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Desafio Espanol hands BMW Oracle Racing first Louis Vuitton Cup loss

Desafio Espanol hands BMW Oracle Racing first Louis Vuitton Cup loss

BMW Oracle Racing finished top of the Louis Vuitton Cup round-robin standings by beating Emirates Team New Zealand by 35 seconds Saturday.
The Americans, which earlier lost for the first time in challengers' series racing to Desafio Espanol by 1:00, finished with 21 points, two ahead of Luna Rossa and three in front of the Kiwis.
"It was a tough day. It was a tricky day. But we came out with an important win and a relatively important loss also," BMW Oracle Racing skipper Chris Dickson said.
Luna Rossa had wins over Mascalzone Latino of Italy and Desafio Espanol on the southern "Juliet" course.
BMW Oracle Racing looked to have the pre-start advantage after Dickson locked the Kiwis out in front of the line. But Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker still managed to steer his boat ahead of the Americans.
"Keeping control like we did was fantastic," Dickson said. "With about 30 seconds to go we were pointing the wrong way and I didn't want to hit (the Kiwis) as I gybed there, so it's a little disappointing.
"To have 100 percent control from the prestart and to lose it at the end ... I need to go back and look at what I should have done."
BMW tacked to the left-hand line after being three seconds behind at the windmarker to move three lengths ahead when the Kiwis tacked back after gybing to starboard.
The Americans rounded the top mark with a 24-second advantage and was never headed.
The Kiwis earlier beat Victory Challenge of Sweden by 1:42 in a 10th flight matchup. The Swedes bounced back in the 11th flight with a victory over Mascalzone Latino, a win that left it tied with the Italians in the standings with 14 points.
Saturday's final flights of the first round-robin stage were rescheduled after erratic wind postponed racing on "Juliet" on Friday.
On the northern "Romeo" course Friday, Shosholoza of South Africa beat Areva Challenge at the finish line after the French boat was penalized for not clearing the course as it performed a penalty turn. Areva Challenge's appeal of the decision was rejected by a jury Saturday.
Also, +39 Challenge got its first points with wins over United Internet Team Germany and China Team, which didn't sail due to a broken keel box. Areva Challenge beat the Germans in a 10th flight race.
The second round-robin stage will begin Sunday and must finish by May 9. The top four advance to the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals, from May 14-24.
The Louis Vuitton Cup will decide which of the challengers will sail against America's Cup champion Alinghi in the finals from June 23-July 4.
Dickson said the close races reflect well on the Louis Vuitton Cup.
"They're are plenty of teams with fast boats out there," he said. "Like last time in Auckland, there was a lot of depth to the challengers, like this time around; and when Alinghi met the defender, they were pretty strong. I see it as a good thing."


Updated : 2021-04-23 14:51 GMT+08:00