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27 April 2007, 10:09 pm
First Points For +39 While Areva Loses A Heartbreaker
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Louis Vuitton Cup 2007
Valencia, Spain

It was challenging day for the Race Committee at the Louis Vuitton Cup on Friday, when the gradient easterly breeze flirted around the 7 knot lower limit for racing for much of the afternoon. Only the matches on the most northerly course were completed with +39 starring whilst Areva suffered a heartbreaking setback in its match against Shosholoza

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On the northern most course racing started on time in 9 knots of wind and the two scheduled matches in both Flights 10 and 11 were completed. It was a different story for the matches scheduled on the southern race area, where the wind was never suitable for racing. The race officials brought the Juliet race course up to the north race area, but the wind was no better and Matches 4, 5 and 6 were postponed for the day. The remaining matches in Flight 10 and Flight 11 are now scheduled for Saturday.

That means the top six teams on the leaderboard all have critical matches left to sail to complete Round Robin One. The matches that were raced on Friday were important for the bottom teams on the ranking, and no less exciting for that. +39 Challenge had a great day, earning its first four points of the regatta, while the French Areva Challenge fell foul of the Umpires, who judged it did not execute its penalty turn properly at the finishing line, allowing the South Africans to win the race.

Flight 10

The match between Areva Challenge and United Internet Team Germany took place on its own. Due to further technical troubles with its keel China Team did not start its race against +39 Challenge on the north course.

The French and German match was a game of gains and losses with the French leading up the first beat through a tacking duel which culminated in a collision between the two boats up by the windward mark. Two penalties were awarded, the Umpires judging each team to be partially at fault for the collision. The effect of the double penalties was that neither team emerged burdened by a penalty turn. Jesper BANK (DEN) managed to slip ahead coming out of the incident, and led into the weather mark. The United Internet team led comfortably down the run rounding the leeward gate 30 seconds ahead. Areva Challenge did well on the right hand side of the second beat, its FRA 93 seeming to handle the increased chop of the waves better than United Internet Team Germany's GER 89, to the extent that by the weather mark they rounded 38 seconds ahead. The German team were unable to challenge the French further and Areva went on extend down the run, winning with a final delta over one minute.

Flight 11

In the match between United Internet Team Germany and +39 Challenge, both teams urgently needed to get points on the board. Throughout the first beat the lead shifted to and fro between the boats. At the weather mark BANK's German team rounded 29 seconds ahead as +39 gybe set around, heading for the left side of the run. On this leg Iain PERCY's (GBR) team gained enough ground to squeeze inside the Germans at the leeward gate rounding just 3 seconds astern.

'We are learning every day a bit more about the boat, we are getting to know her performances,' said PERCY. 'You all know how difficult it is to win with a slow boat, so we are concentrating on speed.'

On the second beat, the racing remained equally close and at the weather mark +39 were just 11 seconds behind. Once again Ian WALKER (GBR), tactician for +39 chose the left side of the run and finding better pressure on this side of the course slowly extended, level and then ahead. Having rounded all three marks in the lead, United Internet Team Germany reached the finish line 57 seconds astern of the Italian team.

Given its form earlier in the series Team Shosholoza were favourites for its race against Areva Challenge. Both boats were approaching the starting line early causing Team Shosholoza to circle around, losing speed, as their French rivals spun behind the Race Committee boat. As the French hit the line with speed, the South Africans remained stalled and ended up crossing the starting line 31 seconds behind Areva.

Impressively Paolo CIAN (ITA) and the South African team fought back up the beat, with Areva covering them tack for tack. The South African team showed superior boat speed, caught up with Areva and by luffing the French team, put a penalty on FRA 93, as the Umpires judged the Areva squad failed to keep clear. Shosholoza rounded the weather mark 30 seconds ahead. On the run the tables turned once again as the South Africans exploded their third spinnaker in two days. The French overtook to round the leeward gate 25 seconds ahead. Areva comfortably led around the weather mark for the second time and down the final run extended enough to attempt to carry out the penalty turn before Shosholoza finished.

In the event, Areva had enough time to round the end of the finish line and appeared to win, crossing just ahead of Shosholoza. But in executing the turn, the French boat (mast) never fully passed back on to the course side of the finishing line as the Rules demand, and thus, they did not finish the race, giving the win going to Team Shosholoza.

Shosholoza skipper Mark SADLER (RSA) was pragmatic in his reaction to the race, 'We got the points and we are very, very happy. It was such a strange race, but what matters most is that we actually managed to clock up those points.'

Louis Vuitton Cup - Friday's Races

Flight 10

1. AREVA Challenge beat United Internet Team Germany . 1:09
2. +39 Challenge won, China Team did not start . CHN DNS
4. Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team
5. Emirates Team New Zealands vs. Victory Challenge
6. BMW ORACLE Racing vs. Desafío Español 2007

Bye - Team Shosholoza

Flight 11

1. +39 Challenge beat United Internet Team Germany. 00:57
2. Team Shosholoza won AREVA Challenge did not finish . DNF
4. Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team vs. Victory Challenge
5. Luna Rossa vs. Desafío Español 2007
6. Emirates Team New Zealand vs. BMW ORACLE Racing. .

Bye - China Team

Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin One - Leaderboard
Pos Team Bonus Points Matches Sailed Matches Won Pts
1 BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 98) 3 8 8 19
2 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 92) 4 8 6 16
3 Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 94) 3 8 6 15
3 Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 97) 3 8 6 15
5 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia (ITA 99) 2 8 6 14
6 Victory Challenge (SWE 96) 2 8 5 12
6 Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) 2 10 5 12
8 Areva Challenge (FRA 93) 1 10 4 9
9 +39 Challenge (ITA 85) 2 10 2 6
10 United Internet Team Germany (GER 89) 1 10 1 3
11 China Team (CHN 95) 1 10 0 1

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.

For a complete list of all the news about the America's Cup 2007 CLICK HERE.
ACM 2007 (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Areva Challenge vs Team Shosholoza:© ACM 2007/Photo:Carlo Borlenghi
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