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BMW Oracle reaches final of Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

Posted on 26 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: BMW Oracle] BMW ORACLE Racing advanced to the final of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai, the fitting finale for America’s Cup Class monohulls, with a sterling performance in today’s semifinal round.

Led by skipper James Spithill, the American team, which won the 33rd America’s Cup in February, defeated the German/French All4One crew 2-0 to advance to the final where it will meet Emirates Team New Zealand, also a 2-0 winner in the semifinal round.

The winning formula for today was as it’s been throughout the regatta that began 13 days ago. Tactician John Kostecki and strategist Murray Jones called the windshifts with aplomb and trimmers Dirk de Ridder (mainsail), Ross Halcrow (headsails) and Joey Newton (spinnakers) kept the boat moving fast. Not to mention, the sailhandling at the turning marks was flawless.

“It’s nice to have the option to put the boat where you want and the guys take care of the rest,” said Spithill. “We’ve got the option to go toe-to-toe or, if JK and Murray see a shift, we can speed to that. The guys have been spot on throughout the regatta.”

Skipper James Spithill comments on the team’s 2-0 win over All4One in the semifinal round of the Louis Vuitton Trophy. Dubai 26 November 2010. Video copyright BMW Oracle

Spithill has been spot on too, especially in the pre-start sequence. Once again, he gave his crew the ability to call free races by winning the starts.

In the first pre-start, Spithill got a penalty on All4One for jibing too close. That penalty came in handy during the second upwind leg when All4One closed to within one length as the two crews combined for 25 tacks in a furious duel.

“We set the penalty up in the dial-up,” Spithill said. “We got control and forced him into a tight situation and he went for it. Turns out we didn’t need it, but it was nice to have that penalty in the back pocket.”

In the second race the two crews came off the line at opposite ends, but BMW ORACLE Racing was at speed at the pin end while All4One was tacking to starboard at the committee boat, making the French/German team slow off the line.

After entering onto the racecourse, BMW ORACLE Racing quickly tacked to port to get to the right and take advantage of the downspeed All4One and a right-hand windshift.

“The second start changed quite a bit during the pre-start,” Spithill said. “Initially there was a pin bias and we were going to take it, but then the wind went way right. We came off the line and JK called a tack right away. I think the fact we tacked so quickly put them under pressure.”

Tomorrow’s final against Team New Zealand pits Spithill against old rival Dean Barker. The two raced the Louis Vuitton Cup final during the 32nd America’s Cup in 2007. It’s a showdown Spithill is looking forward to.

“I’m convinced we haven’t seen our best yet, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Spithill said.

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Mascalzone Latino Wins Fleet Racing at Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

Posted on 25 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Louis Vuitton Trophy] The six international crews at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai hosted local dhow skippers today in three fleet races when competition resumed off the Dubai International Marine Club.

Italy’s Mascalzone Latino Audi won the day handsomely with skipper Gavin Brady scoring two first places. The French/German team All4One and Sweden’s Artemis Racing were second equal, while Emirates Team New Zealand was third.

Saeed Hareb, CEO of the Dubai International Marine Club, presented the fleet race trophy to Gavin Brady and presented commemorative medals to Brady and all his crew.

The Emirates Team New Zealand crew raced today wearing black arm bands and with their ensign at half mast in a somber reminder of the Pike River coal mine explosion in New Zealand that claimed 29 lives. The team is planning a brief on-water ceremony tomorrow morning to pay their respects to the lost miners.

Skippers of the four semi-finalists chose their starting positions and their boats tonight. BMW Oracle Racing chose to race fourth-seeded All4One while Emirates Team New Zealand will start against Synergy Russian Sailing Team.

Gavin Brady does his magic and helms Mascalzone Latino AUDI Team to two victories. Dubai, 25 November 2010. Photo copyright Bob Grieser/ousideimages.com/Louis Vuitton Trophy

“We chose All4One simply for the fact that they finished in fourth place,” said James Spithill, skipper of BMW Oracle Racing. “It’s never an easy decision but at the end of the day you have to go out there and beat them. It’s going to be a tough race. They’re not an easy team to race against.”

In the semi-finals the winners will be the first boats to win two races. The winners will race the finals on Saturday in a best of five series.

In today’s fleet racing, each of the four teams raced twice over the course of three races.

