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The Defender stays top of the table on a good racing day in Valencia

Louis Vuitton Cup - The Defender stays top of the table on a good racing day in Valencia
VALENCIA, SPAIN-(6-4-2007) Two races were completed on schedule on Friday as ideal racing conditions returned to Valencia. Both Alinghi and Luna Rossa posted strong results on the day; each earning a pair of top three finishes. The Defender, Alinghi has now won three of five races and consolidated its position at the top of the table with a win and a second place.
The wind was building throughout the day, from 10 knot Easterlies up to nearly 15 knot Northeasterlies. The wind conditions were more typical of what Valencia provides in the summer, but with an unusual large swell running, some boats suffered.
BMW ORACLE Racing had an issue with its genoa track during the second race. As the team tried to pull up its headsail after the first run, the sail pulled out of the track, damaging it to such an extent that the team couldn’t raise a genoa for the remainder of the race. China Team sailed most of the second race without a mainsail due to equipment problems.
In the fourth race of the Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 13 fleet racing, Alinghi secured its third consecutive win, confirming the Defender is still the benchmark by which all the teams should measure themselves at the 32nd America’s Cup.
The start was clean with the exception of a tight bunch-up at the Committee boat end of the line, which resulted in Luna Rossa and Desafío Español being penalised and forced to take a turn.
By taking a conservative route up the first beat, and minimising the number of tacks they had to make, Alinghi were able to nose out the slightest of leads ahead of Shosholoza who had done well out to the right of the first beat. Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Ben Ainslie pushed a little too aggressively when tacking near BMW ORACLE Racing and the Umpires assessed a penalty turn, pushing the Kiwis down the fleet.
At the top mark Mascalzone Latino’s ITA 99 edged inside the South Africans to take second place, with fleet racing specialists Vasco Vascotto and Flavino Flavini clearly relishing the competition. Alinghi sailed the rest of the race conservatively and extended on every leg as those astern were mixed in their own private battles culminating in a tense photo finish between BMW ORACLE Racing and Luna Rossa, with James Spithill’s team gaining third place over Chris Dickson by a fraction of a boat length.
With the starting line quite even, Alinghi was squeezed out at the start and forced to tack, crossing behind most of the fleet, a poor start for the Swiss defenders, who sailed out to the right. Soon after the start Emirates Team New Zealand’s NZL 84 and Luna Rossa’s ITA 94 were neck and neck for the lead on the right hand side of the course.
With some aggressive manoeuvring between many of the boats, Luna Rossa managed to keep its nose clean to lead around the top mark ahead of the Kiwis. Impressively, Alinghi had re-joined the top of the fleet, rounding in third. Astern of the Italian team, Emirates Team NZ and Alinghi both carried out gybe sets, taking their own personal match race out to the right side of the course. The run saw Luna Rossa extend while in an intimidating display of raw boat speed Alinghi rolled past Emirates Team New Zealand to take second.
Up the second beat Ed Baird at the helm of Alinghi was hounding Luna Rossa culminating with the Swiss coming in from the left, just metres from the top mark, and tacking too close to the Italians. While Alinghi led around the top mark they were immediately penalised for the tack and obliged to carry out a penalty turn shortly after the rounding the spreader mark dropping them back to third place. Metres out from the finish and any three of the lead boats could have grabbed victory, but in the final seconds Emirates Team New Zealand nosed ahead to take their first victory of Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 13, leaving Luna Rossa second and Alinghi third.
The race was disappointing for BMW ORACLE Racing who damaged the headfoil and for the second beat they were unable to hoist a headsail, finishing 10th.


Source: Event Media

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