Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin 2 - Day 4: Preview

Good morning from cloudy and calm Valencia. Today's winds are much calmer than yesterday's, unfortunately so calm that they might be just at the lower limit of sailability. Given yesterday's cancellation, the schedule today is double and Flights 3 and 4 will be raced off Valencia's coast this afternoon.

We will be following and reporting the matches of the north course where three pretenders to the fourth place of the semifinals will be fighting as hard as they can. THE match of the day will be in flight 4, facing Mascalzone Latino and Desafío Español. The Spanish team are better placed, with a 5-point advantage, but have also shown a much better performance in the last few matches. On the contrary, the Italians went through 5 consecutive losses, forcing Vincezo Onorato, the syndicate's head, to replace helmsman Flavio Favini with Cameron Dunn.

Louis Vuitton Leaderboard after Round Robin 2 - Flight 2
Weather forecast
It will certainly be significantly less windy today. The low continues to remain to the northeast of Valencia and will fill, slowly approaching to the host city of the 32nd America's Cup. Event organizers don't expect any rain but clouds will be building in the afternoon. Winds are expected to blow from the south with an intensity of 7-10 knots and could build to 15 knots and back if the sea breeze develops, but this is a big "if".

Racing Schedule Flight 3
Desafío Español - Areva Challenge: 48 hours ago our prediction could have been much different, expecting a clear victory of the Spanish team. After Monday's excellent performance, the French team might not be an easy prey for Desafío Español.
+39 Challenge - Emirates Team NZ: We shouldn't hold our breath, Dean Barker will helm NZL-92 clearly ahead of the Italians.
United Internet Team Germany - Luna Rossa: James Spithill and his crew shouldn't have any problems with this match.
China Team - Victory Challenge: After Monday's surprising and spectacular Chinese victory over BMW Oracle even this match is not sure any more.
Shosholoza - BMW Oracle: The Challenger of Record will certainly not be using the B-Team in this match and the South Africans will try to score another valuable upset in order to stay in the race for the semifinals.

Racing Schedule Flight 4
Emirates Team NZ - Areva Challenge: The day's second race for the kiwis shouldn't be a problem.
Mascalzone Capitalia - Desafío Español: Without any doubt THE match of the day and probably of the Round Robin 2 and extremely decisive in the race for the fourth ticket to the semifinals. Although it's a must-win match for both teams, the Spanish have a 5-point advantage and a wider margin for errors.
China Team - United Internet Team Germany: The match of the basement. It would be nice for the event to see the Chinese win at least once because of their sailing and not due to a gear failure of their rival.
Luna Rossa - Shosholoza: Luna Rossa obviously don't have fond memories of this match in the first Round Robin. Will the South Africans be able to repeat their upset?
BMW Oracle - Victory Challenge: There is no margin for error for any of the two teams. Vicotyr Challenge will look forward to an upset and the two points to close the gap from Desafío Español. On the other hand, BMW Oracle simply can't afford to lose these points.



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