Brady’s finishes have been uneven over the past two weeks of racing in Dubai but today he and his afterguard of tactician Morgan Larson, navigator Steve Hayles, and masthead wind spotter Cameron Dunn, made no mistakes on flat water in a very shifty five to seven knot north westerly breeze.

In his first race Brady claimed the pin end of the line and pulled out to an early lead that increased as the race wore on. In his second race, Brady went for a port tack start behind the fleet before going up the middle of the course. He emerged at the weather mark with a commanding lead that he held until the finish.

“We wanted the left in the first race,” Brady said. “In these light air races you can’t be conservative. You have to really go for it so we went for a pretty aggressive start down at the pin end. For the second race we wanted to start to the right. We didn’t want to sacrifice a tack to get the right so we decided to do something that no-one else has done here and start on port tack and take the stern of all the boats at full speed.”

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BMW Oracle Racing Dominates Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

Posted on 21 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Louis Vuitton Trophy] The American team BMW Oracle Racing sailed a near-flawless race today against Sweden’s Artemis Racing to maintain their margin at the top of the leaderboard.

Everything didn’t go their way. Earlier in the day James Spithill and his team were defeated by the French/German team All4One whose helmsman Sebastien Col won the start and staved off determined American attacks, especially on the first three legs. It was only the second loss in the series for the American team.

Except for BMWOR which holds a four and a half point lead on 13 points, the leaderboard at the Louis Vuitton Trophy remained tightly-packed after the second day of competition in the second round

“We got two points for that race today. It’s a big win,” said All4One’s skipper Jochen Schümann. “BMW Oracle Racing has been very strong so far, so I would say it’s almost ‘bonus points’. We now have a realistic chance to make it to the semis, which is our goal here.”

Follow the leader. Barring any major mishap, BMW Oracle will finish the round robins at the top of the leaderboard. Dubai, 21 November 2010. Photo copyright Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle

Sébastien Col, helmsman of the French/German boat said: “We achieved a really solid race. The key point was the first downwind leg, where we defended very well. We were leading at the first mark, and then we defended well with a few close jibes, which was kind of our weakness at the beginning of the event. After a day like this, we will really feel better controlling our competitor downwind.”

Speaking of BMOR’s James Spithill, winner of the 33rd America’s Cup, Col said: “He and I are from the same generation. We raced together very often in youth world championships or on the match racing circuit. He has had an exceptional career these past four years. We’ve known each other for a long time, and it’s always nice to get a win against him.”

Ian Moore, the navigator of the American boat agreed that All4One had done an outstanding job. “It was a little disappointing to lose the first race, but give credit to All4One,” said Moore. “They started well and sailed impeccably well. We see a lot in these races that if you win the start it helps to go on and win the race, and that’s what they did.

“But you can’t let it get you down. You’re going to lose races in a tournament as long as this and we rallied in the second race. Jimmy got a fantastic start and our tactician John Kostecki did a nice job calling the race and picking the shifts.”

Moore said that after losing to the French/German team, “it was good to get a victory against a strong team like Artemis.”

The hard luck story of the day was the Swedish team Artemis Racing which lost two races, each worth two points, to drop from third place overall to fourth. They had started the day in third place, just one and half points behind second-placed Emirates Team New Zealand.

Artemis lost first to the Synergy Russian Sailing team even though the Russians were penalized for a collision in the pre-start. In one of the closest races seen in Dubai this week, Synergy skipper Francesco Bruni attacked and gained the lead before surrendering it while unwinding his penalty. He then fought his way back to finish first, only to lose his two finish points with a two-point deduction for hard contact.

In their second race Artemis was solidly defeated by BMW Oracle Racing.

It was tough day for Cameron Appleton and Artemis. Dubai, 21 November 2010. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Artemis

Racing resumes tomorrow afternoon with race boats now scheduled to leave the dock at 1300 and the earliest warning signal at 1345.

Race organizers aim to complete the Round Robin competition on Tuesday. There will be a lay day on Wednesday followed by fleet racing on Thursday. The semi-finals and finals will be raced on Friday and Saturday.

Flight One, Race One, All4One def BMW Oracle Racing Team, 00:45
This was only the second race the Americans have lost. Sebastien Col had the starboard advantage at the entry, went nose-to-nose in a protracted dialup above the line against James Spithill, and led back to start at the pin on starboard. Coming into the top mark Spithill was pressing hard but the French/German alliance held the Americans out above the mark and led by eight seconds. Oracle stayed close and on the attack but Col held his nerve and pulled away on the last two legs.

