America's Cup - Only four teams are waiting for monday's semi finals

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Source: www.americascup.com

Luis Vuitton Cup Round Robin 2 has ended and only four best teams qualify for the semi finals: Emirates Team New Zealand, BMW ORACLE Racing, Luna Rossa Challenge and Desafío Español 2007. After tree weeks and a half whit no wind, storms and hard racing the four semi finalists have on their disposal four days to prepare to fight for a place in the final. Each day there is one race for each pair of Semi Finalists. This phase of the event can last between just five days, in the case of a 5–0 sweep, or nine days, if it comes down to the last race.

May 8


Flight 10

Flight 10 will be remembered as the moment that Desafío Español secured its place in the Semi Finals, although it didn’t look that way in the early stages of this flight. The Spanish were relying on Emirates Team New Zealand to beat Victory Challenge, the Swedes being the only team that could possibly displace Spain from the final four.

In the pre-start, Dean Barker seemed intent on getting the hook on Magnus Holmberg but the Kiwi afterguard’s timing went badly awry. While Victory Challenge charged off the line on starboard tack, the Kiwis tacked to the right and were almost 25 seconds late starting. However, the wind was shifting right and the New Zealand boat was soon causing Victory some problems despite the pre-start error.

America's Cup - Only four teams are waiting for monday's semi finals

Holmberg defended the lead around the windward mark, but only by 10 seconds. When Sweden gybed towards the middle of the run, the Kiwis held out to the right and picked up better breeze to pull them past Sweden by the leeward gate. From there, Victory Challenge could never get back on level terms with New Zealand, and there were slumped shoulders on board SWE 96 as they crossed the finish line, their hopes of making the Semi Finals dashed.

There was an aggressive and thrilling pre-start between Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team and Luna Rossa Challenge, with Mascalzone entering from the left of the course but with Jes Gram-Hansen pulling off a daring manoeuvre to seize the right from James Spithill. The Australian tried to make amends with continued assaults on Mascalzone, but at just before start time Gram-Hansen gybed around the Race Committee boat to secure a perfect start while Luna Rossa started one boatlength back.

However, ITA 94 showed superior pace upwind to take the lead by half way up the beat, and never looked threatened – until the dying metres of the final run when Mascalzone made a late surge on to the transom of Luna Rossa. It was all too little too late, though, with ITA 94 crossing the line 7 seconds ahead.

BMW ORACLE was the far more manoeuvrable and active boat in the pre-start against Desafío Español, and Chris Dickson won the right side of the start in a split-tack exit from the line. When the American boat tacked back, it was already in control, using the right-hand favoured breeze to exert an early advantage from which it would extend to a 55 second delta by the finish.

+39 Challenge hurried around the start box like a greyhound while China Team wallowed, looking vulnerable in the pre-start. Iain Percy started on the gun at speed and Pierre Mas was late at the Race Committee boat end of the line. Untroubled, the Italian boat extended throughout the race to win by 1 minute 57 seconds.

Areva Challenge wanted the right, defended the right, and although United Internet Team Germany was faster off the port end of the line, the French claimed an early advantage which they defended in a tacking duel up the first beat. Having extended down the run, and despite a difficult mark rounding at the leeward gate, Sébastien Col sailed to a 35 second victory.

May 9


Flight 11

The big match to decide who would finish top of the Round Robins started beautifully. After a tense pre-start, with BMW ORACLE threatening to luff Emirates Team New Zealand but never actually doing so, both teams made excellent starts, side by side.

America's Cup - Only four teams are waiting for monday's semi finals

Shortly after the start, Dean Barker broke for the right while Chris Dickson held to the left. By the time NZL 92 tacked back on to starboard the lateral separation across the course was enormous. At this stage the Americans were leading by about two or three boatlengths, but as a right-hand windshift came in, the advantage line soon moved in favour of New Zealand.

