LVC Report: Latin Rascals Are the Latest Team to Fall

Just Victory Challenge and Desafío Español remain alive for the final spot in the semifinals of the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup.


Carlo Borlenghi/acm

VALENCIA, Spain-Another day, and yet another contender for the semifinals knocked out of contention. Today it was Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia that was eliminated as Desafio Español, not at all unexpectedly, defeated United Internet Team Germany. That leaves just Victory Challenge, which defeated Areva Challenge today, to battle Desafio for that fourth and final spot. A day after Luna Rossa Challenge and BMW Oracle Racing punched their tickets for the semifinals, Emirates Team New Zealand followed suit, beating China Team. Emirates Team New Zealand struggled a bit in Round Robin 1, but the Kiwi team is undefeated in Round Robin 2. Though it would take defeating Luna Rossa, BMW Oracle Racing, and Victory Challenge-no small order to be sure-ETNZ still has a chance at the No. 1 spot coming out of the round robin portion of the Louis Vuitton Cup. With that comes the ability to pick ones opponent for the semifinals.But the news of the day was certainly the elimination of Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia. This was a team that many people tabbed as a threat, an assessment the team validated with a win over Emirates Team New Zealand on the first day of racing.While many of the 5 teams already eliminated from the semifinals didn't have the speed to really contend, this didn't seem to be the case with Mascalzone Latino. Rather, the team made one mistake after another: the most costly were a penalty against Areva Challenge that cost them that race, a rule violation that forced them to resail a race they'd initially won against Desafio Español, then some dubius tactical decisions in the resail that cost them that race, and finally today, yet another penalty that cost them the race against Team Shosholoza. To hear an audio report of the day's racing, including quotes from Cameron Dunn of Mascalzone, Ian Ainslie of Shosholoza, and Ray Davies of Emirates Team New Zealand, click here.Match NotesUnited Internet Team Germany vs. Desafio EspañolJesper Bank on UITG able to drive down and cross on port. But that was as good as it got for Bank. Desafio Español held a strong leeward position for much of the start, forcing Bank into some evasive maneuvers. UITG was over early, but more importantly very slow at the gun. DE started cleanly at the boat end with a lot of speed. At the first mark, it was Desafio Español with a 57-second lead. If there was one positive thing to take away from this race for United Internet Team Germany, it's that the lead didn't increase around the next two marks.Desafio Español wins by 1:08Team Shosholoza vs. Mascalzone Latino-CapitaliaTeams remained close for much of the prestart. With less than 30 seconds to go, and both boats on port, Shosholoza was able to pick up a penalty on Mascalzone when the latter failed to stay clear. Mascalzone was slightly ahead at the start, both boats on port at the boat end, but carrying a penalty. It was nip and tuck for a while, but eventually MLC got into a controlling position during a long port tack. The race remained tight for the rest of the first lap, with MLC leading through the gate-both boats choosing the left-side mark-by three boatlengths. The South African team really pushed close to the mark and had a very clean takedown, rounding, and tack.The delta at the final mark rounding was 20 seconds, probably not enough for a penalty turn. Shosholoza muffed another jibe on the run, had the spinnaker flogging for a good 10 to 15 seconds before it trimmed the sheet, allowed MLC to open up a lead of around 140 meters. The lead shrunk a little but as the boats converged on the pin and it was just enough with Team Shosholoza winning by a meter and a half. MLC appeared to take the spinnaker down a little bit early and then stalled as they went through the tack.Team Shosholoza wins by 6 seconds.Emirates Team New Zealand vs. China TeamETNZ didn't seem to press too hard in the pre-start. China Team actually times its run quite well hitting the boat end on port with tons of pace. ETNZ had a solid start down at the pin end. Nothing surprising in how this race unfolded; ETNZ built a big lead on the first beat and never looked back.Emirates Team New Zealand wins by 3:02Areva Challenge vs. Victory ChallengeThe first race of the day to get underway, both courses spent a half hour under AP. Mid-line start for both boats, with VC to leeward. Areva seemed to be bow out, but tacked away immediately. VC controlling the race from the left side, bouncing Areva toward the right, but didn't have enough of a lead to cross. Fierce tacking duel up the first beat, VC not able to get across, the French team not able to move into a controlling position. Thirty-one tacks later, VC rounds with a 12-second lead. Victory Challenge took few chances in this race. Despite a probable speed advantage, they never gave Seb Col and company on Areva an opportunity to pass.Victory Challenge wins by 35 seconds.+39 Challenge vs. BMW Oracle RacingClean starts for both teams, +39 Challenge mid-line and BMW Oracle up near the boat end. BMW Oracle powered out to a solid lead on the first beat, but from there was unable to extend much further, +39 hanging tight for the rest of the race, rounding the second upwind mark just 25 seconds behind, having taken 7 seconds off the lead at the windward mark on the first lap. Larry Ellison had the helm as the boat crossed the finish, it appeared like he had for a good portion of the run, if not longer.BMW Oracle Racing wins by 53 seconds.