Team Sanya led the fleet out of Auckland and into a likely battering from the weather en route to the Southern Ocean, as Leg 5 to Itajaí got underway with the second half of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 completely open.
Auckland skipper Mike Sanderson enjoyed a dream start to the leg as his underdog Sanya outfit led the fleet around the inshore course on his home waters.
Sanya smoked their five rivals off the start line, enjoying better breeze in a commanding position to round the first mark ahead of Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG followed them around the televised section, followed by Team Telefónica, CAMPER with Emirates Team Zealand and Groupama sailing team.
With 6,700 nautical miles of ocean racing ahead of them, no team will be placing any significance on the leaving positions, especially with such a trial by the elements in prospect.
According to race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante a low pressure system to the north east of Auckland is set to intensify as it moves towards the colder waters of the Southern Ocean.
“It’s a heat machine right now,” Infante said. “As it interacts with the cooler air off New Zealand it could generate some big winds — 30 knots up to maybe even 50 or 60 knots.”
PUMA skipper Ken Read said keeping the boat and the crew in one piece was the top priority, with gales likely in the first few days.
Read added: “It’s going to be boat-breaking and person-breaking weather, and I think the smart will prevail.”
As the leg goes on, the fleet will sail through the notorious Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties where the winds consistently blow above 40 knots and conditions are more than capable of breaking boats.
Three new sailors have been added to the crew lists in Auckland. Anthony Nossiter from Australia is joining Abu Dhabi to replace the outgoing Justin Ferris, while just for this leg Finnish Olympic gold medal winner Thomas Johanson takes over from injured Kelvin Harrap on PUMA and Danish Olympic gold medallist Martin Kirketerp steps in on Sanya for Ryan Houston who has a kidney infection.
With the weather forecast to batter the fleet in the opening day of the leg, it will be a baptism of fire for the new crewmembers.
“Right now all our focus is on the weather forecast, which looks absolutely diabolical for the first 36 hours,” said Ian Walker, skipper of fifth-placed Abu Dhabi. “We just have to prepare our boat and our people as best we can.”
Despite having three leg wins and two in-port victories under their belt, Iker Martínez’s Team Telefónica sit just 15 points clear at the top of the overall leaderboard, with less than 40 points separating the top four boats and fifth-placed Abu Dhabi still determined to fight their way back into the reckoning.
And as the 39,000 nautical mile race hits its mid-point with Leg 5 to Itajaí in Brazil, with more than half the points still to be awarded, it is anyone’s to win.
“The door has always been open for any team to win,” Martínez said. “The teams are very close and there will be some more boats winning legs for sure.”
CAMPER, currently ranked third overall behind Telefónica and Groupama, started the leg riding the high of victory on home waters in Saturday’s In-Port Race.
And with just 18 points separating them from the leaders, skipper Chris Nicholson said his team were still very much in the race.
“It’s still well and truly game on,” he said. “I see the future for the overall podium results for this leg as wide open — as wide open now as they were in Alicante.”
“I’ve been watching this race since 1981 and never before got this far and not really known what’s going to happen going forward,” added Sanderson whose sixth-placed Sanya are showing their best form of the race.
After second place finishes in Leg 4 and the Auckland In-Port Race, PUMA are also on a roll – but skipper Ken Read, who skippered PUMA to third place in the Southern Ocean leg of the 2008-09 event, said keeping the boat and the crew in one piece was the top priority.
“Quite frankly this is not a leg to be talking about wins and losses right now,” he said. “It’s pretty easy to talk tough but the reality is this is not the most hospitable part of the world and we have to make sure we’re smart.”
Leg 5 is expected to take around 18 days to complete.
Local heroes CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand stormed to victory in front of tens of thousands of ecstatic home fans in the Auckland In-Port Race on Saturday, giving them a first Volvo Ocean Race victory and ‘flicking a switch’ on their campaign.
Chris Nicholson’s men produced a dominant performance on the waters of Waitemata Harbour, taking the lead on the sprint to the first mark thanks to their decision to tack way out to shore and out of the strongest current, and then refusing to let go.
Fifty-four seconds after they heard the gun – and huge cheers from the crowd — PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crossed the line in second place ahead of Groupama sailing team following a terrific battle for the podium positions.
Behind them, Auckland-born skipper Mike Sanderson was also celebrating as Team Sanya finished the race in fourth, having out-manoeuvred Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in fifth and overall race leaders Team Telefónica in sixth.
Tens of thousands of people lined Auckland’s shoreline and packed hundreds of spectator boats to watch Auckland’s first Volvo Ocean Race action in 10 years – and a win for CAMPER, the Spanish-sponsored team who count Auckland as one of their two home ports, made the day all the more special.
