Round Robin 1 drawing to a close at Louis Vuitton Trophy
[Source: Louis Vuitton Trophy] Friday's matches will determine placings for first round.
Thursday was a case of one match, one win for three of the top four teams at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur.
Emirates Team New Zealand, Azzurra and Artemis each won their lone match of the day, which was shortened to two flights as light winds in the afternoon turned the Baie des Anges off Nice into a virtual mill pond.
After day six, Emirates Team New Zealand still leads the event with 6 points on a perfect 6-0 record. Skipper Dean Barker and mates defeated BMW ORACLE Racing by 48 seconds in their lone match and have one remaining in the round against TEAMORIGIN. Based on the standings tonight the Kiwis need to win that match to win the round.
“We’re happy with how it’s been going,” said Barker. “We’ve been sailing with the same crew. You run the risk of injury or illness, but we’ve had the same crew throughout.”
Italy’s Azzurra moved into second place today after winning its match over the French/German team ALL4ONE. Azzurra and skipper Francesco Bruni lost the lead on the first leg and then regained it on the second, finding more pressure on their side of the course, to win by 1 minute, 56 seconds.
Azzurra has 5 points on a 5-1 record. It has one match remaining in the round and will place either second or third.
Azzurra leap-frogged TeamOrigin of the U.K. in the standings when skipper Ben Ainslie’s crew lost to Artemis of Sweden in the day’s first match. Artemis skipper Terry Hutchinson put forth a masterful performance in the pre-start and cleaned out his British rival. Artemis went on to win by 45 seconds.
TeamOrigin’s loss was its first of the event and dropped it to third with 4 points on a 4-1 mark. Ainslie and mates have two matches remaining in the round, against Team New Zealand and Azzurra. If TeamOrigin wins both it can still win the round robin.
Artemis solidified its fourth-place position with its dominant win. Hutchinson had been very critical of his pre-start performance in yesterday’s match against Team New Zealand, giving up lateral separation late in the sequence. Today, he pushed Ainslie around in the pre-start and left the British triple Olympic Gold medalist tacking to port almost two lengths to leeward of the line at the start gun.
“Today’s start set up similarly to yesterday’s. We just executed it better,” said Hutchinson. “Yesterday’s race was painful, but we debriefed and had good communication about what we did right and wrong. Today, we learned from our mistake.”
TeamOrigin tactician Iain Percy said the team put itself in a disadvantageous position at the start.
“We got ourselves a little late having misjudged the layline and gave them [Artemis] a powerful position,” Percy said. “For people watching, some of those moves seemed to be wrong, but the reality is that when you are starting with them bow forward by half a length at the favoured end wide right, the race is kind of over. Although sometimes it looks like you are making more mistakes, in fact you are trying to give yourself a chance to get out.”
The second half of the leaderboard sees BMW Oracle Racing in fifth with 2 points on a 2-3 record. BMW Oracle has two matches remaining, against Artemis and Synergy, and needs to win both if it hopes to move up into the top four.
Synergy of Russia today picked up its second win of the regatta and has 2 points on a 2-4 record. With one match remaining it is locked into sixth place because it defeated ALL4ONE today, which gave it the tiebreak advantage.
The French/German team ALL4ONE is seventh with 2 points at 2-5 and TFS – Pages Jaunes is eighth at 0-7. These two teams have completed the first round robin and can’t move up in the standings.
Two flights remain to complete the round robin and organisers hope to run through them tomorrow. In an effort to get racing completed tomorrow’s first start has been moved a half-hour earlier to 0830 CET.