Sailing teams from the USA, New Zealand, Italy and France will contest the semi-finals of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai starting Friday.
The final places were set in stone when the Synergy Russian Sailing Team and Sweden’s Artemis Racing were eliminated in competition today in waters off the Dubai International Marine Club.
The USA’s BMW Oracle Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand, seeded first and second after ten days of round robin racing, each consolidated their positions with victories in their respective races.
The New Zealanders denied Synergy a place in the semi-finals in a sharp contrast with the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena when the Russian team finished second, losing to the Kiwi team only after a closely-fought 3-2 series.
“We’re pretty happy with our performance today,” said Ray Davies, tactician for Emirates Team New Zealand. “Against Synergy and against All4One it was pretty light and shifty and it’s so important to get that first shift off the start line.
“We have had a patchy regatta to date but we’ve still qualified second. BMOR have been the stand-out so far but with these events, you gotta win the last race and not the first one. It’s important of course to keep improving and we think we’ve done that.”
The second race today saw BMW Oracle Racing, holders of the America’s Cup, win against Italy’s Mascalzone Latino Audi team, the challenger of record for the next America’s Cup in 2013.
James Spithill, skipper of the American boat, adroitly finished this race before it started, landing a penalty on Mascalzone’s Gavin Brady in a tense pre-start maneuvering stand-off.
The loss could have been fatal for the Italians who were trailing on the leaderboard earlier in the regatta. However two inspired performances on Monday had boosted their points and their chances.
The French/German boat All4One eliminated Artemis Racing in their race today to clinch their place in the final four, a result that might have taken the sting out of a loss to Emirates Team New Zealand in the final race of the day.
“We could start the last race today quite relaxed,” said Jochen Schumann, All4One’s skipper. “It’s important to get to the next round and we made it! We sailed quite well as a team and we generally lost by quite small margins. The competition is very even. Now we have a new chance in the semi-finals.”
More informations : Louis Vuitton Trophy website
Photo credit : Bob Grieser / ousideimages.com / Louis Vuitton Trophy