Light conditions, abandoned races, and a seamless comeback by the defenders of the Louis Vuitton Cup were the highlights of Wednesday’s racing on the Hauraki Gulf. Finishing off the final race of Round Robin 1 were Prada and Mascalzone Latino; Prada dominated the four-leg race and ended RR 1 in a tie for fourth with GBR and Stars & Stripes.
Stars & Stripes started off the Round with a heartbreaking loss to Team GBR. Their first attempt at racing was abandoned on the fourth leg with Stars & Stripes well in the lead. After a delay, the two teams restarted and S&S; again jumped out to an early lead but was passed on the first downwind leg. An aggressive crossing situation at the first leeward mark led to a red flag for the American team and an eventual 46-second loss to GBR. “Today we sailed a total of ten legs, and we sailed our best leg and our toughest leg of the regatta,” said Team Dennis Conner skipper Ken Read. “The first leg of the race we completed was our best to date and the run that followed, when the British carried the breeze down to us and passed, was our toughest.” On the same circle, Alinghi handed another defeat to le Defi, leading by one minute at the first weather mark and winning the race by 5m:55s.
Still stinging from their first race of the day, Mascalzone Latino rebounded and led OneWorld around the race course for the first third of their race, but decided to split tacks and not cover the undefeated American team on the third leg. OneWorld passed the Italians and won by 4m:1s.
Oracle was the second syndicate to suffer at the hands of a very smooth Team Prada Wednesday. At the beginning of the race it was all Oracle, but a massive windshift put the Italians back in the game and allowed helmsman Francesco de Angelis to school Peter Holmberg on the finer points of matchracing at the first leeward mark. Luna Rossa passed Oracle and extended to win the match by 1m:55s.
The big news for Thursdays races is that Chris Dickson, who had been benched last January by syndicate head Larry Ellison, will be replacing Peter Holmberg as helmsman on Oracle BMW Racing for Thursdays race against Mascalzone Latino. This shakeup is merely the latest in a series that also included Ellisons demotion of Paul Cayard to non-player status.
Results from Round Robin 1, Flight 5
Prada def. Mascalzone Latino by 4m:28s
Results from Round Robin 2, Flight 1
OneWorld def. Mascalzone Latino by 4m:01s
Prada def. Oracle BMW Racing by 1m:55s
GBR Challenge def. Team Dennis Conner by 46s
Alinghi def. Le Défi Areva by 5m:54s
Victory Challenge had the day off
Standings through Oct. 23
OneWorld (9-0) 8 points
Alinghi (8-1) 8 points
GBR Challenge (5-4) 5 points
Prada Challenge (5-4) 5 points
Oracle BMW Racing (5-4) 5 points
Team Dennis Conner (4-5) 4 points
Victory Challenge (3-5) 3 points
Mascalzone Latino (1-8) 1 point
Le Défi Areva (0-9) 0 points
Racing Schedule for Oct. 24
Le Défi Areva vs. Victory Challenge
Mascalzone Latino vs. Oracle BMW Racing
Alinghi vs. OneWorld
Prada vs. Team Dennis Conner
GBR Challenge has the day off