The six international crews at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai hosted local dhow skippers today in three fleet races when competition resumed off the Dubai International Marine Club.
Italy's Mascalzone Latino Audi won the day handsomely with skipper Gavin Brady
scoring two first places. The French/German team All4One and Sweden's Artemis Racing were second equal, while Emirates Team New Zealand was third.
Saeed Hareb, CEO of the Dubai International Marine Club, presented the fleet race trophy to Gavin Brady and presented commemorative medals to Brady and all his crew.
The Emirates Team New Zealand crew raced wearing black arm bands and with their ensign at half mast in a somber reminder of the Pike River coal mine explosion in New Zealand that claimed 29 lives. The team is planning a brief on-water ceremony tomorrow morning to pay their respects to the lost miners.
Skippers of the four semi-finalists have chosen their starting positions and their boats. BMW Oracle Racing chose to race fourth-seeded All4One while Emirates Team New Zealand will start against Synergy Russian Sailing Team.
"We chose All4One simply for the fact that they finished in fourth place,"
said James Spithill
, skipper of BMW Oracle Racing. "It's never an easy decision but at the end of the day you have to go out there and beat them. It's going to be a tough race. They're not an easy team to race against."
In the semi-finals the winners will be the first boats to win two races. The winners will race the finals on Saturday in a best of five series.
In today's fleet racing, each of the four teams raced twice over the course of three races.
Brady's finishes have been uneven over the past two weeks of racing in Dubai but he and his afterguard of tactician Morgan Larson, navigator Steve Hayles, and masthead wind spotter Cameron Dunn, made no mistakes on flat water in a very shifty five to seven knot north westerly breeze.
In his first race Brady claimed the pin end of the line and pulled out to an early lead that increased as the race wore on. In his second race, Brady went for a port tack start behind the fleet before going up the middle of the course. He emerged at the weather mark with a commanding lead that he held until the finish.
"We wanted the left in the first race,"
Brady said. "In these light air races you can't be conservative. You have to really go for it so we went for a pretty aggressive start down at the pin end. For the second race we wanted to start to the right. We didn't want to sacrifice a tack to get the right so we decided to do something that no-one else has done here and start on port tack and take the stern of all the boats at full speed."
and his Mascalzone Latino Audi pulled off a perfect start at the leeward end of the line, taking command of the left side. ETNZ made a good start to weather of the Italians but were squeezed out by Synergy Russian Sailing Team which was bow forward and right on top of the Kiwis. In the early minutes the Kiwis were squeezed out the back and tacked away to port only to have All4One, the right hand boat, tack on top of them leaving them in last place. The Italian team played the shifts well and extended. Dean Barker and the Kiwis sailed a good tactical race to pull up to second but finished 01:06 behind Brady.
Race Points and Overall Points
1. Mascalzone Latino Audi, 1 pt
2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 2 pts
3. All4One, 3 pts
4. Synergy Russian Sailing, 4 pts
New Zealand's Dean Barker got the best start, bow out on BMW Oracle Racing to leeward and ahead of Sweden's Artemis Racing and France/Germany's All4One, both to weather. Sebastien Col and All4One tacked away to the right while ETNZ spearheaded the group going left. They converged below the weather mark with Col forcing all three port tack boats to duck behind him. They rounded overlapped with All4One shooting the mark, Artemis second and the Kiwis third. The Americans trailed. The fleet stretched out on the run, rounding in the same order. They retained the same order on the beat as BMWOR closed up on the New Zealanders and then gybed away. Positions had not changed at the finish although the Americans brought wind into the finish and almost caught New Zealand.
1. All4One, 1 pt
2. Artemis Racing, 2 pts
3. Emirates Team New Zealand, 3 pts
4. BMW Oracle Racing, 4 pts
With dusk approaching fast, the course was shortened to two legs. BMW Oracle Racing claimed the pin end of the line at the start while. Mascalzone circled before the gun and started on port tack, ducking the fleet. Artemis tacked and followed but continued out to the extreme right when Gavin Brady and his Italian crew chose to go up the middle of the course. The Swedish team found themselves badly overstood in a big shift but still did better than the boats on the left. Mascalzone rounded the top mark first, followed by Artemis, then Synergy, with BMWOR last. They finished in that order as the sun set.
1. Mascalzone Latino Audi, 1 pt
2. Artemis Racing, 2 pts
3. Synergy Russian Sailing, 3 pts
4. BMW Oracle Racing, 4, pts
Overall Provisional Points
1. Mascalzone Latino Audi, 1-1, 2 pt
=2. Artemis Racing, 2-2, 4 pts
=2. All4One, 3-1, 4 pts
4. Emirates Team New Zealand, 2-3, 5 pts
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4-3, 7 pts
6. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 4-4, 8 pts
The Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai is under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, the principal sponsor of the event.
Louis Vuitton Trophy Website - http://www.louisvuittontrophy.com