'It's always tough when you have the opportunity to choose,' said Kiwi skipper BARKER, commenting on the difficulty of choosing an opponent. As the top-ranked team after Round Robin Two, Emirates earned the right to select who they would face. 'We looked at the different teams. We've had good racing with the Spanish, they're a fast team, sailing well and we're looking forward to racing them in the Semi Finals.'
'It's great for us to race Emirates Team New Zealand,' said Desafío Español skipper Karol JABLONSKI (POL). 'We are working on a few specific things to make the boat a bit faster and also on our strategy. But what you haven't done in two and half years, you're not going to do in the next two days.'
The Semi Finals are a 'first to five' head-to-head series for each pairing. A race win is worth one point, and the first team in each pairing to earn five points goes through to the Louis Vuitton Cup Final. No scoring is carried forward from previous stages of the event.
'It's not easy to forecast the weather here,' said Francesco DE ANGELIS (ITA), skipper of Luna Rossa, when asked about possible 'tweaks' his team might make to their boat. 'Playing that game hasn't been easy for anyone so far. So we'll use the days between now and Monday to try and put together the pieces of the puzzle.'
'We just had over 20 days of very tight and close racing against teams that didn't even make it to the stage here tonight,' BMW ORACLE Racing skipper Chris DICKSON (NZL) said, assessing the challenge ahead. 'The challenger group as a whole is very strong. We're all stronger today than we were three weeks ago at the beginning of Round Robin One. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and we're all stronger today.'
|And then there were four... the Semi Final pairings press
© ACM 2006/Photo:Carlo Borlenghi
For seven challengers, Wednesday marks the end of their road at the 32nd America's Cup. Three teams represented countries challenging for the first time, and each has given a positive indication of continuing onwards towards the 33rd America's Cup. Team Shosholoza, United Internet Team Germany and China Team added a unique dimension to this edition of the Cup.
'The team has achieved almost all of its objectives,' said China Team skipper Pierre MAS (FRA). 'Our result is not so much of a surprise. We expected to be behind but maybe a little closer. I am a little disappointed by the distance behind and the work we had to do to be more competitive and it's what we will try to achieve next time.'
Areva Challenge, +39 Challenge, Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team and Victory Challenge are finished as well, the latter two, the last two teams eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup.
'We have to try to keep in mind our mistakes and make it better next time,' said Vasco VASCOTTO (ITA), the skipper of Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia. 'But we are disappointed because we made mistakes we could have avoided. I think we had a great period in Valencia and we want to do it again.'
'We had a lot of fun,' said +39 helmsman Iain PERCY (GBR). 'The highlight is being part of a group of sailors and shore team who have worked against the odds, under funded and under resourced. It was a tremendous effort to get us on the start line and we had some good races along the way.'
Racing in the Semi Finals is scheduled to begin on Monday 14 May. The four semi finalists have four 'off' days until then, but are expected to be training in the lead up to racing on Monday.Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin Two - Leaderboard
|Pos||Team||Points - End of RR1||Matches Sailed RR2||Matches Won RR2||Pts|
|1||Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 92)||18||10||10||38|
|2||BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 98)||21||10||8||37|
|3||Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 94)||19||10||8||35|
|4||Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 97)||17||10||6||29|
|5||Victory Challenge (SWE 96)||14||10||6||26|
|6||Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia (ITA 99)||14||10||4||22|
|7||Team Shosholoza (RSA 83)||12||10||4||20|
|8||Areva Challenge (FRA 93)||9||10||4||17|
|9||+39 Challenge (ITA 85)||6||10||3||12|
|10||United Internet Team Germany (GER 89)||3||10||1||5|
|11||China Team (CHN 95)||1||10||1||3|
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.