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Sailing Daily NewsPage

Published Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

19 November 1999

Issue # 95

Mistral Worlds 

The Mistral Worlds sail on.  One day of racing remains at the venue which is New Caledonia on the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Berths in the 2000 Sydney Olympics continue to be at issue.  The team with  the best chance of gaining a berth in the women's fleet is the Netherlands.  Marga Stalman sits 13th.  The top 8 unqualified countries go to Sydney.  With a day of racing remaining the Netherlands chances look solid.

Other nations needing a berth in the women's Mistral fleet are not fairing as well.  Israel is 20th, Great Britain 27th and Greece 33rd.

Leading the women's fleet is Barbara Kendall pf New Zealand.  She has finished no lower than 4th and her point total is 20.  These 20 points have given Kendall an amazing 44 point lead over Faustine Merret of France.  3rd is Jessica Crisp of Australia with 80 points.

Results for men's fleet are not yet available.  This due to a large number of protests.  However, by Monday we will know the identities of both Mistral world champions and the list of nations qualified for the Olympics.

(C)update: Round 2 all but over

For complete results of race day 11 see (C)update Daily

Only 3 races remain and Round 2 of the America's Cup trials will be over.  For all intents and purposes the standings are set and so are the conclusions drawn from this round.

On the final day with a full slate of matches the  match of importance  was a showdown between America One and Young America.  Both teams have had difficult 2nd rounds, and a win would let either head to round 3 with a good feeling.

As happens in match racing the decisive moment was the start.  The circling led to a controlling position for Paul Cayard.  Eventually he pushed Young America well above the line.  Both boats were well over the line when the gun went off.  However, this is match racing not fleet racing so being over early is not as important as being between your opponent and the mark.  America One was able to get back to the line first and lead by 8 seconds. 

Young America began a series of tacks straight away after the start.  However, they could not get out from under America One.  From there America One was never threatened.  

Round 2 has seen the rise of two one boat teams, Stars and Stripes and America True.  The pre event conventional wisdom said that the two boat teams (such as America One and Young America) had an advantage. 

With America One's 2nd boat in Auckland that means that all the boats built have arrived in Auckland.  Between rounds two boat teams have the option of switching boats.   The question is will they?

Prada's Francesco de Angelis was asked about whether Prada's 2nd boat would sail Round 3.  His answer: "This has still to be decided. We will use the time the rules allow us before making that decision."  With a big lead Prada certainly doesn't feel pressure and should be in a position to make an unbiased decision.

For America One, their 2nd boat USA 61 is more likely to be used.  They have suffered several losses and may feel the need for a boost via their 2nd boat.  America One's Bob Billingham gives us a window into America One's thought process: ""Optimize and reconfigure USA 49 and tune-up USA 61. Then, we have to make the decision - which one we will use in Round Robin 3?"

So, neither team will tell which boat they will use.  Prada has already sailed their 2nd boat.  America One's has just been launched.  The performance characteristics of all boats have a learning curve.  Even the world class sailors of America One may not be able to tune up USA 61 in the 12 days before round 3.  With a semi final spot looking certain, perhaps America One will wait until the semis to race USA 61.

Meanwhile the one boat operations like America True and Stars and Stripes will continue to optimize their lone boats.  America True has a 1995 generation trial horse, while Stars and Stripes does not.  The question is can a group of world class sailors better optimize a single boat over a period of time through intense sailing, or will the design benefits of the 2nd boats  make up for the lack of sailing time they will receive?  Before the event by a wide margin the edge would go to the 2nd boat option.  Round 2 has shown that sailing skill counts in the America's Cup heightening the chances of the one boat teams.  

The 2nd boat for America One, Prada, et al. should not be considered a magic bullet after the experiences of round 2.  Round 3 will give us answers to the questions above.