Wednesday, 11 February 2009

LVPS: Alinghi Scores a Win Against Luna Rossa

Alinghi leads Luna Rossa Challenge. Image copyright Stefano Gattini/Luna Rossa Challenge.

by Daphne Morgan-Barnicoat

Alinghi vs. Luna Rossa

Gold Fleet, Match 5
Alinghi: starboard entry
Alinghi drew NZL92

Alinghi raced Luna Rossa today in the final match of Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Round Robin 2 and Ed Baird on Alinghi had starboard entry against old team mate Peter Holmberg. Alinghi wanted the right and took it; Luna Rossa took the left in a split tack start. The Swiss led off the line by a boat length and went right, there was one lead swap on the first windward leg, but it was Alinghi that led around the first top mark by 11 seconds. Downwind they extended to 17seconds through the gate, continued to control the race back up the beat to round 22seconds ahead. By the finish the delta had stretched to 24seconds to Alinghi.

Alinghi has completed Round Robin 2 and will pass into the Challenger Final scheduled for Wednesday at the earliest – weather permitting.

Quote from the race boat – Rodney Ardern

Q: With a slot in the Challenger Finals, what was the strategy onboard today?

RA: "There was some risk involved, same as the other day, in that we could lose a point if there was a collision so obviously the strategy was to keep it clean and keep our distance if there were any incidents. It was a calm pre-start, it appeared half way through that we were both going for the same end, although there was a little pin end favour and they went for that. We were slightly separated at the start: we went right; they went left then tacked and followed us out to the right."

Q: How did you find NZL92?

RA: "NZL92 is quick in that sort of breeze; this was their race boat for the last Cup so it is their better boat. You would expect it to be a little quicker, although they have changed keels between boats to try to even them up. But everything is a bit more refined than on NZL84, but it’s not that different from a boat handling point of view."

Q: There was a moment on the first leg where Luna Rossa took the lead – what happened?

RA: "The wind was reasonably steady but it was still shifting within 10degrees and so for a while as we were heading out to the right, they were ahead of cross wind so they would have been ahead of us. Then eventually through the speed of NZL92 we slowly gained. Just before we tacked we got a little header; a little bit of right-hand breeze and so we sailed into that and tacked over. We were a little bit ahead of bow to bow and then they tried to lee bow tack us. We saw that coming so we built speed before it happened, wound up, got a little bit of separation and tried to hold there as long as we could. We held it to the lay line and from there it was one tack and into the mark."

Q: Looking forward to the Challenger Finals – which team do you anticipate if you had to guess?

RA: "That’s a tough one because both TeamOrigin and BMW Oracle are pretty strong teams. Both are new teams as the combination of crew on Oracle has come from a number of different syndicates, but they seem to be sailing well together as a team and of course Russell is pretty handy but he hasn’t sailed these boats for a Cup cycle, he has missed out a little bit. I am sure he is getting up to speed with the boats quickly, he’s a quick learner. TeamOrigin is strong; they have a great group of guys, they could be good too. I think I’d like to see Origin in the final, they are a good strong new team but we’ll just have to wait and see."


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