Monday, 15 March 2010

LVT: Big Victory for Mascalzone Latino Audi Team

Mascalzone Latino Audi Team wins against Artemis. Image copyright Mascalzone Latino Audi Team.

by Giuliano Luzzatto

In the prestart, Gavin Brady inflicted a penalty on skipper Paul Cayard of Artemis, but not satisfied with that, he went and cut the finish line in front of the Swedish team. Racing in 15 knots of wind, it was the most spectacular and adrenaline-filled match seen so far in the Louis Vuitton Trophy of Auckland.

It was distressing, at times, watching Sunday's race in webstreaming live: During the first upwind leg, Mascalzone was in hot pursuit, determined not to let the stern of the opponent get away. By keeping close, they could be guaranteed a win, knowing it takes about 40 seconds for a team to exonerate itself with a penalty turn, and having only 7 seconds between them at the first mark. Everything happened at the spinnaker hoist: even if the maneuver by Artemis wasn't perfect, on board the Italian team the clip opened on the spinnaker tack, causing the enormous sail to fly loose, and risked compromising the strategy of the race.

The crew reacted immediately, showing a team spirit like no other. Once the recovery was made, they threw themselves into pursuing their opponent, limiting the damage at the leeward gate to only 13 seconds, still enough to secure a victory, because of the pending penalty.

The Latin Rascals further reduced the distance in the second upwind leg: at the windward mark, they were again on the stern of Artemis, who didn't have any choice but to delay the spinnaker hoist and wait, in an attempt to offload the penalty.

Here was the proof of character on the part of Gavin Brady and Morgan Larson (whose father was on board today as 18th man) who managed to disengage themselves from a risky windward position, eventually rolling the other boat during a gybe and going on to win.

Mascalzone Latino Audi Team is now in second place on even points with All4One, Team Origin and Azzurra, whom they will race tomorrow. Only the New Zealanders are in front. Speaking of Italian derby, Gavin Brady wanted to publicly emphasize, at the Skippers Press Conference, his esteem and friendship for his opponent, Francesco Bruni. "We have been together on an America's Cup campaign and he was my tactician on a maxi yacht. I know him well as a person and I respect him as an opponent. For us, tomorrow's race will be like the others, but I can understand the excitement, given it's two Italian teams."

Mascalzone Latino Audi Team
Louis Vuitton Trophy

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