So close for Shosholoza, but honours go to the French
Shosholoza. Image copyright Guiliano Luzzatto.
by Di Meek
It was a must win for South Africa’s Team Shosholoza in today’s second race of Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series but although they kept it super tight and tactical it was the French Pataugas K-Challenge that ultimately triumphed from the tough four leg battle to take the honours.
“Sebastion (Col) did a much better job than I did on the pre-start and got away at the start with a boat length advantage. From then on they defended the right and stretched their lead a little bit by the end of the beat by pushing us into a double tack.
“On the run we split the gate and went right to get a couple of nice shifts and tacks and came back into the race very close but just not enough to make the jump and overtake them,” said Shosholoza skipper Paolo Cian.
In response to a question at the post race press conference from event director Bruno Trouble as to how Pataugas K-Challenge had managed to beat “a very good team” like Shosholoza, French skipper Col admitted that “it was a really tough race.”
“We were expecting it to be tough from the outset and straight from the pre-start it was very aggressive. But we got the advantage and were able to hold onto the lead around the course,” said Col who is currently ranked the top ISAF match racer in the world.
Said Shosholoza tactician Tommaso Chieffi: “It is such a short course so the start plays a big role. The French came in on starboard and had the starboard tack advantage. They made a fake dial-up to push us up to wind and we got stalled and by the time we got going again they were on our tail and kept pushing us away from the line.
“We had a deficit at the start of about 40 to 50 metres and then split to the left to create a big separation which paid off and we were back in the race. At the top mark we were 20 seconds, and kept us the chase on the second beat working our way by tacking back and forth to try and reel in French,” said Chieffi.
Shosholoza was 22 seconds behind at the leeward gate and at the final rounding had closed it up to just 15 seconds.
The South Africans kept up the battle down the final run zig sagging back and fourth and throwing everything they had to try and sail over the top of Patauga K-Challenge but although it was close the French held their lead to take the finish line with a delta of 14 seconds and win the race.
The world’s top ten teams featuring skippers and crews from the America’s Cup, the World Match Racing Tour and the Olympics are racing in the second round robin of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series that started in Auckland, New Zealand on 30 January.
The top six teams from the first round robin are now racing in a Gold Fleet. Shosholoza, the French Patauga K-Challenge, China Team and Greek Challenge are racing in the Silver Fleet of which the top two teams go forward to remain in the contest.
Shosholoza sponsored by MSC Crociere and Breil Milano races against Greek Challenge on Saturday (7th Feb) in the final race of Round Robin 2.
With New Zealand enjoying a national holiday that celebrates the Treaty of Waitangi - an agreement, in Maori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Maori rangatira (chiefs) in 1840 – there was a large spectator fleet out on the water and hundreds more watching the action from North Head.
In Auckland from Wellington for the Waitangi celebrations was the South African Honorary Consul Mr Gregory Fortuin. He didn’t hesitate to accept and invitation to visit the team and was warm and inspirational in welcoming them to New Zealand.
“For me as a personal appointee of President Nelson Mandela it is my pleasure to welcome you to New Zealand. Although you first and foremost represent Team Shosholoza you also represent yourselves, your family, friends and your respective countries. You should make yourselves and those you represent proud of what you do and in the process don’t forget to have fun!”
Mr Fortuin and his partner Christine Angus were presented with Team Shosholoza caps and in turn warmly welcomed by the team.
Alinghi beat Damiani Italia Challenge by 44 seconds
BMW Oracle Racing beat TEAMORIGIN (withdrew) -
Emirates Team New Zealand vs Luna Rossa by 20 seconds
Pataugas K-Challenge beat Team Shosholoza by 20 seconds
China Team beat Greek Challenge by 2 minutes 58 seconds
Alinghi - 2
BMW Oracle – 1 (and penalised by 1 point)
Emirates Team New Zealand – 1
Team Origin - -0.5
Luna Rossa - 0
Damiani Italia - 0
Pataugas K-Challenge – 2
China Team – 2
Team Shosholoza – 0
Greek Challenge – 0