Friday June 1
ETNZ gets on the board
in Race 1.
ETNZ grabs it! A 1-0 lead in a very close race.
Expectations for a close contest were met, and sailing
fans worldwide rewarded by the opening match between
Finalists Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL-92) and Luna
tight match racing as the Kiwis clung to their lead
despite the Italian boat showing a lot of speed.
Starting on the right side of their opponent, New
Zealand patiently waited for their starboard advantage
to pay, and ended up rounding the first mark with a 12
second lead over Luna Rossa.
Italians were able to gain a little bit on the first
run, and followed NZL-92 on the right side of the
downwind gate, trailing by 9 seconds. The second beat
saw the teams fight for the right side of the course,
with Emirates Team New Zealand keeping their starboard
advantage all the way to the mark.
a persistent right shift which helped the Kiwis
increase their lead by a couple of seconds, the
Italians showed great capacity to keep the game close
enough to be in a passing position downwind. And Luna
Rossa almost made it! Finishing neck and neck, the two
teams delivered a heart-pounding photo-finish as NZL-92
crossed the line before ITA-94 to score the first point
of the Louis Vuitton Finals.
delta: Emirates Team New Zealand beats Luna Rossa by
Ray Davies, Strategist, Emirates Team New Zealand:
"It was pretty dangerous most of the way round; I donít
think there was any time when we felt comfortable. We
had to defend pretty hard and we took quite a loss on
the second beat, had a narrow lead at the top and on
the last run Prada had a pretty strong position behind
us. There were some nervous moments there where they
could have got some breeze that we couldnít have done
anything about; it would have been out of our control.
But we were able to the hold pressure in front of them
and keep our air until the finish."
Grael, Tactician, Luna Rossa Challenge: "Itís hard to
call today bad luck, they sailed well. We didnít have
exactly what we thought in the first beat and maybe
will have to work harder next time. There are different
days and different decisions to be made."
More quotes at ACM
Rossa kept it close all day long.
Early forecast for 9-14 knots.
Start Box Entry:
Luna Rossa ITA-94 will enter on starboard (yellow), ETNZ NZL-92 will
enter on port (blue).
here! Emirates Team New Zealand versus Italy's
Luna Rossa. NZL-92 versus ITA-94. Some key
Aussies and American's thrown in there, too, but both of
these teams have strong national representation, and
have fought long and hard to be here. In fact,
they met in 2000 when TNZ defended the America's Cup
against rookie Prada. It's been a long strange
trip since then, more so for TNZ.
Rossa dismissed BMW Oracle handily in the semi-finals,
James Spithill and crew looking sharp in the pre-start,
Torben Grael clairvoyant when it came to calling the
wind, and the radical ITA-94 fast enough the rest of
the time not to give very much up to the powerhouse
had more of a fight than most expected against DesafŪo
EspaŮol, but the Kiwis have rode at the top of the
Louis Vuitton Fleet for a couple years now, finishing
first among the challengers in many of the preliminary
Act regattas, and winning both the overall rankings
going into the LVC rounds robin and coming out of them.
teams are reputed to have trick boats, and are here on
the backs of extremely well-trained crews.
Weaknesses: ETNZ was perceived to be a bit
vulnerable in the pre-start, but then they pasted
ESP-97 in Race 7 before the gun to help shut the door
in the semis. LR was viewed as "sticky", meaning
slow, in light air during the Rounds Robin. But
BMWO never made much of that during the semis, if it
was even true then.
watch for, though? Strengths. LR's 5-1 romp
over BMWO and reputed rocketship USA-98 was chalked up
by many to the Italians finding extra gears somewhere.
If ITA really has such dominant speed, they will make
short work of ETNZ, too. On the other hand,
Emirates has had the chance to analyze LR's racing
profile, and may have figured out where to go at LR to
best effect. NZL-92 didn't give anything up to
ESP-97, a downwind speed demon who mowed down her Round
LVC finalists have asymmetrical advantages, it should
make for interesting racing. Is ETNZ going
to attack downwind? Will this race break the
first cross, first mark pattern? Boats should
enter the start box at 14:55h Friday.