Emirates Team New Zealand looked to be handing Luna Rossa another sailing lesson, but for the first time in the Louis Vuitton Regatta, they suffered major gear failure, and allowed Luna Rossa to complete the course alone.
Latter it was revealed that a flat battery had robbed the 72ft catamaran of power for all onboard systems, and it was unsafe, if not impossible, to sail the boat manually. A spare battery was put aboard the boat soon after the breakdown and she was ready to race again.
(Emirates Team New Zealand's AC72 was variously dubbed the 'Red Tractor' and 'Massey Fergusson' by critics in reference to her fuller hulls and predominance of red in her livery. however it was that extra hull volume which paid a big dividend yesterday.)
Emirates Team New Zealand had been showing the Italians the way around the five leg 25 minute course, when they suffered a daggerboard issue closing in on the top mark. The issue was initially reported to be a hydraulic failure and was repaired in time for Race 3. Later it was reported to be a battery failure de-powering all the catamaran's electronic and computer systems. A new battery was quickly installed and the AC72, which had previously been unbeaten, was made ready to race.
Prior to that the New Zealanders had led around all marks, and enjoyed a 23 second margin at the previous mark.
They had put pedal to the metal on the upwind leg sailing 3 kts faster than the Italians hitting 24.5kts and were out at a margin of about 400metres on the water - double the lead they had enjoyed at the bottom.
The failure came suddenly, with the boat slowing to just over 6kts, and then advised that they would be withdrawing from the race, leaving Luna Rossa to sail the course alone, and take their first point for the Final putting the teams on 1-1 in the best of 13 series, the winner of the Final will have to gain 7pts, (1pt per win) to progress to the America's Cup Match.
Luna Rossa also suffered damaged to their wingsail, necessitating repairs between races.
Race 2 was called off after winds snuck over the wind limit of 19kts, accompanied by fog.
Earlier in the day, Oracle Team USA's Boat 1 broke a rudder in a high speed round-up in the prestart, and was forced to stop sailing for the day. The Defenders sailed two races in their trials, with Oracle Boat 2 beating Boat 1 by 30 seconds in their first race, after they had squeezed to be just 8 seconds apart mid-race. in the second race, Boat 2 sailed the course solo after the rudeer incident.
by Richard Gladwell
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8:23 PM Sun 18 Aug 2013GMT
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