Jul 21, 2013

AC34, LV Cup : Luna Rossa vs New Zealand , July 21st, Replay

Image: Chris Cameron /Emirates Team  New Zealand .This was an interesting race. The Start was pretty even although NZ had a speed edge to the the mark and started the downwind ahead. Luna Rossa maintained rhythm this time, their handling was more polished and they managed to keep a steady 200mts gap. All pretty normal with the Kiwis in a somehow comfortable position when their jib halyard broke, leaving an awfully luffing draggy sail in front of their smooth Wing.
They went for some mtrs this way until they sent a bow man to put it down, all this while going upwind 20knots... but things got even messy and the jib went sideways touching water and covering the entire leeward cockpit, Luna Rossa started gaining terrain so NZ just decided to drop the sail free, their support rib got it just in front of LR that had to tack to avoid collision, no penalty was or protest followed.

LR smelling blood kept the pressure on, but the surprise was NZ was still going as fast without the jib, the first upwind mark was close and you can felt how the Italians were preparing for a fest downwind... NZ got a somehow unsteady bareaway with some high heel angle but Barker managed to control the Tractor and he just continued as nothing happened, although something was indeed happening ... Kiwis were flying even faster than LR without the jib and downwind.

The rest was an impressive display of handling by NZ, making a point for the need of a Jib at all, just like that 2010 MR between Oracle and Alinghi, where OR just decided to hoist down the jib on purpose resulting in a even greater performance.

The feedback I got from people that knows a little on this is that they saw this coming months ago and recently on the jibs luffing on downwinds, the main issue for them without the Jib would be tight reaching and bareaway on the pitch balance. Which ever the case it is clear we are going to see more of this C-Class style racing in days to come.

Also received some info on new penalty systems and the polars to asses them, will publish later.

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