Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

With a light air forecast for today the two finalists, Team New Zealand and Mascalzone Latino were held at the dock for 2 hours hedging for a 1200 start.

Race PRO Peter Reggio moved the racecourse out to the Hauraki Gulf once again to try to get steadier conditions in these mild southwesterly’s.

Because of the delays, the Race Committee decided to shorten the series to a best of three. This was a bit of a tough pill for Mascalzone being down 1-0 after yesterday.

The race was finally started around 1210. Team NZ split to the right heading on port and Mascalzone at the pin end on starboard at the gun. The two drag raced to the right then both tacked simultaneously and drag raced out to the port layline. Nothing in it at the two came together overlapped at the first mark.

But just as they rounded in a left shifted breeze, Team New Zealand was ready to pounce on the shift and the Italians could not follow. The Kiwi’s got the jump that would last them the race.

There was a rather large crowd on the water in as many as 200 spectator craft but unfortunately as the decision had already been made to shorten the series, racing ended for the day at 1330. Most of the spectators were Kiwi fans so they were happy with the win.

Tonight is the gala dinner and prize giving at the Auckland Museum. Yves Carcelle, CEO of Louis Vuitton will be on hand to give out the prizes.

Next event for Artemis is Palma Vela in Mid April.

The author is heading to San Francisco for a few weeks at home.

Paul

Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

It was a long day of waiting for us today and finally we raced Azzurra for 3rd/4th place. The race was over just as it started. The jury decided we fouled Azzurra on the entry and penalized us. From there we hung close waiting for an opportunity to pass, which we almost did on the final run. It would have been a lot to ask to pass them and get a penalty on them but stranger things have happened. Unfortunately, in the only minor scrap we got into with them, the jury awarded us another penalty.

That was it for us. Hats off to Azzurra. They sailed well.

Still the big picture for Artemis is that it has been a fantastic two weeks of sailing, we beat some very good teams here. The competition is getting very tight and that means all the teams are catching up to Emirates Team New Zealand.

Emirates Team New Zealand had beaten Azzurra in the 3rd and final race of their semi final yesterday and won the first race of the finals against Mascalzone Latino before we raced our match for 3rd and 4th. The best of five finals will continue tomorrow.

For WSTA and the Louis Vuitton Trophy, it has been a very successful two weeks as well. The sailing, much of it on the edge of too much wind, has produced some incredibly spectacular races. Most of the event was held in the shifty Southwesterly breeze which has allowed for lots of lead changes and the short course has meant high impact sailing.

The future is bright and now that America’s Cup 33 is behind us, we can move forward in a collaborative way with the new Defender and Challenger of Record to shape the future.

Paul

For complete results and live streaming of the racing plus other features go to www.louisvuittontrophy.com or http://artemisracing.com/pages/lvtv

Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

An up and down day for Artemis

We sailed a best 2 out of 3 against Mascalzone Latino today. They got the first one, we got the second one and they got the third one. All the races were very tightly contested and it was quite a battle.

The wind was down in velocity today, mostly in the 10-15 knots range. It was still shifty and tricky as ever with the breeze coming off the land. We raced the first race in the harbor as usual, but then the wind just got too fluky and Race PRO Peter Reggio moved us out on to the Hauraki Gulf where we had the America’s Cup races in 2000 and 2003.

In the first race, we got off the line to the left and battled out way into the lead. Near the top, the Italians got a wind we never saw and went from 4 meters behind to 1 boat length ahead. We stayed on their heels all the way around but could never pass.

Then Emirates Team New Zealand and Azzurra had their first match. The Italians had a penalty and were behind but managed to the left of the Kiwis for the second windward leg. They passed the Kiwis and then got far enough ahead to take the penalty and win.

Then Artemis and Mascalzone Latino got back out on the water. Terry Hutchinson got a great start against Gavin Brady, forcing the latter over the line early and that was a lead that we would not give up. 1-1.

