Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mascalzone Latino Wins Fleet Racing at Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

[Source: Louis Vuitton Trophy] The six international crews at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai hosted local dhow skippers today in three fleet races when competition resumed off the Dubai International Marine Club.

Italy’s Mascalzone Latino Audi won the day handsomely with skipper Gavin Brady scoring two first places. The French/German team All4One and Sweden’s Artemis Racing were second equal, while Emirates Team New Zealand was third.

Saeed Hareb, CEO of the Dubai International Marine Club, presented the fleet race trophy to Gavin Brady and presented commemorative medals to Brady and all his crew.

The Emirates Team New Zealand crew raced today wearing black arm bands and with their ensign at half mast in a somber reminder of the Pike River coal mine explosion in New Zealand that claimed 29 lives. The team is planning a brief on-water ceremony tomorrow morning to pay their respects to the lost miners.

Skippers of the four semi-finalists chose their starting positions and their boats tonight. BMW Oracle Racing chose to race fourth-seeded All4One while Emirates Team New Zealand will start against Synergy Russian Sailing Team.

Gavin Brady does his magic and helms Mascalzone Latino AUDI Team to two victories. Dubai, 25 November 2010. Photo copyright Bob Grieser/ Vuitton Trophy

“We chose All4One simply for the fact that they finished in fourth place,” said James Spithill, skipper of BMW Oracle Racing. “It’s never an easy decision but at the end of the day you have to go out there and beat them. It’s going to be a tough race. They’re not an easy team to race against.”

In the semi-finals the winners will be the first boats to win two races. The winners will race the finals on Saturday in a best of five series.

In today’s fleet racing, each of the four teams raced twice over the course of three races.

Brady’s finishes have been uneven over the past two weeks of racing in Dubai but today he and his afterguard of tactician Morgan Larson, navigator Steve Hayles, and masthead wind spotter Cameron Dunn, made no mistakes on flat water in a very shifty five to seven knot north westerly breeze.

In his first race Brady claimed the pin end of the line and pulled out to an early lead that increased as the race wore on. In his second race, Brady went for a port tack start behind the fleet before going up the middle of the course. He emerged at the weather mark with a commanding lead that he held until the finish.

“We wanted the left in the first race,” Brady said. “In these light air races you can’t be conservative. You have to really go for it so we went for a pretty aggressive start down at the pin end. For the second race we wanted to start to the right. We didn’t want to sacrifice a tack to get the right so we decided to do something that no-one else has done here and start on port tack and take the stern of all the boats at full speed.”

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