Louis Vuitton Cup: San Francisco, USA
Finals August 17-30, 2013


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 Celebrating Emirates Team New Zealand's Louis Vuitton Cup win.  Click image to see photo gallery of the trophy ceremony (46 images).
Photo:©2013 Chuck Lantz/Sail-World

Louis Vuitton Cup 2013 Finals

Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Emirates Team New Zealand
Compare Finals Teams | See CupStats

Best of 13 Series (first to 7 wins)
Race 1: NZL beats ITA, leads 1-0
Race 2: ITA beats NZL (DSQ), series tied 1-1
Race 3: NZL beats ITA (DNF), 2-1
Race 4: NZL beats ITA, leads 3-1
Race 5: NZL beats ITA, leads 4-1
Race 6: NZL beats ITA, leads 5-1
Race 7: NZL beats ITA, leads 6-1
Race 8: NZL beats ITA, wins Louis Vuitton Cup!

At CupInfo: LVC Race Results | Crew Lists

Where to Watch:
Replays and Highlight Online:
America's Cup YouTube Channel
Television Broadcasts and Internet:
See TV Schedule and broadcasters
 

Sunday, August 25 Race 8

 



 Emirates Team New Zealand Wins the Louis Vuitton Cup! Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

Finals Day 7: Races 8 and 9
Sunday, August 25

Sunday's Program:
1-2 Match Races, Finals Races 8 and 9 (if needed).
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) vs. Luna Rossa (ITA)
ETNZ leads 6-1 in Best-of-13 series (first to 7 wins).
Start times 1:10 pm PT and 2:10 pm PDT.

Conditions:
High Tide 3:27-3:41 pm across the course.  Strong flood current for racing, with max at Race 8 start time.

Watch:
 Delayed television broadcast on NBCSN at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT in USA.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details and international coverage see: How to Watch

Also: Check live wind and race stats | @AmericasCupLive

Race 8:
Emirates Team New Zealand wins Race 8!  With the victory the team wins the Louis Vuitton Cup, beating Italy's Luna Rossa seven races to one. 

ETNZ becomes the 34th Challenger for the America's Cup and will face Oracle Team USA for the trophy starting September 7th.

Read ACEA Race 8 Press Release

Preview:
The question is not whether Luna Rossa can win the series, but if can they win another race from Emirates Team New Zealand.  And likewise, how fast is Aotearoa, the Kiwi's AC72.   Luna Rossa has made great strides, just not over the summer, but in this round of the Louis Vuitton Cup.  Downwind they've been giving up little to ETNZ in stronger air, may have gained at times in Race 7, and instead tactics are the bigger factor.

 

Preview (continued):
Upwind, Emirates is just faster.  In the last two Races Luna Rossa was close at the bottom gate or soon after, losing 23 seconds, having taken 1 extra gybe (see Race 7 Stats), but by the windward mark ETNZ built a lead that just couldn't be touched after ITA made it around.  ETNZ is also clearly faster on a reach, which generally only matters at the start, but even getting beat by Dean Barker to Mark 1, Chris Draper faced a gap of only 5 seconds to start the downwind.

A few critics have called for Luna Rossa to do something different on the upwind legs, but tactician Francesco Bruni is clear that with the tides and currents that are in play any other options look even worse.  The race course is narrow and that brings limitations in tactics.  The 5-leg short course being used for the LVC Final and the America's Cup match doesn't help a trailing boat, leaving few chances to recover.  Especially from a big gap at the windward mark.  The longer 7-leg course, with two upwind legs instead of one, might not win Luna Rossa any races either, but there would be more opportunities for tactics to come into play, as well as make mistakes now and then.

The Italians point out that they aren't losing because of decisions they are making on the race course, it's because of decisions made months ago in designing, moding, and tuning the boat.  Whether a derivative of ETNZ's 1st-generation boat was ever consistently going to beat ETNZ's 2nd-gneration boat is another fair question. 

