Get Ahead, Stay Ahead

Published on August 15th, 2013

For the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger Finals, the race course has been shortened from seven-legs to five-legs. Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker describes how this change impacts the race outcome…

The race is now very different, shortened from about 45 minutes with 3 downwinds and 2 upwinds, now to 25 minutes with 2 downwinds and only 1 upwind. This course (with the boundary and tide) puts a much greater emphasis on the start, the first reach, and getting around mark one in good shape.

We have seen how it is pretty hard for the boat behind to gain enough leverage on this type of race course to really attack. If you get around the first bottom gate in front, you have a very good chance to shut things down (on the upwind leg).

You don’t need a very big lead at the top mark for the last time with the way the speed increases. You are nearly doubling the speed after you round it, so any lead no matter how small magnifies very quickly, which makes it hard (for the trailing boat) to attack on the final run.

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