Act 12, Day Six: Emirates Finish Round Robin With Perfect Record

On-site reporting from Valencia, Spain

Act 12, Day 6: Emirates
Chris Cameron/etnz

VALENCIA, Spain-With two victories today, Emirates Team New Zealand completed its perfect run through Louis Vuitton Act 12, finishing the round robin portion with an 11-0 record. The Kiwi crew finished 1 point ahead of Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge, followed by Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing, respectively. Like yesterday, the wind was shifty from the east between 8 and 10 knots. Behind the top four Desafio Español finished fifth, Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia finished sixth and Victory Challenge finished seventh. South Africa's Team Shosholoza, the most improved Cup team, finished eighth with a 3-8 record. France's Areva Challenge finished ninth with 3 points, winning a tiebreaker over Italy's +39 Challenge. United Internet Team Germany avoided last place by defeating China Team, which is 0-22 on the year. With the round robin completed, the regatta rolls into the knock-out portion where the fleet divides into three groups of four, Divisions 1, 2 and 3. The first, fifth and ninth place teams get to choose their opponents for the semifinals. Team New Zealand chose to face BMW Oracle Racing, which means Alinghi will face Luna Rossa. The winners will advance to the final of the regatta and the losers to the Petite Final. In the second division, Desafio Español chose to race Team Shosholoza, so Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia will square off against Victory Challenge. The winners will advance to a round for fifth and sixth, and the losers to a round for seventh and eighth. In the third division, Areva picked China Team, which means +39 Challenge will race Team Germany. The winners advance to race for ninth and 10th, and the losers for 11th and 12th. Two rounds are scheduled in each group. The winners will be the first to score 2 points in the best-of-three matches. No racing is scheduled for Thursday, and the knock-out round is scheduled Friday through Sunday. Team New Zealand put an emphatic stamp on its undefeated mark by defeating two top-ranked syndicates today. Dean Barker and the Kiwi crew downed Alinghi by 1:12 in the first race and BMW Oracle Racing by 1:14 in the second. The two-time Cup-winning syndicate looked demonstrably better in this regatta than last month, when they finished third in both the match-racing and fleet racing regattas. In the four weeks between events they settled on a core crew and concentrated on refining their crewwork. The Kiwis are feeling so confident that they chose BMW Oracle Racing-considered by many to be the lead challenger-as their opponent for the semifinals. After winning last month's competition, BMW Oracle has had a tough regatta, dropping three of its last four matches. Barker sees the match versus BMW as an opportunity to improve his team. "We're still in a process of trying to get better for next year," Barker said. "We see this as an opportunity to race a boat with a lot of innovative features, and it would appear to be a quick boat. It gives us an opportunity to race against them and help with our design going into the second boat." Alinghi lost matches to Emirates Team New Zealand by 1:12 and Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge by 1:13. The losses could be viewed as critical for the Cup defender, but tactician Brad Butterworth doesn't see it that way. "You can't make too many mistakes and if you do any other team can beat you, especially on light-air days," Butterworth said. "The races today were tough ones. You had to go left, and if you didn't it was a hard ask to win the races." Victory Challenge missed a great opportunity to place fifth and select its opponent. The Swedish crew, which had won four races in a row, led Desafio Español by 16 seconds at the first windward mark in their final match. Skipper Magnus Holmberg and his mates were maintaining that advantage halfway down the first run when their asymmetric spinnaker tore in a jibe. The sail ripped at the foot and then spread to the luff, ripping the tack patch out of the sail. The crew had to cut it away and hoist a new spinnaker, but by the time they did Karol Jablonski and the Spanish crew overtook and opened an insurmountable lead. The Spanish team has come on nicely this regatta, winning four of its last five matches. With alternate helmsman Jesper Radich of Denmark at the helm, they won two races today, by 49 seconds against China Team and 59 seconds versus the Swedes. Desafio Español appears to be settling down in its new boat, ESP-88. "We are very happy about our performance in this event," said Jablonski. "We had a very short time for preparation with the new boat and we've been improving every day." Results from Day 6 (Matches 1 through 3 sailed on the North Course, 4 through 6 on the South Course. The left-hand boat entered the starting box from the pin end, the right-hand boat from the boat end.) Flight 10 Match 1 Victory Challenge def. Areva Challenge by 1:33 Match 2 Desafio Español def. China Team by 0:45 Match 3 United Internet Team Germany lost to +39 Challenge by 0:21 Match 4 Mascalzone Latino-Captialia lost to BMW ORACLE Racing by 1:12 Match 5 Luna Rossa def. Team Shoshaloza by 1:57 Match 6 Emirates Team New Zealand def. Alinghi by 1:12 Flight 11 Match 1 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia def. Team Shoshaloza by 0:04 Match 2 Emirates Team New Zealand def. BMW ORACLE Racing by 1:14 Match 3 Luna Rossa def. Alinghi by 1:13 Match 4 Victory Challenge lost to Desafio Español by 0:59 Match 5 +39 Challenge lost to Areva Chalenge by 1:25 Match 6 China Team lost to United Internet Team Germany by 1:20 Act 12 Round Robin Results Plc. Team Points 1. Emirates Team New Zealand 11 2. Luna Rossa 8 3. Alinghi 8 4. BMW ORACLE Racing 8 5. Desafio Español 7 6. Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia 6 7. Victory Challenge 6 8. Team Shosholoza 3 9. Areva Challenge 3 10. +39 Challenge 3 11. United Internet Team Germany 1 12. China Team 0