“The one thing we said all week is how do we thank everyone who has supported us and I hope this goes a long way to doing it,” said CAMPER’s Australian skipper Chris Nicholson as his team moved back to within 18 points of the leaders. “It’s been a huge week of support and it’s helped.
“Now we’ve flicked the switch and we want this on the next leg.”
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG got off to a flying start leading the boats over the line in 15-20 knots of easterly breeze but by the first turning mark CAMPER had snuck in front.
Groupama moved up into second but PUMA clawed their way back on the second upwind leg, overtaking Franck Cammas’ men to claim second and bank a vital five points.
“It was a lot of fun,” said PUMA skipper Ken Read. “We had a good start but CAMPER got the first shift and that’s all they needed.”
With Telefónica picking up just one point for sixth place, their stronghold on the overall leaderboard weakened.
“We had a pretty bad race,” said Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez. “We didn’t sail well, so it was a headache for us. It was pretty difficult. We didn’t have much room to play with out there.”
Groupama moved to within 15 points of the overall leaders as they took home four points from the in-port race.
“Third is not so bad,” said Cammas. “We had a problem with the keel which lost us the 20-second advantage which we had over PUMA and PUMA took advantage well to overtake us. But apart from that we are happy with the race.”
Team Sanya scored their best result since the Iberdrola In-Port Race in Alicante, the first competitive racing of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.
“That was awesome,” said Sanya’s local boy Sanderson. “We’re just so stoked to be in the race but that was one step better because we had a couple of boats behind us.”
The fleet now faces its biggest challenge yet when they set sail from Auckland at 1400 local time on Sunday – the Southern Ocean.
The 6,705 nautical mile sprint around Cape Horn and on to Itajaí in Brazil will see the teams dodging icebergs and huge storms.
“The Southern Ocean is a fearsome place and deserves a great deal of respect,” said Telefónica watch captain Neal McDonald. “Climbing Everest is not particularly risk free or glamorous but people want to do it for the challenge and it’s the same with the Southern Ocean.”
Waves of 12 metres and winds of up to 60 knots are forecast and teams will use night-vision goggles to try to spot icebergs at night.
Three new sailors join the fleet for Leg 5. Anthony Nossiter from Australia is joining Abu Dhabi to replace the outgoing trimmer/helmsman Justin Ferris, Finnish Olympic gold medal winner Thomas Johanson takes over for the leg from injured Kelvin Harrap on PUMA and Danish Olympic gold medallist Martin Kirketerp steps up for Leg 5 on Sanya for Ryan Houston who picked up a kidney infection.
The Leg 5 start will be broadcast live from 1400 local time (0100 UTC) on Sunday. The leg should take the fleet around 17 days to complete.
Watch the action live at www.volvooceanrace.com or at the race’s Livestream page HERE. Coverage starts 15 minutes prior to the leg start.
Auckland In-Port Race results:
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (60min 38sec) 6pts
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (+0:54) 5pts
Groupama sailing team (+1:26) 4pts
Team Sanya (+2:20) 3pts
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (+2:52) 2 pts
Team Telefónica (+3:27) 1 pts
Racing under the colours of the host Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta Sunday.
The Kiwi boat extended on every leg of the deciding five-mile race off Auckland’s East Coast Bays against the Mascalzone Latino Audi team representing Club Nautico di Roma, which is the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup.
Emirates won the first race yesterday, and with their second victory today they went 2-0 in the Finals, which race officials shortened to a best-of-three contest due to light and uncertain winds.
Right after the finish, the normally controlled and contained Emirates skipper Dean Barker had a broad smile on his face as he soaked his veteran team with champagne from a jeroboam of Moët et Chandon, not even sparing an event photographer who had climbed aboard for the occasion.
On their way to the finals, Emirates survived by one second a heart-stopping last-minute penalty turn in their match against Azzurra, the other Italian team. Today they left no doubts with a composed and clinical performance that only saw them threatened once.
Ashore after racing it was a flashback to the glory days of the America’s Cups of 2000 and 2003, as crowds thronged the quayside in the Viaduct Basin and spectators crowded every vantage point on the moored boats and surrounding balconies.
Horns, sirens, cheers and applause greeted the Mascalzone Latino Audi boat as it docked at Market Square, its crew brandishing a giant banner that read “Thank you New Zealand.” The Emirates boat arrived to more applause, flying a gigantic New Zealand blue ensign plus smaller national flags of all the competing countries.
