Emirates Team New Zealand to meet Azzurra for Louis Vuitton Trophy
[Source: Louis Vuitton Trophy] Petite Final wraps with Synergy overcoming TeamOrigin.
One of sailing’s most revered brands will square off tomorrow against one of its most iconic brands when Emirates Team New Zealand races Azzurra in the Final of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur.
The final was scheduled to commence this afternoon, but light winds again frustrated competitors and organizers in their attempt to race. Although the championship was put on hold around 1440 CET, three races were held earlier in the day to wrap up the Semi Final Round and the Petit Final.
Azzurra of Italy advanced to the championship by defeating TeamOrigin of the U.K. in their showdown match. After a close first beat, the Italians luffed the British at the top of the leg to gain an advantage at the first mark.
Yesterday the Italians suffered in the strong winds and big waves. But today skipper Francesco Bruni and crew revelled in the 8-knot winds and won by 29 seconds.
Synergy grabs 3rd place overall after a crushing victory over Team Origin. Nice, 21 November 2009. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Team Origin
“I think that we, as Italians, are used to sailing in lighter wind. We all know that,” said Bruni. “I think that we were driving the boat fast today as trimmer and skipper. Also the acceleration on the start line and how the boat reacts in turns, we’re just more confident in those conditions.”
Emirates Team New Zealand then took to the racecourse and booked its place in the final by defeating the pesky Synergy Russia Sailing Team.
Team New Zealand and Synergy had sailed three ding-dong battles, highlighted by yesterday’s second race when each team was penalised 1 point by a combination of the on-water umpires and International Jury. But this morning’s anticipated showdown proved to be more of a let down.
In a fashion similar to the day’s first match, the crews were evenly matched on the first leg. With both yachts on port tack and Team New Zealand to leeward, skipper Dean Barker, reigning champion of the Louis Vuitton Cup, luffed Synergy near the first mark.
During the incident the on-water umpires penalized the Russian-flagged yacht and Team New Zealand opened an advantage it wouldn’t relinquish. The Kiwis won by 4 minutes although the delta became skewed as Synergy completed a penalty turn on the finish line in light winds.
Bullet camera mounted on Synergy Russian Sailing Team for the pre-start. Nice 21, November 2009. Video copyright BTS Broadcast
“We sort of parked it up and they didn’t give us enough room when we bore away,” said Barker of the incident at the windward mark. “It’s tough as the windward boat because you’re trying to not lose the race at that point. It was close through the manoeuvre. I don’t know if there was contact, I couldn’t see, but it was nothing like yesterday.”
After a break for lunch the four crews returned to the water to resume racing, but the Petit Final between Synergy and TeamOrigin was the only match sailed in winds between 4 and 6 knots. After trailing by 22 seconds at the first mark, Synergy scored a comeback win when it overtook the British on the first downwind leg.
“Not making the final is very disappointing,” said TeamOrigin General Manager Mike Sanderson, a past round-the-world race winner. “We put a lot more effort into this regatta than we did Auckland. We were here to win and to win it you need to get to final. I’d be lying if I said not making the final was a big disappointment.”
Racing tomorrow is scheduled to begin early with the warning signal slated for 0800 CET.
For detailed information about today’s matches please visit the official event Web