Reductive focus on win-loss records shouldn't cloud the fact of what's been accomplished with these boats.  A year ago a spy shot of ETNZ's AC72 up on foils was derided by internet sailing mavens as a hoax, not possible, and certainly not feasible for racing in the Louis Vuitton or America's Cup.  Now, as stunning onboard video shows, the crews have learned to fly them around San Francisco Bay close to 50 knots, water turning to smoke behind them, different terraced levels of harmonics in their vibrations and other noises singing to the helmsman, crews springing from hull to hull for the next tack.  Racing these boats so well is a tremendous achievement for ETNZ, or whether they win another race, for Luna Rossa.  Everybody else is talking about it, they did it."



Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

 

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Saturday, August 24 Race 7

 


Italy's Silver Bullet was nearly equal to ETNZ downwind, but couldn't keep pace upwind enough to stay in Race 7.
Italy's Silver Bullet was nearly equal to ETNZ downwind, but couldn't keep pace upwind enough to stay in Race 7.
Photo:©2013 ACEA/Abner Kingman
 

Finals Day 6: Race 7
Saturday, August 24

Saturday's Program:
2 Match Races, Finals Races 7 and 8.
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) vs. Luna Rossa (ITA)
ETNZ leads 5-1 in Best-of-13 series (first to 7 wins).
Start times 1:10 pm PT and 2:10 pm PDT.

Watch:
 Delayed television broadcast on NBCSN at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT in USA.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details and international coverage see: How to Watch

Conditions:
Winds were expected up to build from high teens early to mid-20 knots by mid-afternoon.  Observation 20-21 knots at last check 12:55 pm.  High Tide 2:48-3:02 pm across the course.  Flood current for racing.

Race 7:
1:20 start.  Both boats into the box.  Drag race to Mark 1, 5 seconds delta, and downwind on the inshore.  Lead 130m for ETNZ.  Italians follow briefly, then tack away, Kiwis match them, LR gains on better gybe.  Lead is 100m, the Luna Rossa gybes back, but losses ground in doing it.  Lead grows from 100m to 300m.  Then Luna Rossa starts taking it back, sailing higher speeds than ETNZ despite the Kiwis having more current in their favor.

27 second delta at the downwind gate, but LR is looking fast.  Upwind ETNZ turns right, LR turns right.  ITA may save a tack.  Lead is down to 200m.  ETNZ stretches again, aid by an LR tack, gap now in 300-400m range.  Toward the top of the leg, ETNZ pulls out to 700m.

Upwind, ETNZ really built a lead, and the delta at the upwind gate is 1:56 for NZL by the time LR gets there.  Even if LR has extra speed downwind, it won't be enough to close up the distance they've given away.  Finish delta is 1:58.

ETNZ wins Race 7!  They are one win away from going to the America's Cup.

Race 8:
Start penciled in for 2:25 pm PT.  At 2:15 the Race Committee postpones for the day as the wind is averaging just over the limit and races must start by 2:30.

Quotes of the Day:
Chris Draper, Helmsman, Luna Rossa:  "
It was full on, probably the windiest race we've seen.  Pushing the boats in that breeze and sailing the boats hard in that wind is impossible to get over, even to people who have sailed all their lives, what these boats are like to sail.  It's just incredible.  Even though we weren't winning and the Kiwis were sailing away from us, it was still an amazing race to do.  10 years ago, we'd have set the world speed record!  And we're racing these boats around marks."
 

Quotes of the Day (continued):
Dean Barker, Skipper, ETNZ: It’s been a little while since we raced in this much breeze, but it was awesome sailing in these boats.  There’s always improvements and gains to be had so I think it’s a matter of using what you’ve got and developing that’s the big challenge.  The more racing, the more time you go around this course, there’s always areas you know you can improve.

Read more Race Quotes for Day 6

Preview:
Luna Rossa believes they need lots of wind to extend their Louis Vuitton Cup final Series with ETNZ.  And wind they may get today.  A number of predictions yesterday had conditions ranging "from fresh to frightening" in the words of Iain Murray, Regatta Director, though on Saturday the upper range has settles into the low-to-mid 20's.  The race course area on San Francisco Bay alternates from conditions that run like clockwork to a micro-climate roulette that surprises even the professionals. 