Before presenting the Louis Vuitton Trophy, Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, congratulated Dean Barker, his team, and all the competing teams on the quality of their racing. “Now I hope the Cup will revive. In the meantime, we have seen in the last few days an amazing sport competition. The fact that the boats are equalized means that it was all up to the teams and one more time, Team New Zealand has proved its domination.”
After the strong south-westerly winds that have characterized much of the regatta and forced the postponement of some races, there was a two-hour wait for wind today as the spectator fleet built in size. Racing started at noon at the mouth of the Rangitoto Channel in a warm and shifty 10 to 12-knot westerly breeze.
Barker wanted the right side of the course before the start. Gavin Brady, the Kiwi skipper of ML Audi, wanted the left, and the pre-start was uneventful as they split away, even before they crossed the line. Brady’s tactician Morgan Larson said later that they realized in the last minutes before the gun that the right was favored but they had no option but to follow their game plan.
The left finally paid off in the closing stages of the first leg, pulling the visitors back into the game. As they closed, Emirates chose to tack short of the port tack ML Audi, only to be carried out beyond the starboard tack layline by the aggressive Italians.
Brady had his opportunity to level the score and the boats were bow to stern as Emirates led around the weather mark. The Kiwi spinnaker blossomed instantaneously in a slick set the Italians couldn’t match. Just as swiftly, Emirates gybed over into the favoring left shift, catching the Italians flat-footed. Within seconds the home team enjoyed a four-boat length lead, one they never relinquished. The finish margin was 53 seconds.
“On the first beat, it didn’t look as though the right was going to come in early enough for us and it was amazing how the pressure came in and we had enough to be strong,” Barker said. “The guys did an amazing job. The first downwind was the key moment for us . . . to get the early gybe away and make a little gain there.”
Noting that his team had lost two races in the two weeks, Barker added: “It’s always satisfying when you feel that you’re sailing your best on the last day, and today we were sailing really well.”
Morgan Larson acknowledged the flawless performance of the New Zealand team. “We got a little bit of a miscommunciation in the back of the boat at the weather mark and I’ll hold my hand up for that one,” he said. “If we’d gybed with them, we’d have been right on their tail.”
The overall results are:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand, New Zealand
2. Mascalzone Latino Audi, Italy
3. Azzurra, Italy
4. Artemis, Sweden
5. All4One, Germany/France
6. TEAMORIGIN, Great Britain
7. ALEPH Sailing Team, France
8. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, Russia
The Swedish team Artemis and the Italian Azzurra squad both won thrilling matches on Thursday at the Louis Vuitton Trophy – Auckland, to advance to the semi-finals and dispatch their opponents out of the regatta.
Artemis came from behind to beat Britain’s TEAMORIGIN while Azzurra landed a penalty on the German/French boat All4One and led all the way around the race course.
Each pair in this elimination round were slated to race a best-of-three series but flat calm conditions on the Waitemata Harbour forced a change of plans to sudden-death single races for both pairs.
Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio told the competitors in the morning that he’d institute a single-race policy if he couldn’t start racing by midday. A southerly breeze began to fill in soon after noon and the first race started at 13:40
The semi-finals on Friday will see Emirates Team New Zealand, top of the table at the end of the Round Robin, face Azzurra after ETNZ skipper Dean Barker selected the Italian team as his opponent. That leaves Mascalzone Latino Audi Team against Artemis. The winner of each ‘first to two points’ series will advance to the final.
Barker said it was always tough choosing an opponent, but he went with Azzurra, the team who triumphed over the Kiwis in the final of the last Louis Vuitton Trophy event in Nice.
“We know the guys well and maybe we will get a little bit of revenge hopefully for Nice. We always have good races against those guys,” he said.
Azzurra skipper Francesco Bruni said he was confident going up against the home team, who may have a perceived advantage in stronger breezes and their own boats – especially after Azzurra’s victory over All4One today.
“I think we sailed the boat very well today in difficult conditions. It was a very, very nice performance from the whole team. I think we are getting better in strong winds. We learn day by day; there is no secret that we would prefer lighter conditions for a match with Team New Zealand. But we are also happy to have a chance to race against them in their conditions and in their boats – we have nothing to lose.”
The Swedish Artemis team is rounding into form at the right time and enters the semi-finals with confidence.
“We have won four in a row, and had two fantastic races with the British, which were pretty epic battles in the list of America’s Cup races I’ve been in. I think it’s good training for us in preparation going into the rest of the series.”
For his part, Mascalzone Latino Audi Team strategist Cameron Dunn is sure it will be a difficult match. “We feel we are improving with every race – we started slowly, but we’ve been chipping away and getting better as a team. We had a very good race with Artemis in the round robins, so we know we’re in for a tough battle.”
