Kiwis Defeat Sweden to Retain Second Place at Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

After the end of racing today at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai the top of the leaderboard remained unchanged from yesterday.

However it stayed that way only because Emirates Team New Zealand redeemed itself in the last race of the day with a double-points victory against Sweden’s Artemis Racing.

Earlier in the day, the Kiwi boat skippered by Dean Barker, had dropped to third place after losing at the hands of fellow Kiwi Cameron Appleton steering Artemis Racing. Their match, the opener of the day, was the last single-points race in Round Robin One.

In Round Robin Two competition the USA’s BMW Oracle Racing, Italy’s Mascalzone Latino Audi and ETNZ all won their matches and posted double points.

Conditions for racing off the Dubai International Marine Club were ideal with a shifty northerly breeze that built to 14 knots and flat seas.

Serene and seemingly untroubled, the American boat skippered by America’s Cup winner James Spithill, now has an 11-point record, four and a half points clear of the New Zealanders. The rest of the field remains tightly bunched with only two and a half points between second and sixth boat.

“Spithill’s doing a fantastic job,” said Rod Dawson, tactician for the Synergy Russian Sailing Team that lost to Oracle. “He certainly got the better of us in the pre-start today. “Being behind with a deficit is one thing but carrying a penalty as well is just about impossible.”

Ian Moore, navigator for the American team, provided a glimpse from the inside. “We’re a lot more prepared than the last two regattas we did, with more practice time. Practice makes perfect. There’s no doubt about that.

“One of the things you’re seeing is that we’re starting very well. Everyone’s firing on all cylinders. It makes my life easy because you know what’s going to happen next. Everything is running smoothly. It’s a joy to behold, really. However you’ve got to keep that intensity and momentum up. You can’t let it go.”

Speaking of their second match against Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis tactician Iain Percy said: “We had a pretty even start and backed ourselves in a big shift. In the end it became almost too good because we overstood and gave away that gain. At the top mark it came down to a few metres and unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough.”

Ray Davies, tactician on the Emirates boat said: “The start is very important on this course. We wanted to be to the right and we were to the right.  It was close at the top mark but we had a piece of them by a couple of metres.” There will be no Louis Vuitton Trophy racing tomorrow. Instead, the skippers and ten crew members from each of the International America’s Cup Class boats will join Arab sailors to compete in a 60-foot traditional dhow race.  

Organized by the Dubai International Marine Club, it will be the first time that outsiders have ever competed in the sleek, lateen-rigged craft that celebrate centuries of Arab commerce, fishing, and pearl diving.

The six dhow skippers attended a special press conference and joined their counterparts, taking part in the draw to decide choice of boats for the race that will start tomorrow afternoon.

Flight One, Race One, Artemis Racing def Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:27 -
The Swedish boat steered by Kiwi Cameron Appleton won handsomely, claiming second place overall for Round Robin One, half a point ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, his opponents in this race. The New Zealand afterguard performed dismally in the pre-start, gifting the race to the Swedish team. The Kiwis were trailing Artemis on starboard 20 seconds before the gun when Dean Barker tacked onto port. He was late. Unable to lay the committee on port, he tacked onto starboard on the line three boat lengths behind Appleton, losing the right-hand advantage and any chance of redemption. From there, it was a procession.

Flight Two, Race One, BMW Oracle Racing def Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:48 -
Oracle’s James Spithill held Francesco Bruni away from the start line as the seconds ticked down. At the start gun the boats were still luffing head to wind well below the committee. The Russians made an attempt to hook Spithill and the umpires flagged a penalty. Spithill took another 43 seconds to gather momentum and cross the start line, with the Russians tucked away three boat lengths astern. Bruni never got close and finished still carrying the penalty.

Flight Three, Race One, Mascalzone Latino Audi def All4One, 00:24  -
Gavin Brady skippering the Italian boat held Sebastien Col above the start line before circling the committee, making a perfect start and claiming the right side of the course. Col and the French/German boat were delayed getting back and conceded a boat length as racing started. Col drew level in fresher conditions at the top mark but Brady was again able to push him away from the mark to round first. Col kept it close on the run and was only one a half boat lengths behind as they gybed for the bottom mark. Then the French/German spinnaker pole went overboard in an untidy spinnaker drop that left sail plastered all over the foredeck.  

Flight Four, Race One, Emirates Team New Zealand def Artemis Racing, 00:32 – After losing their first race today to Artemis Sailing, Emirates Team New Zealand lined up for their second start side by side with the Swedish team. Both boats were head to wind nine seconds before the start and they started together on starboard with Artemis to leeward. Dean Barker had claimed the right side of the course and he quickly split away. When they met again at the weather mark the Swedish boat had slightly overstood and Barker used his starboard tack advantage to herd Cameron Appleton away from the mark. The delta was ten seconds.  

Provisional Results after Day One of RR2:

  1.  BMW ORACLE Racing, 10-1, 11 pts
  2.  Emirates Team New Zealand, 6-5, 6.5 pts *
  3.  Artemis Racing, 5-6, 5 pts
=4.  All4One, 4-7, 4 pts
=4.  Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-7, 4 pts *
=4.  Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4-7, 4 pts