Saturday, 7 February 2009

LVPS:Emirates Team New Zealand Wins on Waitangi Day

Emirates Team New Zealand in her race against Luna Rossa Challenge. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

by Warren Douglas

There was drama aplenty on the second day of round robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

BMW Oracle Racing was penalised one point for colliding with Team Origin in the pre-start of their match. Origin was penalised ½ point for contributing to the collision. They were sailing Emirates Team New Zealand yachts; damage was minor.

Origin led from the start and with Oracle closing on the first run could not raise a headsail as they approached the leeward gate and retired from the race. The problem was a break in the headfoil – a carbon fibre fitting that runs the length of the forestay into which the headsail is slotted. The yacht returned to base for a replacement foil to be fitted.

Both teams have filed protests and the jury will meet after racing is completed.

With NZL 92 out of action the race committee decided the Emirates Team New Zealand match against Luna Rossa would be sailed in the BMW Oracle boats.

That presented another small problem for officials: teams draw for the boat they will sail and in this case the draw was for NZL 92 and NZL 84.

Teams agreed to toss a coin. The team transfer boats came together for the toss – probably another first in top-level match racing for the LVPS.

China Team beat Greek Challenge by 2min 58 sec. The Greeks had trouble raising their headsail and went into the start box without one. They were penalised for failing to enter the start box within two minutes of the five-minute gun and then got another one for a port-starboard incident.

With two penalty turns required, Greek Challenge had little chance of winning. China Team sailed away from the start extending all the way.

The Emirates Team New Zealand-Luna Rossa match was the last of the day. Dean Barker and his afterguard won the start handily, hitting the start line at full speed, with Luna Rossa down-speed three boat lengths astern.

A last minute change of boat posed no problem to the crew of ETNZ. “We have to be adaptable in this type of event,” Barker said.

“We have very little time to prepare between each race, the conditions are forever changing and there is a lot happening out there. The guys slotted in straight away and in a way it was easier for us as we sailed the Oracle boats throughout round robin one.”

ETNZ controlled the first beat, maintaining a cover on Luna Rossa and extending the lead to four boat lengths, translating to 22 sec, at the top mark.

With the breeze a fairly steady 14 knots from the east, ETNZ sailed conservatively, staying in touch with Luna Rossa, always comfortably in control and extending.

The margin for ETNZ at the first leeward gate was 19 sec, at the second top mark 32 and at the finish 26 secs.

Tomorrow Emirates Team New Zealand is matched against Alinghi. “That will be a tough race – a good re-match ,” Barker said. “It won’t be easy, that’s for sure.”

Today’s results
Alinghi beat Damiani Italia 43sec
Pataugas K-Challenge beat Shosholoza 12sec
BMW Oracle Racing beat Team Origin (DNF)
China Team beat Greek Challenge 2min 58sec
Emirates Team New Zealand beat Luna Ross 26sec

Saturday’s Draw (in starting order)
Damiani Italia Challenge v BMW Oracle Racing
Greek Challenge v Team Shosholoza
Luna Rossa v Team Origin
China Team v Pataugas K-Challenge
Emirates Team New Zealand v Alinghi

Emirates Team New Zealand

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