Wednesday, 4 February 2009

LVPS: Alinghi Loses out to Shosholoza

by Daphne Morgan-Barnicoat

Alinghi was back on the race track today after enjoying a BYE on Monday and the match of the day was against the South African team. Shosholoza controlled the pre-start: Alinghi had port entry, the two dialed up and with less than a minute to the start, Shosholoza circled out and led back to the line crossing ahead of the Swiss by a couple of boat lengths. By the first windward mark Shosholoza – sailing their own race rather than electing to cover in the shifty conditions – stretched the lead to 50 seconds and Alinghi just couldn’t get back into the race dropping back to finish 3minutes 51seconds behind.

"Quote from the race boat" – Juan Vila, Alinghi navigator tells of a tricky pre-start and a drag race home – Congratulations go to the South African team Shosholoza!

Q: A 3minute 51 second loss – what happened out there?

JV: “It was a tricky race with a lot of wind shifts – we saw as far left as 340 and as far right as 60 so there was more than a 60degree shift in the whole race. It started off quite tricky, we were unfortunate enough to be in a hole from the beginning; Shosholoza extended the lead. We tried to get back into it, but obviously from then on they seemed to be in better breeze and managed to pull away. The wind was unsteady in direction, but also unsteady in pressure; we had lulls of 5knots at times and some nice puffs of 12/14 knots. It didn’t go our way this time, but that’s how it goes.”

Q: Shosholoza controlled the pre-start and led off the line – what happened there?

JV: “That’s the game; we might have been ok with a little bit more breeze, but at that stage we got the first lull of the day, it went quite light and we couldn’t quite make it to the line in time. That was a bit unfortunate in the start. We know there are days like this so we obviously learn from that and move ahead.”

Q: How challenging is the boat handling on race yachts that you don’t know?

JV: “It’s getting pretty good actually, we are learning the boats and every day that we can sail them the more we learn; we are learning the subtle differences between the two boats, especially the TNZ boats that we have been sailing in this round robin. We are slowly getting there and just learning the tricks; how to trim them and how to make them go faster.”

Q: When was your last time sailing here in Auckland?

JV: “For the last race of the America’s Cup in 2003 with Alinghi.”

Q: A word on the event – how is it going so far?

JV: “We are enjoying this event very much, today was a tricky day – there may be more of them, but hopefully not with that much wind variation! Otherwise the racing here is good, they are short courses which I think are very challenging and very intense. It’s basically a different game - it makes the start and the first cross critical as that decides who will get to the top mark first, but then you still have the run for opportunities if you are the trailing boat and if you are leading and it is close, you also have a hard time protecting. It is a different game but it is quite intense as well.”

Damiani Italia Challenge 0 / BMW Oracle Racing 1
Pataugas K-Challenge 0 / Emirates Team New Zealand 1
Alinghi 0 / Team Shosholoza 1
TeamOrigin 1 / Greek Challenge 0

China Team – BYE
Luna Rossa – BYE

The ranking going into the Round Robin 2:

Gold Fleet
Emirates Team New Zealand
BMW Oracle Racing
Damiani Italia Challenge
Luna Rossa

Silver fleet
Pataugas K-Challenge
China Team
Team Shosholoza
Greek Challenge


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