Louis Vuitton Cup • Semi-finals
Luna Rossa Challenge advances to LVC final
BMW ORACLE Racing looses and have been eliminated
Sunday 20 May 2007 –
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- 20 mai : Les Italiens en finale
- Grosse surprise des demi-finales : Luna Rossa écrase les Américains de BMW Oracle Racing
The American team took to the water with a new skipper in Gavin Brady and new helmsman in Sten Mohr as previous skipper/helmsman Chris Dickson stepped off the boat. But it didn’t change the result - Luna Rossa Challenge led around the race track again, sealing the series win.
The Spanish, in contrast, made no crew changes, apart from regular crew rotations. Helmsman Karol Jablonski started the boat to the right of the NZL 92 and eked forward by just a few metres with a tiny right shift. They managed to lead into the top mark by just 12 seconds and protected that tiny margin the rest of the way around the track.
Racing started in a building 10 knot Northeasterly breeze. By the top mark, the wind had increased, topping out near 15 knots. An enormous spectator fleet, numbering in the hundreds took in the action, supporting the home side, Desafío Español, who earned a terrific victory.
Racing will resume at the Louis Vuitton Cup on Tuesday, with Emirates Team New Zealand against Desafío Español 2007.
Match 1 – Desafío Español 2007 beat Emirates Team New Zealand – DELTA 0:15
It was an unconventional start to the match between Desafío Español 2007 and Emirates Team New Zealand, with both boats crossing the line on port tack. Soon after, the Kiwis rolled away onto starboard tack and a large split built between the two teams chasing better breeze on their sides of the course.
When they came back together up the course, the Spanish held a small lead to the right, and it was close all the way to the windward mark. Karol Jablonski steered ESP 97 to a 12 second lead around the windward mark, with both teams making great spinnaker hoists.
At the first gybe Spain made the better manoeuvre and extended a little, but the last gybe to the leeward gate was terrible on the Spanish boat and the New Zealand team closed the gap again, 13 seconds behind as they rolled into an immediate tack out of the right-hand gate mark. Spain tacked to cover and played a tight game up the final beat.
However New Zealand stayed close to Spain and rounded the final mark just 8 seconds behind. The first gybe would be crucial, a great opportunity for New Zealand to pounce on any error from the Spanish. But it was New Zealand who executed less than perfectly while Desafío Español nailed a beautiful manoeuvre to extend away for a jubilant 15-second victory over the Kiwis.
Match 2 – Luna Rossa Challenge beat BMW ORACLE Racing – DELTA 0:33
Luna Rossa Challenge wins the Semi Final 5-1 and advances to Louis Vuitton Cup Final
Luna Rossa helmsman James Spithill showed no mercy to Dane Sten Mohr, the replacement helmsman on BMW ORACLE Racing, who looked uneasy against the smooth handling of Luna Rossa.
ITA 94 launched off the pin end of the line at speed Speed #speedsailing while USA 98 had to luff past the Race Committee boat for a slow start to the right. Seizing the early advantage, Spithill tacked over to put a loose cover on the Americans. When a left-hand windshift came in, it further favoured the Italian boat which crossed the Americans to claim the right side of the course.
At the first windward mark the Italian advantage was 32 seconds, and there was little difference in the deltas for the rest of the race, with Luna Rossa crossing the finish line 33 seconds ahead of BMW ORACLE Racing. The Italians had led the Americans around every mark of every race in their 5-1 domination of the Semi Final series.
Dean Barker, Helmsman, Emirates Team New Zealand, on things not going according to plan: “We would obviously like to be in a similar position to Luna Rossa right now, but we knew Desafio would be a very tough team and has certainly proved it to be the case. You certainly can’t afford to drop your guard - if you get any decisions slightly wrong, or get the better-off start or whatever. If you give them a sniff of the lead, they are a very hard team to pass. Try as we might today, and the guys did a very good job of keeping it close and present some opportunities, the final overtaking manoeuvre just wasn’t there for us.”
Dean Barker, Helmsman, Emirates Team New Zealand, on their pre-start: “It was very difficult race track again today. It seemed to favour the left-hand side, and the opportunity to start on starboard was going to be compromised. We were down a tack and there wasn’t enough on the left to capitalise on. Things didn’t go as smoothly as we liked and we won’t be doing the same in the future.”
Chris Dickson, Skipper, BMW ORACLE Racing, on being knocked out of the Cup in the Semi Finals: “We are very disappointed obviously, and it isn’t the exit we had hoped for. My sincere congratulations go to Luna Rossa, to James, to Francesco and Mr Bertelli. The reason for our departure is that they have excelled this week. It wasn’t just one thing. They have been quietly building up and have grown a huge amount stronger. They have out-sailed us in many areas on the race course this week, they’ve had great speed Speed #speedsailing upwind, enough speed downwind, started well, got those first wind shifts, made good tactical calls. That’s sport. They’ve done a fantastic job.”
Chris Dickson, Skipper, BMW ORACLE Racing, on making a late crew change today: “When I look back we don’t have any glaring weaknesses, or we would have done something about it. We were clearly out classed in a number of areas this week. We’ve done everything we could do. I thank my team sincerely as they have worked incredibly hard and they are all very disappointed. It was Larry’s decision to take me off, and I accept that and thank Sten for stepping in. Nobody did a bad a job in our team. They simply did it better. I don’t think Luna Rossa need a lot of advice for the finals and they certainly don’t need it from me right now!”
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