Monday, February 9, 2009

Challenger Sail-off

Photos by Juerg Kaufmann.
Cup Racers are Ready for Challenger Sail-off
Auckland, NZ - Racing in the Challenger Sail-off stage of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup takes place on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour tomorrow following the completion of Gold Fleet competition today.

Two sudden-death races will be sailed to decide which boats will go through to complete the lineup for the challenger quarter finals.In competition today, Switzerland’s Alinghi won her fourth Gold Fleet race to cement her already-confirmed top seeding and an automatic berth in the challenger final. She won handily against the Italian boat Luna Rossa.

Newcomer Damiani Italia Challenge scored an upset victory over British Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie on TEAMORIGIN after he broke the start line and had to return to restart. The victory guaranteed Damiani a place in the first quarter final on Wednesday.

Host team Emirates Team New Zealand sailed in their final race before taking their place as a Louis Vuitton Pacific Series finalist next Saturday but succumbed to their old nemesis Russell Coutts at the wheel of BMW Oracle Racing. Oracle’s win took them to a berth in the other quarter final on Wednesday.

TEAMORIGIN will race tomorrow against France’s seventh-seeded Pataugas K-Challenge to decide the quarter finalist to meet Damiani Italia Challenge. In the other match, Luna Rossa will race against sixth-seeded China Team for the right to race against BMW Oracle Racing in the other quarter final.

The eighth and ninth seeds, Greek Challenge and Team Shosholoza sailed their final match today to determine their final placing in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. The newcomer Greek Team, skippered by Kiwi Gavin Brady won, to place ninth overall. The South African Team Shosholoza with Italian match racer Paolo Cian at the helm is tenth overall.

The results table and scoring chart for the regatta can be accessed at