Average winds have to stay under the 21-knot limit for 15 minutes before the Principal Race Officer (PRO) can start an LVC Final Race, plus adjustments for the current.  Once the race has started though, the winds still have to maintain under the limits for a five-minute average or the race will be abandoned.  The exception is that the race cannot be stopped for high wind once at least one of the boats has begun the second-to-last leg, the final downwind leg, which is Leg 4 on this course.  An abandoned race will be re-sailed. 

The Flood current will add a predicted 2 knots of breathing room to the first race, and if they race in the permitted 23 knots it would be the windiest LVC 2013 race to date.  Current will be lessening in the second race, bringing the wind limits down slightly.  If winds are right near the threshold, it will be a tense factor for sailors and fans as to whether the finish line, or Mark 3 actually, can be reached before the race is scratched. 

Higher winds also emphasize boat handling and keeping gear intact.  Mistakes in these conditions lead to breakage.  The mitigating factor is that both teams trained in Auckland in much higher winds than they've been permitted to race in San Francisco, so they are not without experience in bigger air.  Do Luna Rossa's preferred conditions extend beyond the high teens into the low 20s, though?  It may be spectacular racing for a while if NZL and ITA can complete a race in that sort of wind.  And more so if Luna Rossa's performance is what they think it is.



 Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

 

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Friday, August 23 Race 6

 



Fast and Faster, ETNZ stayed out ahead on Race 6.  Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

Finals Day 5: Race 6 (Friday)

Friday's Program:
1 Match Race, Finals Race 6.
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) vs. Luna Rossa (ITA)
 ETNZ leads 4-1 in Best-of-13 series (first to 7 wins).
Start time 1:10 pm PT.

Watch:
 Live on ESPN3 online in USA. YouTube internationally.  How to Watch

Conditions:
Winds expected up to 18-20 knots SW.  Reported 13.6 kts SW (12:30 pm).  High Tide 2:10 pm-2:24 pm.  Flood current for racing.  Initial estimate is wind limit of 22.8 kts (21 kts plus 1.8 kt flood current).

Race 6:
Complete!  NZL sails over the top of ITA, getting ahead off the line.  Early lead for the Kiwis at Mark 1, Luna Rossa follows them for a while along the inshore side, then gybes away, about 300m behind.  They may be making gains, but ETNZ follows soon after.  At the bottom gate, NZL is about 500m ahead, and turns right.  Kiwis take the inshore at first, in the usual flood current pattern.  Luna Rossa rounds turning right also, 50 second delta at the downwind gate.

ETNZ tacks for the protection of Alcatraz, Luna Rossa has to follow at this end. Wind is about 15 kts.  Both tacking up the course, going to the inshore boundary.  Upwind they carry their tacks long, working the inshore to minimize adverse current.  Lead over 500m.  ETNZ rounds, turning left, and heads downwind hugging the inshore.  Delta to Luna Rossa is 1:16.

There's no catching the Kiwis on this short course, the boats can run nearly directly to the gate.  the lead stretches out and barring a problem, ETNZ should have it locked.

ENTZ wins Race 6! Finish delta is 1:56.  Two more wins for New Zealand to make it to the America's Cup Match.

Quotes of the day:
Chris Draper, Helmsman, Luna Rossa: "We're going to give it everything we have in the last two races....We very aware that we're a bit more competitive when the breeze is up.  It would be good to have two races tomorrow and it certainly would be good if there were a bit more breeze."

Read more quotes in ACEA Race 6 Statement
 

 

Preview:
The teams have to be thankful they can concentrate on one race today, and to have one off day to prepare for it.  Luna Rossa at least might have welcomed two off days for the practice opportunities, but didn't get the extra day.

