Spanish Gain First Victory Over Kiwis

News brief, 5/17/07

NBAC3
Acm 2007/photo:carlo Borlenghi

The home team, Desafio Español 2007, beat Emirates Team New Zealand on Wednesday for the first time in 10 tries at the 32nd America's Cup. The Spanish team needed the victory, as the result closes up the score in their best-of-nine Semi Final match to 2-1 with the Kiwis leading. It was a convincing win, as helmsman Karol Jablonski put a penalty on the Emirates squad in the pre-start, before leading the Kiwi boat around the track, extending away on the second lap of the course for a tremendous win. In the other match, Luna Rossa Challenge led of the starting line and sailed a tactically conservative match to beat BMW ORACLE Racing. The Italians led for the entire contest.Match 1 -Desafio Español 2007 beat Emirates Team New Zealand - DELTA 1:14The Spanish came out all guns blazing, with Karol Jablonski sailing aggressively at Emirates Team New Zealand in the pre-start. The aggression was rewarded with a penalty against the Kiwis who the Umpires judged as having gybed too close to the Spanish boat. At start time both boats were fast off the line. Desafio Español had made a measurement change to ESP 97 overnight and the alteration seemed to pay off, with the Spanish able to match or even better the Kiwis for upwind pace. The Spanish rounded 14 seconds ahead at the first mark, although the smoother gybing Kiwis reduced that gap to just 8 seconds at the leeward gate. A bit of a split developed up the final beat, but when the Kiwis returned from the left side of the course, they had fallen further behind and rounded 44 seconds in arrears at the final turning mark. The Spanish were never threatened after that, and by the time New Zealand had unwound the penalty at the finish line, the winning delta for Spain was 1 minute 14 seconds. Match 2 -Luna Rossa Challenge beat BMW ORACLE Racing - DELTA 0:31James Spithill brought his usual aggressive pre-starting to bear against BMW ORACLE Racing today, and he had Chris Dickson on the ropes with less than a minute to go. It looked as though he could have pushed the American boat over the starting line early, but instead Luna Rossa went for a clean and fast start off the Race Committee boat end on port tack while Dickson struggled to squeeze the downspeed USA 98 across at the pin end on starboard tack. These boats kept a much tighter match today than on previous days, but the gap at the first mark was still quite big, 29 seconds in Luna Rossa's favour. As always, BMW ORACLE looked powerful downwind and reduced the gap to 24 seconds by the leeward gate. When the American boat broke for the left side of the final beat, Luna Rossa tacked to shadow their opponents, and didn't allow the sort of massive separation to develop that we have seen on other days. By the top mark, the Italians were 45 seconds ahead. Once again the American boat looked faster, and in a closer match a 14-second gain might have come to something. As it was, Luna Rossa refused to be flustered and the Italians sailed across the line 31 seconds ahead, to take the lead in this closely-fought series.