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Louis Vuitton Cup - Flight 3 completed on Sunday

by ACM on 23 Apr 2007
BMW Oracle Racing (USA 98) VS Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) - Round Robin 1 of Louis Vuitton Cup, Day 7, Flight 3 BMW Oracle Racing © Photo Gilles Martin-Raget http://www.bmworacleracing.com

The light conditions prevailing at the Louis Vuitton Cup continued on Sunday but the gradient breeze proved just strong and stable enough for fair racing. One flight of racing was completed in front of a large spectator fleet eager to see America's Cup action.

Flight 3 started after a brief postponement in 8 knots of Northeasterly breeze. This flight should have been routine for most of the bigger teams over their smaller rivals, but this was not the case in many of the matches.

Most surprising was China Team which led Magnus Holmberg's powerful Victory Challenge team for two thirds of the first beat. They were then overhauled by the Swedes who proceeded to extend, scoring the highest finish delta (3:50) of the five races.

There was more upset for BMW ORACLE Racing when Team Shosholoza led the American boat off the start, again claiming the favourable right side. Paolo Cian and his young Shosholoza crew did a superb job fending off Chris Dickson's vastly experienced team and led them around the first lap of the race course, despite dropping their spinnaker in the water at the leeward gate. But in the closing stages of the second beat the South Africans were finally overhauled and Dickson then prudently covered Shosholoza to preserve the win.

United Internet Team Germany also looked strong on the right of the first beat against Luna Rossa. Behind the wheel of the Italian boat James Spithill engaged the German team's Jesper Bank in a tacking duel in the latter stages of the first beat to take control. While Luna Rossa led for the rest of the race it was by no means a walk over for the Italian team, who won by just 50 seconds.

On the south course, there was further upset in the match between Areva Challenge and Desafío Español when the French underdogs led off the line. They were eventually overtaken by the Spanish team who led round the top mark. But disaster struck on the Spanish boat when, during their first gybe, the end of their spinnaker pole broke. Although Karol Jablonski and his Spanish team caught up on the second beat, they were crippled by their broken pole on the run to the finish and Sebastien Col and has French team went on to secure an important win.

In the final match on the south course +39 Challenge gained the right at the start, but were unable to match the pace of Emirates Team New Zealand who scored a large win against Iain Percy's team.

With the wind going soft in the late afternoon, Flight 4 was postponed until Monday, when Flights 4 and 5 are now scheduled.

Ranking after Flight 3, Sunday 22 April 2007

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