Longtze fails to stop Victory Challenge

CHN95 against Victory Challenge. Photo: Heike Schwab - 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup
Even if it was possible to run the first regatta, the wind diminished at the end of the afternoon forcing the teams to return to port sooner than expected. The second series of races were put back on the calendar. China Team sailed very fast but were defeated by Victory Challenge. The favourites were victorious and Team New Zealand returns to third place, equal in points with Mascalzone and Victory Challenge.

The first regatta of the day commenced in a light breeze, established at 7-8 knots, and choppy seas. China Team faced the experienced Swedish sailors on Victory Challenge.

CHN95 and Victory Challange on start line. Photo: Heike Schwab - 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup
The pre-start is relatively non-aggressive for the two teams because of the light wind. A few seconds before the starting gun, the Swedes are successful in slowing down Longtze, forced to tack just before the committee boat. Pierre Mas however was still able to gain the favored side, the right, and would be able to quickly accelerate the boat on the heels of Magnus Holmberg. Sailing on an extended starboard tack, side by side towards the left side of the course, the two America’s Cup classes are locked into a horse race. To windward of its adversary, Longtze sailed faster and closer to the wind. With a two-boat length advantage, Pierre Mas tacked first, quickly followed by Magnus Holmberg. On the next tack, wind shifted suddenly to the right and Longtze, now to windward of the layline, lost their advantage and would have to sail behind the Swedes to the mark. On their left, Victory took advantage of the situation and profited downwind to stretch out their lead.

Due to the lack of wind, the second match of the day, against United Internet Team Germany was cancelled.

CHN95 v Victory Challenge Photo: Heike Schwab - 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup
Wearn Haw Tan, navigator
'It is the first time we have had such good contact with another boat. Unfortunately, we made some errors, and we aren't at the top level yet. We lost the regatta on the first upwind leg. We were in the lead and decided to cross in front of the Swedish when we hit a big wave. We then decided to try to get some speed first and tack afterwards. The bad news was it was a little too late; the wind shifted to the right, which put us over the layline, and we found ourselves behind the Swedish. It was a bit of back luck but it’s for us to concentrate even harder and make more of an effort to not lose any opportunities. I don’t have any magical solutions, I know the boat has potential and will offer us even more.'

1. Luna Rossa Challenge 2-0 United Internet Team Germany
2. Victory Challenge 2-0 China Team
3. BMW Oracle Racing 2-0 Team Shosholoza
4. Areva Challenge 2-0 Desafío Español 2007
5. Emirates Team New Zealand 2-0 +39 Challenge

General Classification after 3 matches
1. BMW ORACLE Racing, 9 pts
1. Luna Rossa Challenge, 9 pts
3. Emirates Team New Zealand 6 pts (-1)
3. Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team 6 pts (-1
3. Victory Challenge 6 pts
6. Desafío Español 2007 5 pts (-1)
6. Areva Challenge 5 pts
8. Team Shosholoza 4 pts
9. +39 Challenge 2 pts
10. CHN 95 China Team 1 pt
11. United Internet Team Germany 1 pt


Longtze (CHN95) v Victory Challenge - Photo: Heike Schwab - 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup