Emirates Team New Zealand becomes third overall leader on third day

NPL13D4_1927

LRS Launch_Apr 20

LR_Apr 20

NPL13D3_1319

1600 – In some of the most challenging conditions seen yet at America’s Cup World Series Naples, Emirates Team New Zealand showed the fleet jet-like speed in winning both fleet races while tomorrow’s match racing championship will see two first-time skippers square off for the title.

Full report to come.

1440 – Tomorrow’s match racing championship will see ORACLE TEAM USA (Tom Slingsby) racing Luna Rossa Swordfish (Francesco Bruni). The two winners defeated their in-house rivals by approximately 20 seconds each. Slingsby and Bruni are first-time helmsmen racing the AC45s, but have been solid on the race course.

1350 – After an herculean repair effort that took the better part of 18 hours, Luna Rossa Swordfish (Francesco Bruni) passed its stress test and was re-launched about 15 minutes ago, in time for this afternoon’s semi final round of the match racing championship at America’s Cup World Series Naples. The crew will sail the second semi final match, against teammates Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper). The first match sees ORACLE TEAM USA (Tom Slingsby) racing J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie). Match 1 is scheduled to begin at 14:05 and Match 2 at 14:22. Reports from the race course show the wind blowing at 13 knots from a southerly quadrant.

1220 – The weather forecast for the day once again calls for south/south-southwesterly winds of 8-12 knots for a large portion of today’s racing. Later in the day the wind could gust in the mid-20s, which might make the second fleet race a wild affair.

Download the latest crew list

Today’s schedule of matches in the semifinal round was published in reverse order in an earlier post. Match 1, between ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY and J.P. Morgan BAR, is scheduled to start at 14:05. The second match, between the two Luna Rossa Challenge crews, is scheduled to begin at 14:22.

Recent reports from the Luna Rossa camp indicate that all hands are on deck reassembling the Swordfish boat after 18 hours of repair work. As one shore team member said, “If we make it, we will just make it.”

0930 - A pair of marquee, in-house rivalries highlight today’s semi finals for the Match Racing Championship at America’s Cup World Series Naples.

The first match pits Luna Rossa Piranha against Luna Rossa Swordfish. The two helmsmen, Chris Draper and Francesco Bruni, have been tabbed to share the helm of Luna Rossa’s AC72 in the upcoming Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series (July 4-Aug. 30), and they know each other’s moves well after a winter of training in New Zealand.

“There’s nothing on the line, just a bit of bragging rights,” said Draper with a grin and chuckle. “It’ll be an opportunity for us to learn a bit more in a racing environment. We’ve done plenty of pre-starts against one another, so it’ll be good fun.”

In the other match ORACLE TEAM USA takes on J.P. Morgan BAR. Helmsmen Tom Slingsby and Ben Ainslie are brothers in arms in ORACLE TEAM USA, the defense team in the upcoming 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco (Sept. 7-21), and trained together for America’s Cup World Series Naples. “We’ve been doing a bit of training with Ben, so it’s funny that he’s our next competitor,” said Slingsby. “It’s been 50-50 in the results. He’s a legend in Olympic sailing and a world match racing champ. He’s the heavy favorite. I’ve got to do what I can and hope to get through.”

With a laugh Ainslie said, “There’s plenty of in-house rivalry. They’re doing really well and had a fantastic day (yesterday). There’ll be a lot on the line.

“We trained together in San Francisco. I’d like to think we’ve been quite open with each other and helping each other prepare. We’ve shared most things and they’re sailing really well. I think it’ll be a close race,” Ainslie said.

After the semi finals the next two fleet races are scheduled and the crews will look to keep up their consistency ahead of Sunday’s finale, which awards 40 points to the winner.

At the end of the day’s racing the crowds, which have turned out en masse despite the work week, will be treated to a Red Bull Air Show at approximately 17:00. The pilot is German Air Race Pilot Matthias Dolderer and the show will last around 15 minutes. It will be easily visible from the America’s Cup World Series Village stretching along the waterfront.