Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Azzurra and TeamOrigin in the first semi-final off Nice. Image copyright Stefano Gattini/Azzurra.
by Jill Campbell
Italy’s team Azzurra, skippered by Francesco Bruni with Tommaso Chieffi calling tactics, has taken victory over Team Origin skippered by Ben Ainslie with tactician Iain Percy in the first match race of the semi-finals of the Louis Vuitton Trophy (7th-22nd November) on 19th November. The two teams will meet again on 20th November to dispute the second match in the “best of three” format used to determine progression to the finals. Emirates Team New Zealand and Synergy, the other pair of teams fighting it out for a place in the final to be held on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November, will meet for the first time tomorrow. Following Azzurra’s match, racing was cancelled for the day due to absence of wind.
Azzurra Vs Team Origin: Both boats were slightly late getting to the line and Azzurra crossed just slightly ahead in the split tack start in approximately 10 knots of northerly breeze. Azzurra led for the first half of the windward leg but Team Origin had narrowed the gap to nine seconds around the top mark. Azzurra built on her lead downwind in a breeze which had died off to approximately 6 knots and rounded the top mark 27 seconds ahead of Ainslie’s crew. From that point on the Italian team, which has Tom Burnham as strategist, consistently built on their lead and crossed the finish line with an advantage of 1 minute 34 seconds over the British team.
Azzurra downwind off Nice. Image copyright Stefano Gattini/Azzurra.
“I’m glad that we got a good start, we’ve had some problems with the starts lately.” Said Bruni on his return to the docks. “Choosing the right side paid off immediately. We were worried at the first mark because Team Origin were really very very close but we gained ground on the downwind run and other than the wind which dropped off and had us worried about the time limit, everything went well.”
Friday's schedule will see PRO Peter Reggio fitting in as many races as possible to complete the semifinals.
Louis Vuitton Trophy