Smooth sailing for Team N. Zealand

DUBAI - The Synergy Russian Sailing Team and Emirates Team New Zealand both featured in come-from-behind victories during close competition on Monday at the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Dubai, a press release said.

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Published: Tue 16 Nov 2010, 11:59 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:02 AM

Their efforts put the Kiwis and Russians second and third respectively in the standings after Day Two but it is James Spithill’s American team BMW Oracle Racing that enjoys first place with a perfect 4-0 score.

Weather played a role in curtailing racing, forcing the race committee to postpone one match until tomorrow.

The start of racing was delayed as the race committee waited for the sea breeze to fill in. One hour before the scheduled start at noon there was barely a breath of wind as the temperature hit 30 degrees on its way to a forecast high of 32 deg.

Racing got under way an hour and a half later in a building northerly breeze. Later in the afternoon a gusty, dusty breeze off the desert heralded an easterly wind shift and briefly postponed competition before racing restarted in 15-knot northeaster.

The Synergy team, which narrowly missed winning the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena earlier this year, pulled out all the stops in their race against Mascalzone Latino Audi, the challenger-of-record for the 34th America’s Cup in 2013.

Synergy’s helmsman Francesco Bruni went for the jugular in the prestart, only to be penalized for hitting the safety wands on the stern of his opponent’s boat. Undaunted, he eked out a 120 metre lead by the top of the second windward leg and completed his penalty turn to round in company with Mascalzone.

Now the Italians led but only until their spinnaker parted company with its halyard and fell in the sea. Game set and match to the Russians.

“We had quite a mixed pre-start,” said Synergy tactician Rod Dawson, with masterful understatement. “Then we came off the start line with a small edge and capitalized on that.

“We extended up the beat and throughout the race. We were sailing really well.”

There were lead changes too in the contest between Emirates Team New Zealand and the French/German boat All4One. Dean Barker won the start only to surrender the lead half way up the first beat as his opponent Sebastien Col pulled off a risky port tack cross.

Closing the leeward mark, the Kiwis rolled their opponents and grabbed an inside overlap plus the lead at the mark, despite an untidy spinnaker drop that threatened to put the brakes on their advance.

“It was a tricky little race,” said ETNZ tactician Ray Davies. “It was a very difficult course with quite big wind shifts and the game was changing all the time. It looked straightforward but it wasn’t.”

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