Monday, 16 November 2009

LVT: A Win and a Loss for TeamOrigin

Close racing: TeamOrigin and BMW ORACLE Racing. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

by Leslie Ryan

TEAMORIGIN came from behind to beat the America’s Cup Challenger BMW ORACLE Racing in a difficult light airs race, before falling to the Russian Synergy team.

A solid pre-start from TEAMORIGIN saw the British boat lead off the start line in medium Northerly winds and a residual swell with the American BMW ORACLE Racing to leeward and alongside and a boat length separation between them. Ainslie and co managed to sail for a few minutes with this situation before the powerful leeward position of the American team forced the British boat to tack away to the right.

Tactician Iain Percy possessed the right hand side of the course, always a powerful option when approaching the top mark, but the pair were only a third of the way up the course. The light and patchy dropping wind along with the residual swell made the conditions complex and at the following cross the advantage moved to the other boat. The American team lead around the next lap but allowed the British team to sail alone all the way to the right of the course on the second weather leg. When the pair converged again near the top of the leg the advantage had moved back to TEAMORIGIN and in the incredibly difficult conditions the British team managed to sail defensively to win by just 8 seconds.

TEAMORIGIN strategist Andrew Simpson summarised the race as follows: "It was a really close race. Things only went our way on the second beat. We had a really good wind heading at the leeward gate and continued out to the right hand side of the course. We were surprised the Americans did not cover us. But to be fair, it is much harder than it looks to read the wind as it is shifting so much. It would not have been an easy decision for them to make. A good race for us to win and an exciting close race."

TeamOrigin gains victory in a come from behind win against BMW ORACLE Racing. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.

TEAMORIGIN’s second race of the day was against the Russian Synergy team. The wind in the afternoon had moved to the East, similar to Saturday afternoon, with the right hand side being favourable. Half way up the first beat Synergy, who had won the right in the pre-start, crossed ahead of the British team and allowed TEAMORIGIN to swap sides and take up the all powerful right hand side for the approach to the first weather mark. But the better speed and fewer manoeuvres of the Russian team meant that they lead around the first mark by 28 seconds. The light winds and one sided nature of the course made it almost impossible for the British team to get back in touch with the leader, and the team’s losing margin to the fast rising Russian team was 1 minute 36 seconds.

TEAMORIGIN’s Rob Greenhalgh, the wind strategist up the mast all day: "That was a really tricky day for all - shifty and really difficult. Every day here in Nice is completely different so every race for us is all good training, especially when looking ahead to the semi-finals. Every day of sailing counts."

TEAMORIGIN has mathematically qualified for the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice regatta Semi Finals knock-out stage which start on Thursday. With just one more race for the team to race in this second Round Robin, on Monday against the Franco-German ALL4ONE team, the British team will be looking forward to two days of well earned rest on Tuesday and Wednesday.

TEAMORIGIN skipper Ben Ainslie concluded the day’s racing with the following statement:
"This morning's win was great for the team – it was the first time we have ever come from behind to win a race. It is good to know we are able to achieve that.

“The second race against Synergy was a tough one for us. We wanted to win the start rather than winning the side and they managed to pull off a great start in pretty difficult circumstances and then they got the better side. On top of that we did not really get the best out of the boat in that race."

Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur
Current Standings

Competing teams – (Country) - Skipper - Record (Win-Loss)

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) - Dean Barker, 9-1
TEAMORIGIN (GBR) - Ben Ainslie, 7-3
Azzurra (ITA) - Francesco Bruni, 6-3
Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) - Karol Jablonski, 5-4
Artemis (SWE) - Paul Cayard, 4-5
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) - Gavin Brady, 3-6
ALL4ONE (FRA/GER) - Jochen Schuemann, 3-7
Team French Spirit (FRA) - Bertrand Pacé, 1-9

Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur
Pairing Schedule for Monday 16th November

Flight 6
Match 1BMW ORACLE Racing (75) vs Azzurra (93)
Match 2 TEAMORIGIN (99) vs ALL4ONE (90)

Flight 7
Match 1BMW ORACLE Racing (75) vs Artemis (93)
Match 2 Synergy (99) vs Emirates Team New Zealand (90)

Flight 8
Match 1 Azzurra (75) vs Synergy (93)
Match 2 Artemis (99) vs Team French Spirit – Pages Jaunes (90)

Louis Vuitton Trophy

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