Then we rolled into our third and final race. In this one, Gavin got a penalty on us in the pre-start. We hung tight and even got the penalty wiped off on the first run when Mascalzone Latino took us both past the gates. But we could not close up the final 80 meters and they went on to win the decisive race.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Azzurra got back in the boats, now at 1800, and had their second race. Azzurra put a penalty on ETNZ in the pre-start and it boiled down to weather or not the Kiwis could get far enough ahead to do the penalty turn and still cross the line first. They waited until right on the finish line to do it and they got it done with just one second to spare. So they are tied 1-1 and will race their decisive semi-final race first thing tomorrow.

If time permits, we will then take on the loser of that semi-final to battle it out in the petit-final, while the final will take place Sunday.

Obviously, we are disappointed not to be in the final but we have made a big improvement in our performance over the Louis Vuitton Trophy – Nice and we feel we are competitive with any team out there now. So this is a good foundation for us to build on.

Paul

For complete results and live streaming of the racing plus other features go to www.louisvuittontrophy.com or http://artemisracing.com/pages/lvtv

Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

Artemis moves into the Semi-Finals

Another good win for Artemis today over the Brits on TeamOrigin. It was another tight race in tricky conditions. Winds were 12-14 knots from the Southwest.

We were on hold for two hours as the winds were absent at 1000 this morning. The race committee informed the competitors that the best of three quarter final was reduced to sudden death as there would not be time to run 6 matches which would have been required had both quarter final matches gone the full three races.

At 1330, conditions were acceptable and the heat was on….win and go forward…lose and go home.

We wanted tight left but Ben Ainsle did a nice job in the prestart and had that spot occupied. He was in a bit of trouble as the wind went even further left in the last 30 seconds prior to the start. Terry Hutchinson was quick to take the race back at them and that got us out of phase and a tacking duel ensued. We kept it close up the first windward leg and trailed by two boat lengths at the top. My strategy was to keep it close and not do anything that had low probability of paying off. Down the run, we gybed first on a nice shift and closed in to round the gate just one length behind.

We rounded the same gate as the Brits which plays to their advantage but the other gate was surely out in more adverse current so again…keep it close.

Up the second windward leg we had to tack away first and TeamOrigin tacked on us the next time we came back. We were forced out toward the worse current but we were on a big left shift. So we rode it out patiently and sure enough a righty filled in. When we met the next time we were just ahead crossing on starboard tack.

Normally in this position, we should have tacked on them and kept to the right as this puts you on starboard tack right of way the next time the boats meet. And I have gotten burned in the first race we had with TeamOrigin two days ago by not following this strategy.

BUT, we were on a big lift as we crossed and it is also important to “stay in phase” with the wind. So I took the risk and played the odds which were in my favor. Fortunately, the wind cooperated and we crossed them the next time but just 1/2 a boat length but with much more speed and on lay line. So we simply sailed with full speed around the mark while they were slow and had to tack to round. We stretched to three lengths ahead there and that was pretty much it.

The made a desperate gybe away from us, we chose not to match them as we stretched into the stronger current, now favorable, and kept it simple…one gybe and in.

We won the race by 30 seconds in the end.

In the other quarter final race, the Italians from Azzurra beat All4One.

At the draw tonight, Emirates Team New Zealand the top ranked semi finalist, got to pick their opponent and they chose Azzurra. That means that we will meet the other Italian Team, Mascalzone Latino.

Racing resumes tomorrow at 1000 and the forecast is for 12-16 knots from the Southwest again.

Paul

For complete results and live streaming of the racing plus other features go to www.louisvuittontrophy.com or http://artemisracing.com/pages/lvtv

Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

Another good win for Artemis today over the Italians on Azzurra. No wild excitment like yesterday against the Brits, just steady control of the race, abeit in the upper wind range. In fact we were on hold for 45 minutes as the wind had built to 25 knots at our scheduled start time. It came down to 20 knots and we were underway. It was still a race in which I felt keeping it simple would pay off.

Our call for the start was “wide right” and we ended up with “tight right” which was still ok with me. We hung on the hip of Azzurra for about 40 seconds while both boats rode out a lift on starboard tack. As that lift faded, and before we got weak, we tacked away onto a nice lift on port tack. Just as we finished building back up to full speed the wind faded back to the right and we tacked back onto starboard. Instantly, we were strong on Azzurra and from there on we just controlled them. By tacking on them every time they came to the right, we forced them up against the exclusion zone on the left side of the course and carried a three length lead into the top mark.

