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12 September 2004, 05:51 pm
Spectacular Final Day
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© Max Ranchi

America's Cup Act One

For the second consecutive weekend hundreds of boats gathered off Marseille to celebrate the America's Cup at the Marseille Louis Vuitton Act. One final flight of races was scheduled on Saturday, to complete the opening Act of the 32nd America's Cup.
The American BMW ORACLE Racing team had wrapped up a series win on Friday afternoon after an impressive week of results, but every other place on the points table was up for grabs on Saturday. The big winner of the day was the French LE DEFI team, which defeated Team Shosholoza to vault into a tie for fourth place with K-Challenge. DEFI had previously beaten its French rival when they lined up earlier in the week, and thus becomes the fourth place finisher, ahead of K-Challenge and South Africa's Shosholoza.

At the top of the leaderboard, BMW ORACLE with first place assured could afford to lose its match to Alinghi on Saturday, and that's exactly what happened. Team Alinghi finishes in second place overall, while Emirates Team New Zealand finished the Marseille Louis Vuitton Act in third position.

None of the top three teams earned the full amount of points on offer in the match racing segment of the event, with each losing one match to one of the others. BMW ORACLE won this event by dominating three of the four fleet races, leaving Alinghi with just one fleet race victory, and Emirates Team New Zealand with none.

"I think all three top boats are plenty quick enough to win," said syndicate head Larry Ellison. "There's not much in it, a gybe here, a mark rounding there, a little bit of a shift. That's the difference between these boats. Our crew work is good, our boat's fast, but we're racing against the best teams in the world. We're racing against Alinghi who are the best team, the America's Cup defenders, and I'm very happy to have beaten them here in Act 1…We'll go back and do some two-boat sailing in Valencia, and give our best shot at winning Acts 2 and 3. But it's going to be tough."

The conditions were good for racing on Saturday after a short postponement to allow the wind to build and stabilise. Racing took place in an 8 to 10 knots Southeasterly, with patches of better pressure, and small shifts on the course keeping the tacticians busy. The Race Committee kept the action tight for the hundreds of spectator craft with a short, eight-mile race course providing plenty of opportunities for the boats to interact.

Full details of the final day are available on the America's Cup Website at the address below.
AC Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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