Team New Zealand wins fourth Louis Vuitton Cup yachting race

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

File:America's Cup.jpg
America's Cup trophy.
Image: Bob Covarrubias.

Team New Zealand won the fourth race on Tuesday against Luna Rossa Challenge in the bid to win the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Team NZ, racing with the boat NZL-92, won the race 52 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa, racing with boat ITA94.

Team NZ have won all the races so far at Valencia, so if they can win another race against the Italian team, Team NZ will be able to challenge Alinghi for America's Cup. Luna Rossa will need to win the next five races to challenge for the Cup.

Torben Grael, strategist for Luna Rossa, said that ITA94 does not handle very well in the light winds. Both Grael and mainsail trimmer Jonathan McKee, congratulates Team New Zealand for sailing well. McKee said it was no surprise that they were sailing well.

Ray Davies, strategist for Team New Zealand, also described the conditions as "fickle", and says that anything can happen.

The wind was estimated to be at around 6-10 knots. The other previous races have all been under 14 knots, lower for the most recent races.

At mark one, NZL92 was leading by 19 seconds, despite ITA94 having a lead of four boat lengths at the start of the match. Grael said, "We thought the right side was good and we tacked on what we thought was a safe position."

Traveller and wind spotter, Adam Beashel says that NZL92 is not faster than ITA94, but they are, at least, even. "We're happy with an even boat race with anybody at the moment." But does say that if they can match an opponents speed, they will be hard to beat.

The only changes that Team New Zealand have made to NZL92 was a few new sails, but state that's about it. It has been reported that Luna Rossa will be technically altering their boat.