Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Louis Vuitton Pacifc Series: Challenger Sail-Offs for Remaining Quarter Final Berths

Luna Rossa Challenge beat China Team. Image copyright Stefano Gattini/Luna Rossa Challenge.

by Louis Vuitton Pacific Series media

Race 1: Luna Rossa Challenge beat China Team, 01s

The Italian team Luna Rossa skippered by Peter Holmberg pulled out a heart-stopping one second win as they completed a penalty turn on the finising line of their match against the China Team. British match race champion Ian williams had laid the penalty on the Italians 30 seconds before the start, after they attempted to tack across the bow of the Chinese boat. Holmberg nevertheless enjoyed a small lead at the start and slowly eked it out to a 150 metre lead at the finish. He jammed his boat around in a tight turn bringing it almost to a halt as it spun around. Williams carried fresh breeze down to the line and crossed at speed but not before Holmberg crawled across to take the gun one second in front. Luna Rossa will now meet BMW ORACLE Racing in the second quarter final race.

Mark 1 - 0:14 Luna Rossa
Mark 2 - 0:19 Luna Rossa
Mark 3 - 0:24 Luna Rossa
Finish - 0:01 Luna Rossa

Race 2: TEAMORIGIN beat Pataugas by K-Challenge, 1m 52s

TEAMORIGIN starts perfectly, forcing Pataugas by K-Challenge to tack off just after the start. Image copyright Franck Socha.

Pre-race favourite TEAMORIGIN had to fight a drama-filled skirmish with the charged-up French K-Challenge to stay in this regatta. In the pre-start, both boats actively sought the committee boat end of the start line, with TEAMORIGIN skipper Ben Ainslie doing an outstanding job to start on port tack right next to the boat, forcing K-Challenge helmsman Sebastien Col to tack away once they had crossed.

The British boat protected the right up the beat, but the French instigated a tacking duel that evened up the game. With the top mark in sight, TEAMORIGIN dialed down and tacked just in front of K-Challenge, holding them out by 9s at the top mark. However, the British spinnaker set was slow and K-Challenge rolled them in.

In the ensuing drama, Ainslie launched a luffing attack on the French boat, which copped a penalty for failing to keep clear and, for good measure, partially dropped its spinnaker when the halyard let go. TEAMORIGIN headed left and regained the lead, before crossing back to the right to lead K-Challenge around the right-hand buoy at the bottom gate. The last two legs were a drag race, with the British ahead, knowing the French still had to complete their penalty turn.

Chris Draper goes up the rig on TEAMORIGIN to look for wind. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

Mark 1 - 0:09 TEAMORIGIN
Mark 2 - 0:10 TEAMORIGIN
Mark 3 - 0:25 TEAMORIGIN
Finish - 1:52 TEAMORIGIN

The breeze died completely after the completion of these two races. A long wait for wind in warm, damp and humid conditions ended at 1530 hours. Quarter final and semi-final races will now be sailed Wednesday.

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

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