Emirates Team New Zealand to Face Luna Rossa in LVC Finals

Tactician Terry Hutchinson helped ETNZ knock off Desafio Espanol in the semifinals. "First Beat" from our May 25 /SW eNewsletter/


Acm 2007/photo: Vicent Bosch

Terry Hutchinson says he hasn't slept well in months. Maybe it's the bed, or the late hours the residents keep in Valencia, Spain. Or maybe it's the fact that he's got one of the most high-pressure jobs in the world of sailing, working as the tactician for Emirates Team New Zealand.Hopefully Hutchinson will be able to get a little bit of rest now that his team has managed to get past one more hurdle en route to their ultimate goal, the 32nd America's Cup. On Wednesday, ETNZ knocked Desafio Español out of the race for sailing's more treasured trophy with a 5-2 win in their semifinal series. However, there are a few more sleepless nights in Hutchinson's near future. The Louis Vuitton Cup finals will start June 1 with ETNZ facing a very poised Luna Rossa Challenge, which eliminated BMW Oracle Racing by the surprisingly lopsided score of 5-1. On Sunday, Desafio Español pulled off one of the bigger upsets of this Louis Vuitton Cup by outlasting BMW Oracle Racing. While the American team was going down in flames, Karol Jablonski and John Cutler got the right side off the line, found the first shift and held off a hard-charging ETNZ crew for their second win. Monday was a scheduled day off, and then Tuesday the wind blew at 20 to 25 knots out of the northeast, whipping up a furious chop. As any veteran of America's Cup boats will tell you, big winds are one thing, but what really makes designers and boatbuilders nervous is a big sea state. Fortunately for all involved, racing was cancelled.Wednesday was better, although only marginally, with plenty of leftover chop and 15 to 20 knots of breeze. ETNZ helmsman Dean Barker avoided the initial dial-up, and with about 2 minutes remaining in the start was able to take advantage of a mistake by Jablonski, pinning the Spanish boat outside the layline for the committee boat-end of the line. The Spanish boat was never able to get close enough to really make it a fight."Congratulations to Team New Zealand," said Jablonski. "They deserved to win today and they deserved the win in the semifinals. We are very happy that we got so far. Before the semifinals start, nobody thought we were going to make it to Tuesday. We managed to sail a couple of good races and I am very happy with the performance of the team. We could be done on the 9th of May and having much less to say."While it wasn't a nice day to be sailing on an America's Cup Class boat, Emirates Team New Zealand looked quite comfortable in the conditions. Hutchinson said this was a byproduct of spending the antipodean summer training in Auckland. "We sailed the entire spring and early part of the New Zealand summer very much in conditions that we sailed today," he said. "So I guess the nice thing about that is you have confidence in your equipment and the guys around you that we have raced in those conditions in-house and have had quite close racing in-house, which allows you to treat it as a 10-knot day."The Louis Vuitton Cup finals will start on June 1, with the start scheduled for around 3 p.m.