NZL 92 fights to the finish

Emirates Team New Zealand NZL92 head for the left end of the leeward gate as Oracle Lunna Rossa ITA94 round the right pin. Louis Vuitton Round Robin two
Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©

Drama off Valencia today when NZL 92 and ITA 94 went head-to-head.

The win went to Luna Rossa but Emirates Team New Zealand would have crossed the line first had they not been carrying a penalty incurred in the starting box.

NZL 92 did not go down without a fight and the final quarter of the second run was a thriller.

Snatching the lead only a few hundred metres from the finish line NZL 92 dropped the spinnaker early. Then NZL 92 went straight at the Italians in an attempt to luff them into an error that would give them time to make the penalty turn and cross first.

Spectators and the live TV audience were treated to the sight of NZL 92 under genoa, charging at the Italians still under spinnaker.

But it was not to be. ITA 94 had too much speed on and was able to squeeze past NZL 92’s bow.

Emirates Team New Zealand NZL92 above the starboard layline at the first windward mark rounding. Louis Vuitton Round Robin two.
Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©

The race was close right from the start. The boats were even and ITA 94 sailed a solid tactical race.

Grant Dalton: 'We didn’t start as well as we wanted and we didn’t sail all that well in the first stages of the beat. At the back of our minds right from the start was that we needed a comfort zone of more than 30 sec to complete the penalty.

'We weren’t going to achieve that by sticking close to Luna Rossa. They’re too good for that. We went for a big separation to the right where there was more pressure on the first beat, that paid a little but we did not get the gain that we needed.

'We split through the leeward gate after the first run but the breeze was softening and ITA 94 gained 16sec on us.'

'We gained some and we lost some but in the light breeze couldn’t establish the command that would give us some breathing space to completed the penalty.'

The yachts turn back down into the course after Lunna Rossa ITA94 takes Emirates Team New Zealand NZL92 above the starboard layline at the first windward mark rounding. Louis Vuitton Round Robin two.
Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©

Dalton said the crew never gave up for a second. 'We kept climbing into them but they stayed cool and didn’t give us any leverage.'

The deltas: Mark 1 ITA 94 by 10sec, mark 2 ITA 94 by 26sec, mark 3 ITA94 by 13sec and at the finish ITA 94 by 48sec.

In NZL 92’s first race of the day, the China Team did not start and Emirates Team New Zealand was awarded the race and the two points.

Tomorrow: NZL 92 is up against Victory Challenge and BMW Oracle.

Tomorrow’s weather: North-east, 12 to 16 knots, cloudy with possible rain, 13ºC to 19ºC and 70% humidity.

Emirates Team New Zealand NZL92 attempt to shake off their penalty on Lunna Rossa ITA94 right on the finish line. The Italians manage to slip by to take the race.
Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©

Today's Sailing Team

Skipper - Dean Barker
Tactician - Terry Hutchinson
Navigator - Kevin Hall
Strategist - Ray Davies
Traveller - Mark Mendelblatt
Pit - Barry McKay
Runner/pit - Tony Rae
Mainsail trimmer - Don Cowie
Main grinder - Chris Ward
Trimmer upwind - Grant Loretz
Trimmer downwind - James Dagg
Grinder - Rob Waddell
Grinder - Jono Macbeth
Mast - Matt Mason
Floater - Grant Dalton
Mid-Bow - Richard Meacham
Bow - Jero Lomas

Challenger Sail Numbers

Emirates Team New Zealand – NZL 92
BMW Oracle Racing – USA 98
Luna Rossa Challenge – ITA 94
+39 Challenge – ITA 85
Team Shosholoza – RSA 83
Areva Challenge – FRA 93
Victory Challenge – SWE 96
Desafio Espanol 2007 – ESP 97
Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team – ITA 99
United Internet Team Germany – GER 89
China Team – CHN 95

Today's Results
Flight 8

ESP 96 beat GER 89 +0.52
SWE 96 beat FRA 93 +0.05
NZL 92 beat CHN 95 (CHN DNS)
ITA 99 beat RSA 83 +1.56
USA 98 beat ITA 85 + 2.14
ITA 94 a bye

Flight 9

ESP 97 beat SWE 96 +0.35
ITA 94 beat NZL 92 +0.48
FRA 93 beat CHN 95 (CHN DNS)
RSA 83 / ITA 85 (race not finished at time of issue)
USA 98 / ITA 99 (race not finished at time of issue)
GER 89 a bye