Thursday, 26 April 2007

Yeah, baby! I've got my Mojo back!

A lovely quote from BMW Oracle navigator Peter Isler this evening: "That sort of mojo is beautiful when you can earn it or talk yourself into it that you have it. There is a little bit of that going around. And confidence breeds confidence. To keep winning and keep doing well and not taking chances and sailing conservative races, taking a chance only once in a while when it is necessary, and as long as we are fast - that will end up putting points on the scoreboard."

That sums up an excellent regatta so far for Chris Dickson and the Americans, who have gone unbeaten while every other team has dropped two or more matches. A good day for Luna Rossa too, as James Spithill confirmed his reputation as one of the smartest match racers on the racing scene, getting the better of Dean Barker in the pre-start and upsetting the form book to beat the Kiwis.

Desafio Espanol are earning a lot of respect for their performances and seem to be coming on strong while the wheels have been falling off the Shosholoza wagon of late. Ken Venn, mid bow on the South African boat admitted afterwards: "Unfortunately we ripped two spinnakers because of the way our rig is set up. It has a few sharp edges that need to be softened tonight."

If the kite-ripping problem really is as easily solved as that, then it begs the question why this hasn't been addressed before. The South Africans are getting so much of the difficult stuff right, it would be a great shame if they don't progress to the Semi Finals through such basic oversights on the boat maintenance.

After Alinghi's weather briefing yesterday morning, the breeze at last seems to be coming good in Valencia, the Lord be praised. With the exception of Wednesday's racing - which pretty much ran to the bookies' form - every day has some seen some upsets. Having said that, when you look at the overall standings now, things are pretty much running to expected form.

One of the slight surprises is just how dominant BMW Oracle are proving. The Kiwis have yet to impress in the way that Kiwis usually do, while Luna Rossa seems to need some breeze for their square-shaped Star boat to pick up her skirts and get going. Perhaps they have geared ITA 94 to the stronger breezes that are expected to come in later in the series, but as far as getting through to the Semi Finals, they are by no means assured of that. Desafio and Mascalzone in particular are looking like strong contenders for the Semis, so optimising your boat for later in the regatta - if indeed that is what Luna Rossa have done - is a risky strategy.

Tomorrow's line-up looks mouthwateringly good, with plenty of close matches in store. And hopefully more upsets.

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