Louis Vuitton Trophy-La Maddalena

No wind this morning meant no Petit Final for Artemis.

Instead the race committee had to move straight into the finals when the wind filled around noon.

In the first race of the day, the Russians on Synergy kept their winning ways from yesterday and took control right from the start, made it look easy and won by about a minute over Team New Zealand.

So, with the Russians up 2-0 in the first to win 3 final, the Kiwi’s had their back against the wall in race 3. The Russians once again had the better of the start and immediately got control and the lead. With a 25 second lead at the first mark and the southeasterly breeze now well filled in at 11 knots and reasonable steady, it looked like it was going to be a short day.

But the Kiwis found a bit more pressure on the very short side of the course they were give and the Russians failed to cover. The Kiwis closed to near equal at the leeward gate and then the Russians botched the spinnaker drop. Race over. Now it was 2-1 in favor of the Russians but the Kiwis had been given a second life.

The first windward leg of final two races were almost virtual replays of each other with the Kiwis holding the narrowest of leads around the first windward mark. In the 4th race, the Russians were patiently waiting for the Kiwi’s to gybe and executed a perfect “match” and rolled the Kiwis. But the Russians got a bit greedy at the end of the run and tried to push down on the Kiwi’s as windward boat. The Kiwis flagged the Russians for sailing below proper course and the umpires penalized Synergy. The Russians led up the second windward leg but could not get enough distance in front to complete the penalty turn. On the final run to the finish, the Russians tried to engage the Kiwis in an effort to get them an offsetting penalty but the Kiwis managed to stay clear and go in for the win.

Race 5 was for all the marbles. Reply of race for up the first windward leg. Kiwis stayed in front all the way by the narrowest or margins. The Russians got a small tear in their gennaker on the final hoist. A few gybes ensued as the Russians tried to apply pressure to the Kiwi’s. Then the Russian gennaker exploded and that was all she wrote.

So in a miracle of sorts, the Russians found a way to lose after being up 2-0 and with set point in the third.

Team New Zealand remains the standard in the Louis Vuitton Trophy. They do have the teamwork element down. But some of the new teams are getting close to knocking them off and the trend line for these new teams is very steep indeed.

Next Louis Vuitton event will be in Dubai in November. Following Dubai we will be in Hong Kong in January.

For many of us, we are on our way to Copenhagen tonight for the RC 44 event this coming week. Practice tomorrow and then straight into the match racing part on Tuesday. I will take tomorrow off from the reports and pick it up again Tuesday after racing