x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Beashel admits nightmare day for Emirates in LVT

Racing gets called off due to high winds after a day of upsets with a bad loss for Emirates Team New Zealand.

The French skipper Bertrand Pace put Aleph on the leaderboard in impressive style today by upsetting the hot favourites, Emirates Team New Zealand, on Day 6 of the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Auckland. With Mathieu Richard calling tactics, Aleph won the start, remained ahead at the first cross, then forced ETNZ to make an extra tack before the top mark. Emirates strategist Adam Beashel said afterwards, "it was one of the worst races we've sailed in a long time", referring not only to his team's failure to catch the wind shifts on the first beat but what happened next, as they attempted to set the spinnaker. "We had a little tear in the chute," said Beashel. "Just a minute or two later ... the whole thing blew out - and there was a little bit of a hiccup too with the pole and that ended up in the water." Make that a big hiccup: Emirates bowman, Stuart Bettany went overboard with the pole and, as extra crew rushed to rescue him, others restrained the pole, which was being pulled backwards, putting it in real danger of snapping. Although ETNZ clawed back some distance on the final leg, using their spare sail, Aleph won by a comfortable 38 seconds. Next up, Artemis and TeamOrigin were circling in the start box for a much-anticipated race when Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio called a postponement as winds rose from 20 knots to 25, with gusts above 30. The ETNZ weather man, Roger "Clouds" Badham, had warned in the morning that strong wind would put the racing at risk, and so it turned out. After staying on the water to monitor conditions until 5pm in the hope of improvement, Reggio finally called off the day's remaining races. Tomorrow, the Day 7 races - the last of the round robin - will be run as planned, beginning half an hour earlier than usual, with today's incomplete schedule squeezed in afterwards. slane@thenational.ae

Emirates Team New Zealand 5-1 All4One 3-2 Azzurra 3-2 Mascalzone Latino Audi 3-2 TeamOrigin 3-2 Artemis 2-3 Aleph 2-4 (1 point, due to earlier penalty deduction) Synergy 0-5

Races are scheduled to start at 9.30am local time (12.30 am UAE time) Synergy (NZL92) v. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL84) Azzurra (NZL92) v. Aleph (NZL84) Artemis (NZL92) v. All4One (NZL84) TeamOrigin (NZL92) v. Mascalzone Latino Audi (NZL84).

slane@thenational.ae