What Luna Rossa wants even more are conditions in what they feel is their sweet spot, 16-18 knots of wind or so.  To win they also need the tripod of delivering great crew work, not breaking anything, and not being unlucky.  That's been the standard checklist for America's Cup competitors back over 100 years and foils and wings don't change it.  A few mistakes by the opponent don't hurt either.

ETNZ will be trying hard not to give them that mistake.  Their submarine excursion showed how quickly even a little lapse can lead to trouble.  But when Luna Rossa made things close in the last race, the Kiwis also showed a few cards in the tactics and speed departments, and they likely have plenty more left to reveal.

Flood current today will make the pre-start wrestling more difficult, but the skippers and crews may feel pressure to do something aggressive.  The psychological benefits of winning the start are probably overstated by commentators, and even over-weighted by the teams, if evaluated on a risk-reward basis.  It's hard to win these races in the pre-start.  That could more or less happen back in monohull days where getting the favored side of a lopsided course and clocking a 30-second margin via putting a penalty on the other boat were advantages rarely overcome.

The closer the racing gets, though, the more the starts will matter in AC72's.  ETNZ may feel more driven now to engage either because LR is getting faster, or because they want to prepare for the next opponent in case they advance.  Oracle's been out and increasingly enthusiastic in their practice starts, with the luxury of two boats to train with.  Oracle also has the benefit of a second boat already in service to fall back on if they damage one, of course. 

But it's coming down to Luna Rossa needing to narrow ETNZ's series lead, and the pre-start is as good a place as any to get to work on that, though taking the lead in any part of today's race will do, especially at the finish line.

 



 Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

 

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Wednesday, August 21 Races 4 and 5

 



The Kiwis had to battle Luna Rossa, before later pulling away at the top of the windward leg.
 Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

Finals Day 4: Races 4 and 5

Wednesday's Program:
2 Match Races, Finals Races 4 and 5.
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) vs. Luna Rossa (ITA)
ETNZ leads 2-1 in Best-of-13 series (first to 7 wins).
Start times 1:10 pm PT and 2:10 pm PT.

Watch:
 Live on ESPN3 online in USA. YouTube internationally.  How to Watch

Conditions:
High Tide 12:55-1:09 pm, Low Tide 6:19-6:37 pm, across the course.  Near slack water in first race becoming ebb current for second race. Initial wind limit for Race 4 is 21.6 knots (21 knots + 0.6 flood current), for Race 5 19.8 knots (21 knots - 1.2 ebb current).

Race 4:
Complete. Lightest breeze we’ve seen this series, 13.7 kts at race time, varying and not easily predictable compared to the usual wind regime. Pre-start: ETNZ staying below LR trying to get the hook, LR trying to block.  ETNZ timed it perfectly and rolled over the top of Luna Rossa, NZL leading by 12 seconds at Mark 1 as they head downwind.  New Zealand looks stronger in the light wind, 33-second lead at the leeward gate.

Boundary penalty on the upwind leg for Luna Rossa, Emirates Team New Zealand leads by over 400m already.  Upwind they stretch the lead and round the windward gate well ahead, turning left, bearing off and heading back down toward the last mark on the inshore route.  New Zealand is much faster in lighter air, and the lead is over 1 mile.  NZL wins Race 4!  Kiwi lead is 3-1 for the series.

Race 5:
Upcoming. Winds reported 13 knots WSW. Current at -2.2 ebb means 18.8 wind limit for this Race.  Start currently as planned for 2:10 PT.   Luna Rossa will enter on starboard tack.  The boats start tight together, LR to windward, but not in a spot to blanket ETNZ in time.  The Kiwis have the inside at the first mark.  Heading downwind the boats are right on top of each other to the first gybe, but Luna Rossa's wing hangs up and they lose ground, can't sail the better angles.  Still, good crew work keeps it from getting worse. 