In a matter of minutes Team New Zealand had moved to more than 250 metres ahead, and BMW ORACLE had no chance of getting back into the race from there. The Kiwis extended around the race track and, even with a small rip in its spinnaker after the final gybe, the New Zealanders crossed the finishing line well over one minute ahead.

In the battle to decide 7th overall in the Louis Vuitton Cup, Areva Challenge and Shosholoza drifted towards the start line very early and very slow, but it was Sébastien Col who controlled the start and accelerated while the South Africans struggled to get past the Race Committee boat. However RSA 83 soon got up to speed and it was a long drag race out to the left. Paolo Cian made slighter better boatspeed pay for South Africa and they rounded the first mark 13 seconds ahead.

It was pretty even down the run but up the final beat the French started closing and putting South Africa under pressure. Areva pulled even closer on the final run to the finish, and there were less than two boatlengths between the two, Col trying to wrongfoot Shosholoza into a gybing error. But the South Africans weren’t taking the bait, and crossed the line 14 seconds ahead, arms held high in pride and celebration.

In a battle for bragging rights only, Victory Challenge and Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team made great starts with the Swedish tacking away to the right after crossing the line. Mascalzone followed and took an early lead of about one boatlength. After a few exploratory tacks against each other, the Italians capitalised on the early lead to sail across the Swedish bow and claim the right-hand side of the course. They rounded 17 seconds ahead at the first mark and sailed a controlled race through to the finish. Just before crossing the finishing line, the flamboyant Italians peeled to a different spinnaker, which proclaimed: “Thank you Italy, thank you Naples”, and the Latin Rascals crossed the line 38 seconds ahead of the Swedish.

America's Cup - Only four teams are waiting for monday's semi finals

Luna Rossa Challenge helmsman James Spithill had it all his own way in the pre-start against the second helmsman for Desafío Español 2007, Jesper Radich. Spithill was able to keep Radich pinned outside the Race Committee boat as the starting gun fired. Luna Rossa then ducked back under the boat, and across the starting line, well ahead of the Spanish team. From there, the Italians chose the favoured side of the race course and led into the top mark. The Spanish cause wasn’t helped when its spinnaker draped over the windward mark, incurring a penalty. Luna Rossa sailed the rest of the way untroubled, to finish third on the leaderboard.

There was an early lead to United Internet Team Germany off the starting line in its match against +39 Challenge, who had a minor collision with a photo boat in the pre-start, when its swinging transom clipped the small motor boat. The incident didn’t appear to affect the Italian boat, which soon took back the advantage, and led into the top mark. From there, helmsman Iain Percy was able to hold on for his third consecutive victory.


Results


Flight 10

Team

Points

Team

China Team

0

2

+39 Challenge

United Internet Team Germany

0

2

Areva Challenge

Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team

0

2

Luna Rossa Challenge

Victory Challenge

0

2

Emirates Team New Zealand

Desafio Espanol 2007

0

2

BMW Oracle Racing


Flight 11

Team

Points

Team

Victory Challenge

0

2

Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team

Desafio Espanol 2007

0

2

Luna Rossa Challenge

BMW Oracle Racing

0

2

Emirates Team New Zealand

United Internet Team Germany

0

2

+39 Challenge

Areva Challenge

0

2

Team Shosholoza


America's Cup - Only four teams are waiting for monday's semi finals

America’s Cup Louis Vuitton Cup - Ranking

 

Team

Races

Won

Bonus points

Round Robin 1

Round Robin 2

Total points

1

Emirates Team New Zealand

20

17

4

14

20

38

2

BMW Oracle Racing

20

17

3

18

16

17

3

Luna Rossa Challenge

20

16

3

16

16

35

4

Desafio Espanol 2007

20

13

3

14

12

29

5

Victory Challenge

20

12

2

12

12

26

6

Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team

20

10

2

12

8

22

7

Team Shosholoza

20

9

2

10

8

20

8

Areva Challenge

20

8

1

8

8

17

9

+39 Challenge

20

5

2

4

6

12

10

United Internet Team Germany

20

2

1

2

2

5

11

China Team

20

1

1

0

2

3


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