St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

by  Barby MacGowan

The second day of the Bucket Regatta saw six new winners in six classes after the 38-strong fleet sailed a long “Not So Wiggly” course around and through the smaller islands and prominent rock formations lying to the north and west of St. Barths. Performances turned in by the victors (Unfurled, SPIIP, Axia, Rosehearty, Koo and Hanuman) also translated into new teams atop the leaderboard in four of the five pursuit classes as well as the J Class when cumulative scores were tallied.  
After yesterday’s race around the island, Rosehearty sat in third in Grandes Dames as did Unfurled in Gazelles. Both are defending champions and made a point of saying they were far from being counted out. Unfurled’s victory today put her in second overall, only one point behind yesterday’s leader WinWin, while Rosehearty’s gave her a tied point score with Meteor for first (tie-breaker rules give the nod to Rosehearty) and dropped yesterday’s leader Perseus^3 to third.

 Even with all the “ins and outs” of the course, Rosehearty never put her spinnaker up. “It was pretty windy (18-20 knots), and we had broken our spinnaker earlier in the week, so it was a risk vs. reward thing,” said Rosehearty’s tactician Paul Cayard. “We had good tactics and lay lines, sailed in all the right places and were able to hold everybody off without it.” Cayard saw Perseus^3 deploy its kite and have some problems, which may have contributed to the team’s fourth-place finish. “The angles just weren’t right for us to put it up; it was a little painful to go slow but the right thing to do when racing these boats.”

 Near the end of the race, two boats from another class were ahead of Rosehearty, slowing it down, while Meteor was advancing quickly from behind. “We focused on staying in front of Meteor; otherwise, they were going to pass us and they’d be winning the regatta.” 

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

 In Les Voiles Blanche class, Koo also stakes her first-place position on a tied overall point score with yesterday’s leader Q,  while in the Elegantes, P2 trails leader SPIPP by only four points for second, tied on point score with Sojana.

 P2’s tactician Tony Rey said his team spent last night repairing a spinnaker that blew out yesterday, causing the team to start their three-race series with a fifth-place finish. “The pressure is higher when you are dealing with your own adversity,” he said with a chuckle this morning before racing, “but today will be windy and not so wiggly. This is a course that separates the men from the boys. It sounds innocuous and benign, but it’s plenty wiggly for these boats.”

 In Mademoiselles, today’s winner Axia, also a defending champion, is now in third overall, tied in scoring with two others behind her, while Adela stands between her and overall leader Wisp from yesterday. According to Axia’s tactician Robbie Doyle, his team’s seventh yesterday hurt them, but mathematically, it’s still possible for them to win. “Wisp has to make a mistake, but mistakes are made, as we’ve proven,” he said.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

 The J Class had a glorious day of sailing, starting off with a thrilling 2.5 nm downwind leg. Yesterday’s leader Velsheda suffered a penalty after the start, clearing the way for Hanuman to lead the entire way around the 26-mile course.

 All to say, there are no runaway winners going into tomorrow’s final day of racing when a race around the island, this time clockwise, will conclude the on-water competition.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

The Bucket Stewards collaborated in 2016 to establish a new criteria for the coveted Bucket Trophy.  With the racing format having changed in recent years, the emphasis is now directed to class racing. This has provided an opportunity to reestablish a quantitative criteria for the overall winner of the Bucket Trophy.

The ‘Bucket Trophy’ will be presented to the overall winner of the 2017 St Barths Bucket. Yachts eligible for the prestigious award will be the class winners with five or more yachts in class.The class winner who prevails in the ‘most competitive, closely contested class’ will be the overall winner.

 The class with smallest series point differential between first and fourth place finishers will receive 1 point with each class in succession receiving 2, 3, 4 or 5 points. Additionally, the class with the least overall time differential (total time/total distance for all races) between the first and fourth place finishers will receive one point, with each class in succession receiving one additional point as above.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

 The above mentioned points will be added together for the overall competitive class score.  The class with the lowest number of points will be considered the ‘most competitive, closely contested class’.

 The winner of this class will be the overall winner of the 2017 edition of the St Barths Bucket.

 Should there be a tie, the class winner with the most yachts in class wins. In the event the tie remains unbroken, starting prowess will determine the overall winner (total time for all starts, from scheduled start to crossing the line – with the smallest total time prevailing).

