In the opening matches of Flight One, the Defender of the America's Cup, Alinghi faced the local favourites, in Sweden's Victory Challenge. The Swiss team had Jochen SCHUEMANN on the helm for the first time in competition, as the Defender looks to build two strong racing teams. SCHUEMANN didn't look out of place at all, starting well against Sweden's Magnus HOLMBERG, and building a good lead on the first leg. The Swiss demonstrated good speed and boat handling in racing away to the win.
In other matches in the opening flight, helmsman Thierry PEPONNET on K-Challenge executed an aggressive pre-start, pushing +39 over the starting line early. That advantage at the start was converted into a race win by a French team who sailed a slick race.
New helmsman Chris LAW on Shosholoza was very comfortable on the pre-start, the South African team looking much stronger than in Valencia. Although the South Africans lost to BMW ORACLE Racing, it was a much better effort from Shosholoza, who held an advantage on the early part of the leg.
Emirates Team New Zealand dispatched United Internet Team Germany, while Luna Rossa dispatched China Team. The Desafío Español squad won its race when Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team was forced to retire with equipment problems.
Despite a schedule that offered what appeared to be straight-forward matches, there was plenty of action in the afternoon matches, with people falling overboard, blown sails, and dramatic start line manoeuvres. The incidents were precipitated perhaps by an increase in wind strength with gusts approaching 20 knots.
The most important incident concerned the +39 Challenge when two crew members, Giuseppe LEONARDI and Anthony NOSSITER were swept into the water as they tried to hold a spinnaker down on the deck when the wind began to blow it out of the sail bag.
The sailors were plucked out of the water by the nearest Umpire boat, transferred to a support boat, and then back aboard the race boat. +39 was penalised for the incident as the Rules dictate it should be, and completed a 270-degree penalty turn before finishing.
Victory Challenge posted its first point of the series with a win over K-Challenge, earning the victory in the pre-start. Skipper Magnus HOLMBERG timed his sprint to the line perfectly, leaving K-Challenge behind and to leeward as the start gun fired. French skipper Thierry PEPONNET couldn't recover from the poor start and the home team sailed safely to its first win.
Emirates Team New Zealand had a fright rounding the leeward gate in its match against China Team. A broken spinnaker pole led to the sail falling into the water and the boat nearly stopping. China Team threatened to overtake the Kiwis but the Emirates squad recovered just in time.
The Spanish team had a similar scare when its jib came down on the second upwind leg against United Internet Team Germany. A quick recovery by Spaniards meant the Germans couldn't overtake, but it certainly closed up the gap.
Like the Kiwis, BMW ORACLE Racing also broke a pole setting up for the final run, but had a secure enough lead over +39 to win the race easily. Finally, the Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team was unable to complete the second flight either, continuing to suffer from problems with its mainsail.
Racing continues on Friday with similar conditions forecast and two more full flights scheduled.
Alinghi (SUI 75) beat Victory Challenge (SWE 73), delta - 0:54
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 76) beat Team Shosholoza (RSA 83), delta - 1:33
K-Challenge (FRA 60) beat +39 Challenge (ITA 59), delta - 0:38
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 82) beat United Internet Team Germany (GER 72), delta 1:39
Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 67) won, Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team (ITA 77) retired
Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 74) beat China Team (CHN 69), delta - 1:38
Alinghi (SUI 75) beat Team Shosholoza (RSA 83), delta - 3:07
Victory Challenge (SWE 73) beat K-Challenge (FRA 60), delta 0:24
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 76) beat +39 Challenge (ITA 59), delta 1:48
Desafío Español 2007 (ESP 67) beat United Internet Team Germany (GER 72), delta - 1:14
Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 74) won, Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team (ITA 77) retired
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 82) beat China Team (CHN 69), delta 0:32
Malmö-Skåne Louis Vuitton Act 6 Points Leaderboard
|Emirates Team New Zealand||2|
|BMW ORACLE Racing||2|
|Desafío Español 2007||2|
|Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team||0|
|United Internet Team Germany||0|