At the downwind gate the delta is 18 seconds, the Kiwis turning left and the Italians turning right and heading inshore.  Upwind the lead is 60m, both boats on top of each other out to the left boundary.  Both edging up onto their foils, screaming along. We have a boat race!  Luna Rossa tacks, ETNZ follows.  Mid-way across, ITA comes back again, staying in the better conditions, ETNZ trying to stay in phase and cover.  Luna Rossa tacks again, not wanting to mess with the boundary.  ETNZ covers, but not maintaining position, Luna Rossa is working them out of phase.

ETNZ is opening up a little bit, but it's staying close if someone can save a tack getting to the gate, things could change.  NZL may be playing it better, the lead extends, and NZL turns right at the top, heading offshore for favorable current downwind.  ITA has to turn left, starting inshore and fighting the current but maybe looking for wind, 1:06 behind.  The lead is about 1km, but the boats are about to trade sides of the course.

 

Race 5 (continued):

ETNZ gets too far away.  The finish delta will be 1:28.  ETNZ wins Race 5 to take a 4-1 lead in the best of seven series.  Three more wins to become the 34th Challenger for the America's Cup.

Quotes of the Day:
Ray Davies, Tactician, ETNZ: "We were very happy with the first race but in the second race, they sailed really well.  They basically had us at the start."

Max Sirena, Skipper, Luna Rossa: "We didn’t sail that well in the first race, but in the second race we pushed the boat pretty hard and put some pressure on them."

Read Full Quotes from Day 4

Also: See Day 4 photos from Rick Dole

Preview:
A sorely needed off-day on Tuesday might help the racing get back on track, or at least find a little sleep for the over-worked shore crews after several days of dealing day and night with damage to their yachts.  Watchers will be holding their breath to see if two boats can complete the same race, which wasn't so much of an issue in the Rounds Robin provided they both started.

Lost in the disappointment from Monday's fizzled Race 3 was the hint from Luna Rossa that they thought they had been faster downwind than ETNZ on portions of the leg they sailed together.  A good puff of wind or less adverse current might be the dismissive explanation from some quarters, pointing to the 300m lead the Kiwis carried by the bottom of the downwind leg, but the Italian crew was genuinely excited at what they saw, and Cup fans will be too if LR can hang on to or roll ETNZ in the same water.

Slacking current may again give plenty of room to work with for the Race 4 start, without maximum flood or ebb tides pushing the boats around in the pre-start.  Last race showed that a leeward position might be fine if you can hook the opponent and luff them head-to-wind or further, but if they come back down to match tacks before the gun, the advantage is largely gone.

 Advantages at the start don't go very far in any case, to date, on these courses.  Barring the breakage that's been claiming headlines, the AC72 fundamentals of executing smooth crew work, sustaining foiling through gybes, minimizing tacks, and constant attention on managing the boat, especially in maneuvers, will be the foundation of a win.  That speed questions are in play is a credit to Luna Rossa, though the Kiwis haven't looked worried yet.



 Luna Rossa breaking through.  Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 


 It was that close, going tack-for-tack while trying to take advantage of the building ebb current close to shore.
Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

 

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Monday, August 19 Race 3

 



 Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

Finals Day 3: Race 3

Monday's Program:
2 Match Races, Finals Races 3 and 4.
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) vs. Luna Rossa (ITA) Tie 1-1 in Best-of-13 series (first to 7 wins).
Start times 12:10 pm PT and :10 pm PT (note starts are 1 hour earlier than normal).

Watch:
 Live ESPN3 coverage online in USA, YouTube in international markets. How to Watch

Conditions:
High Tide 11:38-11:52 am, Low Tide 4:37-4:55 pm, across the course.  Slack water becoming ebb current for racing.

Race 3:
Within 20 seconds of ETNZ, Luna Rossa breaks on Leg 3, has to attend to damage while ETNZ sails away with it.  ETNZ wins and goes up 2-1 in the series.  ITA's damaged is later explained as problems with the sheave for control lines in the wing that control twist.

