Louis Vuitton Cup Semifinals End

Published: Wed 18 Dec 2002 11:05 AM
DECEMBER 17, 2002
With a long and frustrating day spent on the race course waiting for the breeze to build, the 2002-2003 Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals are over. The Race Committee waited on the course until 16:00 and was able to fire the starting gun at 16:10.
Only one match was completed as the time limit is set by the rules at 16:00, therefore Luna Rossa didn't have the chance to level her score with OneWorld and is thus eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup. According to the racing calendar today was the last possible day to conduct any racing of the semifinals (the only exception being in case of a tie between Luna Rossa and OneWorld).
OneWorld, having beaten Luna Rossa 3 to 2, advances to the semifinals repechage where they will race against Oracle BMW Racing on a best of seven series.
The match between Luna Rossa ITA 74 and OneWorld USA 67 starts at 16:10 with 7 knots of wind. A few seconds before the start a massive wind shift to the left forces OneWorld and Luna Rossa down the pin end. ITA 74, to leeward of USA 67, cannot cross the start before James Spithill tacks away on port.
First beat upwind. Initially USA 67 is leading by 3 boat lengths thanks to the wind shift at the start. Halfway through the beat Francesco de Angelis heads to the right of the course and James Spithill does not cover. The two boats sail to the opposite sides of the course. With a separation of over 1000 metres, Luna Rossa closes the gap, takes the lead and tacks back to close on USA 67. Francesco is now leading by over 200 metres. Luna Rossa rounds the first mark 31 seconds ahead of OneWorld. First downwind run. Both crews hoist the gennaker. Francesco initially defends his lead, then the wind shifts dramatically to the right and the boats find themselves sailing upwind with no gennaker.
USA 67 closes the gap on Luna Rossa as the wind drops to 6 knots. The two boats are approaching the mark neck to neck sailing upwind, with ITA 74 to leeward of USA 67. Francesco de Angelis rounds the mark 8 seconds ahead of Spithill.
Second beat upwind. Both crews prepare the code zero (a big sail that looks like a cross between a jib and a gennaker with a furling system) and after a few minutes they unfurl it. The wind is very shifty and is now extremely light.
Halfway through the beat the code zero is furled back in on both boats. Luna Rossa defends her lead and then sails into a puff of wind while USA 67 si stalled with no wind. ITA 74 sails towards the mark with good speed, constantly extending her lead. Luna Rossa rouds the last mark, hoists the gennaker and heads to the finish line. OneWorld is still struggling to round the mark, while the countdown goes on ticking. USA 67 trails at the last mark by 14 minutes and 14 seconds.
Luna Rossa goes to win this race by 17 minutes and 46 seconds over OneWorld and ends the semifinals with a 2-3 score against OneWorld.
TODAY'S RESULTS - every victory equals 1 point
Match 2 Luna Rossa ITA 74 wins against OneWorld USA 67 (17' 46" lead)
Alinghi (4) - Oracle BMW Racing (0)
OneWorld * (3) - Prada Challenge (2)
* One point penalty applied to OW (Arbitration Panel decisions, December 9 and 12, 2002).
Windward leeward, 12.5 miles long; four legs total, two windward legs and two downwind legs; first and last legs are 3.25 miles, the remaining two are 3.00 miles.
Wind from W 7-10kts. Cloudy. A few showers.
TODAY'S CREW ON LUNA ROSSA 1. Bowman, Paolo Bassani 2. Mid bowman, Massimiliano Sirena 3. Mastman, Simone de Mari 4. Pitman, Cristian Griggio 5. Left grinder, Massimo Galli 6. Right grinder, Romolo Ranieri 7. Upwind trimmer, Lorenzo Mazza 8. Downwind trimmer, Andrew Hemmings 9. Mainsail trimmer, Sean Clarkson 10.Center grinder, Massimo Gherarducci 11.Helmsman, Francesco de Angelis 12.Tactician, Torben Grael 13.Afterguard, Gavin Brady 14.Downwind grinder, Steve Erickson, replaced by Daniele Bresciano in the second match. 15.Strategist, Michele Ivaldi 16.Navigator, Matteo Plazzi 17. 17th Man, Tuan Allsop *
* Old time friend of Vernon Neville (athletic trainer of team Prada). Tuan, 30 years old, is originally from South Africa and is now a New Zealand citizen. He is a former top level judo player.

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