Thursday, February 5, 2009

Big Breeze & Big Losses

Photo Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW ORACLE Racing
By Sail-World

Day 6 of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series marked the start of Round Robin 2.

It was day of shock and awe as first Team Origin, who had gone through the first round unbeaten, were overtaken on the final run by Alinghi, who had lost twice in the first round. The win by Alinghi was one thing, the nature of it was another.

The British team made an uncharacteristic error of letting the Swiss America's Cup defender sail down the Rangitoto shore, where the wily Brad Butterworth picked up some pressure, and came back out to meet the Ben Ainslie and friends, sailing over a knot more quickly.

Once through Butterworth and helmsman Ed Baird do not let competitors back for a second chance, and the British could only watch, as Alinghi made the final moves to finish and take a win.

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series - Racing Day 4 - Round Robin 2 BMW Oracle Racing © Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

The win was surprising, in spite of the Alinghi pedigree, and that is a telling comment on the strength of the British team and the progress theyb have made in this regatta. They have shown that they can work as a very slick unit. You don't have six Olympic Gold medals between the afterguard because they brushed their teeth before heading off to school. These are guys who sail off confidence, and can turn an inch into a mile.

But not today.

While waiting for the wind to finally fill on Day 5 , Moctar Falls, grinder with Shosholoza catches a snapper off the media boat before the racing started. Santino Brizzi watches (on right)

However an even bigger shock came in the third race as the first time America's cup challenger, Damiani Italia took the scalp of the winner of the other pool from Round Robin 1, Emirates Team New Zealand. To rub salt in the Kiwi wound, they were sailing in the Emirates Team New Zealand boats.

The Italians took the right hand side after an even start and never looked back.

Their win underlined the fact that this series is anyone's for the taking - and is certainly no walk in the park for the so-called top teams.

Tomorrow morning, the new 33AC class rule will be discussed at a media conference. We hope to bring you full coverage of this event. In this issue, we have some analysis and comment by noted designer Brett Bakewell-White of Bakewell-White Yacht Design - Brett is simple and direct with his comments on a variety of subjects, and always well worth reading.

Alinghi narrowly trails Team Origin just after the start of Race 1 of RR2 ARL Media
In this issue we have featured several computer generated graphics of today's racing, using the Animation Research Ltd system, which has become an outstanding feature of this series. The television coverage of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is series has been outstanding - and all without a single camera on the water.

The landbased camera provides all the on the water shots required. Watching the racing is a less stressful experience as the oddly angled on the water shots that have been a feature of America's Cup coverage, are not present to give the impression that a boat thought to be trailing has suddenly jumped to the front of the fleet.

The interaction of the TV broadcast with the live radio commentary works well, and in this regard - as well as many others, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has broken new ground and raised the bar many notches.

The second day of racing is scheduled to start at 1100hrs. The wind is expected to be a 15kt seabreeze all day.

Good sailing!
Richard Gladwell Editor, Louis Vuitton Pacific Series