Thursday, June 03, 2010

Semi finalists decided for Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena

[Source: Louis Vuitton Trophy] Five races confirmed four powerful semi-finalists today for the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena. They are the French/German boat All4One, Sweden"s Artemis, Emirates Team New Zealand and SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team.

Match races over the next three days in Version 5 America’s Cup boats off the Sardinian island of La Maddalena will determine the outcome of the two-week series. Tomorrow, Artemis will meet Team New Zealand and All4One will race SYNERGY.

One quarter-final was decided today. Fifth-placed SYNERGY defeated fourth-placed Mascalzone Latino two races to one. The only races sailed in the shifty northwest breeze were the last two of the round robin and those of the single quarter-final.

The remaining three boats went through to the semi-finals based on their performances in the round robin. All4One, in fourth place on Tuesday, won the round robin today, after defeating Sweden’s Artemis which had led on points throughout the week. The Swedish boat finished the round second. Emirates Team New Zealand finished the round third after defeating Mascalzone Latino today.

All4One, a new team this season, finished the round with a 6-3 record, winning their last four races, handing defeats to top-seeds Artemis and Emirates Team New Zealand in the process.

“We’re a very small team,” said tactician John Cutler. “There are only 19 of us total in the whole team and so we enjoy sailing together. When we’ve been sailing well, which we have in this regatta, a win is a big thing. Artemis is a strong team and they were the top boat coming into this race. So any time you can beat a good boat you always feel pleased about it.”

It's over before it started. Mascalzone is early over the line and has to recross. La Maddalena, 3 June 2010. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Flight Eighteen, Race Two: Emirates Team New Zealand def. Mascalzone Latino, 01:05 – It was only four metres, and it was the race! Mascalzone Latino was over the line early and skipper Gavin Brady’s race against the Kiwi boat steered by Dean Barker was effectively over. Brady tacked and ducked back but after he restarted on port tack, ETNZ was already 200 metres ahead and covering in the 15 knot northwester. Before the gun, the pin end was favored and the boats approached it on starboard at speed with the Italians to weather. “Our timing was perfect and they were bow out and pushed over,” said Ray Davies, the Kiwi tactician. The margin was nearly 300 metres at the first mark and at the finish.

Flight Fifteen, Race One: All4One def. Artemis, 00:25 After two dialups, Terry Hutchinson and Artemis won a closely-contested start, starting on starboard, bow forward at the committee boat with All4One to leeward. Artemis led by 15 seconds at the top mark after one tack but Sébastien Col closed up on the run to round just eight seconds behind and then gained on the right on the second weather leg, overtaking before they reached the weather mark. “I made a mistake,” said Artemis skipper and tactician Paul Cayard. “Obviously the right was very powerful. There was more wind on the right. The shift stayed in the right. I gave them the right and I gave them the race.”

Quarter-final One, Race One: SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team def. Mascalzone Latino, 00:22 – Karol Jablonski jumped the Russian boat out to a small edge as both boats hit the line at speed right on the gun. Gavin Brady had Mascalzone Latino up next to the committee while Jablonski was midline. Brady sailed his opponent out beyond the port layline in a single tack but SYNERGY slowly lifted up on the Italian boat and was ahead when they tacked. The Russians were ahead by 16 seconds at the top mark and extended from there.

Quarter-final One, Race Two: Mascalzone Latino def. SYNERGY Russian Sailing, 00:35 – The second race start was a mirror of the first with the Italians making an excellent start at speed while the Russians were still coming up to speed. Jablonski, to leeward, tacked early to clear his air but Brady tacked ahead of him, making the most of a persistent right shift that allowed the Italians to extend.

Quarter-final One, Race Three: SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team def. Mascalzone Latino, 00:22 – Protests from both contestants were green-flagged in this rough and tumble start in 12-14 knots of wind. In the second, late in the prestart, Jablonski on starboard luffed Brady up, forcing him to tack. The Russian boat bore off to make a perfectly timed start at the pin while the Italians made two down-speed tacks to struggle off the line at the committee. The Russians were quickly out to a 105 metre lead, lifted up to the port tack layline on a big left shift and continued to sail away.

Round Robin Provisional Results after Thursday Racing

1. All4One, 6-3, 6 points

2. Artemis, 6-3, 6 points
3. Emirates Team New Zealand, 6-3, 6 points

4. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 6-3, 5 points *

5. SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team, 5-4, 5 points
6. Azzurra, 4-5, 4 points

7. TEAMORIGIN, 4-5, 4 points
8. Luna Rossa, 3-6, 3 points
9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 3-6, 3 point
10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-7, -2 points *

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