Race 4:
Winds are flirting with the upper limit while Luna Rossa is trying to make repairs in time to race, though that might not be feasible and they will have to use their single postponement request for the series to avoid taking a second loss today.  Current race start is intended for 1:30 PT, but wind is building and the Race Committee calls it off for the day.  Racing is expected to resume on Wednesday as planned, pending official confirmation.

Quotes of the Day:
Dean Barker, Skipper, ETNZ: “It would be nice to get a couple of races where both boats made it all the way to the end.  These boats are very complex and hard to keep on the water and we can see every team dealing with issues.  Our guys are obviously very thorough in their preparation and checks but sometimes things just go wrong.  You have to learn from it.”

 

Quotes of the Day (Continued):
Max Sirena, Skipper, Luna Rossa: “...When you have another boat next to you, the scared goes away because you want to beat the other guy.  So you push way harder than normally and unfortunately, because we are sailing a new class of boat, there is a lot unknown and we discover that even in the race.  But there is no other choice, we go out and race, and if the boat breaks, it breaks.  If you are scared to break the boat, you should change jobs.”

Read More Day 3 Quotes

Preview:
Fatigue of preparation, racing, and recovering from multiple days of damage is catching up with the sailors, and the shore crews, too.  Two days with breakdowns, meaning a lot of time on the water is followed by more time in the shop, and everyone will be watching to find out whether the boats are repaired and reliable enough to finish two races today.

Will the starts see any change in tactics?  ENTZ proved yesterday the value of the weather gauge on a reach, gassing Luna Rossa enough to get the jump on Leg 1.  Will a longer run at a timed start do any better?  The AC45s generally just fell into the drag race start, sitting behind the line and using the acceleration of the wing sail to hit the throttle in the last seconds before the gun. 

Luna Rossa's Chris Draper mixed it up a bit with Artemis in the Semi-Finals.  The smart move for ETNZ might be to decline, not risking damage or penalties that might benefit their opponent, but competitive personalities don't like to start from behind.  Lower current for the Race 3 start won't be pushing the boats around as much, enabling more freedom for tactical maneuvers in the pre-start than usual.

After the start, Luna Rossa has shown that they are much closer to ETNZ than ever before in speed, depending on conditions.  An extra tack here or there, let alone a mistake, and ITA can find ways to be in the lead.  Both boats have yet to sail a full Finals race together, but maybe today will allow a better comparison of how far they've come.  With six wins left for one team to tally, there's a lot left to go, too.

 

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Sunday, August 18 Race 2

 



Luna Rossa shows ETNZ their transom as they sail away with Race 2.  The Kiwi boat suffered a hydraulic failure and was unable to stay in the race.
Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

Finals Day 2: Races 2 and 3


Both teams hope to be back on form on Day 2.
Photo:©2013 ACEA/Abner Kingman

Finals Day 2: Races 2 and 3

Sunday's program:
2 Match Races, Finals Races 2 and 3.
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) vs. Luna Rossa (ITA) NZL leads 1-0 in Best-of-13 series (first to 7 wins).
Start times 1:10 pm PT and 2:10 pm PT.
ETNZ will have port entry in both races.

Watch:
 Delayed coverage on NBC Sports Net at 6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT.  No live YouTube coverage in USA due to media rights, but online replay will be available following TV broadcast.  How to Watch

Conditions:
30 minutes before Race 2: Winds reported at 14-16 knots WSW.  High Tide 10:56-11:10 am, Low Tide 3:42-4:00 pm, across the course.  Ebb current for racing.  2.3 knots of current indicate an 18.7 kt wind limit, pending actual conditions.

Race 2:
Luna Rossa starts to leeward, ETNZ cuts across them but no penalty.  10 second lead for ETNZ at the first mark.  Downwind  ETNZ opens a lead, 23 seconds at the first downwind gate.  Upwind, hydraulic problems for ETNZ, they can't control the boards or the wing.  Luna Rossa rounds the upwind gate first while the Kiwis can't turn their boat, sail off the course, and may have to withdraw from the race.  The tender comes up to help them, they are out of Race 2 and Luna Rossa will even the series. 

