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Emirates Team New Zealand recovers well on Day 3 of Audi MedCup

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World on 16 May 2009
Emirates Team New Zealand round, with protest flag flying at the first mark in race three. Trofeo Ciudad de Alicante. Audi MedCup 15/5/2009 Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©

Emirates Team New Zealand got off to a disastrous start in the second of three races sailed in the Audi MedCup in Alicante.


Race 2, the first race of the day, and second race of the series, was a let-off for Emirates Team New Zealand after two boats just to windward of the Kiwi TP52, were adjudged to be premature starters and had to return and restart. Bigamist 7 and Pisco Sour were caught to windward a little interfering with other yachts as they tried to return. Pisco Sour, who was at best marginally over the line, was the first to break and return creating the gap for Bigamist 7, and that opened up a clear line of breeze for Emirates Team New Zealand.


The Kiwis stayed mid fleet for most of the race, before getting a good gain on the right hand layline going into the windward mark for the second time, which lifted them into fifth place, 260 metres behind the leader, Quantum Racing (USA), before rolling over the top of Matador, about halfway down the run, and held this position to finish about 61secs behind Quantum Racing.


Sailing in a moderate breeze, the Dean Barker skippered TP52, sailing in her first regatta was overrun by a group of yachts as the fleet bunched at the committee boat end of the line at the start of Race 3.

Emirates Team NZ was initially forced to go head to wind to stay clear of a group to leeward, flipping onto port tack just before the start, before falling back onto the other tack.


Bribon, just ahead of her did the same, but she was closer to the Committee Boat and came back around the Committee Boat's stern at a much deeper angle, forcing Emriates Team New Zealand to come off their line to avoid the windward boat, who was obliged to keep clear.


A third yacht, Desfio was later starting however the room taken by Bribon was excessive, allowing sufficient room for Desafio to set up to windward of Bribon - meaning that Emirates Team New Zealand was well and truly in the back row of the start and in the dirty air of two yachts.

After getting clear air, Emirates Team New Zealand sailed well to recover and finish in sixth place, with a protest flag flying.


In Race 4, the New Zealanders were untroubled at the start, sailed a sound tactical race to be second initially to Desafio. Emirates TNZ led for the second beat and had a lead of over 70 metres on the final run. The fleet split into two halfway down the run, the Kiwis got out onto the starboard layline(looking upwind), with Synergy, which had been second to sail a more middle course, to move over to the other layline, where she built a lead of over 50 metres, to score a vital win.


Ray Davies (NZL), tactician Emirates Team New Zealand, sums up the day:

' It was an interesting day. The right hand side ended up being very strong in the first couple of races and then in the third it started trending back towards the left a little beat, but there were some big gains down the run, mainly to gybe early. There was nearly always more pressure to the right looking upwind. And the guys that could gybe early and sail their own mode were launched. We had a little tussle with the Spanish and lost three boats towards the finish in the second race, which was a little bit of a disappointment.'


' All in all we had a pretty good day. We can definitely sail better as a crew and so we are pretty happy to be just three points off the lead. It is never nice losing a boat on the finish line but we had to protect on the two boats behind, you cant cover everyone and the Russians were sailing really well having a second and a first. '


'We feel like we go well downwind when the breeze is up a little bit. Upwind our speed is fine. The boat has great potential and we are still learning. It is a very different boat to what we are used to. You need to stay much more on top of it, trim a little bit more than previous boats we have sailed in this class, and so we have to be more on our game.'

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