Luna Rossa Wins Again - Snatches Victory from Young America
Americas Cup Report courtesy of Louis Vuitton Cup.com.
AUCKLAND, NZ, 23 OCTOBER, 1999-Dolphins frolicked under the bow of the French boat Le Defi today as it won against the luckless Swiss in Louis Vuitton Cup racing on the Hauraki Gulf. There was no dolphin escort for the New York Yacht Club's Young America as it went down to defeat to Italy's Luna Rossa in a tough hard-fought match.
Collisions in two other races, and a major structural failure on the Swiss boat, led to all-night repair sessions in the boat sheds along the Viaduct Basin, and two requests to delay racing tomorrow, plus a protest. The International Jury is meeting tonight.
Today was the battle of the titans . . . the last two undefeated teams. Italy's Prada Syndicate, with seven victories, met the USA's Young America team, with six wins. American skipper Ed Baird gained the upper hand at the start. The Americans fought off the hard-driving Italians for three legs but faltered near the finish when a snap shackle failed on their spinnaker sheet. Young America slowed as the sail flogged out of control and the Italians seized their chance to overtake shortly afterward.
For minutes at a time the bow of the trailing American boat was overlapped and almost touching the port side of the Italian boat's stern. Several times both boats flew protest flags. Each time, the umpires green-flagged the incidents, ruling that Luna Rossa was maintaining her proper course to the finish and that Young America had not prevented the Italian boat from sailing to the finish.
Finally the Italian boat broke clear and gybed away. The Italians' winning margin was only ten seconds.
Baird was gracious in defeat. This was the third day in a row with snap shackle failures and he quipped: "Apparently they have been passing it (the snap shackle) around." Later, he added: "It goes to show you should be careful where you get your snap shackles from."
The load-bearing bulkhead for the running back stays of the Swiss boat be hAPpy tore clear from the inside of the boat as it was fighting the French boat Le Defi for the lead about ten minutes into their race.
The boat's helmsman, three-time Olympic gold medallist Jochen Schumann said there was a big bang followed by small crackles. The backstay fitting tore out of the deck and, Schumann said, only the strength of the mainsheet and the mainsail prevented the rig from going over the side.
The Swiss made a request to the Race Committee to have their races postponed for two days as is allowed in the Sailing Instructions.
In a collision today, Peter Gilmour sailing Asura, dug a chunk out of his boat's bow when it collided with Bravo Espana during a pre-start. Gilmour took a penalty for the collision but the Spanish filed a red flag protest, under Rule 14, "Avoiding Contact". After a formal hearing tonight, the International Jury penalised Nippon by taking penalised half a point from its round Robin One points tally.
In a second collision, Dennis Conners' Stars & Stripes was flagged by the umpires after it smashed into the stern of the San Francisco boat AmericaOne sailed by Paul Cayard. Stars & Stripes completed a penalty turn for the incident starting line incident. After a protest hearing, the International Jury granted the Americans three days to make repairs to their boat.
In a move to provide an equitable decision for all challenger syndicates, the International Jury chaired by Brian Willis, announced that it was rescheduling races 10 and 11 to Wednesday, October 27.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES - Saturday, 23 October 1999
Chris Larson, tactician, Abracadabra 2000:
On a close mark rounding with Le Defi: "It was very close coming into the leeward mark, it was a lot of excitement...there was a question in my mind of whether there was an overlap or not, we kept the judges fairly busy there. But we were lucky to just have an overlap and round in front of them.
Ed Baird, Skipper of Young America:
On teams holding back: "I think that for most of the teams, there's a lot more to be gained by sailing efficiently than not. Everybody is extremely competitive. It would be a great surprise to me if anybody were holding back."
On racing Luna Rossa: "There was a lot of the race that had to do with being in the right place on a windshift. There was a lot of the race that had to do with being in control off the start line. And in the end, the result was based on something breaking. So that tells me that we have a real boat race out there with a good team that can beat you if you mistake."
On gear breaking: "Everything on these boats is working beyond normal loads...it's up to us to make sure that the boat is prepared and that things don't break."
Torben Grael, tactician, Luna Rossa:
Comparing Young America and AmericaOne: " They will compare in the next day (when they sail against each other). For me, it's very difficult to say. The wind is shifty so it's hard to evaluate. Young America had a very good race today."
Jochen Schumann, helmsman, FAST 2000:
On damage to be hAPppy: "We are not so happy today. It's the first time we had an even start, we got the right shift and were looking good...but then the runner support bulkhead broke so we had to retire. But we are happy that we are slowly improving and slowly getting more and more competitive."
"Now we have a few days work to do, and we will announce tomorrow morning to the other teams and the race committee how much time we will need to fix the problems.
On the team's slow start: "Today was only the seventh day for me on this boat...on the water. So that explains a lot (about our poor start)."
On which fin he steers: "I don't know. I've never seen underneath the boat."