Emirates Team New Zealand is a finalist at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena after an extraordinary drawn-out day of light air sailing on the Golfo di Arzachena at the north east corner of Sardinia.
One race down and facing elimination, ETNZ came back and defeated Sweden’s Artemis 2-1. The Kiwis also led in a race that was abandoned when the wind died.
The other best-of-three semi-finals, between the French/German team All4One and the SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team, will be sailed tomorrow. Weather permitting, the first race of the finals may start tomorrow afternoon.
The America's Cup trophy will be on public display at the Louis Vuitton Trophy race village at the Marina Arsenale in La Maddalena over the weekend. The Cup Defender, BMW Oracle Racing, is bringing the trophy to Sardinia and visitors to the village can view the 159-year-old trophy from 0900 to 1900 on Saturday and 0900 to 1800 on Sunday.
The day was fine but fickle winds forced a three and a half hour delay before Artemis, skippered by Paul Cayard and with Terry Hutchinson steering, seized the first race from ETNZ’s Dean Barker. A second race was abandoned when the wind died and the Kiwis led.
After a drawn-out wait, the second race started at 5:30 pm. Minutes into the race, on the ropes and facing elimination from the series, Barker boldly sailed across the advancing bow of the right-of-way Artemis with scant room to spare and leveled the series. The last race started at 6:30 pm in late afternoon sunlight. Hutchinson pulled out all the stops and made a superb start but Barker confidently split away 1.3 kilometers on the opposite tack and came in ahead to control at the weather mark.
Semi-final One, Race One: Artemis def Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:25 – A 25-degree windshift in light airs cost ETNZ any chance of winning. The Kiwis were substantially overstood on the port tack approaching the top mark and were powerless as Artemis on a matching port tack below them were able to muscle their way inside at the mark and hold them off before bearing away. The margin was only two seconds for the Swedish boat but Hutchinson exploited the advantage on the run to attain a solid lead. ETNZ tactician Ray Davies said: “We got the side of the course we wanted. We went out to the left and talked about tacking below the port layline just in case we got a left shift. We did tack just below our layline. Just as we tacked we got a 25 degree shift and from that point we were miles overstood. It went so far that Artemis could tack a long way to leeward of us and lay the mark.
Semi-final One, Race Two: Emirates Team New Zealand def Artemis, 01:01 – ETNZ’s bold port tack cross with only five metres to spare, across the advancing bow of the right-of-way Artemis, clinched the lead and the victory. The start line had a right hand bias but Barker on starboard on the left side forced Hutchinson to tack away just before the gun. Barker wound up and started at speed down the line, while Artemis tacked and made a downspeed start at the committee. Just minutes later with a 33 metre lead, Barker tacked, pulled off the port tack cross and claimed the advantaged right side. Jules Salter, ETNZ’s navigator commented: “The plan was to start to the left, go left and get the best pressure, which was what this race was all about. We keep to the same methods, make a good plan and execute it. Dean is doing a good job of starting.” An earlier attempt at completing this race was abandoned as the Kiwis were narrowly leading a drifting match in competing zephyrs at the bottom of the second beat.
Semi-final One, Race Three: Emirates Team New Zealand def. Artemis, 01:31 – Hutchinson pulled off a superb start right on the gun, at the pin and at full speed while forcing Barker off onto port. The Kiwis sailed away to the starboard layline in a split that extended out to 1.3 kilometers. When the two boats closed at the weather mark, the starboard tack ETNZ had right-of-way and led around the top mark. A ragged weather-side gennaker drop provided a short diversion for photographers at the leeward mark but never slowed the Kiwis who continued to sail away. Asked the secret to his team’s ability to bounce back, Barker said: “100% confidence in our ability. Everything we do, we back ourselves to win every race. You are going to lose, because we're sailing against good teams, but in a series we back ourselves to come out on top.”
Semi-final Provisional Results
Semi-final One: Emirates Team New Zealand def. Artemis 2-1
Round Robin Results
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 *
* Penalties deducted by Jury/Umpires
Live streaming web coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena is available on the event website, http://www.louisvuittontrophy.com. The official site (in English, French, Italian and Russian) is also rich in team content, as well as features, audio, video and images. Racing starts at 0900 local time (GMT+2).