Sunday, 1 February 2009

LVPS: ETNZ Takes The Win in BMW ORACLE Racing Clash

Jero Lomas on the bow of the Emirates Team New Zealand boat in the clash against BMW ORACLE Racing. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

by Warren Douglas

Emirates Team New Zealand got the win it wanted today – giving the organizers of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series the tight, dramatic race they wanted.

For skipper Dean Barker and the team, the 27sec margin was a proof that patience can be rewarded even on very short race courses, where punishment for a mistake can be swift and severe.

Race organizers were hoping for a close race and that’s what they got. For most of the first beat there was nothing in it. ETNZ rounded the mark 14 sec ahead. ETNZ defended hard down the run rather than risk extending in the shifty breeze and Oracle closed on the approach to the leeward gate.

ETNZ tactician Ray Davies called for the right mark and Barker rounded 2 sec ahead of Russell Coutts who went for the left mark.

That paid off for BMW Oracle. They took the lead in the left and held it. ETNZ stayed right, resisting the temptation to tack and close the separation. Then came the first cross and Oracle dipped under the ETNZ stern, continuing on port tack to the right.

Barker continued to the left, got the shift and quickly took the lead and started extending. On the second cross ETNZ was clear ahead. The margin at the top mark was 24sec to Barker and at the finish 27sec.

Racing today was run in shifty south-westerly breezes of 12-19 knots. The race was sailed in BMW Oracle yachts.

Barker said: “We worked hard for this win. Our plan was to start on the right and get a bit of separation between us. We achieved that and were able to control the beat.

“We didn’t sail very well on the first run but in the end we were able to take the favoured side and retake the lead.

“We gave ourselves enough of a buffer at the top of the second beat to make the last run pretty comfortable, but with the shifts and tidal current it wasn’t a time to be complacent.

Barker said he would be more comfortable racing BMW Oracle in the ETNZ boats. “We have to be adaptable because that’s the way this event is set up. We are still learning about these boats and hopefully will continue to improve.”

He said crew work today was great. “We’ve got through two races in good shape and that’s because the crew is on song.”

Emirates Team New Zealand has a bye on Sunday.

ETNZ beat BMW Oracle racing by 27sec
Damiani Italia beat China Team 1.18
Greek Challenge beat Team Shosholoza 1.04
Alinghi beat Luna Rossa 52 sec

Racing Sunday:
Damiani Italia Challenge v Patuagas K-Challenge
China Team v BMW Oracle Racing
Alinghi v Team Origin
Luna Rossa v Shosholoza
BYE: Emirates Team Zealand and Greek Challenge

Emirates Team New Zealand

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