Louis Vuitton Finals Race 7; Luna Rossa vs Emirates Team New Zealand
Today Luna Rossa Challenge raced against Emirates Team New Zealand in the seventh race of the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals. The eight race scheduled for today has been postponed due to the wind exceeding the limits imposed by the racing rules.
Luna Rossa entered the pre-start box on starboard tack where Luna Rossa’s helmsman Chris Draper took control to leeward; the two boats crossed the starting line at the same time.
Luna Rossa sailed in the Kiwi’s disturbed air but was still able to maintain contact with her opponent when rounding the reaching mark with less than a boat length’s gap.
The Italian team then chased the New Zealanders keeping the distance unchanged with a good boat speed.
On the downwind leg Luna Rossa was the first to jibe ashore; at this point both teams were sailing at the same average speed although the Italians made one more jibe (35,25 knots Luna Rossa, 35,70 knots Emirates Team New Zealand). In these wind conditions Luna Rossa showed clean manoeuvres and was in total control of its foiling.
At the downwind gate the boats chose two different tactics, with Luna Rossa rounding the left-hand gate and then heading out towards the Alcatraz Island, thus closing the gap on her opponent.
The wind conditions however, together with the current and the boundaries of the race course, didn’t allow many tactical options notwithstanding a good upwind speed for Luna Rossa.
On the last downwind leg, although Luna Rossa again showed a good boat speed and boat handling, she was unable to close the gap and New Zealend scored its sixth point in the Louis Vuitton Final (6-1).
Chris Draper, Luna Rossa helmsman, commented: 'This was definitely the most windy race we have had in the entire series. In these conditions we finally had a chance to see the incredible progress made in these last weeks. Unfortunately time has run short; we would require at least three more months of development to reach our goals. And time is, as we know, the crucial element in the America’s Cup.'
Luna Rossa Challenge will race again against Emirates team New Zealand tomorrow, Sunday August 25th, for the eight match of the Louis Vuitton Cup finals.
Today’s crew was: Max Sirena (skipper and pitman), Francesco Bruni (tactician), David Carr (pitman/grinder), Pierluigi de Felice (trimmer), Giles Scott (primary grinder), Chris Draper (helmsman), Xabi Fernandez (wing trimmer), Nick Hutton (bowman), Lele Marino (wing grinder), Marco Montis (freestyler) and Simone de Mari (hydraulic grinder).
Conditions - Saturday August 24th, San Francisco: sunny skies, 19 – 21 knots of wind from South-West, choppy sea and flood tide 1.9 knots. Race started at 13.20 local time.