Flight One, Race Two, Synergy Russian Sailing Team def Artemis Racing, 00:26
A collision before the start saw the Russian team facing a four point loss – two penalty points for hard contact in the collison and the prospect that Cameron Appleton and Artemis Racing would win the match and go up two points. Synergy’s Francesco Bruni sailed the race of his life to lead on the first beat, unwind the penalty at the top mark and hold off Appleton on the second beat to win the race and two points that were wiped out by a two point loss for hard contact.

Flight Two, Race One, Emirates Team New Zealand def Mascalzone Latino Audi, 00:10 – The Kiwis claimed the right at the start and despite early gains by Gavin Brady, steering Mascalzone Latino Audi, it was Dean Barker who led around the top mark. Brady remained in close contact as the breeze softened with the approaching sunset and it was only on the final run that the New Zealand team could feel comfortable about an imminent win.

Believe it or not, team owner Torbjorn Tornqvist was just an aft grinder today. Dubai, 21 November 2010. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Artemis

Flight Two, Race Two, BMW Oracle Racing def Artemis Racing, 01:03 – The presence of team owner Torbjorn Tornqvist onboard was not sufficient to save Cameron Appleton and the Swedish from a sound defeat at the hands of James Spithill. After a protracted dialup, Spithill returned to start on the left on starboard with Artemis trailing by a few metres at the committee and also on starboard. Spithill was able to cross his opponent on the port tack half way up the beat and extended from there on every leg.

Provisional Results after Day Two of RR2:

1. BMW ORACLE Racing, 11-2, 13 pts
2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 7-5, 8.5 pts
3. All4One, 5-7, 6 pts
4. Artemis Racing, 5-8, 5 pts
=5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 5-7, 4 pts *
=5. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-8, 4 pts *

* A scoring penalty has been assessed by the umpires

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Kiwis Defeat Sweden to Retain Second Place at Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

Posted on 19 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Louis Vuitton Trophy] After the end of racing today at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai the top of the leaderboard remained unchanged from yesterday.

However it stayed that way only because Emirates Team New Zealand redeemed itself in the last race of the day with a double-points victory against Sweden’s Artemis Racing.

Earlier in the day, the Kiwi boat skippered by Dean Barker, had dropped to third place after losing at the hands of fellow Kiwi Cameron Appleton steering Artemis Racing. Their match, the opener of the day, was the last single-points race in Round Robin One.

In Round Robin Two competition the USA’s BMW Oracle Racing, Italy’s Mascalzone Latino Audi and ETNZ all won their matches and posted double points.

Conditions for racing off the Dubai International Marine Club were ideal with a shifty northerly breeze that built to 14 knots and flat seas.

Cameron Appleton helms Artemis to victory over Emirates Team NZ. Dubai, 19 November 2010. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Artemis Racing

Serene and seemingly untroubled, the American boat skippered by America’s Cup winner James Spithill, now has an 11-point record, four and a half points clear of the New Zealanders. The rest of the field remains tightly bunched with only two and a half points between second and sixth boat.

“Spithill’s doing a fantastic job,” said Rod Dawson, tactician for the Synergy Russian Sailing Team that lost to Oracle. “He certainly got the better of us in the pre-start today. “Being behind with a deficit is one thing but carrying a penalty as well is just about impossible.”

Ian Moore, navigator for the American team, provided a glimpse from the inside. “We’re a lot more prepared than the last two regattas we did, with more practice time. Practice makes perfect. There’s no doubt about that.

“One of the things you’re seeing is that we’re starting very well. Everyone’s firing on all cylinders. It makes my life easy because you know what’s going to happen next. Everything is running smoothly. It’s a joy to behold, really. However you’ve got to keep that intensity and momentum up. You can’t let it go.”

Spithill marches on. Dubai, 19 November 2010. Photo copyright Bob Grieser/outsideimages.com/Louis Vuitton Trophy

Speaking of their second match against Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis tactician Iain Percy said: “We had a pretty even start and backed ourselves in a big shift. In the end it became almost too good because we overstood and gave away that gain. At the top mark it came down to a few metres and unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough.”

Ray Davies, tactician on the Emirates boat said: “The start is very important on this course. We wanted to be to the right and we were to the right. It was close at the top mark but we had a piece of them by a couple of metres.”

There will be no Louis Vuitton Trophy racing tomorrow. Instead, the skippers and ten crew members from each of the International America’s Cup Class boats will join Arab sailors to compete in a 60-foot traditional dhow race.

