AC34: a Race at Last

After weeks of turmoil, on Saturday we finally had a first race in the Louis Vuitton challenger series, between Emirates Team New Zealand and their training partner, Luna Rossa.
Author:
Publish date:

And then there were two!

After weeks of turmoil, on Saturday we finally had a first race in the Louis Vuitton challenger series, between Emirates Team New Zealand and their training partner, Luna Rossa. And while it was hardly a nail-biter, with ETNZ, leading from post to post, where it finished over 5 minutes ahead, it was still good to see some actual racing—as opposed to all the other action the sailing world has been witness to recently.

 And then there were two!

And then there were two!

If there was a downside to the contest, it was that from the outset it was almost “no contest.” The race began with ETNZ skipper Dean Barker winning the start and then slowly but steadily stretching out his lead the rest of the way around the 15-mile course in 16-18 knots of breeze. During the pre-start, ETNZ tacked to leeward of Luna Rossa and luffed up its opponent to gain control. The two crews both started late, but Barker had the better leeward position during their final drive to the line and was able to speed away at 41 knots while Luna Rossa was doing 39 knots.

“There aren’t too many moves you can pull off in this type of start,” said Ray Davies, Emirates Team New Zealand tactician. “It’s a short time period, enough for one or two maneuvers. That’s a standard move we’ll see. If you opponent doesn’t get out of that tack well, there’s an option to tack to leeward and stop the race.”

“We ended up almost where we thought we’d be, probably a little bit worse off,” said Luna Rossa helmsman Chris Draper of the final result. “I think the majority of the losses were in boathandling and a little bit in upwind boatspeed. But it’s all fixable and we knew that was there, so no massive surprise.”

Currently, ETNZ has four points, for the three races it has done solo and Saturday’s victory over Luna Rossa. Luna Rossa has one, for an uncontested race it completed last Thursday. The two boats have been “racing” solo because of an earlier Luna Rossa boycott and the fact that Artemis has yet to launch a second AC72 following the fatal capsize of its first boat this past spring.

Luna Rossa boycotted the first few races in protest of a decision by regatta director Iain Murray to relax the restriction on the lifting elements attached to the boats’ rudders in the interest of safety. However, when an international jury ruled in their favor, they returned to the racecourse.

According to Artemis, the team could launch its second boat as soon as this weekend. However, there will inevitably be days and weeks of testing and training, before the boat and crew will be considered ready for competition.

Related

shutterstock_543237994

The Slow Route to Cabo

Each November, cruising boats start leaving California for “a winter of fun in the sun down Mexico way.” And having spent the summer and autumn on a leisurely passage down the West Coast on board Distant Drummer, our Liberty 458 sloop, my husband, Neil, and I were now in San ...read more

MHS-GMR_3549

New Multihulls 2018

Farrier F-22 New Zealander Ian Farrier ushered in a new genre of sailing with his folding-ama trailerable trimarans, the best-known of which are the Corsair designs. Farrier’s last project before he passed away last year was this sweet little tri. Available in three versions, ...read more

shutterstock_373701682

Cruising: Island Comeback

The U.S. Virgins Islands have surged back from the devastation of the 2017 hurricanes, with new infrastructure plans that will benefit charterers and cruisers alike. After hurricanes Irma and Maria roared through the Leeward Islands in September 2017, it was impossible to ...read more

albintoilet

Gear: Albin Pump Marine Toilet

Head Start Is there room for a new marine toilet? Albin Pump Marine thinks so, having just introduced its line of Swedish-built heads—ranging from compact to full-size models—to the American market. The toilets feature vitreous porcelain bowls and either wooden or thermoplastic ...read more

07n_45R2699

Multihull Sailor: Classic Cats

If you’re looking for a decent sub-40ft cruising cat, you have few choices when it comes to new-boat offerings. It is a well-known fact that the multihull market has taken off in a way very few could have predicted. Despite Hurricane Irma’s recent destruction of a large part of ...read more