Team NZ claim 2-1 lead in Louis Vuitton Cup

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 08:21 20/08/2013
YouTube/EmTeamNZ

Team NZ claim 2-1 lead in Louis Vuitton Cup

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Team New Zealand beat Luna Rossa in the third race of the Louis Vuitton Cup finals today as the Italians suffered more gear failure in San Francisco.

Luna Rossa were forced to pull out after rounding the second mark with wingsail problems.

They had made their best start of their frequent contests against Team New Zealand but again got done for speed as the race progressed.

The Kiwis were well ahead at the time of the incident and sailed on by themselves to claim a 2-1 lead in the best of 13 series.

Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker was happy to claim the crucial point, especially after yesterday's electrical failure on his own boat cost them a race they were comfortably leading.

But he was clearly frustrated as the third race in a row turned into another one-boat affair.

"It'd be nice if we got a couple where both boats race right to the end. Unfortunately these boats are complex and are very hard to keep on the water and we've seen every team deal with issues," Barker said as they got their campaign back on track.

"We had what felt like a yacht race at the start. They did a nice job in the start. The guys worked hard across that first reach and we just held our inside line. They had one touch down right before the mark that got us through.

"We didn't execute our first jibe as well as would've liked, but the guys got back into the swing very quickly. Obviously, Luna Rossa had some sort of issue with their wing, but we felt like we were in a strong position."

Daggerboard issues took Luna Rossa out of the first race on Sunday.

Skipper Chris Draper was frustrated at the latest mishap.

"We tacked around the bottom mark and had an override on the wing sheet. It wasn't a major issue, (there was) big grind to grind it out, but we damaged something on the control panel on the bottom of the wing that would've happened shortly later.

"It was very frustrating. We had a nice start. I thought we were going to roll over Team New Zealand on the reach.

"Our reaching speed is better. We believe we can beat these guys around the racecourse, and that's a heck of an improvement since the round robins."

Luna Rossa were saved by the weather today as they battled to fix the sail in time to start the second race of the day.

Regatta organisers had pushed today's racing forward an hour, anticipating the building wind, and were hoping to squeeze both races in.

But the next race was postponed as the winds pushed up beyond the safety limits.

Tomorrow has been scheduled as a lay day and the two teams will welcome that as an opportunity to go over the boats with a fine comb to try to sort out the gremlins that have been plaguing them.

The winner of this series goes on to challenge Oracle for the America's Cup in a best of 17 race series starting on September 8.

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- Fairfax Media

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