Technically ETNZ is DSQ for receiving the help from their support boat.  The next question is what about Race 3 coming up?  They have until five minutes before the start to request a postponement.

 Dean Barker reports that the hydraulic system failed, but has been fixed and they will be ready to start Race 3 today.

 

Quotes of the Day:
Max Sirena, Skipper, Luna Rossa: "To win the start to leeward in big breeze you have to be quite ahead of them, otherwise it’s really easy for the windward boat to roll – unless you’re really tight to leeward and then you can luff.”

Ray Davies, Tactician, ETNZ: “We haven’t seen this type of issue before, though it seems like a pretty simple issue on the face of it.  But we’re gutted.  The boys had a good bounce back from what happened yesterday and we were sailing pretty well.  To be completely shut down is really disappointing.”

Read more Day 2 Quotes

Race 3:
Start now set for 2:30 pm PT at last check, winds permitting.  As of 10 past the hour, the wind was sustained above the limit.  If the race does not start before 2:30 pm, it will be postponed until Monday per the Sailing Instructions (Amendment 4).  Luna Rossa meantime is struggling to repair apparent damage to their wing, unclear if they would start.  At 2:16 the Race Committee calls it for the day.  Races 3 and 4 set for Monday, likely 12:10 pm PT start, but officially to be confirmed.

Outlook:
Opening day of the finals left everyone's heads spinning.  A breakdown from Luna Rossa, a bow down from ETNZ, and a showdown averted over who would use their single postponement request to move Race 2 to another day.  The Race Committee saved everyone when the winds met earlier predictions and rose steadily above the wind limits imposed for the Finals.  So Day 2 opens with Race 2 and 3, and the planned Race 4 slips to Monday.  Monday's race time will be 12:10 pm, whether both Sunday races have been completed or not, in order to improve the odds that the overall schedule stays on track.  Continued strong winds in the afternoons may prompt the organizers to continue the shift to earlier start times to avoid wind limits preventing the start or causing a race underway to be abandoned.

Racing Preview:
The issue for Race 2 will be whether all of the damage from Race 1 was found and repaired on both boats.  Luna Rossa has likely got a handle on their daggerboard attachment.  ETNZ says that the damage from their submarine imitation was cosmetic, though careful inspection took place overnight to be sure nothing structural was overstressed.

As for the racing, the pre-start again is a question of whether Chris Draper wants to be aggressive against Dean Barker, with the opportunity to begin the race in the lead.  After the gun, we still haven't seen the current configuration of these two boats head-to-head for more than a few seconds.  ETNZ had a big speed advantage in the Rounds Robin, magnified by their foiling gybes.  Luna Rossa is much improved, but how much?




Being to windward, ETNZ was able to sail over Luna Rossa at the start. Photo:©2013 ACEA/Abner Kingman
 

 

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Saturday, August 17 Race 1


Down under, in the wrong way. ETNZ bounced back, minus two grinders who were rescued by support boats.
 Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

Finals Day 1: Races 1 and 2

Saturday's program:
2 Match Races, Finals Races 1 and 2.
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) vs. Luna Rossa (ITA)
Best-of-thirteen series (first to seven wins).
Start times 1:10 pm PT and 2:10 pm PT.
Short (5-leg) course.
Update: Race 1 start postponed to 1:30 for wind exceeding limit.

Watch:
 Delayed coverage on NBC Sports Net at 6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT.  No live YouTube coverage in USA due to media rights, but online replay will be available following TV broadcast.  How to Watch

Conditions:
High Tide 10:09-10:23 am, Low Tide 2:42-3:00 pm, across the course.  Ebb current for racing.  Winds are higher and may edge into the wind limit.  If Race #2 is postponed, it will be added to Sunday's schedule.

Race #1:
1:10 start postponed due to winds exceeding limit, currently Race Committee is now looking at 1:30 start (follow updates).  Upper wind limit for LVC Finals start is 21 knots, plus or minus the current.  For Race #1 the measured current is an ebb of 2.0 knots, making the limit 19.0 knots.  Observation at scheduled start time was 19.4 knots.

