A big day on the water in Valencia. The breeze was 7-9 knots so still on the light side. What is apparent after the first 9 flights is that there are 7 teams that can win any race. This is great for the spectators.
In the first Flight of the day, Victory beat Areva which was important for the Swedes who are trying to stay in the hunt for the fourth spot in the semi finals along with Mascalzone Latino and Desafio Espanol. The Swedes were penalized early in the race and the French were not slow. But in the end the Swedes got a big enough lead to make the penalty turn on the finish line and win the match.
Mascalzone and Shosholoza had a tough battle but in the end Mascalzone had the edge. Shosholoza continues to show very good upwind speed. They start well and usually get the correct side of the course. They will upset a few more tams before Round Robin 2 finishes. The first America’s Cup Team from South Africa has a lot to be proud of.
In the second flight Luna Rossa beat Team New Zealand. On their entry, Dean Barker made a mistake and immediately the Kiwis were down a penalty. Then near the top of the first beat, Team New Zealand tacked a bit too far away from the Italians who were able to live to windward on port and round the first mark first. Only at the end of the final run were the Kiwis able to get in front of Luna Rossa but then it was too little too late. This Kiwi team seems very beatable and the Italians have been the ones to expose that. Desafio beat Victory challenge in that all important match amongst rivals for the fourth semi final spot.
In the Mascalzone Latino-BMW Oracle Match, we saw a very aggressive team from the USA putting a lot of pressure on the Italians and a tight tacking duel up the first windward leg. Near the top of the beat, BMW Oracle protested several times and on one occasion Mascalzone did tack too close and was given a penalty. This changed the face of the match and shortly thereafter BMW passed the Italians and stretched to a comfortable win. I think BMW was a bit faster than Mascalzone.
Tomorrow the challengers should be able to finish up Round Robin one with some very exciting matches. All the matches in flight 10 and 11 will be fairly even as the pairing list was constructed in a way to pit the closest adversaries in the last flights. Luna Rossa vs. Mascalzone Latino for the Pride of Italy race, and the last match of the day, BMW Oracle vs. Team New Zealand.