Louis Vuitton Pacific Series:  Challenger Final


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Race Report:  Challenger Final Race 2

Auckland, February 12, 2009


 

Alinghi flies protest flag (the small one, center), crossing the finish line in Race 2.
Photo:©2009 Paul Todd/OutsideImages.co.nz

 



Challenger Final:

Challenger Final Race Two BMW Oracle Racing (NZL 84) vs. Team Alinghi (NZL 92)

Eschewing the dial up, BMWOR gybes below Alinghi, with Russell Coutts chasing Ed Baird down the start box, keeping the Swiss boat to windward.  But several circles later, the positions switch as the boats headed back to the line on starboard, BMWOR to windward of Alinghi.  Somehow, Coutts gave Baird room to luff the American boat away at the committee boat, a master class in slamming the door at the line. 

The deficit at the top mark was 28 seconds, a hole nearly impossible for the Americans to erase on a short course, especially with Alinghi getting further away on the run.  There was no chance to make gains on mistakes either as an unpressured Alinghi executed a perfect early spinnaker drop and easy bottom mark rounding.  By the time the boats reached the top, the delta was a whopping 58 seconds, building further to 1:07 at the finish. 

Alinghi wins the Challenger Finals, 2-0.

Brad Butterworth, skipper, Team Alinghi:
“There were just not any passing lanes out there.  Whoever crossed the line first was going to win today.” 

Russell Coutts, skipper, BMW Oracle Racing:
“We’re left to reflect on what might have been.  We got too complacent (at the finish yesterday).  It was an elemental thing to spot but we missed that -- and it was a fatal error.  As a team, you can’t afford to miss something like that.

“That was our second bad start in this regatta, both against Alinghi.  That’s not a good thing to repeat.  We just burned up too much time.”

Also on this page:  Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Press Releases  Alinghi Press Release


Alinghi put out their red flag at the end of the race –- it turns out they were protesting the race format.  The team prefers switching boats after each race to even any advantages, while race organizers, believing the boats to be equal and preferring to keep the time between races short, set up the regatta to keep each team to the same boat for the Final, as was listed in the Sailing Instructions.

Alinghi seems to prefer NZL-92; however, Emirates Team New Zealand’s Dean Barker has said that he does not have a preference between the boats.

The protest was scheduled to be heard at 1:30 local time; after 25 minutes of conversation, the protest was adjourned until after the boat draw. 

At the draw, boat teams were told that the winner of the draw had the choice between picking a boat or picking a side of entry at the start.  Alinghi’s name was drawn, leaving Brad Butterworth to choose NZL-92.  Dean Barker choose yellow, the starboard entry.  Listen to audio of the LVPS Draw (mp3)

--  Reporting by Diane Swintal for CupInfo/©2009 CupInfo
 


Alinghi beat BMW Origin handily in Race 2 to win the Challenger Final.
 
Photo:©2009 Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW Oracle
 



Links of Interest:

Race Reports:
RR2: Day 5  Day 4  Day 3  Day 2  Day 1

Rounds Robin 1 and 2:
Head-to-Head Results and Standings

CupInfo's Louis Vuitton Pacific Series page

Visit the Official Louis Vuiton Pacific Series Web Site
 

 


Around the Viaduct:
The New Zealand Herald’s cover page Wednesday featured an extraordinary picture -- a koala in North Gippsland, Australia, an area 150 km from Melbourne completely burned out from the bush fires, getting water from a fire fighter.  Koalas don’t usually drink water -- they get their supply from the leaves they eat -- but the eucalyptus trees in the area were completely devastated.  The photo depicts fire fighter David Tree, holding the koala’s hand and giving her water from a plastic bottle.  The picture is heart wrenching and conversation yesterday centered on the koala and her chances of survival. 

Today’s Herald shows the happy outcome, a picture of Sam, as she has been named, who was rescued when Tree contacted animal welfare.  Her paws are scorched but she is otherwise fine and will be released back into the wild once she is healed -- and a suitable area for her release is found.  The fires have devastated the area, but the outpouring of support is wonderful -- including $5 million raised for fire relief Monday at the Chappel-Hadley cricket series between Australia and New Zealand.
See photo and story at NZ Herald

 



Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Press Release:

Alinghi Will Race Emirates Team New Zealand
12th February, 2009

 AUCKLAND, NZ Switzerland triumphed in a face-off between Americas Cup winners Ed Baird and Russell Coutts this morning. Steering Switzerland’s Alinghi, Baird slammed the gate on Coutts and BMW Oracle on the start line and went on to win the challenger finals of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series 2-0.

Tomorrow Alinghi meets host Emirates Team New Zealand at the beginning of a two-day, seven-race regatta for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series trophy.

Today’s race marked the end of 13 days of high-energy match racing to select a finalist to race against Emirates Team New Zealand. The home team raced in two round robins with nine international teams from eight countries but sat out the sail-off series that finished today.

Yesterday, the Swiss team, skippered by Kiwi Brad Butterworth with Baird steering, pulled off a shock victory against Coutts and his American team. Coutts had led the entire race but lost by one second.

You can always reflect on things that might have been and yesterday I think perhaps we got a little complacent at the end of the race, Coutts said. The finishing line was heavily biased towards the committee boat end and it is a pretty elementary thing to spot, but we sort of missed that, so that was our fatal error."

