Monday, 7 June 2010

LVT: Emirates Team New Zealand Score a Come-Back Win in the Final

by Warren Douglas

Emirates Team New Zealand pulled of what appeared to be an impossible feat on Sunday by winning the final of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta at La Maddalena.

Two down to the charging Russian syndicate Synergy, Dean Barker and his crew won the next three races on the trot.

The 3-2 score line gave Emirates Team New Zealand its third Louis Vuitton regatta; the record blemished only by a loss in the finals at Nice in November last year.
The fifth race might not have happened. The rules stipulated that the last race had to be underway by 4pm. After four races, the score line was 2-2, Emirates Team New Zealand could have been declared the winner on a count-back.

The fourth race finished at 3.42. Sportsmanship overcame any thought of gamesmanship to delay the start beyond the deadline. The team readily agreed to a quick restart. The race pre-start got underway as the deadline loomed and Emirates Team New Zealand’s sportsmanship was rewarded with a win.

As tactician Ray Davies said: “The team wanted to win cleanly. Winning on a countback would not be the same.”

Dean Barker said the comeback was an affirmation of the team’s ability to recover from a loss or two: "In the end it comes down to confidence in our team. It's hard to believe. It was a long way back from 2-0 down. But the guys stuck with it and they gave us an opportunity that we jumped on.

“After that we sailed more like we expect to and it feels fantastic to win another event.”

Grant Dalton: “This regatta has been about the emergence of the teams that are putting us under pressure. We need someone to put a blow touch on us before we start performing.

“That’s not good enough. Someone’s going to knock us off our pedestal if we carry on like that. I would have been incredibly hacked off if they hadn’t won.”

New Zealand started the day one match down in the best of five final. Synergy won the first one today and the pressure was really on Dean Barker and his crew.

They took an opportunity in the third race to win and then won races four and five. Synergy never stopped fighting and showed time and again the improvement in a year of racing AC class yachts.

Once the wind increased a little Emirates Team New Zealand and Synergy put on a magnificent display of quality match racing with controlled aggression, close-quarter battles and races that were always finely balanced.

In the end Emirates Team New Zealand got the trophy. Synergy showed it has become a force to be reckoned with in the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas.

Final results

1. Emirates Team New Zealand
2. SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team
3. All4One
4. Artemis
5. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team
6. Azzurra
8. Luna Rossa
9. BMW Oracle Racing Team
10. ALEPH Sailing Team

Emirates Team New Zealand
Louis Vuitton Trophy