- January 
- June 
- September 
- January 
- May 
- April 
- August 
- November 
Kiwi Boat No Match For Italian Speedster
Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday January 28, 1992
SAN DIEGO, Monday: Italy's Il Moro di Venezia emerged as the front-runner in the America's Cup challenger elimination trials by outsailing co-favourite New Zealand off San Diego yesterday, and, in the process, revealed a weakness in the Kiwis yacht's armoury.
New Zealand's design team, headed by Bruce Farr, has gone for a breakthrough in design unlike any other boats racing here, that is, short, light and skiff-like with a modest sail area. Every other yacht in the series is pitched towards the more medium/heavy displacement hull and large sail area end of the International America's Cup Class rule.
The general theory among the designers has been that the heavier, big sail-plan yacht is better in the choppy seas off the coast of San Diego. Yesterday, with the wind only 5-7 knots and after a close upwind battle, New Zealand led around the first mark by 12s, but the Italians capitalised on mistakes by the Kiwi crew to take the lead on the downwind run.
New Zealand took off initially by gybing around the first mark and electing to fly a conventional spinnaker, while the Italians hoisted a larger, asymmetrical gennaker which proved to be more stable as well as more powerful
Il Moro led around the leeward mark of the 20-nautical-mile course by 51s then, on the second windward beat, and with a dramatic burst of speed, extended that lead to 4min 12s.
New Zealand looked underpowered and unsteady in the very low wind range, bobbing around in the low swell, while Il Moro drove cleanly ahead and away.
New Zealand, 5min 8s behind at one stage of the race, closed in again on the run to the finish as the wind freshened slightly to 8 knots to cross 2min 14s behind.
Il Moro's skipper Paul Cayard said of the second windward leg: "We do have a bigger boat, we have more sail area and we have more sail area up high.
"I think that was an advantage; when the wind gets lighter and gets'sheary' there is typically more wind aloft than down low.
"I am happy with our boat. We are plodding along a conservative track.
"It seems the Kiwis are more off on their own, away from the pack. and from what I have seen so far, and what I saw today, I am happy where we are."
Both Australian yachts were uncompetitive in the light winds. Challenge Australia (Phil Thompson) went down by 8min 52s to Nippon (Chris Dickson, Japan), and Spirit of Australia (Peter Gilmour) lost by 11min to Ville de Paris.
Both syndicates know they have light-air weaknesses. The situation was made worse for Spirit, which trailed the French yacht by 2min 13s on the reaching legs, when a major wind shift turned the last reach into a windward beat.
Peter Gilmour clearly won the start over Marc Pajot, the skipper of Ville de Paris, but Spirit was just slower upwind to round the first mark 32s behind.
Challenge Australia came off the starting line in good position against Nippon, slightly ahead and to leeward when both yachts tacked on to port.
But the Australians were caught on the wrong side of a wind shift to the left which gave Nippon an immediate advantage and a 1min 40s lead around the first windward mark.
Challenge Australia syndicate head Syd Fischer said after the race: "We were not designed for that weight of breeze and should get progressively better in the fresher breezes as the months go on."
In the remaining race, the Spanish in Espana 92 (Pedro Campos) led all the way to beat Tre Kronor (Gunnar Krantz, Sweden) by 4min 22s.
Although the international jury ruled that the use of the one-metre bowsprit on New Zealand-which is a temporary attachment point for spinnakers and gennakers for downwind gybing manoeuvres-was legal and the French team withdrew its protest on this issue, the Italians last night tried to re-open the case with another protest. Spirit of Australia has also queried the bowsprit's use to the international jury.
By extending a sail well beyond the forestay, the bowsprit spreads the gennaker around the rigging and speeds its transfer from one side of the boat to the other. If the legality is established, the French have already indicated they will fit a similar bowsprit and other teams will surely follow
Louis Vuitton Cup, Day 2, round robin 1: Espana 92 (P. Campos, Spain) d Tre Kronor (G. Krantz, Sweden) by 4min 22s; Nippon (C. Dickson, Japan) d Challenge Australia (P. Thompson) 8min 52s; Il Moro di Venezia (P. Cayard, Italy) d New Zealand (R. Davis) 2min 14s; Ville de Paris (M. Pajot, France) d Spirit of Australia (P. Gilmour) 11min.
Progress points: Espana 92, 2; Il Moro di Venezia, 2; Nippon, 2; Ville de Paris, 1; New Zealand, 1; Challenge of Australia, 0; Spirit of Australia, 0; Tre Kronor, 0.
Tuesday's draw: Ville de Paris v Espana 92, Spirit of Australia v Tre Kronor, Nippon v Il Moro di Venezia, New Zealand v Challenge Australia.