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Emirates Team New Zealand update - Old rivals square off

Emirates Team New Zealand update - Old rivals square off

August 15 2013

The Louis Vuitton Cup challengers’ series final gets underway in San Francisco on Saturday.

Emirates Team New Zealand meets old rival Luna Rossa in a best of 13 match – the team to win seven races first will win the cup.

Luna Rossa has had more race preparation, having beaten Artemis a 4-0 in the semi-finals round last weekend. Dean Barker and crew have not raced since the end of the round robin which gave them a ticket straight to final.

The New Zealand boat has been in the shed for modifications and the team  has not sailed a great deal, although recent practice sessions have been very pleasing to skipper Dean Barker.

“We set a new top speed record the other day at the end of practice,”  Barker told a press conference this morning . “I can’t say what it is, but almost every day the boat’s going faster and faster and becoming more efficient.”

Commentators are casting Luna Rossa as the underdog, predicting a win by Emirates Team New Zealand. Barker, never comfortable with being put on a pedestal, is not quite so sure.

Luna Rossa has shown improved boat handling and crew work generally since we last raced against them on July 28.

Dean Barker: “Things are very different now compared to the round robins and semi-final. There’s greater emphasis on the start and the first reach and getting out of Mark 1 in good shape.

“We’ve seen it can be hard for the guy behind to gain enough leverage to really attack. If you can get around the leeward gate ahead you have a very good chance to shut things down.”  

Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena agrees. “The pre-start is important because if you arrive at the reach mark ahead you have a better chance to lead at the bottom gate.

“There aren’t many options from a tactical point of view. We need to have a good pre-start. We will push hard in the pre-start to be leading at the reach mark.”   

Two, five-leg races are planned each day, the first start scheduled at 1:10 pm SF time and the second at 2:10 pm. Each race will last approximately 25 minutes, with a break of about 30 minutes between races

Historical note: Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand met in the previous Louis Vuitton Cup Final, in Valencia, Spain, in 2007 and Emirates Team New Zealand came out on top.

Louis Vuitton Cup Final schedule (best-of-13 series) Saturday, Aug. 17: Final Race 1 (1:10 pm PT start time), Final Race 2 (2:10 pm PT) Sunday, Aug. 18: Final Race 3 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 4 (2:10 pm PT) Wednesday, Aug. 21: Final Race 5 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 6 (2:10 pm PT) Saturday, Aug. 24: Final Race 7 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 8 (2:10 pm PT)* (* If necessary)  


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