Chris Dickson of BMW Oracle continued his domination for the third consecutive day, winning all of his three races and remaining unbeaten. The weather scenario on Thursday was diametrically opposed to that of Wednesday. After suffering from heavy gust of up to 30 knots, helmsmen and tacticians tested their nerves and skills in winds that barely went over 5 knots. Under these conditions, every team that slowed down or came to a stop was also sure to lose the race.
Areva Challenge – China Team : 1 – 0
It was an easy victory for the skipper of Areva Challenge and number one in world match racing rankings, Sébastien Col. The French team won a lead right from the start and managed to increase it considerably, crossing the finish line half a leg ahead of the Chinese.
China Team – Luna Rossa: 1 – 0
Less than two hours after suffering a defeat, China Team provided the day’s surprise and upset by beating Luna Rossa in an excruciatingly slow race. Luna Rossa started with an advantage over the Chinese but was unable to hold on to it and at the end of the third leg, both boats were neck and neck approaching the top mark. Pierre Mas, skipper of China Team, was too agressive on his attack and got penalized. Still, as a result of the error, the Italian boat came to a complete stop and due to the lack of wind had great difficulty in raising the spinnaker. The chinese boat went ahead and built a substantial lead that allowed the team to offload the penalty and win the race.
Michele Ivaldi, tactician aboard Luna Rossa, insisted the jury should have raised the red flag and force the chinese to immediately offload their penalty.
BMW Oracle – Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team : 1 – 0
Chris Dickson’s skills during the prestart meant the race was decided before it even started. Jes Gran Hansen was forced into an error and touched the American boat. The jury immediately gave the Italian team a penalty but also red flag. As a result, Jes Gran Hansen had to offload the penalty right at the start. With such light winds it was then impossible to catch Chris Disckson who scored yet another victory.
BMW Oracle getting Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team penalized during the prestart. The extremely light winds did not allow the Italian team recover. Trieste, 31 August 2006. Photo copyright: Massimo Silvano / Trieste Challenge
BMW Oracle – Luna Rossa : 1 – 0
The second faceoff between the two strongest teams turned out to be a comfortable victory for BMW Oracle. Chris Dickson and Francesco de Angelis had a quite even first leg but at the top mark the Luna Rossa team raised the spinnaker before the two-boatlength limit (a particular rule in this event). As a result they were penalized and once again the very light winds made any kind of recovery impossible.
BMW Oracle – China Team : 1 – 0
There is no doubt about it. Chris Dickson is the turnaround artist of the Trieste Challenge. It was the second race he got penalized for being early over the start line and still managed to recover and win. Once his penalty offloaded he needed a few tacks to reach the chinese at the top mark and get inside them. Pierre Mas was penalized and practically lost the race at that point. Dickson built a lead and finished two boatlengths ahead of China Team.
Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team – China Team : 1 – 0
Despite the weakening wind, racing continued at the Trieste Challenge. Jes Gran Hansen won the prestart and went ahead in front of the chinese, in a very long race of six legs. Given their early advantage, the Italian tactic was to hold on it, which they did, despite a late puff of wind that helped the chinese at the last leg. The Italian team finished two boatlengths ahead and earned an important point.
Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team – Areva Challenge : 1 – 0
The last race of the day was a movie in slow motion and the desperately weak winds turned it into an agony. Still, Mascalzone got the early advantage and managed to keep it during the whole excruciating race, staying on the correct side of the course. Another point for the Italian team that has almost assured its place in the semifinals.
Trieste Challenge provisional classification (after 13 races)
1. BMW Oracle Racing – 6 points (6 races)
2. Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team – 4 points (6 races)
3. Luna Rossa – 2 points (5 races)
4. Areva Challenge – 1 point (5 races)
5. China Team – 1 point (6 races)