Emirates Team New Zealand won two races today at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena to end the day first equal on points with Sweden’s Artemis, each with 4-1 records.
In other competition the Swedish boat skippered by Paul Cayard and steered by Terry Hutchinson lost today, the first time since the regatta in Sardinia started.
Crews in the ten international teams spent another long day on the water with the first race starting soon after 0900 and the last not finishing until 1730. There was wind all day from the west, shifty and with big speed changes on different parts of the course. There were gusts up to 20 knots near the weather mark.
The shape of the scoreboard changed in the first four races as the Kiwis, third equal yesterday with two points, deftly dispatched Azzurra and then ALEPH Sailing Team to claim second place. In the fourth race Mascalzone Latino trounced Artemis to advance Team New Zealand to first equal.
“It was tough losing a race to Luna Rossa (on Tuesday) but losses sometimes help kick-start the team and make us realize we’ve always got things to work on. I think we’ve been sailing a lot better since that race,” said Dean Barker, skipper and helmsman of Team New Zealand.
Mascalzone Latino slammed the door on Artemis with a strategy the Italian team had been refining for some time. “The guys on the boat made a great call for the left side and Gavin did a beautiful job of executing that,” said tactician Morgan Larson. “We spent a lot of time this morning talking about Terry Hutchinson’s weaknesses in the prestart. I think Gavin exploited that weakness. It was very close. Terry was really close to getting an overlap with us that would have shifted everything. If they got an overlap they would have got the left and probably won the race.”
Flight Sixteen, Race Two: Emirates Team New Zealand def Azzurra 00:13– Francesco Bruni steering Azzura gauged his start perfectly at the pin with speed. ETNZ on his hip was forced to tack away. The leg and the race belonged to Bruni but approaching the weather mark on port and leading, the Italians tacked short of the mark and opened the way for ETNZ to seize the starboard tack advantage, slip inside and hold their opponents out. The surprising reversal put the Kiwis 13 seconds ahead and they consolidated from there on.
Flight Six, Race One: Emirates Team New Zealand def ALEPH Sailing Team 00:29 – ETNZ dominated an initial race which was abandoned near the top mark due to a mark positioning error. The new start was initally a mirror of the first, a long starboard tack with ETNZ on ALEPH’s hip, until the French forced them to tack. However the Kiwis had the power of the right and forced the persistently-clinging French team away as they carried ALEPH above the weather mark for a seven second delta at the top mark.
Flight Fifteen, Race Two: TEAMORIGIN def Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:06 – ORIGIN was bow-out in mid-line at the start with Synergy close to the committee boat. The Russians hung tough on the starboard tack but were forced away after two minutes. They led approaching the starboard layline, only to drop back in a left shift that put Ainslie ahead by 14 seconds at the top mark. The boats rounded opposite leeward marks. ORIGIN conceded valuable seconds as the gennaker went under the bow but held a handy lead.
Flight Fourteen, Race One: Mascalzone Latino def Artemis, 00:46 – Gavin Brady the Kiwi skipper of the Latin Rascals destroyed the perfect record of Sweden’s Artemis with a king-hit before the start. He locked out Sweden’s Terry Hutchinson on port tack before the gun, with both boats stalled below the line. Brady tacked, and got away first to lead at speed by 26 metres and pull away. The Italian boat was 22 seconds ahead at the top mark as the breeze built to 20 knots. Artemis set off on pursuit only to see their gennaker explode as they settled into the first run. Mascalzone sailed away.
Flight Sixteen, Race One: Synergy Russian Sailing Team def ALEPH Sailing Team, 00:33 – Karol Jablonski won the start as both boats sailed slowly up to the committee boat on port. Jablonski tacked and sailed Synergy off the line at speed while Pacé was slow to tack ALEPH and follow. ALEPH drew level close to the top mark but Jablonski had starboard tack advantage and was nine seconds in front at the top mark.
Flight 22, Race One, Luna Rossa def BMW Oracle Racing, 00:22 – This was a comprehensive victory for the Italians. They started at opposite ends of the line with Luna Rossa near the committee boat. James Spithill and BMW Oracle Racing got off the line faster near the pin but only enjoyed their lead for a few seconds. The Italian boat steered by Ed Baird was in better breeze and sailed steadily away from James Spithill and Oracle. Close to the port layline when Luna Rossa on starboard crossed ahead of her opponent, the Americans were 220 metres dead astern. They made subsequent gains but finished 50 metres back.
Provisional win-loss leaderboard after Thursday racing
=1. Artemis, 4-1, 4 points
=1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 4-1, 4 points
=3. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-1, 3 points *
=3. All4One, 3-3, 3 points
=3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 3-3, 3 points
=3. TEAMORIGIN, 3-3, 3 points
=7. Azzurra, 2-3, 2 points
=7. Luna Rossa, 2-5, 2 points
=9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 1-4, 1 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-4, -2 points *