We kept it simple again down the run, one gybe and in to the right gate mark while the Italians attempted to go to the left gate and they had a few more issues than we did at the bottom mark. From that point on things were pretty easy for us and we went into cruise for the remainder.

In the other races, Origin beat All4One, Masclazone beat Aleph and Team New Zealand beat Synergy. So at this stage, Team New Zealand and Masclazone move straight to the semi final round as the top two winners and Synergy and Aleph go home as the bottom two teams. The other four of us will race in two, two out of three series, to determine the other two semi finalists.

Tonight we are having an “all teams” photo with the America’s Cup which is on display here in Auckland, also signaling the America’s Cup Defenders belief in the Louis Vuitton Trophy’s importance in the road to the next America’s Cup.

Paul

For complete results and live streaming of the racing plus other features go to www.louisvuittontrophy.com or http://artemisracing.com/pages/lvtv

Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

We had a great day today on Artemis. Things really went our way and it was very satisfying. First, we had a good tussle against ALL4ONE. We had the left off the line and tacked soon there after. We got good pressure from the left and were ahead at the first cross. From there we just worked the shifts, and there were plenty of them today, to stretch out to a 5 length lead. We were fairly comfortable at the last windward mark and then down the final run the wind almost died for us and shift 80 degrees. We almost lost the race on this wierdness but managed to hang on for the win.

Our second match of the day, ranks right up there with some of the all time races I have had in 20 years of racing in this class of boat. Neither boat was ever more than 50 meters ahead, there were 4 or 5 lead changes and 3 penalties. Near the end of the first run, the Brits got too close to us and got a penalty. But we sailed them past the gate and they were able to get the penalty erased by tacking to get back to the mark. The second windward leg was a real battle with them slightly ahead at the outset and us overhauling them by having better current out to the right. Then right at the top mark, I made a bad tactical error and this allowed TeamOrigin to get a penalty on us and the lead. Terry and the guys did a nice job down the run to keep it close and we even got a bit of help from the Brits who were a bit greedy. We got overlapped with them near the finish and they fouled us and got a double penalty as it was race determining.

The best thing about that race wasn’t that we won. The best part was the experience that we shared as a team. There were so many situations, most we handled well, a few we made errors on, but we can learn more from that race than a week of training on our own.

There were 6 other matches out there today and plenty of action. Team New Zealand won their only race and the other team that did well in the end was Mascalzone Latino who finished the round second.

We ended up in the three way ties for third but ALL4ONE had beaten Mascalzone Latino in the round so that moved them to third and we lost to Azzurra so that put them in fourth and us in 5th.

Scores after the round robin:
TNZ 6 wins
Mascalzone Latino 5 wins
All4One, Azzurra, and Artemis on 4 wins
Origin on 3 wins
Aleph 1 win
Synergy with 0.

Tomorrow Artemis takes on Azzurra in the first match of the knockout series. It is a bit complicated but essentially, the two lowest ranked losers….ie, the two lowest ranked teams (coming out of the round robin) that lose tomorrow, are eliminated. The two highest ranked winners in tomorrow’s races will move directly to the semi finals and the 4 in the middle race a 2 out of 3 series in which the winners move onto the semi finals.

I know you probably cant understand this but I haven’t figured out how to explain it yet.

Paul

For complete results and live streaming of the racing plus other features go to www.louisvuittontrophy.com or http://artemisracing.com/pages/lvtv

A free team-building exercise!

“That was a good team building exercise!” With those words Paul Cayard, skipper of the Swedish boat Artemis summed up their Louis Vuitton Trophy race today with Britain’s TEAMORIGIN, one that was more akin to a bar brawl.

Packed with protest flags, incidents and flogging sails at three marks of a four-leg course, this close-fought duel went ultimately to Artemis and her helmsman Terry Hutchinson on a series of umpire calls.

Asked to explain all that happened, Cayard simply said: “We should have had to pay for that (team building), but luckily the Brits paid for it for us!”