Racing is scheduled to start with a warning signal at 10:00 on Friday morning. The forecast is for fresh conditions.
Thursday’s race summaries:
Race One: Artemis def. TEAMORIGIN, 00:38 – Britain’s Ben Ainslie seized the start of this sudden death match with flair and defended his lead through the first half of the race and multiple protests only to hand the lead to Paul Cayard’s Artemis on the second weather leg. The Swedish boat made the most of its advantaged starboard entry and pushed TEAMORIGIN below the port layline before the start. Hutchinson, steering Artemis, reported massive shifts in the 16-knot southerly and Ainslie would ride a big leftie into the lead. Pushed outside the left side of the line in the remaining pre-start seconds, he tacked onto port on a big shift and skinned across the bow of the starboard tack Swedish boat right after the gun. The umpires green-flagged the encounter but Hutchinson saw it differently. “Our bowman was saying, “We’re going to hit him! But that’s the game.”
A minute later TEAMORIGIN led by a boat length. Ainslie came back on starboard with a small lead and tacked inches to leeward of the approaching Artemis, who again appealed to the umpires, but to no avail. A big shift on the left kept Artemis in the game and she was only one and half boatlengths behind at the top mark, and trailing by only seven seconds through the leeward gate. It was Ainslie’s race until several tacks into the leg he let Hutchinson get to the right in the oscillating shifts, with 400 metres separation. When they converged again, Artemis led by 46 metres. Artemis extended on the run with a damaged spinnaker and the foot tape reinforcing fluttering in the breeze. “What a brilliant job from all our crew, getting back into the race,” said Hutchinson. “In hindsight, we didn’t do it right up the second beat,” conceded Mike Sanderson, who handles the runners on board. “But you know, we need to make sure we don’t kill the tiger as well. We have amazing talent at looking up the course and picking up shifts, and if we kill the tiger, we are going to be an ordinary talent.”
Race Two: Azzurra def All4One, 00:20 - It was all but over before the start as the German/French boat steered by Sébastien Col was trapped by Azzurra skipper Francesco Bruni and penalised for failing to keep clear. As the boats turned up for the line, Azzurra was able to hook in to leeward of All4One and Bruni luffed his opponent, drawing the foul, with his aggressive tactics. “I have been criticised during the round robin by my team for being too safe,” he said afterwards. “Today I changed a little bit, but the optimum is probably in-between.”
Azzura went on to lead across the line clear ahead and luffed up momentarily to gain weather gauge. Still bow ahead and to weather, she took the German/French boat out to the exclusion zone on the left side of the course and maintained her lead through eight short tacks. The margin was nine seconds at the mark. Col overtook to weather on the run but as they both overstood the layline for the leeward gate and went to douse their gennakers, the All4One gennaker went under the boat, spelling the end of her challenge to the Italians. All4One joins TEAMORIGIN on the sidelines.
The Synergy Russian Sailing Team and ALEPH Sailing Team from France were eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta today, leaving six international teams fighting for supremacy over the next four days.
Top seed Emirates Team New Zealand and second-ranked Mascalzone Latino Audi from Italy each won their races and went through to the semi-finals to be sailed on Friday.
Saved from sudden death by their ranking and/or their performance today, the other four teams were paired for best-of-three matches to be raced tomorrow. Standing besides a glistening, flood-lit America’s Cup in a formal ceremony at the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum, third-seeded All4One skipper Jochen Schuemann chose to race Italy’s Azzurra. Sweden’s Artemis will race Great Britain’s TEAMORIGIN.
Auckland’s harbour lived up to its name today. Waitemata means “sparkling waters” and whitecaps dappled the course in mostly bright sunshine and gusty, shifty southerly winds that ranged from 15 knots to 30 knots. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s race committee delayed racing three times waiting for squally weather to move through.
Paul Cayard, skipper of Artemis and chairman of the World Sailing Teams Association that is a co-organizer of the event with Louis Vuitton, put it best. “It’s a big breeze today and exciting for our fans and exciting for us,” he said. “It’s fantastic racing. We’re flirting with that threshold of tolerable winds and so far, so good, we’re dancing on the right side of it. We’re providing spectacular racing.”
ALEPH, the seventh seed, was eliminated in the third race of the day, beaten by Mascalzone Latino Audi. French skipper Bertrand Pacé was already planning for the next Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta in La Maddalena, Sardinia, but was quick to praise the boats and the organization in Auckland.
“It was a fantastic regatta,” he said. “The wind was hard to sail, the boats were fantastic as well. We enjoy a lot sailing these boats. For us it was a great event. For sure I thank all the Kiwi organisers. I still love Auckland. Even though Grant Dalton doesn’t like losing to the French!”
