Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Artemis leads and BMW Oracle Racing leaves

Sander van der Borch / Artemis
Sweden's Artemis climbed to the lead of the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena today with a victory over Emirates Team New Zealand.

After six races in winds ranging from 15 to 20 knots the scoreboard now shows Artemis first with six points, and Emirates Team New Zealand and SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team equal second with five points. Only eight teams will qualify for the quarter finals.

With just four races remaining in the round robin, America’s BMW Oracle Racing and the French ALEPH Racing Team, with ninth and tenth places respectively, are on the outside, looking in.

James Spithill and Oracle, the winners of the America’s Cup, decisively won races today against Italy’s Mascalzone Latino and Azzurra, but the late improvement in form still left them in ninth place. With all their races complete the Americans are effectively eliminated.

The mistral winds had eased and conditions were perfect for racing this morning under sunny skies. The first race of the day started in 15 knots of northwest wind after a short delay. The breeze continued to build but after Oracle beat Azzurra in winds that gusted over 20 knots, organizers ordered a delay until conditions eased.

Flight Nineteen, Race Two: BMW Oracle Racing def. Mascalzone Latino, 00:26 – James Spithill on Oracle pushed Mascalzone Latino below the committee on the starboard layline and landed two penalties in quick succession on Italy’s Gavin Brady as they circled tightly in 14 knots of wind. Oracle led across the line by nearly two boat lengths and left the Italian boat in their wake as Brady was forced to complete the first of his penalty turns. Mascalzone trailed by 180 metres as they set off in pursuit. The Italians still trailed by 26 seconds at the finish and the umpires waived the penalty turn to minimize wear and tear on the jib.

Flight Twenty, Race One: Mascalzone Latino def. ALEPH Sailing Team, 00:01 – Gavin Brady steering Mascalzone Latino snatched victory by one second from France’s ALEPH in the closing metres of an intense chase by the Italian boat. Bertrand Pacé dominated a split tack start and led by 18 metres as he started ten seconds after the gun. Brady kept it close through four legs. There was seldom more than one boat length between them. The Italians closed on ALEPH when the French boat botched the last gybe for the mark and conceded their lead.

Flight Fourteen, Race Two: Luna Rossa def ALEPH Sailing Team, 01:45 – Trailing at the first leeward mark, ALEPH sailed through the gate and below the committee boat as the French crew struggled to hoist the the jib and get the gennaker down. Bertrand Pacé had fought for the right at the start but a pin end bias conferred a 30 metre lead to Ed Baird and Luna Rossa.

Flight Thirteen, Race Two: BMW Oracle Racing def. Azzurra, 00:15 – Azzurra steered by Francesco Bruni gave this vital race away with a slow start, trailing by 114 metres off the line. Oracle’s James Spithill went for a pin end start on a heavily biased line and Bruni appeared to be lining up for a port tack start at the committee on port but ducked and tacked, losing valuable time before he crossed on starboard to follow.

Flight Nineteen, Race One: Azzurra def. TEAMORIGIN , 01:03 – Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie took TEAMORIGIN aross the line first at the favored pin end, bow forward by 18 metres . Francesco Bruni in Azzurra gradually gained and tacked just to leeward of the British boat on the port layline as Ainslie called for water, close to the shoreline. From there Bruni gradually squeezed up on Ainslie for a 14 second lead at the top mark and extended from there.

Flight Three, Race Two: Artemis def. Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:18 – After a lively pre-start Terry Hutchinson and Artemis led back to the line, starting to leeward but bow-forward of ETNZ. They were level-pegging for the first third of the leg until Hutchinson forced Kiwi helmsman Dean Barker away. Coming into the weather mark the Swedish boat lost its gennaker pole overboard but retrieved it intact. Repeated protests from the Kiwi boat were green-flagged and the Swedish crew never looked back.

Round Robin Provisional Results after Tuesday Racing

=1. Artemis, 6-2, 6 points
=2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 5-3, 5 points

=2. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 5-4, 5 points
=4. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 5-2, 4 points *

=4. All4One, 4-3, 4 points

=4. Azzurra, 4-5, 4 points

=4. TEAMORIGIN, 4-3, 4 points
8. Luna Rossa, 3-6, 3 points
9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 3-6, 3 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-6, -2 points *

* Penalties deducted by Jury/Umpires

Live streaming web coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena is available on the event website, http://www.louisvuittontrophy.com/. The official site (in English, French, Italian and Russian) is also rich in team content, as well as features, audio, video and images. Racing starts at 0900 local time (GMT+2).