Special Needs Children Project

St Barth schools have 40 special needs students with various motor and cognitive challenges. Outside the school system there are other island children with even more severe disabilities. The existing program facilities and services are not adequate to help these children and their families thrive.

This project supports the island’s first dedicated, handicap-accessible space suitable for assessment, treatment and coordinated support services, and provides the additional special educator and psychological services these children need to achieve greater autonomy, better school integration and a better quality of life.

The 2015 St Barth Bucket was proud to contribute to this initiative of the local St Barth Lions and Rotary Clubs.

Watch replay of all St. Barths Bucket Regatta races on TracTrac

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

 

The Star Fleet at BACARDI Miami Sailing Week 2013 (Photo by BMSW/Cory Silken)

The Star Fleet at BACARDI Miami Sailing Week 2013 (Photo by BMSW/Cory Silken)

 

MIAMI, FLA.– Attracted by a highly-regarded race management team and the area’s renowned racing conditions, elite sailors will again be on hand when the fifth annual running of BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank is held March 2-8, 2014, from the regatta headquarters at Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove. The six-day racing schedule is headlined by the Star class, which will have 57 boats on the starting line all fighting to win the 87th Bacardi Cup.  On the last four days of the regatta, the Stars will share the Bay with competitors in the Audi Melges 20, J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and VX One classes.

There are 192 boats registered across the six one-design fleets, with competitors from 15 foreign nations (Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine) travelling great distances to compete against American sailors. 

As the Star is considered one of the most competitive one-design classes in the world, it stands to reason that the entry list for the 87th Bacardi Cup would include some of the most recognizable names in the sport:  2012 Star World Champion Xavier Rohart (France); 1992 Finn Olympic Silver medalist Brian Ledbetter (Medina, Wash.); 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.); 2013 Star World Champion John MacCausland (Cherry Hill, N.J.); Paul Cayard (San Francisco, Calif.), America’s Cup veteran and winner of the 1998 Whitbread Round the World Race; and Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.), two-time Star World Champion (1995, 2000) and three-time Olympic medalist (1992 Gold,1988 Silver, 2000 Gold).  In addition, Brazil’s most well-known sailing siblings, two-time (’88, ’96) Tornado Olympic Medalist Lars Grael and brother Torben Grael, the 1990 Star World Champion will race each other, as will another native of Brazil, Vince Brun (San Diego, Calif.), world champion in the Soling, Star, J24, Etchells and Melges 24 classes.

The Audi Melges 20 fleet has 41 registered entries, including Michael Kiss (Holland, Mich.), winner of BMSW in 2013 and 2012.  Kiss, a three-time class national champion (’10,’11, ‘12), finished second at the 2013 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship behind John Kilroy (Los Angeles, Calif.) who is also the 2012 Melges 32 World Champion.  John Taylor (Jupiter, Fla.), crowned the Audi Melges 20 World Champion in mid-December, will also be on the starting line in this class.

The ever-growing popularity of the J/70 class will again be in evidence at BMSW where entries are up almost 100% from their strong debut in last year’s event.  The 39-strong class will see Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) work to defend his title against 2013 J/70 North American Champion Heather Gregg-Earl (Boston, Mass.) and 2006 Audi Etchells World Champion Jud Smith (Marblehead, Mass.).

Riccardo Simoneschi (Milan, ITA), racing in the Melges 24 class, is another returning champion hoping to defend his BMSW title, as is Lee Shuckerow (Point Edward, CAN) in the Viper 640 class.  Making their debut in the mix of classes racing at BMSW is the VX One which will have 22 boats racing.

BACARDI Miami Sailing Week will hold its second Pro-Am Regatta on Sunday, March 2, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., to benefit Shake-A-Leg Miami, Team Paradise and Sailing Heals.  Five Sonars and five Marstrom 32s, with guest helmsman – including Paul Cayard, Mark Reynolds, Lars Grael and Miami’s Augie Diaz – will give the amateur sailors a glimpse of elite-level racing.

