Trieste Challenge, the first race to convene five America’s Cup teams after the last Louis Vuitton Acts in Valencia, started this afternoon in Trieste. Five America’s Cup teams are participating (BMW Oracle, Luna Rossa, Mascalzone Latino Capitalia, China Team and Areva Challenge) while, unfortunately, Alinghi renounced at the last moment due to the start of their training program in Valencia. The races take place inside Trieste’s harbor.
Five matches took place today, the first of which saw Francesco de Angelis of Luna Rossa trying to beat Chris Dickson of BMW Oracle without success. The New Zealander skipper of the American team beat the Italians in a race that was decided at the first leg. Luna Rossa was first to cross the starting line but BMW Oracle’s crew judiciously chose the right side of the race course and built an advantage of 4 seconds at the first mark. From that point, de Angelis was unable to reach Dickson.
Chris Dickson of BMW Oracle (left) sails to victory against Francesco de Angelis of Luna Rossa at the first day of the Trieste Challenge. Trieste, 29 August 2006. Photo copyright: Massimo Silvano / Trieste Challenge
BMW Oracle’s skipper then went on to win over Pierre Mas of China Team, managing to overcome a two-boatlength disadvantage. The Chinese team started ahead of BMW Oracle who again chose the right side of the course. This time the left was the correct one and a puff of wind pushed Pierre Mas two boatlenghts in front of BMW Oracle. Nevertheless, that’s where Dickson showed his class and in the third leg caught up with Mas and forced him to slow down, coming to a virtual stop. At the right moment, Dickson speeds, passes the third mark ahead of China Team and sails on to victory.
In the third match of the day Jes Gram Hansen of Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team easily beat Pierre Mas of China Team, after forcing him to receive a penalty in pre-start. Despite the advantage the Chinese managed to build, the Italians caught up with them and won after the Chinese lost precious time offloading the penalty.
Jes Gram Hansen beat Areva Challenge’s Sébastien Col in the day’s fourth and most disputed match, characterized by very light winds. The Italians started the race in an difficult position, carrying a penalty and with the French clearly leading. Still, in the second leg they managed to shrink the gap and offload their penalty. In addition, at the bottom mark, an excellent maneuver by Jes Gram Hansen forced Col to an error, as their gennaker touched the Italian boat. With such light winds and a level race, offloading the penalty cost the French too much time and the race.
Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team and Areva Challenge bowmen signaling the start of the race at the first day of the Trieste Challenge. Trieste, 29 August 2006. Photo copyright: Massimo Silvano / Trieste Challenge
In the day’s last race, Areva Challenge beat Luna Rossa on water but lost it after a protest by the Italian team. During the race, Areva lost one of their crew members but did not recover him, as they were obliged according to regulations. The jury agreed with Luna Rossa and awarded them the victory. It was a pitty for the French skipper, since Col had a comfortable lead of various boatlengths throughout the race.
Treiste Challenge provisional classification
BMW Oracle Racing 2 points
Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team 2 points
Luna Rossa 1 point
Areva Challenge 0 points
China Team 0 points