Karol Jablonski, the veteran Polish match racer who skippers the Synergy Russian Sailing Team, was philosophical. “We are out, but we sailed a good race,” he said. Noting the crew’s lack of opportunity to practice, he added, “the crew work was coming along, but obviously in these tough conditions 22-23 knots with current against you, you need more hours on the water together.
“We were just missing a little bit in every department, not only crew work, my timing, our trimming, our boat speed, our tactician, our calls where we go – it was everything. You know you’ve got to have a chain that doesn’t have a weak, weak, weak link. And we had some weak pieces. During the event, we got stronger, and I think today we showed quite good performance.”
Race One: Artemis def. Azzurra, 00:32 – After a brisk circling duel the boats hardened up for the line on starboard with Artemis to weather. “We wanted the right. We’d have preferred more distance between the boats but we had enough gauge to live through the first shift,” Artemis skipper Paul Cayard said later. The right paid and Artemis forced the port tack Azzurra steered by Francesco Bruni away at the first cross. The boats were evenly matched in a series of quick tacks up the 1.3-mile weather leg but Artemis controlled, to lead by two lengths at the top mark. They forged down the run with big bow waves, touching 15 knots at times. Artemis extended at the leeward mark as Azzurra struggled to get the chute down.
Race Two: TEAMORIGIN def. All4One, 00:27 – Faced with the possibility of elimination today, this was a must-win for sixth-seeded TEAMORIGIN, and Ben Ainslie and his crew rose to the occasion. They circled warily with the German/French boat steered by Sébastien Col. Both boats wanted the right but the British prevailed and hit the line at speed on starboard and to weather of All4One. They were bow to bow off the line but TEAMORIGIN held strong in the weather berth and edged ahead. After five minutes, as the trailing All4One came over on port, Ainslie had sufficient clearance to tack clear ahead directly in their path. “It was an early gain, and then they controlled the race,” said All4One skipper Jochen Schumann. “We will see if it gets a little lighter now – some of these teams are really strong in the heavy breeze, with good crew work and a lot of power.”
Race Three: Mascalzone Latino Audi def. ALEPH, 00:59 – Faced with the threat of elimination, seventh seed French boat ALEPH entered the start box from the unfavored end. Mascalzone Latino Audi skipper Gavin Brady controlled his opponent Bertrand Pacé all through the pre-start, pushing him outside the starboard layline, then leading back to win the start. Pacé trailed by three boat lengths at the top mark and then gybe-set on a big left shift. Fate struck and his spinnaker exploded during the hoist. The race was Brady’s and the French were going home. “They chose a risky manoeuvre at the weather mark,” said ML Audi tactician Morgan Larson. “Had they not torn their spinnaker they probably would have been bow-even with us on the run.
Race Four: Emirates Team New Zealand def. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:15 – With no wins in the regatta, Karol Jablonski’s Russian team had to win to survive for the next stage. They almost pulled it off but fell victim to uneven crew work. Emirate’s Dean Barker started at the committee end on starboard but he left just enough room to weather for Jablonski who squeezed through the gap before tacking off to port. The right paid and the Russians led at the top mark. The Kiwi spinnaker set was flawless but Jablonski’s crew, two boat lengths ahead, crumbled under the pressure as Barker sailed through their lee. The Russians made more unforced errors but they continued to play the right and were only 15 seconds astern at the finish. “Every race against ETNZ, is going to be a tough one for us, you’re racing against one of the best teams in the world,” Jablonski said. “That team has sailed together for a long, long time. In one match with them you learn a lot. You do a small mistake, and you lose.”
Brisk breezes and high-pressure competition delivered a basket of surprises and some painful losses during the fourth day of competition for the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Auckland.
Louis Vuitton TrophyAfter a day lost to heavy, gusty winds, the moderate to fresh conditions today were still sufficient to test the eight international teams that took turns in match racing on the Waitemata Harbour on the Emirates Team New Zealand boats NZL84 and NZL92.
In the second race, a collision between Britain’s TEAMORIGIN and the French team ALEPH earned the French boat a penalty, plus the loss of a point. Then in race three, Sweden’s Artemis conceded a healthy lead over Italy’s Azzurra when the spinnaker pole went over the side and they went trawling with the spinnaker.
With three days remaining in the round robin, the host Emirates Team New Zealand has a perfect record after a convincing win today over the German/French boat All4One. Azzurra, the young Italian team that won the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice is in second place with a 3-1 score. The two teams will meet in the second race tomorrow.
