Emirates Team New Zealand took the first race of Round Robin 5, by a reduced margin over trhe Italian Challenger, Luna Rossa.
NZ skipper, Dean Barker once again had a narrow advantage at the start, which was expanded into a lead of just 35 seconds on the end of the first downwind leg.
Sailing into a building breeze which hit 20kts, the two boats sailed at greater than windspeed, hitting speed of 22 kts at times. Althoigh the boat speeds were very even, Emirates Team NZ were able to stretch away again upwind bulding to a lead of over 400 metres. While both boats did the usual course of sailing to Alcatraz, and then crossing the tide to the Marina Green side of the course. Oddly Emirates Team NZ allowed the Italians to split tacks, with the Kiwis coming across into the centre of the course much earlier.
Emirates Team New Zealand put 60 seconds on the Italians on this leg expanding their margin to 1m 35secs, which translated to 1330metres on the water as the Kiwis shot away downind at speeds of up to 35kts, heading for Mark 4.
At the bottom rounding Mark 4 the lead extended to 1700metres. That distance translated in time to a margin of 1m 56secs, menaing that Emiartes Team NZ only increased their lead by 21 seconds on the downwind leg. Italy appeared to have improved their ability to perform the foiling gybe, in the stronger breeze, accounting in part for the lower than usual margin gain by the New Zealanders.
Sailing a lower course than the Kiwis the upwind margin expanded to over 900 metres. By this stage Emirates Team NZ were content to maintain a loose cover, as their lead continued to expand, leading by 1000metres at the fifth mark, for a margin of 2m 50 secs at the Mark. On the water that margin had expanded to 2600metres, as Emirates Team NZ shot away at speeds of 37kts.
That distance didn't change on the water as they moved down the penultimate leg, staying at 2600metres, with the Italians pulling off some excellent foiling gybes, matching the Kiwis, but appeared to lose speed towards the bottom of the course with the margin around the final mark being recorded at 3m 8 secs.
Emirates Team NZ took the race in a time of 44 m 39secs with a margin of 3m 21 secs - for a much improved performance by the Italians.
by Richard Gladwell
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6:28 PM Sun 28 Jul 2013GMT
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