The prestigious Coral Reef Yacht Club will coordinate on-water activities in collaboration with the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. The U.S. Sailing Center and Shake-A-Leg Miami will also support the event. Racing will be held on three separate courses approximately two miles out on Biscayne Bay.  Racing for the Star class gets underway on Monday, March 3.  Beginning Thursday, March 6, the Stars will be joined on Biscayne Bay by sailors in the Audi Melges 20, Melges 24, J/70, Viper 640 and VX One classes, with racing for concluding on Saturday, March 8.

During BACARDI Miami Sailing Week sailors will enjoy the hospitality lounge, BACARDI Rum tastings, as well as a special showing of the film 07-07-07 Amorita’s Unlucky Day.  A special exhibit, Wynwood Sails Color the Grove, will feature the work of 10 artists of the graffiti and street art genre taking inspiration from the sea and sailing to create a work on canvas shaped like the jib of a sailboat.  The art will be displayed at Coco Walk, the iconic open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment destination in Coconut Grove, from March 2-8, daily between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.  Additionally, two live performances will take place on Sunday, March 2, and Saturday, March 8, from 4:00-8:00 p.m., allowing the public to witness the artist’s creativity first-hand.  In addition, select images from the 2010 to 2013 regattas, from the lenses of respected marine photographers Franco Pace of Italy, and Onne van der Wal and Cory Silken of the USA , will be displayed alongside the canvasses created specifically for Wynwood Sails Color the Grove to juxtapose “the City meets the Sea” for this unique art event.

More information on the BACARDI Miami Sailing Week and the 87th BACARDI Cup is available at www.MiamiSailingWeek.com and www.BacardiCup.com.

rc44valenciacup20100730-9056

Valencia Cup Fleet At Start (Photo by Ignacio Baixauli / RC44 Class)

After wishing for more boatspeed following the match racing portion of the RC 44 Valencia Cup, Anders Myralf of Denmark guided James Spithill and the 17 crew to three first place finishes today to wrest control of the fleet racing portion of the regatta.

The 17 crew won the first, third and fourth races, and placed fourth in Race 2. Their low score, however, is 8 points due to a 1 point penalty imposed by the International Jury.

Second place is held by Chris Bake and Team Aqua, winners of the match racing portion of the week-long event, with 14 points on finishes of 2-3-5-4.

Third place is held by Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis at 20 points (5-7-2-6).

“It’s incredible to come down here from Copenhagen and jump into a boat that is so organized and well sailed,? said Myralf, an amateur sailor who races aboard the Farr 40 Nanooq with the Prince of Denmark. “I’ve never seen such a good crew. I’ve got the easiest job on the boat.?

The southeasterly sea breeze that marked the match racing didn’t materialize today until the fourth race, but it lacked its typical punch. Instead, the fleet sailed in mostly an easterly wind between 8 and 10 knots. Only in Race 4 did it shift to the southeast and increase to 12 knots.

rc44valenciacup20100730-9347

Valencia Cup Fleet (Photo by Ignacio Baixauli / RC44 Class )

The new conditions made consistency hard to achieve. Instead of trusting the right side of the racecourse, some found the left side of the course favorable. Aside from the top two, the rest of the fleet had at least one, if not two finishes out of the top five.

“We were able to stay in the top five, and in this fleet that’s saying something,? said Bake of Team Aqua. “The field was fairly mixed up.?

Another marked difference from the match racing portion are the amateur helmsmen, as required by class rules. In most cases that is the owner driving the light-displacement yacht.

Completing the top five are a pair of Russians: Guennadi Timtchenko and Katusha, placed fourth with 20 points on finishes of 9-1-8-3, followed by Maxim Logutenko aboard BMW ORACLE Racing with Russell Coutts at 22 points (finishes of 10-6-4-2).

For Timtchenko, this is just his third regatta. Ever. He’d never raced before joining the RC 44 Class, but got into it due to Tornqvist, a friend and business associate.

“I raced with Torbjorn aboard one of his boats,? said the 57-year-old Timtchenko. “The RC 44 is the right class for me. It’s an interesting boat, fast and maneuverable. I make a lot of mistakes, but my crew gets me out of trouble.?

Marring an otherwise great day, 17 was penalized 1 point by the jury after a protest from Islas Canarias Puerto Calero and owner Daniel Calero.

At the start of Race 4, Puerto Calero was the windward yacht with 17 overlapped to leeward. Puerto Calero alleged that Spithill, the professional helmsman, took the helm. Class rules state that the professional may take the helm only on safety grounds.

