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Fisher's View- Day 5 Luna Rossa thrill their America's Cup home fans

by Bob Fisher on 16 Apr 2012
The Italian fans go wild after the fleet race - America’s Cup World Series Naples 2012 - Final day ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

Bob Fisher, one of the world's top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in Naples, Italy for the Fourth round of the America's Cup World Series.

Bob is a multihuller from way back, having competed for Britain in the Little America's Cup and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.

He writes:

Dear Diary – Day 5 - America's Cup World Series - Naples, Italy

Sunday dawned with only a slight drizzle which cleared and while the sunshine was muted, the breeze was light enough for the organisation to declare the use of the additional wing extensions as mandatory. The plans were clearly stated. The semi-finals and final of the match racing would start at 1250; the speed (?) trials an hour later; and the final championship fleet race with the heavily loaded points at 1455.

First semi-final:

Luna Rossa - Swordfish v Artemis Racing
Artemis started to windward of Luna Rossa - Swordfish, held the Italian out at the leeward mark and converted the advantage to over 100 metres at the first windward mark. Terry Hutchinson held the lead downwind and stretched it to 125 metres halfway up the second beat. Paul Campbell-James narrowed the gap slightly for a while, but downwind the Swedish boat went further ahead to 230 metres and crossed the line 37 seconds clear.


Second semi-final:

Luna Rossa - Piranha v Oracle Racing - Bundock
Bundock did much the same with Luna Rossa - Piranha at the start, took the left hand gate to begin the upwind leg with a five second advantage. Halfway up the beat, Oracle Racing - Bundock lost the lead to the Chris Draper skippered Luna Rossa - Piranha and approaching the weather mark the Italian boat held a 100 metre lead and was slowly extending. Downwind the gap remained stable and Draper was 28 seconds in front starting the next beat and went on to finish 41 seconds in front to claim his place in the final.

Final: Luna Rossa - Piranha v Artemis Racing

Draper chased Hutchinson at the start, but to no avail and Artemis led by six seconds at the first mark and set up a 75 metre lead as they came to the first gate - going to opposite marks, Artemis to the right, Luna Rossa to the left. As they tacked, almost simultaneously, the lead was down to 20 metres. Hutchinson failed to cover when they came together and Draper went all the way to the starboard tack lay-line, but Artemis had better wind and led by seven seconds at the windward mark.

Artemis used the shifts better downwind and led by 22 seconds at the leeward gate, going round the left hand mark as Luna Rossa - Piranha took the right hand one. Halfway up the beat, the Artemis lead was 125 metres and this time Hutchinson covered as the two converged. Towards the windward mark Draper closed and was still 21seconds adrift. Hutchinson and the Artemis Racing team went on to round the final mark comfortably ahead to win by 32 seconds. It put the team in the overall lead of the season's points.

Highlights Video - Full Replay further down the page









Overall points: Today's placings in parentheses:

Artemis Racing 33 (1)
Oracle Racing - Spithill 30 (7)
Emirates Team New Zealand 30 (8)
Oracle Racing - Bundock 26 (3)
Energy Team 25 (5)
Team Korea 25 (6)
China Team 12 (9)
Aleph 12 (DNC)
Green Comm Racing 11 (DNC)
Luna Rossa - Piranha 9 (2)
Luna Rossa - Swordfish 7 (4)

Speed Trials:

Best of two runs:
1. Oracle Racing - Bundock 47.56 seconds
2. Artemis Racing 47.58
3. Luna Rossa - Swordfish 49.50
4. Energy Team 51.51
5. China Team 51.53
6. Team Korea 52.79
7. Luna Rossa - Piranha 56.25
8. Oracle Racing - Spithill 58.45
9. Emirates Team New Zealand 59.06

The Fleet Racing Championship final:

There is a massive points bonus - 50 for the win, 30 for second and 20 for third - for this race and thus it is the one that decides the regatta. It is, in fact, a winner-takes-all affair. The wind increased throughout the day and by the time of the start it was up to seven knots from the south-south-west.

It dropped a little and rained hard as the boats came up to the line. ETNZ were blocked out at the committee boat by LR- Swordfish while Luna Rossa - Piranha took it from the leeward ahead of Oracle Racing - Bundock to lead by five seconds at the turn and 12 seconds clear of China Team with Luna Rossa - Swordfish a further seven seconds later in third place.

At the leeward mark, with almost all the boats virtually dead in the water, Luna Rossa - Piranha was first through the gate with China Team 21 seconds back. In third place was Luna Rossa - Swordfish at 1:37 and Energy Team a further six seconds back. Artemis was fifth and Oracle Racing - Spithill sixth just ahead of ETNZ 2:52 behind the leader.

Upwind was less painful for the crews - these catamarans do make their own apparent wind relatively easily. China Team, who went to the right hand side, appeared to have more breeze than the rest, but Draper in Luna Rossa - Piranha was ahead with 100 metres to go to the windward mark and his teammate, Paul Campbell-James with Swordfish had moved into second place, but edged out of it at the mark by James Spithill coming in fast from the left hand side to round 22 seconds later. Swordfish was next over a minute and a half later, closely tailed by Artemis Racing and Energy Team. Swordfish was penalised for fouling Artemis at the mark.

After the run, Draper was still in the lead, but only 14 seconds in front of Jimmy Spithill and the pressure was on the young Englishman sailing the Italian boat. Artemis was third, a minute later with Energy Team fifty seconds behind. Team Korea came into the ratings at fifth ahead of Oracle Racing - Bundock, Emirates Team New Zealand and China Team. Nice tactics upwind helped Draper retain the lead in a slowly increasing wind to be 39 seconds in front of Spithill. Artemis was third 32 seconds further back and then the Energy Team another 48 seconds in arrears.

Draper continued to lead at the leeward mark with a comfortable margin (46 seconds) over both Spithill and Hutchinson (1:19). Upwind he kept a loose cover on his rivals and rounded the final windward mark 47 seconds ahead of Oracle Racing - Spithill and Artemis a further 45 seconds later.

These positions were retained to the finish and the win, with its bonus points gave Luna Rossa - Piranha the Naples ACWS Fleet Racing championship.



(S-W: The video below may say that the event is finished - which it has, but if you hold on for a few minutes it will go into the full replay)







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