SAN FRANCISCO, July 29, 2013 — Just two matches remain in the Louis Vuitton Cup round-robin matches, but Emirates Team New Zealand has now won nine races in nine starts, which gives the team the option of advancing to the Louis Vuitton Cup Final or choosing its opponent for the semifinal round.
With skipper Dean Barker back on the helm after Saturday’s breather, on Sunday the Kiwi team grabbed the lead on the first reach leg against Luna Rossa Challenge and never looked back. Emirates Team New Zealand led by 7 seconds at the first turning mark, 35 seconds at the second turning mark and 1:35 at the third turning mark on the way to a 3:20 victory.
After Sunday’s victory, Emirates Team New Zealand exercised its option to skip the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals and advance straight to the final. That decision ensures a semifinal match between Luna Rossa Challenge and Artemis Racing.
Barker told a press conference in San Francisco on Sunday that the team had thought about how to use the time between the end of the round robins and the final. “We weighed up whether to race the semifinals and get more race practice on the course but not knowing if Artemis would be ready to start, against spending more time on developing the boat.”
Without going into detail, Barker said a number of subtle changes (some cosmetic) and improvements in various components should “make us significantly faster around the course.”
Barker said the team would not race against Artemis on Tuesday, the team’s last scheduled round-robin match, opting instead to use the time to work on the boat.
Artemis Racing is back sailing the team’s AC 72, following a fatal training accident in Maybut has yet to start a Louis Vuitton Cup match. The team says that it intends to compete in the semifinals, marking August 6 as its target date for racing.
Jill K. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and adventure seeker. Follow her adventures on dangerjillrobinson.com and Twitter @dangerjr. Jill is an avid kayaker and owner of Half Moon Bay Kayak Company.
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