Saturday, 14 February 2009

LVPS: Strong Winds Interrupt Final

Emirates Team New Zealand during race one of the finals. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

by Warren Douglas

With only one race sailed, officials decided to wait out the strong winds in the safety and relative comfort of the Viaduct Harbour rather than risk damage to the yachts.

With a steady 28 knots from the south and gusts even stronger, the race committee decided to be prudent and delay the start of the second race.

The yachts returned to the dock soon after 1pm and were not expected to leave for at least two hours. But the breeze did not co-operate and the race committee abandoned racing for the day just after 3pm.

The final could now be a best of five races; the team winning three races will take the trophy.

Emirates Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies said it was a typical Auckland day – the race committee did the right thing to postpone because these yachts were not designed to sail in these conditions.

Ray Davies said: “We were happy with the start going left and to leeward and with a small advantage. Then they got a right-hand shift which gave Alinghi the lead. The breeze never went left.

“We decided to put the squeeze on them, keep tacks to a minimum and stay close to the top mark. We got ourselves into a strong position to attack.

“Then we gybed on a shift we saw coming and the halyard slipped and Alinghi extended its lead. We made some gains and had a really good second run but the undeniable fact was the lead was too great to overcome.”

Margins: first mark 12sec to Alinghi, second mark 18sec, third mark 26sec, finish 22sec.

Tomorrow’s weather: east-south-east 12-18 knots, perhaps shifting to east-north-east when the breeze settles. Rain around noon.

Emirates Team New Zealand

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