Puerto Calero maintains that Spithill took the helm to help push them over the line early. Puerto Calero was on the course side at the start.

rc44valenciacup20100730-9282

Anders Myralf, of Denmark, and the crew on board 17 (USA) had a great day with three bullets and a fourth. (Photo by Ignacio Baixauli / RC44 Class )

According to International Jury chairman Bill Edgerton, Spithill said in the protest hearing that he had a hand on the wheel, but only to help turn the yacht down to avoid potentially hitting Puerto Calero.

“We didn’t want to have them disqualified, but we wanted to raise the issue that it is against the rules,? said Daniel Calero.

RC 44 VALENCIA CUP

(Fleet racing provisional results)
1. 17 / Anders Myralf (USA) 1-4-1-1, 8 points*
2. Team Aqua / Chris Bake (UAE) 2-3-5-4, 14 points
3. Artemis / Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) 5-7-2-6, 20 points
4. Katusha / Guennadi Timtchenko (RUS) 9-1-8-3, 21 points
5. BMW ORACLE Racing / Maxim Logutenko (USA) 10-6-4-2, 22 points
6. No Way Back / Pieter Heerema (NED) 8-2-7-5, 22 points
7. Ceeref / Igor Lah (SLO) 6-11-3-7, 27 points
8. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero / Daniel Calero (ESP) 3-9-9-10, 31 points
9. AEZ RC44 Sailing Team / Rene Mangold (AUT) 4-10-10-8, 32 points
10. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team / Vincenzo Onorato (ITA) 11-5-6-11, 33 points
11. Team Sea Dubai / Harm Mueller-Speer (UAE) 7-8-11-9, 35 points
 (* includes 1 point penalty by International Jury)

rc44valenciacup20100730-9238

(Photo by Ignacio Baixauli / RC44 Class )

 

RC44  Valencia Cup Fleet ( Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44 Class Association )

RC44 Valencia Cup Fleet ( Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44 Class Association )

Small jibs and loose boom vangs were the order of the day as the RC 44 Valencia Cup got underway here in a pumping sea breeze that topped out at 20 knots.

Despite the strong wind off Malvarrosa Beach, the professional crews threw the light-displacement boats around with seeming ease.

In a day that saw seven flights and 28 match races completed, three crews made it through the first five flights undefeated. But only Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis escaped unscathed.

“We started well enough today and the boat was going well through the water,? said Artemis skipper Terry Hutchinson, who finished the day at 6-0. “We had our best day boathandling, and we needed it today.?

Three other teams finished the day with 4-1 records including Russell Coutts and the BMW ORACLE Racing team, Cameron Appleton’s Team Aqua and James Spithill’s 17. Rounding out the top five is Igor Lah’s Ceeref at 3-1 with Rod Davis as skipper.

“We had a good day considering we weren’t able to practice yesterday,? said Davis, who suffered a slight injury when the mainsheet grazed his head. “We went in loose and are quite happy. The boys have been on the boat a long time and that was helpful today.?

The day started mild with an east/southeasterly wind around 12 knots. But with the temperature inland topping out at 90 degrees, it quickly turned wild when the wind shifted to the southeast and built to 16 to 18 knots, with gusts up to 20 knots.

The race committee ordered the small jibs for the fourth flight of races, and VIP spectators were no longer allowed aboard to avoid the risk of injury during transfer from chase boat to race boat.

Corresponding with the increase in wind strength was an increase of incidents. Upwards of eight penalties were issued, three spinnakers ripped, one jib battered and one steering system damaged.

A couple of crews were forced to retire from races due to the damage, but for those who finished you would think the day was a walk in the park.

“This was one of the windiest days we’ve had match racing, but they’re spectacular boats. They come alive downwind,? Hutchinson said.

“My guys did a great job getting me out of trouble today,? said Appleton. “I was the one causing the trouble.?

The match racing portion of the RC 44 Valencia Cup continues tomorrow with another seven flights planned. Thursday is a scheduled practice day for the fleet racing portion of the regatta, which runs Friday through Sunday.