Organized by the Dubai International Marine Club, it will be the first time that outsiders have ever competed in the sleek, lateen-rigged craft that celebrate centuries of Arab commerce, fishing, and pearl diving.

The six dhow skippers attended a special press conference and joined their counterparts, taking part in the draw to decide choice of boats for the race that will start tomorrow afternoon.

Flight One, Race One, Artemis Racing def Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:27
The Swedish boat steered by Kiwi Cameron Appleton won handsomely, claiming second place overall for Round Robin One, half a point ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, his opponents in this race. The New Zealand afterguard performed dismally in the pre-start, gifting the race to the Swedish team. The Kiwis were trailing Artemis on starboard 20 seconds before the gun when Dean Barker tacked onto port. He was late. Unable to lay the committee on port, he tacked onto starboard on the line three boat lengths behind Appleton, losing the right-hand advantage and any chance of redemption. From there, it was a procession.

Nice win of Artemis over Emirates Team NZ. Dubai, 19 November 2010. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Artemis Racing

Flight Two, Race One, BMW Oracle Racing def Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:48
Oracle’s James Spithill held Francesco Bruni away from the start line as the seconds ticked down. At the start gun the boats were still luffing head to wind well below the committee. The Russians made an attempt to hook Spithill and the umpires flagged a penalty. Spithill took another 43 seconds to gather momentum and cross the start line, with the Russians tucked away three boat lengths astern. Bruni never got close and finished still carrying the penalty.

Flight Three, Race One, Mascalzone Latino Audi def All4One, 00:24
Gavin Brady skippering the Italian boat held Sebastien Col above the start line before circling the committee, making a perfect start and claiming the right side of the course. Col and the French/German boat were delayed getting back and conceded a boat length as racing started. Col drew level in fresher conditions at the top mark but Brady was again able to push him away from the mark to round first. Col kept it close on the run and was only one a half boat lengths behind as they gybed for the bottom mark. Then the French/German spinnaker pole went overboard in an untidy spinnaker drop that left sail plastered all over the foredeck.

Sloppy crew work onboard ALL4One that results in a broken spinnaker pole. Dubai, 19 November 2010. Photo copyright Paul Todd/outsideimages.com/Louis Vuitton Trophy

Flight Four, Race One, Emirates Team New Zealand def Artemis Racing, 00:32
After losing their first race today to Artemis Sailing, Emirates Team New Zealand lined up for their second start side by side with the Swedish team. Both boats were head to wind nine seconds before the start and they started together on starboard with Artemis to leeward. Dean Barker had claimed the right side of the course and he quickly split away. When they met again at the weather mark the Swedish boat had slightly overstood and Barker used his starboard tack advantage to herd Cameron Appleton away from the mark. The delta was ten seconds.

Provisional Results after Day One of RR2:

1. BMW ORACLE Racing, 10-1, 11 pts
2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 6-5, 6.5 pts *
3. Artemis Racing, 5-6, 5 pts
=4. All4One, 4-7, 4 pts
=4. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-7, 4 pts *
=4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4-7, 4 pts

* A scoring penalty has been assessed by the umpires

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Kiwis Dent American Armor with One-Second Victory at Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

Posted on 17 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Louis Vuitton Trohpy] Emirates Team New Zealand exposed the first cracks in the armor of the dominant BMW Oracle Racing team at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai today.

The New Zealanders split race wins with the regatta leader, winning their second match by a nail-biting one-second margin over the fast advancing Americans.

Oracle skipper James Spithill had won the pair’s first match, preserving his team’s no-loss record after four days of racing off the host Dubai International Marine Club and putting the Kiwis on the back foot.

In an about-face, New Zealand’s Dean Barker grabbed control at the start of the second race and led the Americans around the course.

It was a must-win for the Kiwi team flying the flag of the United Arab Emirates. Down two races before today, and docked half a point for a collision on the opening day, they ideally needed two wins to put a dent in the winning performance of the team that holds the America’s Cup.

Emirates Team NZ are the first to beat BMW Oracle. Dubai, 17 November 2010. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team NZ

The scoreboard now has BMW Oracle Racing on seven points and Emirates Team New Zealand in second place with 3.5 points. Sweden’s Artemis Racing, Synergy Russian Sailing Team and the French/German team All4One are third-equal on three points. Italy’s Mascalzone Latino Audi team is sixth with two points.

