The last day of semi-formal racing before the Louis Vuitton Cup ended yesterday.The CORM Race Committee Trials concluded today in blustery conditions and bright sunshine.
Only four boats ventured out to the Hauraki Gulf to race on Tuesday and these were OneWorld Challenge with USA-51, GBR Challenge with GBR-52, Alinghi Challenge with SUI-63 and Oracle Racing with USA-49. Conditions were similar to yesterday with 17-25 knots from the South West yielding physical sailing on flat water. Two flights of races took place with Oracle and OneWorld racing in the first match and GBR and Alinghi the second. Then in the second flight Alinghi and Oracle met in the first pair and OneWorld and GBR Challenge went up against each other in the second.
Russell Coutts steered Alinghi today and his team showed the kind of mastery of the blustery conditions in the first race against GBR Challenge that the British Team will be aspiring to by the time the Louis Vuitton Cup starts in October. Alinghi's second race was against Oracle Racing steered today by John Cutler. With an active pre-start, where both boats showed the full range of moves including some backwards sailing, a close battle ensued with plenty of tacking and a tight first mark rounding. The first run saw the trailing boat attack the leader in a windy gybing duel. Boat handling became an issue and the leader eventually relinquished the lead to the better-handled boat. But the race remained extremely close with less than 20 seconds between the pair at each and every turn mark. Due to the unofficial nature of the event the identity of the winner of this outstanding race cannot be disclosed. Again a series of sports photographers enjoyed the conditions from onboard a Louis Vuitton Press Boat and also from a helicopter. Many of these photographs will be used in publications in the lead up to the Louis Vuitton Cup.