Saturday, April 07, 2007

Finally, Some Real Racing

Yesterday, the unthinkable happened; BMW Oracle, one of the top teams suffered an embarrassing loss of both spinnaker and foresail during Race 5 and dropped from joint second in the series to fifth.

Race 4 was sailed in almost perfect conditions with sunshine and blue skies, despite thunder clouds building over the Sierra de la Calderona. Cup holder Alinghi, steered by Ed Baird took an early lead and won comfortably from two Italian boats, Mascalzone Latino steered by Flavio Favini and Luna Rossa steered by Australian James Spithill

Race 5 started in a steady 12 knot breeze. It looked as if Alinghi made a deliberate attempt to start down the fleet – maybe to give the crew more experience of close-quarters racing? Even so, she pulled back from 9th to round the windward mark in third, behind Luna Rossa and Emirates Team NZ. During the final run, any one of three or four boats could have one but Emirates Team NZ, helmed by Britain’s Ben Ainslie took the gun, followed by Luna Rossa and Alinghi.

After 5 races, the leader board looks like this:

Alinghi 55
Emirates Team NZ 47
Luna Rossa 46
Mascalzone Latino 45
BMW Oracle 39
Desafío España 37

Two more races are scheduled for today but, with persistent rain and light winds forecast, it is likely that only one race may be possible. If so, the battle would seem to be for second place with just one or two points separating Emirates Team New Zealand from Italian teams Luna Rossa and Mascalzone Latino.

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