 

RC 44 VALENCIA CUP
(Match racing, after seven of 14 flights)
1. Artemis / Terry Hutchinson (SWE) 6-0
2. BMW ORACLE Racing / Russell Coutts (USA) 4-1
2. Team Aqua / Cameron Appleton (UAE) 4-1
2. 17 / James Spithill (USA) 4-1
5. Ceeref / Rod Davis (SLO) 3-1
6. No Way Back / Pieter Heerema and Ray Davies (NED) 3-3
7. Team Sea Dubai / Markus Weiser (UAE) 2-4
8. Katusha / Paul Cayard (RUS) 1-3
9. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team / Tommaso Chieffi (ITA) 1-4
10. AEZ RC44 Sailing Team / Christian Binder (AUT) 0-5
10. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero / José Maria Ponce (ESP) 0-5

RC 44 Fleet (Photo Copyright Maria Rambuske - GEPA / RC 44)

RC 44 Fleet (Photo Copyright Maria Rambuske - GEPA / RC 44)

 

The second regatta of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2010 will begin on Thursday, April 29, on Lake Traunsee, in Austria. James Spithill, Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison make their come back on the circuit; they will sail against Ray Davies, Paul Cayard, Rod Davis, Markus Wieser, Terry Hutchinson, Cameron Appleton, Christian Binder and many more of the world’s best sailors… Tough job for the bookmakers!
 
Recent winner of the America’s Cup at the helm of BMW ORACLE Racing, James « Jimmy » Spithill is the skipper of a new team called RC 44 Challenge. His crew is made up of a combination of America’s Cup sailors – such as John Kostecki – and genuine amateurs, as required by the Class rules. RC 44 Challenge will with no doubt immediately become one of the favourites of the event. “I am really looking forward to returning to the RC 44 Class”, says Spithill. “It attracts the world’s best sailors from both match racing and fleet racing, plus the boats are incredibly rewarding to sail and certainly one of the reasons I’m back. We have a fantastic team. John Kostecki will be tactician and Joey Newton trimming, both who raced on the BOR 90 trimaran.”
 
Other new faces involved in the RC 44 Austria Cup include Harm Müller Spreer, who will be Team Sea Dubai’s fleet race helmsman. Owner of the well known TP 52 Platoon, Harm Müller Spreer is a successful Dragon sailor; he became European champion in 2004, finished second at the 2005 worlds and is a triple Gold Cup winner.
 
Russell Coutts is also back on the circuit for the first time since last year’s Portoroz Cup. Larry Ellison will steer BMW ORACLE Racing during the fleet races whilst Coutts will be at the helm on Thursday and Friday for the match race.
 
Finally, Team Austria, the local team headed by René Mangold, will be keen to perform in front of its public. The Austrians managed to win two fleet races in Dubai earlier in the season. “We have improved a lot but we need more continuity”, comments Christian Binder, the team’s match race helmsman and tactician.
 
 
The teams involved in the RC 44 Austria Cup (fleet race / match race helmsman):
 
Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies)
Artemis (Torbjorn Tornqvist / Terry Hutchinson)
CEEREF (Igor Lah / Rod Davis)
BMW ORACLE Racing (Larry Ellison / Russell Coutts)
Team Aqua (Chris Bake / Cameron Appleton)
Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (Daniel Calero / José Maria Ponce)
Katusha (Paul Cayard)
Team Sea Dubai (Harm Muller Spreer / Markus Wieser)
Team Austria (René Mangold / Christian Binder)
RC 44 Challenge (Ian Vickers / James Spithill)

Emirates Team New Zealand ( Photo by Ian Roman)

Emirates Team New Zealand ( Photo by Ian Roman)

Racing under the colours of the host Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta Sunday.

© Bob Grieser/outsideimages.co.nz | Louis Vuitton Trophy

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

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Chris Cameron/Louis Vuitton Cup Auckland))

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Chris Cameron/Louis Vuitton Cup Auckland))

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.

© Paul Todd/outsideimages.co.nz | Louis Vuitton Trophy

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.

Artemis and Azzura Battle It Out (Photo by  Bob Grieser/outsideimages.co.nz/Louis Vuitton Trophy, Auckland New Zealand)

Artemis and Azzura Battle It Out (Photo by Bob Grieser/outsideimages.co.nz/Louis Vuitton Trophy, Auckland New Zealand)

 

 

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.

© Paul Todd/outsideimages.co.nz | Louis Vuitton Trophy

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.”