Race Day 6 - Lead: Prada Takes Early Glory:
Report courtesy of www.louisvuittoncup.com
Round Robin 1 - Race 10 - Prada
Having completed all of its races Wednesday, Prada has taken the early glory - topping out Round Robin One with an
unassailable lead, despite two matches remaining.
The races involving AmericaOne have been delayed until Thursday to allow that team time to complete repairs.
Yet again the day will finish in the protest room with both Young Australia and Abracadabra filing complaints against
the race committee, which did not grant a delay - at both teams' request - in the afternoon's racing (full story to
The first Round has seen Prada, AmericaOne, and Young America solidify their pre-regatta roles as Louis Vuitton Cup
favourites. While Prada has won the round, the Americans sail off tomorrow to determine the top U.S. challenger.
Not surprisingly, the Young Australia team has struggled with an old boat, and it shares the bottom region of the
standings with the Swiss FAST 2000 team, and France's Le Defi Bouygues Telecom Transiciel.
The Swiss, the only team yet to earn a point, are struggling to understand a new boat that they sailed for only one week
before racing began. The French are anxious to make changes to their boat. Plans include a new keel and bulb, and adding
length to the after section of the boat.
The middle group in the standings consists of boats that have shown speed at times, but have been clearly outclassed by
the top three. In this group is Team Dennis Conner with Stars & Stripes
Conner's team received a boost on Wednesday, gaining two points by sailing around the course alone. The Americans are
saying they're happy with their speed and need only to make small adjustments, but they must be surprised to be so close
to the bottom
Next up is the Japanese Nippon syndicate. This team has beaten the basement dwellers, and some of the middle teams, but
has not shown the speed to threaten the top teams. Skipper Peter Gilmour has been among the more aggressive sailors in
the early races. Look for him to continue to ruffle some feathers as the regatta progresses.
Abracadabra 2000 has beaten every team below it, and lost to every team above it but for Stars & Stripes. This campaign must beat some of the faster teams if it wants to progress.
The Spanish challenge is in a similar position, with a win over Abracadabra 2000 to show it may have a slight edge.
Nudging at the door of the top three is the America True syndicate. Dawn Riley's team has shown every indication so far
it will join the others in the semi-finals. But it hasn't yet shown the speed to be a serious threat to the top teams.
America True was one team upset with the schedule postponements that cut time out from between rounds, so they may have
some boat changes planned that could mean more speed down the road.
The top three teams of Prada, Young America, and AmericaOne have clearly shown they are a step above the others. The
Italian Prada Challenge is the only syndicate to emerge unbeaten from the first Round.
But both wins against the American teams involved an element of luck, gear failures on the final leg allowed Prada to
pass near the finish line. That being said, the Italian team has shown good speed, good team work, and good tactics.
There is no reason to believe they won't be in the finals.
Similarly, the Young America team has performed as expected. The only true blemish on their record is the loss to Prada,
and that came after losing control of their spinnaker when a shackle broke open within sight of the finish line. The
team also lost a point on Wednesday, when equipment failure meant they couldn't start on time. This team has the record
and the resources to go all the way. They still have a race against AmericaOne for the title of top American challenger
The team with an ace in the hole is the AmericaOne syndicate. They are the only team that still has a boat being built.
Paul Cayard is going out on limb by having a boat delivered so late in the campaign. It gives the team the advantage of
more modeling and tank testing, but less time on the water to tune the boat up to speed, and see if it's really as fast
as predicted. It is entirely possible that who eventually meets Team New Zealand will be determined by whether this
strategy pays off.
-by Peter Rusch