Currently four teams are in equal third place with two wins and two losses. They are All4One, sailing under the German and French flags, Artemis, Mascalzone Latino Audi from Italy and TEAMORIGIN. The tie between Artemis and ML Audi will be decided tomorrow in the fourth race.
Conditions on the Waitemata Harbour were perfect for racing with bright sunshine, blue skies and a 12-knot breeze that built in the afternoon, bringing with it some clouds and a brief shower. Crowds ashore watched racing on the jumbo screen in the Louis Vuitton Race Village in the Viaduct Basin’s Market Square but the best viewing was from the grassy slopes of North Head.
Race One: Emirates Team New Zealand def. All4One, 00:26 – ETNZ skipper/helmsman Dean Barker took the host team to a 4-0 record, never really threatened by the German/French boat All4One after a tense, scrappy pre-start duel. Sébastien Col at the wheel of All4One was pushing the Kiwi boat in the last seconds as they came to the line but the Kiwis pulled off a down-speed tack and split away on port as Col was forced to tack and follow. The French helmsman pressed hard on the first leg but New Zealand exploited the dominance of the right side and maintained a comfortable lead. “The race was lost at the start when we left the overlap a little bit too late,” said Jochen Schümann, skipper and tactician for All4One. “They were in control at all times. It looked good for us at times but never good enough that we could sail around them.”
Race Two: TEAMORIGIN def. ALEPH, 02:11 – With the breeze up to 17 knots the race began with a bang in the pre-start as the bow of TEAMORIGIN slammed into the stern scoop of NZL 84, crewed by ALEPH. There was damage to both boats and the French boat, steered by Bertrand Pacé, was penalised under Rule 16 for altering course. The umpires reported that as the boats turned out of the dialup, Ben Ainslie steering the British boat was keeping clear of ALEPH but the French boat turned away, causing the contact. Matt Cornwall mid-bowman on TEAMORIGIN said: “Obviously the French think we fouled them. Question is whether they swung their transom and prevented us from getting our bow down in time to avoid their transom. They did close the gap on us and didn’t give us room to keep clear.” In addition to the penalty, ALEPH was docked one point for hard contact which the team said it will appeal to the jury. At the gun, Pacé started to leeward of Ainslie. The British boat consolidated an early advantage to control for the rest of the race as the breeze built to over 20 knots. The French enjoyed a great last leg and came storming into the finish only two boat lengths behind TEAMORIGIN.
Race Three: Azzurra def. Artemis, Ret. – Terry Hutchinson steering the Swedish team Artemis, with skipper/tactician Paul Cayard calling the shots, started strongly in their race against the Italian boat Azzurra. The Swedish boat chased the Italians deep into the start box before it breaking clear, tacking and starting on starboard with speed. Francesco Bruni had a clean start on starboard at midline but Hutchinson enjoyed an early lead that he smartly leveraged into a 44 second lead at the weather mark. But only for seconds. As Artemis bore off and set up for a spinnaker hoist, the pole end went over the side, was dragged aft and the pole broke around the shrouds as the spinnaker went under the boat. Game over. “The jammer for the pole slipped,” Hutchinson reported. “Down the pole came and went in the water and that was all she wrote. The sheet went under the boat and the spinnaker went under the rudder. It’s disappointing but we’ll debrief it and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes twice.”
Race Four: Mascalzone Latino Audi def. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 00:19 – After a pause for repairs, there was plenty of energy from Poland’s Karol Jablonski, steering the Russian boat, and Kiwi Gavin Brady at the helm of ML Audi Team. Synergy had the advantaged starboard entry but chose to duck below the Italians. It the hotly-contested manoeuvres that followed, with two green flags from the umpires, Brady drove Jablonski above the line. Despite that, the Russians broke clear and crossed the Italians on the first tack. When Jablonski conceded the right to Brady, the Italian boat took the lead and held it. Even a botched spinnaker takedown when the Italians gift-wrapped their boat’s bow with a messy late takedown was not enough to give the Russians a chance.
Provisional leaderboard after Flight Four:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 4-0, 4 pts
2. Azzurra, 3-1, 3 pts
=3. All4One, 2-2, 2 pts
=3. Artemis, 2-2, 2 pts
=3. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 2-2, 2 pts
=3. TEAMORIGIN, 2-2, 2 pts
7. ALEPH Sailing Team, 1-3, 0 pts *
8. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 0-4, 0 pts
Whitewater on the deck, whitecaps on the Waitemata and warning whistles on the onboard overload alarms characterised the high tempo sailing action today at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta.
three days of competition, Emirates Team New Zealand representing the host Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is undefeated with three wins while three teams each have a 2-1 record. They are the German/French team All4One, the Swedish team Artemis and Azzurra from Italy.
