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Grand Prix Sailor–America’s Cup Edition

Round Robin 2 Begins Wednesday

October 20, 2002
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Grand Prix Sailor-America’s Cup Edition
Issue 5, Oct. 21, 2002

Bob Fisher in Auckland

Prada up and running again
Extreme doubts that were expressed over the Prada syndicate’s ability to present a boat with which to complete their first round robin match with Mascalzone Latino, have proved unfounded. Luna Rossa, ITA-74, emerged from the shed and was re-launched on Sunday morning. She headed out into the Hauraki Gulf to meet the Italian Navy Training Ship, Amerigo Vespucci.

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That was not the prime nor sole purpose of Luna Rossa’s foray on a grey Auckland day, but as Prada spokeswoman, Alessandra Ghezzi, declared, it was to ’see how it will go with the new modifications.’ These have been made to the bow, and, it is understood to the keel and winglets. Just how Francesco de Angelis intends to evaluate possible improvements to Luna Rossa’s performance without a running mate remains a mystery.

Stars & Stripes are two-boat testing
When the boat that sank in Long Beach, Calif., USA-77 went back into the water during the first round robin, Team Dennis Conner once again became a two-boat outfit. The “A” team took USA-77 for three days of test sailing, including one when they were in more than maximum conditions for racing, with green water over the foredeck, and returned satisfied that the boat was in first class condition.

“It gave us a great deal of confidence,”said Tom Whidden, explaining that he had been slightly apprehensive beforehand. “We slammed her into some big waves,” he said. “And she came through perfectly.”–Bob Fisher

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Bob Fisher will be Grand Prix Sailor’s correspondent on scene in Auckland throughout the Louis Vuitton Cup. For the rest of Fisher’s latest commentary and observations, see http://www.sailingworld.com

Swedes Swap Rides
The Victory syndicate started out Round Robin 1 hot, winning their first three races, but lost their next five. They’ve now declared their intention to use SWE-73 rather than SWE-64 for the second Round Robin. “We have known for a long time that Orm is faster,” said Victory spokesman Bert Willborg in an interview with the New Zealand Herald Sunday. “But we wanted to make sure she could handle the Hauraki Gulf and it was essential to do a thorough test. As there have been limited opportunities to test her we wanted to wait to use her until the second round.” Both Orm and Orn were designed by Mani Frers.

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Here We Go
Round Robin 1 will end Tuesday (Monday evening on the U.S. East Coast) when the two Italian teams, Mascalzone Latino and Prada, make up for a postponed race. Prada, with a dismal record of 3-3, needs to come out swinging but will have to deal with a pumped up Mascalzone Latino crew, still high from their single victory in RR #1.

When RR #2 begins Wednesday, the first big fun will be watching Stars & Stripes go up against Team GBR in Flight 9. Tied at 4-4 each, these two teams could well be duking it out for a spot in the magical top 4; the four top-scoring teams go into the quarterfinals and will potentially sail fewer races than those in the bottom 4. The other three positions in the final four will most likely be OneWorld, Alinghi, and Oracle, but as any true Cup aficionado knows, nothing is written in stone until the final gun sounds. Don’t forget that pesky negative point the arbitration panel levied on OneWorld Challenge; they’re undefeated now, but that point could well come back to haunt them.

It’ll get ugly for the teams further down the leaderboard in this series; everybody knows that the French or Mascalzone Latino will be the first team out but it’s not exactly a done deal. The French are due for a break, their boatspeed is good, and they really don’t want to head home this early. If they’ve gotten their equipment problems and crew work issues squared away during the break, they may well rise to the challenge and head on to the next round. Both teams could also be spoilers for the other seven syndicates, taking away valuable points.

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The Swedes, who have proven to be faster than anyone expected, have decided to pull the trigger on SWE-73 (Orm) for RR #2. The team says that Orm is faster; they could not only be spoilers, but may well have a shot at the top four.

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Statistics from Round Robin 1
The first lead change of the regatta didn’t happen until Flight 4, the 15th match of the round, when GBR Challenge overtook le Défi at the finish while the French were performing a penalty turn.

Other come-from-behind victors included Prada over Victory, GBR over Oracle BMW Racing and Mascalzone Latino over le Défi.

Seventeen times the winner of the start couldn’t hold on to win the match. Italy’s Mascalzone Latino handed away the biggest advantage, turning a 12-second lead over Victory Challenge into a 35-second defeat.

Fifteen times the start winner converted a match victory. Alinghi held the biggest lead at the start, a 1:49 advantage over Mascalzone Latino that it converted to a 7:08 victory.

The above figures were compiled by editors at the Louis Vuitton Cup website, for the complete story, see http://www.louisvs.uittoncup.yahoo.com/story650.html

Realité
The team closest to elimination is le Defi Areva, which won none of the eight races sailed in RR #1. In an interview with the NZ Herald’s Julie Ash, Philippe Gomez, the team’s rules adviser and sailing coach, Philippe Gomez, was realistic about the team’s strengths and weaknesses. “There are two reasons for not winning a race and they are the same for everybody,” said Gomez. “Either your boat is too slow or you make mistakes in tactics. We lost several races because of speed–we were never in a position to fight–and we lost against GBR Challenge and Mascalzone Latino because we made tactical mistakes.”
When asked about what’s been done to improve boatspeed between Round Robins, Gomez replied:”We have made lots of minor changes, but nothing radical. We don’t have the resources to make radical changes.” http://www.nzherald.co.nz

2002 AC Hall of Fame Inductees
On Thursday, October 17, 2002 in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club, the Selection Committee of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame announced Malin Burnham, Sir Michael Fay, and Stanley Rosenfeld as the 2002 Inductees into the Hall of Fame at a special ceremony. The Induction Ceremony into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame will be held during the America’s Cup races at The Auckland Museum, Auckland on February 17th, 2003. http://www.herreshoff.org/

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Standings as of 10/20
OneWorld (8-0) 8 points, one point will be deducted after RR #2.
Alinghi (7-1) 7 points
Oracle (5-3) 5 points
Team Dennis Conner (4-4) 4 points
GBR Challenge (4-4) 4 points
Victory Challenge (3-5) 3 points
Prada (3-3) 3 points, one race to make up.
Mascalzone Latino (1-6) 1 point, one race to make up.
Le Défi Areva (0-8) 0 points

Schedule for Round Robin 2
On Tuesday, October 22, Prada and Mascalzone Latino will finish off the only race that wasn’t completed during RR #1. The first flight of RR #2 will be sailed Wednesday when OneWorld meets Mascalzone Latino, Oracle BMW Racing meets Prada, Team Dennis Conner meets GBR Challenge and Le Défi Areva meets Alinghi. Victory has the day off.

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