LV Cup Final: Challengers Score 1 Point Apiece

Published on August 18th, 2013

San Francisco, CA (August 18, 2013) – The Louis Vuitton Cup Final got off to a shaky start over the weekend with just two of the scheduled four races being sailed and both Challengers suffering equipment failure/damage. In Saturday’s race 1, the Italian crew on Luna Rossa withdrew due to problems with its starboard daggerboard suffered in the pre-start. The crew temporarily fixed the problem, but it returned on the first leg and forced the team out after the first mark rounding.

But, sailing off to a race 1 victory wasn’t quite so sweet for Emirates Team New Zealand who proceeded to bury both hulls up to the main crossbeam when they were hit by a significant puff as they rounded the windward mark, sweeping two crew off the boat. The crew were quickly rescued and no-one was harmed in the incident. The Kiwis finished the race, putting their first point on the board in the LV Final. Race 2 was postponed to Sunday by the race committee due to winds exceeding the prescribed limit.

Roll on Sunday… Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge evened the final of the Louis Vuitton Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand at 1-1 with a victory in race 2. Luna Rossa was trailing by more than 400 meters on Leg 3, upwind, when the Kiwis stopped sailing, apparently due to a problem with the hydraulics. Luna Rossa completed the 10.02 nautical mile course in 25:34 at an average speed of 26.96 knots.

Luna Rossa helmsman Chris Draper did a nice job in the pre-start to get a fairly even start against ETNZ. But the Kiwis were to windward and literally took off, popping up onto their foils to open a 10-second lead at the first mark. The ETNZ crew fixed their hydraulics problem and were ready for race 3 when the race committee announced a postponement, again due to winds exceeding the prescribed limit.

The two challengers weren’t the only teams to suffer equipment issues of the weekend. ORACLE TEAM USA tested the race course Saturday, with Jimmy Spithill and Ben Ainslie each taking the helm of the team’s AC72s as the crews lined up for two practice races on San Francisco Bay prior to the start of the LV Cup Final.

While Ainslie was practicing a first reach/bearaway jibe, situated between the St Francis Yacht Club and The Golden Gate Yacht Club he had a run-in with a ferry demarcation buoy that resulted in snapping off the port rudder near the rudder head. The team did an inspection with a diver in the water and continued to do two races, but when the boat was lifted out of the water at day’s end, the rudder was more damaged than initially thought.

“It was a pretty abrupt stop,” Grant Simmer, OTUSA’s general manager said. “That’s a rudder that’s done 30-40 hours of sailing so it was well tested. We’d look forward to putting on a nice show today so it was just disappointing for Ben and his crew, and for people who wanted to see some close racing.”

Race 3 and Race 4 of the Louis Vuitton Final between ETNZ and Luna Rossa will be held Monday August 19, beginning at 1210 PT.
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