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Thread: Some just completed Match Racing in Auckland

  1. #1

    Some just completed Match Racing in Auckland

    Before dawn on Saturday, Grant Dalton walked into the Emirates Team New Zealand base and knew his team could win the Auckland edition of the Louis Vuitton Trophy.

    It was the morning after Team NZ had lost one semifinal race to Italians Azzurra and clinched the other by a second - and sitting there in the pitch black was skipper Dean Barker, all alone, watching reruns of race starts.

    "As I walked past I thought 'yeah, he's got the bit between his teeth and he's zoning in'. I know how Deano responds to pressure, and we cleaned out every start after that," Dalton said.

    Yesterday, Barker went through only one more start to overcome another Italian team, Mascalzone Latino Audi, and win the pared-down final, 2-0.

    "It's always satisfying when you feel you've saved your best till the last day, and today we did that," Barker said.

    With the forecast promising very little wind before lunchtime, principal race officer Peter Reggio made the call to reduce the finals from best-of-five - leaving the Kiwis, 1-0 up overnight, needing just one more win to restore some team pride after losing the last final in Nice in November.

    But Kiwi sailor Gavin Brady, at the helm of Mascalzone, was stunned by the call.

    "We were really shocked and it took the wind out of our sails. It felt pretty frustrating towing back in afterwards, watching all the spectators out there, when I felt we should have still been sailing. I think it showed a lack of respect for people who love sailing."

    After a two-hour wait for a 12 knot westerly to arrive, racing started in the mouth of the Rangitoto Channel, with the boats splitting to different sides of the course.

    In the pre-start, Team NZ windspotter, Adam Beashel, at the top of the mast, sent down pivotal news that the wind looked best on the right.

    On board Mascalzone Latino, with two minutes to go, tactician Morgan Larson advised Brady to head to the left end of the startline.

    Team NZ seemed to have made the better call, with a one-boatlength lead halfway up the beat.

    Barker initially wasn't so convinced.

    "It was looking like the right-hand wasn't going to come early enough for us, but it was amazing how the pressure came in and we had enough to be strong at the first intersection."
    Brady stuck fast to Barker's side leading up to the mark, with Team NZ rounding just eight seconds ahead.

    But it was the next few moments that would essentially clinch the match. After a sweet gennaker set, Team NZ quickly gybed and headed left where Beashel had spotted a windshift.

    They didn't want a repeat of their first race the day before, when Mascalzone rolled them on the run.

    "That first downwind [leg] was the key moment for us, to get the early gybe away to make the ball game," Barker said.

    Mascalzone took time to match the gybe and follow the Kiwi boat, which by then had a 100m advantage that continued to grow throughout the race, extending to 53s at the finish.

    "We had a little bit of a miscommunication on board the boat at the weather mark," Larson said.

    "We should have just come around and gybed and we'd have been on their tail. But the Kiwis were shouting at the umpires that we hit the mark, and it might have distracted us a bit from doing our job."

    Brady was still proud of his team's performance in their first regatta since 2007, and tickled with his own involvement:

    "I was sailing for Italy, but as a Kiwi it feels so good to race a final in New Zealand."

    By Suzanne McFadden
    Last edited by PD Staff; 03-21-2010 at 10:10 PM.

  2. #2
    TNZ hasn't missed a beat in what, 7 years now?

    Artemis - overblown expectations. Funny how much longer Cayard's email updates are when they win a match.


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