Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gear failure affects Mascalzone's race against Synergy

Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai - Dubai, 15 November 2010

It was another tense day on the waters off Dubai for Mascalzone Latino Audi Team that lost the only race against Synergy when a defective halyard clip suddenly opened, causing the spinnaker to come down.

The Italian team’s third race in the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai got off with an intense duel in the prestart that cost the Russians a penalty flag after they hit the sticks at the stern of the Mascalzone Latino Audi Team yacht. The two yachts crossed the starting line neck and neck and although the Italians, led by Gavin Brady (NZL), managed to stay close, the Russians were able to make small gains that eventually became four boatlengths at the leeward gate.

In the second beat, the “Latin Rascals” were able to catch up, closely following their opponents that still had to offload their penalty. While approaching the second weather mark, Synergy decided to carry out their penalty circle, most probably an extremely risky move since the distance from the Italian boat was too short to guarantee they would be able to hold on to their leadership.

It didn’t take long to prove it was an unwise decision, as Gavin Brady (NZL) with great precision and timing, succeeded in getting through to leeward of them and beat them around the mark. It was a spectacular move by Vincenzo Onorato’s boat and the race was wide open once again.

It truly was a feat that allowed the “Latin Rascals” to gain an advantage of a mere 3 seconds that then increased as the race went on.

Then disaster stroke onboard the Italian boat: The spinnaker went in the water and the race turned upside down. It was gear failure while the crew was not to blame but the race was inevitably compromised. When the spinnaker was hoisted again and Mascalzone came back into the game it was too late. The Italians crossed the finish line 1 minute 14 behind the Russians.

Unlucky Rascals but also substandard gear provided by the organizers. Today, onboard NZL-84, the yacht assigned to Onorato’s team, the first breakage was the gearbox of the winch, forcing the team’s grinders to Herculean efforts while seriously compromising the strategic options given the inability to tack or gybe effectively. The first failure was followed by the accidental opening of the halyard clip that according to Mascalzone Latino was defective and compromised the race.

Tomorrow, weather allowing, Mascalzone Latino onboard USA – 87 will face in the first and second flight the German-French team ALL4One.

The third flight will actually be the match that couldn’t be sailed today and Mascalzone will once again race against Synergy. In that match as well, Mascalzone Latino Audi Team is assigned a New Zealand yacht, NZL – 84.
The first race is scheduled at 1pm local time, 10am CET.