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Louis Vuitton Cup- Luna Rossa prevails in close first race of Semis

by Richard Gladwell on 7 Aug 2013
Artemis Racing leads Luna Rossa at the first mark, Semi-Final, Louis Vuitton Cup, San Francisco August 7, 2013 John Navas

The Italian Challenger, Luna Rossa proved once again the value of time on the water in the America's Cup, when she beat the Challenger of Record, Artemis Racing, today in San Francisco.

Artemis jumped first at the start, appeared to have their timing a little astray, but hesitated to get on the right side of the clock before heading for the line and getting the early advantage over the Italian challenger, who were clearly late.

After reaching speeds of up to 40kts on the first reach Artemis rounded with a lead of a few seconds and on the first downwind, only really conceded time on the foiling gybes. Swedish hopes were raised, after their boat was able to contain the Italians to a lead of about half a minute, and then climbed back into them on the next upwind leg.

Sailing in winds of 16-18kts, the wind limit of 21-22kts was never seriously under threat, Artemis performed much better than most expected, and certainly were in a position to give the Italians a serious fright.

But on the next downwind, after taking eight seconds out of Luna Rossa on the windward leg, the Italians opened up sailing faster and gybing better to stretch out to a lead of 700 metres growing to 800 metres by the bottom of the leg. That translated into a lead of 66 seconds.

Sweden were unable to repeat their Leg 3 effort dropping time on the Italians and rounding 93 seconds behind. The wind increased to 20 kts and so did the Italian lead growing to over 1700 metres. However on the bottom of the course Artemis showed her mettle hitting speeds of close to 40kts, and only dropped a further 18 seconds - a big improvement on their previous leg performance.

They repeated their effort on the final reach to the finish with the Swedes only conceding another four seconds for a finishing margin of 1 minute and 57 seconds, which is very respectable in the circumstances, and the smallest to date in the Louis Vuitton Cup..

Race performance data

Course: Seven legs
Course length: 15.83 nautical miles
Elapsed time: LR – 43:20; ART – 45:20
Total distance sailed: LR – 18.78 NM; ART – 18.69 NM
Average speed: LR – 26.04 knots; ART – 24.75 knots
Top speed: LR – 39.19 knots; ART – 40.56 knots
Wind speed: average 16.1 knots; peak gust 20.4 knots

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