by Bob Fisher
Emirates Team NZ - 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, Round Robin 1, Race 2
'The Mixture as Before' is the statement that appears on many new medicine bottles and today the competitors in the Louis Vuitton Cup round robin displayed their ability to take their medicine as directed.
Without an opponent (in this case Artemis whose boat is far from ready for racing) Emirates Team New Zealand scorched around the 16-mile course a tad faster than she had on Sunday to score another point in the Louis Vuitton Cup round robin.
Dean Barker and his crew sailed the AC-72 immaculately, demonstrating the technique of the gybe-to-gybe manoeuvre without dropping off the foils, maintaining a speed in excess of 20 knots as they did so. It was an impressive performance by the Kiwis, who were a minute quicker than they had been two days before.
But are they getting better? Watching them from off the water, Nathan Outteridge explained that it was easier to comprehend the techniques the New Zealanders have been using. 'We were tearing about in a chase boat at 35 knots, but now we have it all given to us on the screen and we are able to study them more closely.' He was full of praise for the ETNZ sailors: 'They are a polished team.'
Ray Davies, the ETNZ tactician, was keen to point out that in simply sailing round the course, the team was acquiring valuable knowledge: 'We are learning about the race course and its changes – the fog line today made a new condition and there are always the boundaries to consider. You’d like to think you had an edge on the opposition, but I have no doubt the defenders are watching our every move.'
Meanwhile the five-person International Jury is still deliberating whether whether the Regatta Director was within his rights to alter two of the AC-72 class rules without the unanimous agreement of the competitors. Patrizio Bertelli, the boss of Luna Rossa, has said that his team will appear on the water for its so-called match on Thursday against Artemis.
By then, however, the Jury is expected to have delivered its decision.