AC34: Delta from downwind dominance
Published on July 28th, 2013
San Francisco, CA (July 28, 2013) – In their final match of the Round Robin segment for the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger races (RR5, Race 1), Emirates Team New Zealand trounced Luna Rossa Challenge, completing a 5-0 sweep.
The Italians looked to be in control prior to the start, positioned to leeward of the Kiwis in the final approach to the line. However, the Italians were late to accelerate, allowing the Kiwis to cross the line a second sooner, with five knots more speed on the short reach to the first turning mark.
This was the fifth time leading at the first mark, but the Kiwis superiority was most evident on the downwind leg. The delta grew from 180 meters after the first gybe, to 330 meters after the second gybe. By the time the Kiwis rounded the leeward mark, they had gybed three times, growing the lead to 35 seconds (approx 500 meters).
The average speed on the downwind leg for the Kiwis was 34.03 knots, to 31.84 knots for the Italians. Contributing to this is the extra distance that the Italians are sailing, which was 161 meters on the offwind leg. Simply stated, the Italians consistently have to sail hotter angles to maintain their foiling stance.
The Kiwis stretched their lead at every turn of the seven-leg race, building a winning delta of 3 minutes, 21 seconds.
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Update: Emirates Team New Zealand has exercised its option to skip the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals and go straight to the final. They will not race again in the Round Robin segment. The option was available to the team by virtue of its top position on the round robins leaderboard. The team’s decision ensures a semi-final match between the Italian Luna Rossa and Swedish team Artemis Racing which begins August 6. Full report.