Friday, 12 March 2010

LVT: One Small Step Back for Team Azzurra

Azzurra on Day 3 off Auckland. Image copyright Stefano Gattini/Azzurra.

by Jill Campbell

Windy conditions today for the third match of the series for Azzurra, the Italian team of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda that suffered its first defeat in the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland. Azzurra lost to the French/German team All4One in a thrilling match held with a strong breeze of 20 knots. This is a small step back for the Italians but also an incentive to grow and move forward.

Francesco Bruni, helmsman of Azzurra aided by Tommaso Chieffi calling tactics, today faced an impressive line-up of sailors on board All4One led by celebrated skipper Jochen Schumann from Germany, who has two America’s Cup wins , three Olympic golds and one silver to his credit. The tactics are entrusted to New Zealander John Cutler who has great local knowledge and boasts five America’s Cup campaigns and one Olympic bronze in his resume; match race veteran Sebastien Col is at the helm.

Bruni, whose resume is also very impressive, with two America’s Cup campaigns and three Olympics, admitted that a few mistakes were made on Azzurra in today’s match, but reiterated that the Louis Vuitton Trophy series is only the starting point for this young team and that these regattas are an excellent training ground: “clearly I am not as happy as yesterday, but it’s been a great match sailed in a nice breeze. We won the start and did a good job for most part of the first beat, but then made a mistake due to some miscommunication and All4One took this opportunity to pass us. They sailed better than us, they kept a good control and they deserved their win. We made a couple of tactical and boat handling mistakes and we will take this as a lesson to improve. We have a long way ahead of us and we want to use every possible opportunity to grow from a technical and competitive standpoint.”

The 18th man on Azzurra today was a keen New Zealander sailor, Terry Wells, who won this fantastic opportunity at a competition sponsored by one of the most renowned Auckland restaurants, situated in the heart of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Village. The position of 18th man, which is highly coveted, is usually given out to VIPs, sponsors, celebrities and journalists. A spot in the finals of the Louis Vuitton Trophy will be reserved for the winner of the “Louis Vuitton Junior Trophy Regatta for Young Sailors” that took off today and attracts all the strongest young sailors from the clubs around Auckland.

In the other matches of the day, the local favourite Emirates Team New Zealand conquered their third consecutive win, confirming their strength and skill in these challenging races on America’s Cup class boats. Dean Barker and his crew defeated the British of Team Origin that had to retire from the match after breaking the spinnaker pole. The other Italian team, Mascalzone Latino Audi Team helmed by New Zealander Gavin Brady, gained its first point against the French of Aleph. The Swedes of Artemis defeated the Russians of Synergy led by Polish skipper Karol Jablonski.

Azzurra and ALL4ONE racing on Day 3. Image copyright Stefano Gattini/Azzurra.

Friday Azzurra will face Artemis, the team led by American skipper Paul Cayard who has seven world titles, five America’s Cup campaigns, two round the world races and two Olympics to his credit. Cayard has a very experienced crew with many sailors from the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and match racing arenas, including Terry Hutchinson from the US as helmsman and New Zealander Cameron Appleton as navigator. The forecast for tomorrow calls for 10-15 knots of wind, increasing to 25 knots in the afternoon.

The teams competing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland will take turns racing the two 2007-generation America’s Cup boats NZL 84 and NZL 92 in four matches a day to complete a round robin seeding series before a ladder elimination culminating in the finals on Sunday, 21st March.

Results after 3 matches
ALEPH Sailing Team (France) 1
All4One (France/Germany) 2
Artemis (Sweden) 2
Azzurra (Italy) 2
Emirates Team New Zealand 3
Mascalzone Latino Audi Team (Italy) 1
Synergy Russian Sailing Team (Russia) 0
TEAMORIGIN (Great Britain) 1

Azzurra Crew
Francesco Bruni – Skipper/Helmsman
Tommaso Chieffi – Tactician
Tom Burnham – Strategist
Bruno Zirilli – Navigator
Daniele De Luca – Mainsail trimmer
Stefano Rizzi – Jib Trimmer
Pierluigi De Felice – Spi trimmer
Gabriele Bruni – Runner trimmer
Piero Romeo – Runner grinder
Nicola Pilastro – Mainsail grinder
Massimo Galli – Left grinder
Francesco Scalici – Right grinder
Cristian Griggio – Pitman
Luca Albarelli – Mast
Pietro Mantovani – Mid Bow
Matteo Auguadro – Bowman
Michele Cannoni – Pit Assist
Gabrio Zandonà – Coach
Ben Durham – Reserve
Michele Gnutti – Reserve
Giuseppe Leonardi – Reserve

Louis Vuitton Trophy

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