It was a beautiful day for racing on the waters off Valencia, with bright sunshine and warm Mediterranean temperatures generating a 12 to 14 knot sea breeze. A spectator fleet of over 250 boats lined the borders of the race area to enjoy the spectacle of two top America's Cup teams battling for supremacy.
Having conceded the right-hand side of the start line yesterday, James SPITHILL (AUS) took some risk in getting across the bow of Emirates Team New Zealand while Luna Rossa was on port tack. Despite a Y-flag protest by the Kiwis, the Umpires green-flagged the situation and the Italian gamble had paid off; SPITHILL was now controlling the right-hand side of the start box.
As the start gun fired however, it was the New Zealand boat that was fully up to speed, with the Italians close to windward but forced into an early tack to the right. That extra momentum off the start gave Dean BARKER (NZL) an early boatlength's advantage, which he used to tack over and shadow SPITHILL's progress to the right.
Like yesterday, the boats looked absolutely matched for speed in these moderate, steady breezes, which made that early advantage to the Kiwis all the more crucial. When the Italians eventually tacked back to face the enemy, the New Zealanders were able to respond to every assault and put added distance on their rivals as a tacking duel ensued.
At the first mark, the Kiwi advantage was up to 25 seconds. The Italians attempted a gybing duel down the run but weren't close enough to cause any harm. By the leeward gate the gap had extended to 35 seconds. Then it was a more passive second beat as the New Zealand lead was big enough to allow Terry HUTCHINSON (USA) to dictate more of a 'loose cover' strategy. In fact at times he even allowed Torben GRAEL (BRA) some breathing room, first to the left and then to the right side of the course, but each time the New Zealanders kept on extending.
At the final mark, the advantage was up to 39 seconds and despite more gybing from the Italians down the final run, the Kiwis crossed the finish line 40 seconds ahead, and looked very happy to have won by such a convincing margin.
Louis Vuitton Cup - Final
|Luna Rossa Challenge||0||0||0|
|Emirates Team New Zealand||1||1||2|
The America's Cup Match and Challenger/Defender Series are designated as ISAF Special Events. For more information on the America's Cup, the Louis Vuttion Acts and the teams competing, visit the official America's Cup website - www.americascup.com.
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