Friday, June 01, 2007

Louis Vuitton Cup - Finals - Day 1: Emirates Team NZ win very close match against Luna Rossa

Note: Due to a number of meetings that unexpectedly took place today, I was not able to follow the races. As a result, please find Luna Rossa's press release. Judging from what was said in the press conference after the races, it all came down to a flawless call by the Emirates Team NZ weather team to go for the right side and then keep tight control of the race. Luna Rossa were unable to find any passing lanes.

[Source: Luna Rossa] The Louis Vuitton 2007 Final between Luna Rossa Challenge and Emirates Team New Zealand kicks off with a 12 knot breeze, sunny skies and choppy seas. ITA-94 enters the pre-start box from starboard and James Spithill forces the Kiwis into a dial up later falling off onto port. Barker, helming NZL 92, avoids close up confrontations and seems to want to keep his distance from Spithill, Luna Rossa's Australian helmsman.

As the two boats get ready to cut the line Luna Rossa is to leeward of the NZL 92 and doesn’t succeed in pushing the Kiwis out of the box. Both cross the line on starboard tack and up the first beat the teams show similar speeds with the lead exchanging often. Emirates Team New Zealand rounds mark 1 with a 12 second margin. Passing lanes are shut down the first run due to a wind rotation to the right.

At the leeward gate Luna Rossa has made up 3 seconds rounding the starboard mark 9 seconds after her opponent. The Kiwis keep a tight cover and continue to control the favored right hand side of the course. The last windward mark sees Luna Rossa trailing by 11 seconds. Halfway down the final run Luna Rossa attempts the separation card towards the left hand side of the course and makes up some of the distance. Emirates Team New Zealand win the first race with a 8 second final delta.

At the end of the race Michele Ivaldi, Luna Rossa’s navigator, commented: " As far as our strategy is concerned, when we entered the pre-start box we didn’t think it was a must have right so we went for best start solution. We also didn’t anticipate a 15 degree right hand wind shift. Emirates Team New Zealand made a better call. Concerning the performance of our boat for having been all day on the left of the guys and with the wind going from 110 to 140 we are pretty happy. Our downwind speeds are pretty similar and the boats are very close. It is going to be a tight race.”



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