Britain’s skipper Ben Ainslie had attempted to gybe across the Artemis bow coming into the finish, Cayard said. “But it gave us an opportunity to come in and start a bit of a war with them. Terry did a great job managing the war. And then we had a bit on down there with the kite and everybody just got into it and somehow we got the win!”

The race was one of seven packed into a long, incident-filled day of racing on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour that that passed without breakdown, or damage to boats, sails or sailors.

Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

Only one match was sailed today here in Auckland before strong, gusty winds took hold of the harbor.

In the only match of the day, the French team Aleph go the better start and forced Team New Zealand out to the right side and into adverse current. The French had a comfortable lead at the first mark and the Kiwis tried a gybe set and tore their gennaker in the process. That was the end of it and the French went on to take the win. That was the Kiwi’s only loss and it proves that any team can beat any other team out here.

All other matches have been postponned until Tuesday, when the forecast is for more moderate winds. Hopefully, we will get the four scheduled matches in, plus the three that were missed today.

To watch the racing live, go to http://artemisracing.com/pages/lvtv

Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

Another tough day for Artemis today. In our match against Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, we were penalized for gybing too close in the prestart and this was too heavy of a burden for us to shake off.

With the wind blowing 15-18 knots from the Southwest, we had a fairly even start with the Italians heading right while we went to the left. At the first cross, we were one boat length ahead and we switched right on them to have the power of the right (starboard tack) at the next cross. We led them around the first mark and both boats did a gybe set. We had an ok maneuver while they had a bad one losing the tack of the gennaker. We stretched a bit because of this and had a four boat length lead at the bottom mark. The plan was to stretch it out enough to get the penalty turn done at the finish line. However, up the second windward leg, they actually closed in on us while the two boats sailed right next to each other.

We had to go into an attack mode on the final run, trying to engage them and take them past the finish line. We did not execute a critical gybe and this let them off the hook and the race was over there.

We were a bit upset with the penalty call but that is the way it goes sometimes and you can say that it is better not to put yourself in a situation were the umpires can determine your fate.

In the other matches, Emirates Team New Zealand beat Azzurra, ALL4ONE beat Aleph for the French championship, and TeamOrigin beat Synergy. No major situations to report from any of those matches. No major damage on the racecourse today so it was a good day for the organization.

Scores:
TNZ 5 wins
All4One, Azzurra, Origin and Mascalzone Latino with 3 wins
Artemis with 2 wins
Aleph and Synergy with 0

Tomorrow Artemis takes on the Brits from Team Origin in the second match of the day, following Emirates Team New Zealand vs Aleph (FRA) in the first match. The forecast is still for fairly good winds from the Southwest.

Paul

For photos of the racing and live streaming http://artemisracing.com/pages/lvtv

Louis Vuitton Trophy-Auckland

With the day off yesterday, all teams were ready to get back into it today. We had a moderate Southwesterly breeze at 1030 this morning, which built to as much as 23 knots for our match and the last match.

Artemis had a tough race against Azzurra. We called for the right at the start and Terry got it. We worked the shifts and built a 165-meter lead at the first mark. Then it all went sideways. The pole went in the water on the windward side and the kite went in the water to leeward. That was race over for us and a gift to the Italians. That one hurt because if we had beaten them we would have been well set up to get straight into the semis with Team NZ. But it is the round robin and there will be “knock out” races ahead and those are “do or die”.

In the first race of the day, Team NZ beat All4One rather easily, in the second race Origin won the race but there was a collision, which may cost them half a point for damage.

In the final race of the day, Mascalzone Latino and Synergy had a good tussle, but in the end Mascalzone Latino got the win.

Racing continues tomorrow at 1000 and we, Artemis, face Mascalzone Latino in the last match of the day.

Scores:
TNZ 4 wins
Azzurra 3 wins
Artemis, All4One, Mascalzone Latino, Origin with 2 wins
Aleph and Synergy with 0. Aleph had a one point deduction for a collision today with Origin. Aleph is protesting the decision with the jury tonight so there may still be an adjustment to either Aleph’s points or Origin’s points.

For complete results and live streaming of the racing plus other features go to www.louisvuittontrophy.com or http://artemisracing.com/pages/lvtv

Paul