Racing moved closer to the city front today as the southwester funneled down the harbour, with puffs into the low 20-knot range as the day wore on. The weather mark was between the container wharves and the Devonport Dockyard.
Tipped as the highlight match of the day, the opening race between Emirates and Britain’s TEAMORIGIN came to a sudden end at the first leeward gate as a late tactical call on the British boat escalated into a firedrill that left spinnaker and jib draped over the foredeck and a broken spinnaker pole over the side.
Ben Ainslie at TEAMORIGIN’s wheel led at the end of the first beat after a fierce nine-tack duel up the short 1.2-mile weather leg in a puffy and shifty 13-16 knot southwesterly breeze. ETNZ was right on the British boat’s heels, just 14 seconds astern and began slowly clawing back the distance.
They came into the leeward mark with the Kiwis bow to stern with TEAMORIGIN and British hopes evaporated as Ainslie issued new last-minute orders.
“It was a bit of mess,” Ainslie said. “Things change very quickly at the bottom, but a big shift made us change the call and there wasn’t enough time for the guys to react.”
Barker had to sail around the hapless British boat. “It was all go coming into the bottom mark,” he said. “We have confidence in our crew work. If we get behind we’re able to keep the pressure on and keep fighting hard. Today it worked well. They made a mistake. Ignoring what happened, if they had been able to get around the mark it would have been an interesting race. We had made a big gain and it would have been some tough racing. They are sailing well.”
Race One: Emirates Team New Zealand def. TEAMORIGIN, Ret. – Ben Ainslie steering Britain’s TEAMORIGIN, fought for the right while ETNZ skipper Dean Barker went for the left. As they hit the start line, the Kiwi boat with a safe leeward forced their opponent away. However, the first beat belonged to Ainslie. Nine fast tacks later at the port layline, TEAMORIGIN enjoyed a three boat-length lead. The top mark margin was 14 seconds before Barker slowly soaked down on his opponent and picked up more ground with smoother sail handling. With ETNZ close astern and the pressure piling on, it all turned to custard on the British boat as they prepared to drop the spinnaker at the leeward gate.
Race Two: All4One def. Azzurra, 00:46 – Race umpires had their work cut out with multiple incidents and protests in series of heavy-air skirmishes between Francesco Bruni steering Azzurra and Sébastien Col on the wheel of the German/French All4One. The Italian boat locked out her opponent above the line before the start but Col escaped at the last minute to get back and lead at the gun. Azzurra controlled from the right side but after All4One gained ground in a series of tacks, her tactician John Cutler forced the Italians beyond the starboard layline and above the mark. Col was able to lead back and rounded first in a flurry of protests, all green-flagged. With the wind over 20 knots and the boats pushing white water, they went down the run side by side. Cutler made the call to again take their opponents past the mark. The Italian sail handling suffered under the pressure and Azzurra trailed badly on the last two legs.
Race Three: Mascalzone Latino Audi def. ALEPH Sailing Team, 00:55 – Bertrand Pacé’s French ALEPH team used their starboard tack entry to advantage in a pre-start circling duel that took both boats deep into the starting box. The start, with both boats on starboard, was close but Gavin Brady steering ML Audi Team, enjoyed an advantage for a few seconds before ALEPH edged in front. The two boats swapped the lead several times up the first half of the beat until Brady, to weather of his opponent, pushed the French boat out beyond the starboard layline. The Italian boat led into the top mark and consolidated its gains on the next three legs.
Race Four: Artemis def. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 00:41 – Skipper Karol Jablonski, steering the Russian boat, engaged Terry Hutchinson at the wheel of Paul Cayard’s Artemis in a lively pre-start duel only to be penalized for gybing too close. The boats hit the line together at speed with Artemis to weather. Seconds later Hutchinson tacked and split away and initiated a tacking duel that took the Swedish boat into the lead. The Russians pushed hard and kept it close around all four legs but finished 41 seconds astern after completing their penalty turn.
Provisional leaderboard after Flight Three:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 3-0
=2. All4One, 2-1
=2. Artemis, 2-1
=2. Azzurra, 2-1
=5. ALEPH Sailing Team, 1-2
=5. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 1-2
=5. TEAMORIGIN, 1-2
8. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 0-3
LIVE Sport Sailing 103.0 FM is featuring all-day live coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy. On television, during the seven days of the round robin, TVNZ is carrying nightly reports on its sports news. From March 16, during the elimination rounds, TVNZ will feature nightly half-hour reports. For the finals on 20th and 21st March there will be live coverage of the racing from noon to 4:00pm.
