vs. Prada: What's the Score?
OneWorld has scored its one-point
penalty in the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger semifinals,
so now it's a best-of-seven series against Prada that
may require an eighth race.
Or is it?
Challenger series regatta director
Dyer Jones has applied to the Arbitration Panel to alter
the penalty, so that instead of OneWorld going into
each round one point down, the opposition would start
one point up.
The Challenger of Record Management
(CORM), which Jones runs, hoped the change could apply
from the current semifinals, in which OneWorld are racing
Prada. OneWorld beat Prada by 47 seconds Monday in the
Jones, a former New York YC commodore, said he had taken
the action partly because the penalty clashed with the
rules governing the challenger series. In the current
round, those rules said the first boat to win four points
was the winner, but now if OneWorld won four points
they would have only three on the scoreboard, he said.
The CORM application raises the
possibility that OneWorld could still win the round
with only those three points. Jones said also said if
OneWorld were required to win an extra point, the penalty
could add an extra race to any contests in which the
team were involved.
The question was put to moderator
Bruno Troublé at the post-race press conference
Troublé could only say,
"The question is, is the point deducted from OneWorld
or given to Prada? They are flying back to Europe now
and we expect the decision to be taken before Thursday
It may have been the funniest
press conference so far. As the schedule plods on, the
skippers grow weary of facing the same media faces and
answering the same silly questions day after day, so
they mix it up by sending crew members to the sessions.
OneWorld and Alinghi sent grinders---Andrew Taylor and
John Barnitt, respectively.
Taylor was asked, "Why did
you take so long to change your [torn] spinnaker on
the last run?"
He replied, "The first thing
we said when our sail designer, Robert Hook, joined
our team, was that all those AmericaOne spinnakers that
blew up last time were green so we didn’t want
green spinnakers. So ours are blue and they hadn’t
been blowing out until today. We haven’t had too
much training and we were a bit slow at getting the
next one up, but it’s something we don’t
want to get too good at, that’s for sure."
Barnitt, an American who was a
grinder for Dennis Conner on the original Stars &
Stripes at Fremantle in 1987, said, was even funnier.
Q: John, you enjoyed a nice shift
to the right on the first beat. Did Russell [Coutts]
and Brad [Butterworth] anticipate that before the start?
Barnitt: "I don’t know.
They didn’t confer with me what the strategy was
going to be."
Q: "They don’t tell
the crew before the start where they want to go on the
Barnitt: "Well, they didn’t
get it to the grinders. That may come as a surprise,
but it happens once in a while."
You Watching . . .?
OK, let's try to get serious here.
The next question was addressed to Oracle BMW skipper
Q: "Chris, this is your first
loss since you took over the sailing program. Do you
know why you lost today?"
Dickson: "Yes, we got beaten
by Alinghi who were doing a very nice job today."
Let's try again.
Q: "Chris, have you been
surprised by Alinghi’s start tactic to do a starboard
start and keep going on the right hand side?"
Dickson: "No, not at all.
It was a very aggressive pre-start and Russell and Brad
and Co. were fighting very hard to get to that right
hand side. Although Russell didn’t consult with
me any more than he consulted with his own team, it
was pretty clear they wanted the right."
More Breeze the Better
Monday's breeze, sometimes touching
20 knots, was near the official limit for starting races,
but the sailors wouldn't mind pushing it a bit. Sunday's
racing was abandoned at just a few more knots.
Dickson said, "We don’t
know exactly what wind speed the race committee is getting.
All they tell us is that we’re starting on time
or, if it’s delayed, we presume it’s because
it’s a little bit over the limit. From Oracle
BMW’s point of view, we certainly advised the
race committee [Sunday] that, although we presumed that
the breeze was a little bit over, we were happy to race
in those conditions.
"It’s a little embarrassing
to be towing home when the junior kids off the beach
are practicing in their P-Class, I must admit. We [would
have been] happy to go racing."
Prada's Francesco de Angelis said,
"As Chris explained, usually there are fixed limits
and yesterday we were not asked. I’ve seen all
the boats practicing in more wind than what you would
need to start the race so I think everyone would be
ready to go. I think everybody would be ready to race
in conditions above the limit."
Grinder Has the Last Word
Finally, the inquisition came
full circle back to Taylor, the humble OneWorld grinder.
Q : "Andrew, what do you
regard the score as?"
Taylor: "I don’t know
who asked me to come to this press conference tonight,
but it probably wasn’t the best one to come to."
Compiled by Rich Roberts
Pro Shop .com
2003 Yacht Racing .com
An Iventure Enterprises Production