Luna Rossa and Alinghi trained off Malvarossa beach on Friday
Official racing in Valencia came to an end on Wednesday when emirates Team NZ scored their fifth consecutive victorious race, won the Louis Vuitton Cup and sent Italy's Luna Rossa back to their team base with the worst score in the event's history.
Still, less than 48 hours after the last official race, the finalist together with defender Alinghi resumed their sailing activity off Valencia's Malvarossa beach. The two teams trained for a couple of hours under moderate to light conditions in front of large fleet of happy spectators. In fact, spectator program organizers were scratching their heads on Thursday, trying to figure out how to fill the gap left after the precipitated end of the Louis Vuitton Cup. I counted around 50 spectator yachts, a very respectable number for a Friday afternoon with no official races.
Racing got off at 3pm, similarly to was has been done in the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals and finals and of course what will take place in the America's Cup itself. Both teams were racing with their A-crews. Luna Rossa was sailing with ITA-94, helmed by James Spithill, while Alinghi was using SUI-100, helmed by Ed Baird. Although there is no official statement from Alinghi, it seems that the worst-kept secret in Valencia is the fact that Baird will also be at the helm in order to defend the America's Cup two weeks from now.
Three starts took place and the corresponding races were abandoned after different degrees of completion:
The first race was actually only a prestart and ended at the first cross. It went to Alinghi's favor after a long dialup.
The second aborted race was also "won" by Alinghi. After a split start, Alinghi went to the right and benefited from an enormous right shift and when the two boats crossed for the first time, they were ahead by more than ten boatlenghts. Shortly after, the race was abandoned.
This one started after the race committee reset the starting and top mark due to a right shift of approximately 20 degrees. Actually, the race wouldn't have taken place in an official day since wind speed was at the limit, barely over 7 knots. Presumably, Alinghi won that start again but Luna Rossa benefited from a righty and rounded the top mark around 8 boatlenghts ahead of Alinghi. Luna Rossa also gained on the dowinwind leg but wind had dropped to 6.5 knots. The race stopped at the leeward gate where Alinghi torn their spinnaker after it was caught in the jumper.
Alinghi tear their spinnaker at the leeward gate during their practice race against Luna Rossa. Valencia, 8 June 2007. Photo copyright Tom Ehman / BMW Oracle Blog