidence in it. There are some quite big differences in the boats,” was Magnus Holmberg’s reply.

Bearing in mind that Örn not only won three matches in the first round, but also sailed downwind better than any other boat, and threatened the Swiss top team Alinghi (who only lost one match, against second-placed team OneWorld), the Victory Challenge decision has aroused great excitement as we await the start of round robin two.

A knuckle has become standard since it was introduced by Team New Zealand during the 2000 America’s Cup. However ITA 74 did not have this in the first round.

Francesco de Angelis, skipper of Luna Rossa, answered questions at the international press conference.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people involved in working on it. They did an amazing job in a very short time. We did some work in many different areas. I don’t believe that one change can change everything. We did work that we thought was appropriate after the first round. Obviously it’s more visible what has been done to the bow and the hull, but that’s not all we did. We did some work to the rig and the sails as well, and we’ll have one round to assess everything”.

The first assessment can be made in the early hours of Tuesday Swedish time, when the Italian derby is fought out. Prada Challenge meet Mascalzone Latino in a postponed match from the first round.

Prada have not managed to test the boat to any great extent. On Sunday it was lowered into the water for the first time after the reconstruction work.

Prada did not have any real choice. The second boat, ITA 80, cannot be used, as it is undergoing even greater reconstruction work.

If Prada are successful, their boss Patrizio Bertelli will be hailed a hero.

But there is also an inherent risk in the syndicate’s activities. We may have the first answer in only half a day’s time.

The answer to the question about Orm’s speed will be a little longer in coming.
Orm doesn’t make her debut until the early hours of Thursday, against Le Défi Areva from France.

When the first matches of the second round are sailed in the early hours of Wednesday, Victory Challenge have a bye, just as they did on the first day of round robin one.

Le Défi Areva is the only team without a single victory so far. The Frenchmen, whose base is next door to the Swedes, covered their hull for the first time in the days after the first round. They too had thoughts of modifying their boat, but changed their minds when the strong winds in Hauraki Gulf stopped the tests they considered to be necessary.

However, all the syndicates have made some changes to their competition boats.
This is part of the constant efforts of each syndicate to make its boat a tenth of a knot faster.

But anyone looking at the boats on the water can only distinguish the differences in the Victory Challenge and Prada Challenge boats. Orm has sail number 73 instead of Örn’s 63. The trained eye can also make out the difference when looking at the deck; the boat looks different.

As for the others, Alinghi, Stars & Stripes, GBR Challenge and Le Défi Areva are all going with their first-constructed boats, just as they did in the first round. Mascalzone Latino don’t have an alternative, as they only constructed one boat. OneWorld and Oracle BMW Racing chose their newest boat in the first round – and are sticking to it.

Bert Willborg/Victory Challenge

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