Today, with the threat of heavy wind this afternoon, racing started early in a 15-knot northerly and for Coutts and the Americans it was over before the start gun fired as Baird blocked his approach to the start line.

Oracle had enjoyed the advantage of the right hand entry at the five minute gun and engaged Alinghi in a couple of tight circles, the boats only meters apart. With 1:30 remaining, both boats were lining up for the start inside the starboard layline with Oracle astern and to weather.

As they approached the line Baird remained on starboard but pointed his bow straight at the committee boat. Coutts had nowhere to go and went head to wind as Baird bore off at speed right close to the committee boat.

Coutts could only follow slowly dead astern in his opponent's wake. The American boat was trailing by 40 meters just moments after the start and never threatened Alinghi as the margin opened out to 58 seconds at the second weather mark and over a minute at the finish.

We were in quite a nice position today and had plenty of time to assess the options coming on the final approach to the start, Coutts said ruefully. We burned up a little too much time when we didn’t need to.

Asked if problems with his boats trim tab affected steering during the start, Coutts acknowledged that there was a problem with its control chain a couple of minutes before the start. That’s not why we lost though, he said emphatically. No excuses. We lost the race.

Asked if he’d return to New Zealand for a similar event, Coutts said: I thoroughly enjoyed the racing over the last few weeks. I think it's a fantastic event and I think in these economic times the idea that Louis Vuitton and Emirates Team New Zealand have come up with where all the teams race in borrowed boats, rather than shipping boats all around the world is frankly a commercial reality. There's no question in my mind that this format works, it's something that should be looked at in future."
 



Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Press Release:

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series
Day 13, 12th February, 2009

Second & Final Race, Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Challenger Finals
Alinghi beat BMW Oracle Racing – 1:07s

Switzerland triumphed in a face-off between America’s Cup winners Ed Baird and Russell Coutts this morning. Steering Switzerland’s Alinghi, Baird slammed the gate on Coutts on the start line to start at speed as the gun sounded. Coutts could only follow slowly dead astern in his opponents wake. The American boat was trailing by 40 meters just moments after the start and never threatened Alinghi as the margin opened out to 58 seconds at the second weather mark and over a minute at the finish.

Oracle enjoyed the advantage of the right hand entry at the five minute gun and engaged Alinghi in a couple of tight circles, the boats only meters apart. With 1:30 remaining, both boats were lining up for the start inside the starboard layline with Oracle astern and to weather.

As they approached the line Baird remained on starboard but pointed his bow straight at the committee boat. Coutts had nowhere to go and went head to wind as Baird bore off at speed right close to the committee boat.  With a 2-0 record, Alinghi wins the Challenger Finals. 

Alinghi finished flying a red flag to protest the format for the seven-race Louis Vuitton Pacific Series final which starts tomorrow. The protest hearing will be held today as soon as the boats get ashore.

Deltas

Mark 1 - 0:30 - Alinghi
Mark 2 - 0:41 - Alinghi
Mark 3 - 0:59 - Alinghi
Finish -   1:07 - Alinghi

Pre-Race Report 0930 hours NZ Time

With an approaching low and its associated cold front approaching Auckland today, the northerly breeze was fresh this morning.  The forecast calls for heavy air this afternoon so the Race Committee is starting racing an hour earlier.

Today Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing will continue their three-race regatta for the Challenger Finals of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. Alinghi won the first race yesterday and Oracle must win the first race today to stay alive.
 



Alinghi Press Release

Alinghi Victory over BMW Oracle Racing in LVPS Challenger Finals
Auckland, New Zealand February 12, 2009

Alinghi won the LVPS Challenger Finals today beating BMW Oracle Racing by 1 minute 7 seconds

Alinghi, Defender of the 33rd America's Cup, competing in Auckland, New Zealand this month in the inaugural Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has raced its way into the Finals beating rivals BMW Oracle Racing 2-0 in a best of three competition.  The Swiss team now passes into the final stage against Emirates Team New Zealand for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Cup which begins on Friday and wraps up on Saturday.

Brad Butterworth, team skipper and tactician comments on a win on the water against BMW Oracle Racing today: It's a great result for the team; there were two good crews out there today and we had perfect sailing conditions.  In the end we managed to get a good victory and are into the next stage of the event.  It is really good to get the sport back where it belongs: on the water.  Racing not only against BMW Oracle, but alongside all the other teams is something we like to do as a group and I only hope that we can sort all this out as soon as possible so we can get on and do that. 

In the LVPS Finals draw this evening, Alinghi drew NZL92 as their race yacht for the rest of the series while ETNZ will race NZL84.  Emirates Team New Zealand drew the preferred starboard entry for tomorrow's first race.  Ed Baird, helmsman for Alinghi, comments on the upcoming race against the LVPS defending challenger ETNZ: TNZ have always shown themselves to be the best team going in the Cup boats.  They qualified in the AC Challenger Series and raced for the Cup against us last time and here we are sailing their boats, in their bay, in their current and with their stuff.  It is going to be really exciting to see how it goes, they do a great job.  They are all good friends and it is great to go out against a team like that and have a nice, clean and exciting match.
 


 

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