Saturday, 14 February 2009

Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup: Race Report from Final Day of Racing

by Louis Vuitton Pacific Series media

Race 2: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Alinghi, 29s

The host New Zealand team was on fire on a grey rainy morning after its loss yesterday. Skipper/helmsman Dean Barker and his tactician Ray Davies made the right calls in the pre-start, allowing them to convert an even start into the thin end of a winning wedge. Emirates Team New Zealand beat Alinghi by 29 seconds after leading the Swiss team around the course to make the series 1-1.

Alinghi has the favoured entry into the start box. The boats dialed up and then circled warily but without any obvious advantage. When they broke away to sail back to the line, Alinghi went for the committee end and Emirates headed for the middle in a mirror version of yesterday's start. This time the Kiwis made fractional gains until a small left shift gave them the leverage to make a close, heart-stopping port tack cross. From then they covered Alinghi and worked the shofts to sail steadily away.

Mark 1 - 0:18 ETNZ
Mark 2 - 0:21 ETNZ
Mark 3 - 0:34 ETNZ
Finish - 0:29 ETNZ

Race 3: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Alinghi, 33s

Emirates Team New Zealand shut Alinghi out of the second start while laying a penalty on the hapless Swiss and then starting clear ahead. With the penalty hanging over his head, Alinghi skipper Ed Baird worked hardto stay in touch and bring the race back to the Kiwis but without success. The Barker/Davies helm/tactician duo was in perfect synch in this prestart, the Kiwis engaging Baird in a dialup, and a chase, then testing him in a souple of pre-start circles. With time in hand, Baird broke away to head back to the line, pushed by Emirates. The Kiwi boat drove the Swiss above the layline. Baird wriggled frantically with two sharp low speed tacks before gybing away as the umpires flagged him for overrotating and failing to keep clear.

In a lighter breeze, Emirates turned an early 80 metre advantage into a 100 metre lead only to see it evaporate as Alinghi came back on a big left shift. They tacked up to the top mark until Emirates got clear again and led by 30 seconds. Alinghi pulled up close again at the finish but the margin was 34 seconds after they completed their penalty turn. The score in the best-of-five series is now 2-1 for Emirates and the New Zealand team has only to win one more race to claim the series and the Louis Vuitton Pacific Trophy.

Mark 1 - 0:31 ETNZ
Mark 2 - 0:25 ETNZ
Mark 3 - 0:29 ETNZ
Finish - 0:33 ETNZ

Race 4: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Alinghi, 20s

The host Emirates Team New Zealand made it three in a row to win the series. Alinghi had control of the start but theer appeared to be divergent opinions about the favoured end of the line. Alinghi broke off to make a start near the pin, leaving the Kiwi boat to start at speed in the middle. The Swiss enjoyed a small early advantage, getting out 23 metres in front of the New Zealanders. However, when Ed Baird tacked Alinghi back on port, Emirates was there on starboard and pushed them back to the left side.

With the breeze shifting left and increasing, Alinghi made tack after tack in their attempt to break through but were quickly on the port tack layline and had to follow Emirates into the mark, rounding 29 seconds astern. The Swiss boat brought more wind down on the first run and closed the gap at the leeward mark to 21 seconds but New Zealand had the upper hand and cruised to a 20 second victory.

Mark 1 - 0:29 ETNZ
Mark 2 - 0:15 ETNZ
Mark 3 - 0:21 ETNZ
Finish - 0:20 ETNZ

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series and Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup final results, copyright Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

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