Monday, 9 February 2009
Emirates Team New Zealand and TEAMORIGIN head upwind. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.
by Warren Douglas
It was a day when a small early advantage could, with determined defence against sustained aggression, win the race. It turned out to be a day without passing lanes.
The first race started on time at 11am and saw Damiani Italia Challenge beat Luna Rossa by 1.42. Then came the waiting.
Race 2 start was delayed until 4.50 pm by which time the southerly had finally filled in. It was a keenly anticipated match between BMW Oracle and Alinghi.
Alinghi won the start and controlled the match to the finish. Oracle came tantalisingly close to breaking through on several occasions but could not. Alinghi won by 28sec.
The Emirates Team New Zealand match against Team Origin finally got underway at 6.30 pm. Both yachts got a clean start, Dean Barker with the right he wanted, and Origin to leeward and slightly ahead.
A shift to the left gave Origin a good lift and enough leverage to exercise control. Barker and his crew attacked, determined to get out from under, but the British team held firm and led around the first mark by 12 sec.
On the run, Barker had better speed and made some gains but it was not enough and Origin rounded the right-hand mark 10 sec clear. Origin defended hard up the beat and ETNZ again attacked but British skipper Ben Ainslie’s afterguard kept their cool and extended slightly to round 15 sec in front.
The final run was a thriller and left Barker and crew wishing the legs were just a little longer. Great crew work whittled Origin’s lead down from more than 100 metres to less than a boat length. At the finish Origin crossed the line only 7 secs ahead.
“Origin sailed a great race,” Barker said. “We don’t like losing, but it was still good practice for the guys. Tomorrow is the last chance to do any racing before the final. We are looking for another pressure race.
“It’s good to work at making opportunities from behind. It’s the strength of the team to battle back into the race... we did some very nice work on them on the last run but we ran out of runway.”
Damiani Italia beat Luna Rossa by 1.42
Alinghi beat BMW Oracle Racing by 28s
Team Origin beat Emirates Team New Zealand by 7sec.
Luna Rossa v Alinghi
Team Origin v Damiani Italia Challenge
BMW Oracle Racing v Emirates Team New Zealand
Emirates Team New Zealand