Expectations were heightened at the end of the day when old Louis Vuitton Cup foes America and New Zealand lined up for their first start. Oracle’s Spithill won the start and claimed the favored right hand side of the course. The Kiwi boat led early but better conditions on the right favored the Americans.

Barker kept it close and there were two confrontations at the top of the first leg with flogging sails, shouts and protest flags. The combatants narrowly avoided collisions and all the protests were green-flagged by the on-water umpires.

In the second race Barker was pinned by his rival in the pre-start but got out of jail with a minute remaining before the start gun. The right was favored and the Kiwi skipper grabbed it like a drowning man.

Barker exploited his edge all around the course, remaining a couple of boat lengths clear of the attacking Americans. However the Oracle team’s favorable gybe on the last leg almost robbed ETNZ of their sorely-needed point.

“It was another good close race,” said Emirates tactician Ray Davies. “Obviously we’re going to see a few more races like this so better get used to it. In the last race there was some favorable line bias and pretty much the reversal of what we saw in our first race. It was a bit tricky on that run to the finish but, very happy with the final result.”

At least a day’s racing remains in the First Round Robin. All the teams each have two races still to sail. ETNZ and Artemis have a third match, with the promise of a one-point advance on the score table for the winner.

Flight One, Race One, Synergy Russian Sailing def All4One, 00:08

 – Synergy Russian Sailing team earned a come from behind win with a pass on the first run. But they were given a scare on the short downwind sprint to the finish on the second lap of the course as All4One made a gain with a smoother rounding at the top mark, and some good crew work on their downwind gybes. Although the French-German team was able to pull into an overlapped position halfway down the run, Francesco Bruni and his Synergy crew held their nerve to earn a narrow victory.

Flight One, Race Two, Artemis def Mascalzone Latino Audi, 00:39

 – This match was all but over before it began as Gavin Brady, at the helm of the Italian boat, picked up a penalty one minute before the start. Attempting to dive down to leeward of Artemis, which was leading back towards the starting line, the bow of the Italian boat clipped the safety wands extending from the transom of the Swedes. Carrying the burden of his penalty all the way around the track, there was nothing Brady and his team could do to recover. An easy victory for Artemis.

Flight Two, Race One, All4One def Synergy Russia Sailing, 00:11

 – A good start by Seb Col on All4One saw him win the right hand side of the course with his nose forward of Synergy. Bruni, at the helm of the Russian boat, was forced to luff hard to clear the pin end of the starting line, handing the early lead to Col. A tacking duel ensued, with All4One always holding the advantage on the right, which translated into a seven-second lead at the top mark. On the run, Synergy was able to position itself well for the gybe towards the leeward gate and rumbled past All4One to an 11-second lead. But on the second beat, the duo of Seb Col and tactician John Cutler engineered a pass for All4One, successfully fending off a lee-bow tack by Synergy, allowing them to sail the Russian team out past the layline before leading back to the mark and holding on to the finish for an important win.

Mascalzone Latino and Artemis won one race each today. Dubai, 17 November 2010. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Artemis

Flight Two, Race Two, Mascalzone Latino Audi def Artemis, 00:38

 – A nice timed run start by Mascalzone Latino saw them tight to leeward of Artemis and hitting the line with speed, forcing the Swedish boat to tack away. The Italian team rounded the top mark with a lead of just one length but gained on the run to have a comfortable margin the rest of the way around.

Flight Three, Race One, BMW Oracle Racing def Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:19 – James Spithill and BMWOR won the start, and the right side of the course. Dean Barker and the Kiwis split away to the left for an early advantage but more pressure on the right drove the American boat ahead. Racing was close, close enough for a dial down confrontation at the top of the first beat and a series of protest flags at the top mark, all green flagged. Barker stayed within two boat lengths on the run and attacked with a series of muscle-punishing tacks upwind but Spithill dominated and won comfortably.

Flight Three, Race Two, Emirates Team New Zealand def BMW Oracle Racing, 00:01 – James Spithill controlled the start until the last minute when Dean Barker got under his guard and pushed BMWOR away from the favored right hand side. The Kiwi boat controlled comfortably with a two boat lead until the final leg when a crucial gybe saw the Americans advancing to trail by just five metres at the finish.

