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Fisher's View- Day 3 ACWS Venice - Light winds make for short courses

by Bob Fisher on 20 May 2012
Luna Rossa in front of her home crowd - America’s Cup World Series Venice 2012 - Racing Day 2 ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

Bob Fisher, one of the world's top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in Naples, Italy for the Fourth round of the America's Cup World Series.

Bob is a multihuller from way back, having competed for Britain in the Little America's Cup and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.

He writes:

Dear Diary – Day 3 - America's Cup World Series - Venice, Italy

Lighter winds than previously and a shift from South-East to East halfway through the fleet racing caused the second of the races to be over eleven legs of a much smaller course - boats were lapped by the leaders - and there was a shake-up in the pecking order with teams having good and bad results. Luna Rossa - Swordfish, for example had a first and a last. Good starts went well rewarded and there was a noted reduction in the number of boundary penalties from 37 on the previous day to just one.

In the six to seven knot south-easterly Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand, rounding the first mark in second place, briefly went into the lead, passing Luna Rossa - Swordfish when she picked up the first of the new breeze. But Swordfish was back in front at the end of the run, where she rounded 27 seconds in front of Oracle Team - Spithill, with China Team and ETNZ next.

The wind shift changed what should have been a beat into almost a fetch and there were few opportunities for place changing upwind. There were few enough too downwind. Paul Campbell-James in Swordfish was able to draw away slowly from Spithill, eventually finishing 53 seconds clear. ETNZ had been able to pass the China Team halfway round to take third place, while the surprise was that Loick Peyron and the Energy Team, so consistently good in the previous days' racing, could only manage an eighth, and Oracle Team - Bundock was last.

The course was considerably altered for the second race, but once more the start was all-important and Terry Hutchinson nailed it for Artemis Racing, unfurling his gennaker as the boat hit the line and leaping into an early lead from Phil Robertson steering the China Team. Behind them were Luna Rossa - Piranha, Team Korea and Oracle Racing - Spithill.

The legs were so short on this course that the boats were completing them in a touch over two minutes. By the fourth gate Artemis was well clear and Hutchinson and his crew concentrated on staying between their nearest opponent - Chris Draper and the Luna Rossa - Pirana, and the next mark - who in turn was keeping his eye on Jimmy Spithill and the Oracle Team USA. It was classic fleet racing, adopting match racing tactics. By the ninth gate (of the eleven) Artemis had passed the winner of the first race, Luna Rossa - Swordfish, which was at the back of the pack.

Crossing the finishing line, Artemis Racing was 21 seconds in front of Luna Rossa - Piranha with Oracle Racing Spithill a further 30 seconds in arrears. Team Korea was next ahead of the overall leader, Loick Peyron with Energy Team, one place ahead of ETNZ. 'Well, we picked up a couple of places,' said a relieved Dean Barker. It keeps ETNZ four points ahead of Oracle Team - Spithill in the overall standings

Results:

Energy Team 3,1,3,2,8,5 44
Luna Rossa - Piranha 5,5,4,1,6.2 43
Luna Rossa - Swordfish 4,2,1,6,1,9 43
Emirates Team New Zealand 6,2,3,4,3,6 42
Oracle Team USA - Spithill 8,4,8,3,2,3 38
Artemis Racing 2,7,7,7,5,1 37
Team Korea 1,6,6,5,7,4 37
Oracle Team USA - Bundock 7,8,5,8,9,7 22
China Team 9,9,9,9,4,8 18



In the semi-final racing of the Match Racing Championship, Artemis Racing defeated Energy Team in two straight races, while in the other match, Chris Draper in Luna Rossa Piranha took the first race from Oracle Team - Spithill, but Jimmy came back to level the series. In the final race of the day, Draper led out of the start and was never troubled. He now meets Terry Hutchinson and the Artemis Racing team in the best-of-three final while Spithill faces Loick Peyron and the Energy team in the battle for third place.




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