The picture could not be more clear. James Spithill has Chris Dickson’s number. The Kiwi skipper of the American boat is making too many errors in the critical prestart phase leaving his team with little hope at the start. Two penalties in today’s prestart. I can’t remember the last time that happened in racing at this level. Dickson is not sailing his best. He is better than this. Has the pressure already gotten to him in what is essentially the quarter finals? For certain he is in great difficulty. His personality and style of leadership is not conducive to garnering unconditional support. Can he rally the troupes to come back from 1:4? What is going to save him and BMW Oracle?
On Luna Rossa, they have an ace. Three out of five starts have been KO’s for Spithill. His composure is impressive for the youngest man on the boat. Luna Rossa is slightly faster upwind than BMW and about the same downwind. The team has now acquired the maximum of confidence.
BMW Oracle is the only team without the flag of their country, USA, on the boat or at the base. Does that strike anyone else as strange? They say that there team is too international to have just one flag, so they have ten small flags in front of their base. But Luna Rossa is the more international team, 14 countries and 7 onboard to BMW’s 4, yet the Italian flag flies proudly over the base. Spain is the same. Most of the teams here are very international. Alinghi, more American and Kiwi. Flag; Swiss. A flag is one of the most basic forms of signalling unity. It has been that way for thousands of years. It is just one sign of a strange chemistry, or lack there of, with in BMW Oracle.
Larry Ellison was not onboard today for the first time. Did someone feel his presence exuded and undue pressure on the after guard? If today was a test of that theory, looks like they are better off with him in the crew. Where will he be tomorrow?
Peter Isler is the man they send to every press conference to deflect the ever more intense questions of the media. He is doing a heroic job! Will there be a change tomorrow on BMW? It is almost to the point of “why bother”. The great probability is that they are going down so the question is, what is the most elegant way to do that.
In the other semi final, the Kiwis are doing their job in a operating room standard. Nothing flashy, just solid work from start to finish. The boat is going well too so a margin of 1:49 was produced today in favour of the Kiwis. Most likely this one will be over tomorrow. The Spanish have made a great pass forward in qualifying for the Semi finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup but they are not quite at the level of the Kiwis yet. The Kiwis have competed in every Cup since 1987 so 20 years. The Spanish have done well and are well positioned to launch their continuation for the next Cup.
If things continue as they are setting up, we will see a rematch of the 1992 Louis Vuitton final; New Zealand vs. Italy.