Provisional Results:

1. BMW ORACLE Racing, 7-1, 7 pts
2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 4-3, 3.5 pts *
= 3. Artemis Racing, 3-4, 3 pts
= 3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 3-5, 3 pts
= 3. All4One, 3-5, 3 pts
6. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 3-5, 2 pts *

* Scoring penalty deducted by Umpires

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Spithill Extends Dominance at Louis Vuitton Dubai

Posted on 16 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Louis Vuitton Trophy] James Spithill, the youngest skipper to win the America’s Cup, continued an unbroken record today at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai as his BMW Oracle Racing team posted two more victories in close match racing.

The American team’s record is 6-0 and six points. Their nearest competition is Emirates Team New Zealand in second place with 3-2 and only 2.5 points after an jury penalty on Sunday.

Spithill was merciless in his opening match against Italian Francesco Bruni steering Synergy Russian Sailing. Spithill waited until the last minute of the pre-start before swooping in to attack.

Seconds later he’d grabbed a controlling position on Synergy’s port quarter and pushed the Russian boat above the start line as the gun went. The Russians had to go back and start property while Spithill increased his lead on every leg, finishing 300 metres ahead, the biggest margin of the day.

Spithill’s second race against the Russians was a different story. BMW Oracle Racing tactician John Kostecki described the race as “quite tight.” The Americans rounded the top mark first but Kostecki said the first beat was touch and go.

“We got to them just about at the layline,” Kostecki said. “They had to bail out and we were able to roll them. They had to do two tacks at the top mark. I think we played that right. It was real close though. It could have gone either way.”

Spithill finally got control of the race after a hair-raising leeward mark rounding when the Russian team came charging back into contention and rounded inside the American boat, claiming and getting an inside overlap.

“We managed to get them to tack away and incur a penalty,” Kostecki said. “Out of that we got the starboard advantage and got ahead on the last beat and ended up winning the race. It was a good race. It feels good to be 6-0.”

First point for Mascalzone Latino, against Synergy. Dubai, 16 November 2010. Photo copyright Paul Todd/outsideimages.com/Louis Vuitton Trophy

Emirates Team New Zealand only had one race, against the Swedish team Artemis Racing. Kiwi skipper Dean Barker claimed a small advantage at the start but Artemis skipper Cameron Appleton enjoyed the starboard side advantage and bounced ETNZ away every time they met in a series of tacks.

When Barker tried to duck his opponent and get right, Appleton bore off in a classic dial down. Barker tacked back and the boats narrowly avoided collision in a flurry of protest flags and shouting.

“We could have cut them in half,” said Grant Dalton, ETNZ CEO who also crews on the boat. “We wanted a red flag penalty but the umpires didn’t agree.”

Flight One, Race One, All4One def Mascalzone Latino Audi, 00:22 – Gavin Brady’s race with Sebastien Col was over before it started when Mascalzone Latino Audi jumped the gun as she grazed past the race committee boat on port tack in a split tack start. Col, at the helm of the French/German boat All4One, set out with a 90 metre lead that turned into a 38 second advantage at the top mark. A messy spinnaker drop cost All4One valuable time at the leeward mark but she was still 100 metres in front at the finish gun.

Flight One, Race Two, BMW Oracle Racing def Synergy Russian Sailing, 00:58 – At BMWOR’s helm, James Spithill swooped down on the Russian boat inside one minute to the start as both boats approached on starboard tack. Hooked by the American boat, Francesco Bruni was pushed over the line as the seconds ticked down and Synergy Russian Sailing was forced to return and start.

Flight Two, Race One, All4One def Mascalzone Latino Audi, 00:13 – Gavin Brady started the Italian boat at speed on starboard with a safe leeward on All4One. The French/German boat tacked away and Brady followed, taking them out to the starboard layline before leading at the top mark by a boat length. Half way down the run, the Italian spinnaker pole went in the water on a bad gybe. Sebastien Col seized the lead and held it to the finish.

Flight Two, Race Two, BMW Oracle Racing def Synergy Russian Sailing, 00:15 – Russia’s Francesco Bruni came close to wrecking James Spithill’s so-far perfect record in Dubai, overtaking the American boat on the inside at the leeward mark only to be penalized for failing to keep clear as they sailed away from the mark. Spithill had made a safe leeward start on starboard and controlled the race to the weather mark, leading by a boat length and opening the lead only to see it evaporate as Bruni closed at the end of the run, successfully claiming the inside overlap.