Azzurra delivers stand-out performance on opening day. Azzurra, the Italian boat with the old name and the young crew, defeated Britain’s TEAMORIGIN in the closest of four hard-fought races on the opening day of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland.
Louis Vuitton Trophy Italian skipper and helmsman Francesco Bruni snatched a victory from Britain’s three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie at the first weather mark of their race as their boats rounded the mark overlapped. Sailing above the mark, Ainslie tried to luff his opponent only to see the Italian execute a swift spinnaker set, sail clear and go on to win.
“Azzurra sailed a good race today, they seem to have a knack of overtaking us which is getting very frustrating!” Ainslie said. “We were fully in contention at the top mark and tried to hold them up, we were unfortunately set up for a gybe set and they were set up for a straight hoist which allowed them to gain some distance.”
In their efforts to stay on schedule, the race committee spent a long first day on the water. In the morning, cloudy skies killed any chance of a sea breeze developing and delayed racing. The Rangitoto Channel entrance to Auckland Harbour was so glassy at late morning that Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio joked that it appeared to have been paved.
The long wait for wind ended at 2:45pm as the first pair started on the Blue Course at the mouth of the channel between Rangitoto Island and the Takapuna cliffs. The breeze was five to seven knots from the northwest. After a second race in similar conditions, the breeze switched to the south for the third race inside the harbour. The last race didn’t start until 7:10pm and finished after sunset just before 8:00pm
Race One: All4One def. Mascalzone Latino Audi Sailing Team, 00:44 – In the draw last night, the German/French boat All4One chose the starboard entry for the start and they protected the right side in the pre-start today. They split before the gun with All4One going out to the right on port tack, while Mascalzone Latino Audi enjoyed an early lead on starboard. All4One skipper and strategist Jochen Schümann said a man up the mast had spotted wind out to the right and they chose to concede an early lead to reach the stronger pressure. All4One eventually tacked to starboard to cover and Gavin Brady steering the Italian boat initiated a tacking duel. However Sébastien Col on the helm of All4One had already worked out to a controlling lead on the right that he never relinquished.
Race Two: Azzurra def. TEAMORIGIN, 00:53 – Great Britain’s TEAMORIGIN enjoyed the starboard entry in its match against Italy’s Azzurra and used it to advantage in a dialup that took both boats well above the line before they sailed back with Ben Ainslie on the British boat chasing Italian Francesco Bruni. Ainslie grabbed the right as they split away at the gun but Bruni kept it close and when they crossed for the first time Ainslie on starboard came down and hunted the Italian who tacked close to leeward and forced the British boat away. It happened again before they came into the weather mark overlapped, with Ainslie holding his opponent out from rounding. They tacked above the mark and the British boat luffed the Italian until Bruni capitalized on a miscommunication on Ainslie’s boat. Bruni was first to set a spinnaker and rolled over TEAMORIGIN forcing the British boat to gybe away. From there the Italians controlled the next three legs, finishing with a comfortable 53 second margin.
Race Three: Emirates Team New Zealand def. Artemis, 01:40 – Dean Barker overcame the handicap of a port entry in the pre-start to grab the right side of the course off the start line. Strong outgoing current and shifty breezes played a major role as Terry Hutchinson steering Artemis took the fight to Emirates Team New Zealand but trailed by 55 seconds at the weather mark. Artemis came charging back on the run to close within 12 seconds at the leeward gate but then lost ground in lighter air under North Head. The Kiwis extended to win comfortably.
Race Four: ALEPH Sailing Team def. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 03:26 – The Russian boat steered by Karol Jablonski dominated Bertrand Pacé’s French entry in the pre-start only to see ALEPH wriggle clear and lead by three boat lengths at the gun. Jablonski kept it very close, pressuring Pacé on the first beat and was only 11 seconds astern at the top mark. As the sun set over the Auckland City skyline it was also sunset for the Russians as they ran over their spinnaker at the leeward mark. The French sailed away to a comfortable victory.
LIVE Sport Sailing 103.0 FM is featuring all-day live coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy. On television, during the seven days of the round robin, TVNZ is carrying nightly reports on its sports news. From March 16, during the elimination rounds, TVNZ will feature nightly half-hour reports. For the finals on 20th and 21st March there will be live coverage of the racing from noon to 4:00pm.
World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) was founded in 2009 by a group of professional yacht racing teams to develop regular high-level match race regattas in large and complex racing yachts. The WSTA is jointly owned by its nine shareholders (the teams) and represents the interests of those teams in the pursuit of fair and highly competitive racing. The WSTA, in conjunction with title partner Louis Vuitton, co-organises the Louis Vuitton Trophy.