by Warren Douglas
Emirates Team New Zealand has won its third straight race in the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta.
The match against TEAMORIGIN was as good as over when the yachts rounded the first leeward mark. Origin led into the mark with Dean Barker closing right in and applying enormous pressure on the British team.
Dean Barker: “We forced TEAMORIGIN into a tough manoeuvre. They made one mistake, broke the spinnaker pole and then couldn’t get their jib up. When the pressure‘s really on in these situations it’s very hard to recover.”
Barker said: “We were able to do our rounding without incident and, really, that was the race.”
Things started to go wrong for Origin as they began to drop the gennaker. The spinnaker pole went sideways across the deck and the crew was unable to either drop the gennaker or hoist the jib.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s crew worked flawlessly in the fresher conditions, dropping the genneker, hoisting the jib and taking off up the second beat as the Origin crew was working feverishly to sort out the problem.
Origin was forced to retire, handing the match to Emirates Team New Zealand. The race was sailed in 14-18 knot breeze.
Tactician Ray Davies sums up the race: “A match against TEAMORIGIN was always going to be a battle. We have sailed against them a lot – and it’s never easy.
“It was hard to have a clean, clear start plan because the wind was shifting so much. We were compromised at the pin when the wind went further left than expected and we were a bit slow at the start.
"'Origin tacked away on the start line, sailing straight into a right hand shift and started to make some good gains. We had to stay in touch and wait for the opportunity."
That came as the yachts neared the top mark. Ray Davies: “The wind because shifty and very tricky, but good for us. We gained a lot of ground. And were only 14sec behind as we rounded the mark and gybed.
“We compressed the action of the run and when we gybed on the approach to the gate, they had to follow and then make a last-minute call on which mark to take. Then came the error that ended their race.”
Friday's weather: fresh south-westerlies may affect racing.
Emirates Team New Zealand v ALL4ONE
Aleph v TEAMORIGIN
Artemis v Azzurra
Mascalzone Latino v Synergy
Emirates Team New Zealand
Louis Vuitton Trophy