Nobody seems to be able to beat James Spithill. Dubai, 16 November 2010. Photo copyright Franck Socha/Louis Vuitton Trophy

Flight Three, Race One, Artemis Racing def Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:21 – The Swedish boat skippered by Cameron Appleton claimed the right at the start and bounced Kiwi skipper Dean Barker back to the left on six successive tacks. When Barker bore off and attempted to duck his opponent, Appleton, on starboard, dialed down and forced Barker away before hardening up take a clear lead. Barker kept it close but the race was Appleton’s

Flight Three, Race Two, Mascalzone Latino Audi def Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:15 – On their third race of the day against the Russian team, Gavin Brady and Mascalzone Latino finally prevailed and put their first point on the board. Brady made a perfect start at speed at the pin end of the line and led by eight seconds at the top mark. Francesco Bruni and the Russians clawed back within two seconds as they rounded opposite ends of the leeward gate but Brady maintained control and the lead.


1. BMW ORACLE Racing, 6-0, 6 pts
2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 3-2, 2.5 pts *
= 3. Artemis Racing, 2-3, 2 pts
= 3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 2-3, 2 pts
= 3. All4One, 2-4, 2 pts
6. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 2-4, 1 pts *

* Scoring penalty deducted by Umpires

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Grant Dalton’s “substandard yachts”?

Posted on 15 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

I’m a fan of Emirates Team New Zealand and I have no problem admitting that. I often refer to them as the “World’s best monohull sailing team” and I think their track record after the end of the 32nd America’s Cup justifies it, to a great extent.

When Emirates Team New Zealand was racing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy in La Maddalena, Italy about 5 months ago, Grant Dalton’s team suffered from gear failures in various occasions during the round robin but still, after 16 long days of racing, managed to win the event. They beat Russia’s Synergy 3-2 in the final, coming back from 2-0 down.

On May 29th, Dalton wasn’t very happy because he had just lost the race due to “equipment problems”, as he claimed. He claimed that the Louis Vuiton racing format worked if the boats were “good enough”, pointing out that the boats in New Zealand were good while the ones provided there were “substandard”, referring to Mascalzone Latino’s yachts.

Mascalzone Latino crew members struggle with the spinnaker after a halyard failure caused it to fall down on day 2 of the Louis Vuitton Trophy. Dubai, 15 November 2010. Photo copyright Subzero Images/Mascalzone Latino

Back to the future now and it seems it was Mascalzone Latino’s turn today to lose their race due to the “substandard” yacht provided by the kiwis. First the gearbox of the winch broke right off the start line. This obviously put the Italians in a disadvantage as they couldn’t gybe or tack effectively, severely handicapping helmsman Gavin Brady, famous for his aggressive tactics.

Despite the handicap, Mascalzone got ahead at the second top mark and was leading in the last run when they went into a gybe and through its course the spinnaker filled and just came down. For some reason the halyard clip was open, it came undone but it hadn’t been undone for the three minutes before that. From that point it was a walk in the park for the Russians and they bagged a precious point.

As somebody put it, the yacht was falling apart today. I guess Dalton only worries about “substandard” yachts when they are not his…

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Long night ahead for the Emirates Team NZ boatbuilders

Posted on 14 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] Emirates Team New Zealand shore crew are in for a long night repairing damage to NZL84.

The yacht was damaged in the second race today between Emirates Team New Zealand and the Italian team Mascalzone Latino. Providing there’s no major structural damage – and first inspection indicated that there was none – boat builders are convinced NZL 84 will be ready for racing tomorrow.

The collision at the top mark brought a sensational and premature end to Mascalzone Latino’s first day’s racing.

Emirates Team NZ boatbuilders repairing the damage caused by the collision. Dubai, 14 November 2010. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team NZ

Emirates Team New Zealand boat builders advised the Italian syndicate not to race upwind and to abandon the race in case NZL84 had incurred structural damage.

Damage to NZL92 was confined to the spinnaker pole which was brought ashore in three pieces.The collision occurred after Dean Barker forced the action well above the mark.

Barker broke off the engagement and led back into the mark with Mascalzone Latino’s skipper Gavin Brady attacking.As the protracted confrontation continued, the Italian boat was close to head to wind and carrying a red-flag penalty as Barker attempted to duck behind him.

NZL92’s spinnaker pole penetrated the starboard quarter of NZL84, just forward of the runners, a major structural part of the boat.In the first race, Mascalzone Latino got the better of the light and shifty breeze winning by 27 sec.

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