Sunday, July 21, 2013

ETNZ Whip Italians Without A Jib - Louis Vuitton Cup RR3, Race 3

The Kiwis still managed to defeat Luna Rossa Challenge in today's race at the Louis Vuitton Cup by two minutes and 19 seconds despite sailing for most of the race without a headsail. Both teams got great boat speed off the start line but ETNZ took the lead as the Italians made chase.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
ETNZ were leading Luna Rossa by 25 seconds in the first upwind leg when a halyard broke on their AC72 boat. Bowman Adam Beashal pulled the jib down as it flapped in the breeze and slowed the boat down giving the Italians a real  opportunity. The crew cut the damaged sail away and tossed it overboard right into the path of Luna Rossa who were forced to tack while the ETNZ chase boat retrieved the sail.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
The Kiwis managed to maintain their lead right to the finish line with just their 131-foot tall wing sail. The fact they were able to sail so well without their jib will be a hot topic of discussion in the debrief.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
Today’s seven-leg course measured 15.42 nautical miles, and Emirates Team New Zealand completed the course in 48 minutes, 10 seconds. The Kiwis posted a top speed of 38.72 knots, compared to 37.73 knots for Luna Rossa Challenge.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
“It’s one of those frustrating, annoying things. We’ve never ever had an issue with the attachment of the jib before, but as is normal, when you start racing things like this happen," said ETNZ Skipper Dean Barker.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
"The encouraging thing is the guys did a very good job to address the situation and deal with it. The way the guys responded and settled into it was good,” Barker added.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
Emirates Team New Zealand hardly seemed affected by the lack of a jib, but Barker said they need the headsail to balance the 72-foot long catamaran.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
“It’s very hard to get the boat hooked up in jibes, we didn’t jibe as well without the jib,” Barker said. “If you were going to sail without the jib you’d have different board and rudder positions to balance the boat out better.”
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
Despite coming in second best Luna Rossa was a more aggressive team today and managed to shave over three minutes off the time difference from their previous meeting with ETNZ on July 13.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
“We made a few changes on the boat, increased the aero package and a few changes in the systems to the boards,” said Skipper Max Sirena.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget, 
“Today the Kiwis showed really good speed around the course. We sailed well around the course, which was the main goal, but we need to try and improve as a crew and our boatspeed in the next few weeks,” Sirena added.
Photo: © ACEA / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
Unfortunately the Italians were unable to take full advantage of the Kiwi's misfortune but their improved performance is likely to give them encouragement as the competition heats up. The pair are set to race again on Tuesday.

Race statistics:
  • Seven-leg America’s Cup course
  • Course length: 15.43 nautical miles
  • Elapsed times: ETNZ – 48:10; LR – 50:29
  • Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 19.4 nautical miles; LR – 19.99 nautical miles
  • Average speed: ETNZ – 24.19 knots (27.8 mph); LR – 23.77 konts (27.35 mph)
  • Top speed: ETNZ – 38.72 knots (44.5 mph); LR – 37.73 knots (43.4 mph)
  • Wind speed: average 13.8 knots; peak gust 20.5 knot
Lulu Roseman

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