|27 Apr 2007|
Editorial: NZL-92 caught in a dial-up trap
Welcome to Sail-World.Com’s America’s Cup newsletter for Day 11 of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
You could feel the anguish in the air as New Zealanders awoke to the news that NZL-92 had suffered another loss in the Louis Vuitton Cup. This time against one of the Big Three, Luna Rossa.
At face value, a loss is a loss and scores no points. The reality is that this is early days in a regatta that got away to a stumbling start.
Emirates Team New Zealand have probably suffered the most from the delay, when seen in the context of their decision to spell Dean Barker from Act 13 and put Ben Ainslie on the handlebars. Bear in mind too, that this is just the fourth day of racing, even though the regatta is officially at Day 11.
This stand-down when coupled with the delayed start to the regatta has probably allowed a little rust to creep into the communication process in the afterguard. This could have been a cause of the penalty, albeit marginal, that Emirates Team New Zealand incurred in the first dial-up at the start of their match against Luna Rossa, driven by the aggressive James Spithill.
|The first dial-up. NZL-92 begins to turn and then flattens, incurring the penalty, before turning again to avoid Luna Rossa. The fishtailing can be seen at the end of the pre-start attack. www.americascupanywhere.com!AmericasCupAnywhere.com_|
Entering the startline on port tack and as the giveway boat, Barker started to turn/luff to avoid Spithill on starboard who was lining him up, as he is entitled to do. Barker appeared to pause for just a couple of seconds in mid turn, when it appeared for an instant that he was clear, flattening his entry trajectory, before starting to turn sharply to avoid contact and keep clear. Spithill spotted the error hardened up further and got himself into a position were he appeared to have to avoid the late turning Barker, who was the give way boat.
There was a bit of fishtailing just afterwards as the boats swung back and forth before breaking away, but the penalty had already been scored. Thereafter it was a relatively subdued start, with Spithill keen to avoid incurring a counter penalty from Barker.
Until the final leg it was a close race with the lead swapping occasionally. NZL-92 eventually broke clear of Luna Rossa just before the finish and quickly racked up an 85 metre lead – just short of the 100metres reckoned necessary to clear a penalty.
|Emirates Team New Zealand has passed Luna Rossa and built a good lead just before the finish. www.americascupanywhere.com!AmericasCupAnywhere.com_|
Luna Rossa cleared the finish line attack from NZL-92 and crossed the line, leaving the Kiwis to complete a penalty turn.
While the Barker-Bashers will probably have a field day, the penalty was a very fine call, and must be balanced against the brilliant display, yesterday, by the same helmsman in a devastating piece of pre-start ringwork against the hapless Team Shosholoza, who had no answer.
Meanwhile BMW Oracle marches on, looking like a very classy act. The real test will come on the next race day, when they come up against NZL-92 in what promises to be another thrilling match.
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2007 America's Cup
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