Friday, 12 March 2010

LVT: TEAMORIGIN Lose to the Kiwis After a Dramatic Race

TEAMORIGIN forced to retire while in the lead: a pressurised manoeuvre casued a broken spinnaker pole in a dramatic race against the Kiwis

Emirates Team New Zealand excel in stronger wind conditions with seamless crew work to take their third win

Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

by Leslie Greenhalgh

Hotly tipped to be the race to watch of the Round Robin phase of the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Auckland – Ainslie v Barker; TEAMORIGIN v Emirates Team New Zealand, all eyes were on the Waitemata Harbour. With streaming sunshine, visibility clear as a bell, wind direction 235, wind speed 15/16 knots, the talk was of a building breeze so the aim was to get all four flights done by 15:00.

The warning signal went at 10:20 for the TEAMORIGIN vs ETNZ start. Both teams started circling in the start box almost immediately, with both talking of wanting the pin end of the line. ETNZ crossed the line slightly ahead but with TEAMORIGIN able to tack off and claim the right hand favoured side of the beat.

TEAMORIGIN leads Emirates Team New Zealand downwind. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

TEAMORIGIN quickly went bow forward in good pressure on the right of the pair and at the first cross the advantage was to the British team. Both teams tacked off to their respective sides again with TEAMORIGIN maintaining control of the right. The second time the pair converged TEAMORIGIN’s advantage had grown allowing Ainslie and co. to extend, consolidate and keep control.

Approaching the windward mark TEAMORIGIN was forced to tack twice to get around wheras the New Zealanders had found a better layline and managed to gain back quite a bit of distance to round just 14 seconds behind. The pressure was back on and downwind, a wind shift meant both boats stayed on the same gybe until the bottom third of the run, ETNZ hustling to cast a wind shadow on the Brits but not quite managing to get close enough. As the pair approached the bottom gate, the pressure mounted on board TEAMORIGIN with ETNZ breathing right down their necks. A sudden but significant wind shift caused the afterguard of TEAMORIGIN to change the call on the spinnaker drop manoeuvre leaving not enough time for the foredeck crew to respond.

Pressure on at the bottom mark resulted in gear damage forcing TEAMORIGIN to retire. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

In a few moments of drama, the change of gybe call caused the spinnaker pole on TEAMORIGIN to drop into the water and break – impeding the headsail from being hoisted and the spinnaker from being dropped. A huge calamity for the British team forcing them to retire from the race altogether leaving the Kiwis to sail away and gain a ‘come from behind’ victory – their third win of this series.

Mike Sanderson, Team Director gave his views on the day’s action: “Obviously a frustrating result, we did lots of the hard stuff well. We had a great start, a strong first beat on the side we wanted to be on and we led at the top mark. We then chose the aggressive option at the bottom mark and did not manage to pull it off. The more training we do, the more options we open up to chose from to react to situations and sadly we crossed that line today and could not pull off that manoeuvre. The positives of leading at the first top mark in all the races we have done so far is important and may make or break some of the races later on in this event.”

Ben Ainslie, Skipper and Helmsman, added his views: “A good start and a bad end. Everything happened very quickly at the end of the bottom run, we made a mistake of trying to do something we could not pull off – for sure a lesson learnt.”

Race results Thursday:
Race 2 : All4One (FR/GER) beat Azzurra (ITA)
Race 3: Mascalzone (ITA) beat Aleph (FRA)
Race 4: Artemis (SWE) beat Synergy (RUS)

Race wins/losses after day 3:
ETNZ 3 wins/0 losses
Azzurra 2 wins/1 loss
All4One 2 wins/1 loss
Artemis 2 wins/1 loss
TEAMORIGIN 1 win/2 losses
Aleph 1 win/2 losses
Mascalzone 1 win/2 losses
Synergy 0 wins/3 losses

Race schedule for Friday 12th March, is as follows:
Race 1: ETNZ (NZL) vs All4One (FRA)
Race 2 : Aleph (FRA) vs TEAMORIGIN (GBR)
Race 3: Artemis (SWE) vs Azzurra (ITA)
Race 4: Synergy (RUS) vs Mascalzone (ITA)

Louis Vuitton Trophy

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