Meanwhile on the course, Luna Rossa is struggling with an equipment issue, apparently daggerboard-related.  At 1:20, the boat is reported fixed and the Italians are preparing for the starting sequence.

At the start, ETNZ gets a start slightly ahead of LR, no serious engagement.  ETNZ leads to mark 1, but as the boats head downwind Luna Rossa has the brakes on, the daggerboard is broken, ETNZ leaves them far behind.  Luna Rossa may be able to rig a fix, but ETNZ is gone and so is the race.  ETNZ continues to sail the course, with LR limping along far behind.  Will ITA be able to start in Race 2?

Each team is allowed to postpone the second race of the day, one time per match, under the Protocol.  ITA may also be rooting for the wind to pick up again and save their single chance to request a postponement.

Suddenly, rounding the top gate ETNZ stuffs the bow, two grinders thrown overboard, and some damage to the boat.  Chris Ward and Rob Waddell are rescued from the water, parts of fairings, end plate, and trampoline are ripped loose.  ETNZ looks able to finish, with just nine crew.  ETNZ finishes and takes the first win.

Video:
Excerpt of ETNZ incident at top mark: YouTube

Quotes of the Day:
Chris McAsey
, Grinder, ETNZ: "I’m on the forward pedestal, behind Jeremy Lomas and we were the first guys to go under.  The first thing I was thinking about was just holding on, then the next thing I know there’s a wall of water coming at me.  I felt an arm link behind me – that was Derek Saward, who was also trying to hold onto Rob Waddell, who was on his way over.  Behind him was Chris Ward, who unfortunately no one was holding onto!  But it’s hard to know exactly what happened because now, it’s just a blur."

Read more Day 1 Quotes at Cupinfo


Luna Rossa's pre-race repairs couldn't fix broken daggerboard controls. Click image to read more from Francesco Bruni.
Photo:©2013 ACEA/Abner Kingman

Race 2:
Scheduled start for 2:41.  Winds are rising and may postpone that race.  19.7 is the wind limit.  At 2:28 the Race Committee calls "Postponed for the day."  Race 2 and 3 will be scheduled for Sunday, and Monday, previously a Reserve Day, will see Race 4, time TBA.

Preview:
This will be the big test of how much both teams have improved.  Luna Rossa showed good crew work and a faster yacht in the Semi-Finals, and is expected to have their new wingsail and other tweaks ready for the Finals.  ETNZ wasn't sitting still, exiting the Rounds Robin early to get more time to put the boat into the shed for their own tune-ups.  Luna Rossa should be performing at a much higher percentage of their potential, but how much more did ETNZ find under the hood?

No big crew changes are expected, as the teams focus on consistency with just enough cross-training to rotate fresh crew with minimal friction.  The change to the two-per-day race format, which will continue through the LVC Finals and into the America's Cup Match itself, brings an increased factor of crew fitness, with the risk that fatigue from multiple daily races will bring tactical opportunities for their opponents via physical or mental errors.  Likewise the effects of gear damage may cascade from the first race into the second.

There is no reason to expect a change in tactics.  Starts have had limited engagement between the two teams, generally some luffing away from the line with the leeward boat trying to hook the windward boat at the right time, making a run for the starting line while the other is recovering.  The risks of damage in the start are giant, especially considering the small advantages to be gained, but that may not stop fighting instincts from coming into play.  Chris Draper, fresh from putting some moves on Artemis, may want to try to put ETNZ on a disadvantage.  If the Kiwis are confident they have the faster boat, they might avoid getting caught up.

Once on the course, playing the current has previously figured heavily in choosing early tacks and gybes, but today's current will be ebbing, unlike the usual flood during the Semi-Finals.
 



ETNZ off to the races as Luna Rossa's daggerboard fails early in Leg 2.  The Kiwis nearly lost it themselves later on, with 2 crew overboard in a high-speed submarine maneuver. Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

 

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