America's Cup 07/13: First official race between AC72s
Skipper Dean Barker of Emirates Team New Zealand gave spectators and Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge a master class in sails-manship. Summary: First to start, never overtaken, ETNZ crossed the finish line first. Not only does New Zealand score the lone point, but, pouring salt into their own wound, by finishing more than five minutes behind, Italy is officially recorded as DNF (Did Not Finish).
After both boats entered the starting box, Italy on port first, New Zealand followed them slightly inside their track. When Italy started to turn toward the starting line, New Zealand turned abruptly paralleling them and cutting them off with dirty air. The strategy was so stunning that the Kiwis held the Italians for about 15 seconds after the starting gun sounded, essentially stalling them. The Kiwis then bolted for the starting line, crossing it and jumping up on their foils. By the time the Italians found some wind, they were more than 150 meters behind in crossing the starting line. While anything can happen between the start and finish, the starting boat has the advantage to lose. Additionally Italy stayed in the Kiwis track for most of the race and got a penalty by skimming the boundary and then was slow in rounding the final mark and dashing to the finish line. They knew they were more than five minutes late by the time they crossed the line. Throughout the Kiwis were masters of foiling, even when rounding the mark.
Louis Vuitton Cup standings:
1) ETNZ (3)
2) LR (1)
3) AR (0)
The boat winning 5 points, advances directly to the LVC Finals.
Tomorrow LR races AR (whose boat is not ready; DNR, Did Not Race).

Ted Olsson
San Francisco