Team Germany started the first day of the first match race act of this year with difficulty. While the first defeat against Team New Zealand with their new boat was still to be expected, the 17 seconds deficit against the French hurts, against whom they won their first ever victory last year.
The start looked very strong. Jesper Bank almost managed to get rid of the enemy on the starting ship. At the last moment, Thierry Pepponnet was able to free himself from the trap. But the German ship was so close to the enemy that he had to turn right again immediately, lost a lot of speed and could only just avoid punishment by the referees.
“We wanted the left side and we got it,” says tactician Henrik Blakskjær. “The start went clearly to us, and after that it looked very good on the left too.” The French tried to break free on the right. “When we turned around, we were well ahead. And then we were definitely two boat lengths ahead when the French had already turned and came towards us. But then the wind turned ten degrees to the right about twenty seconds before they hit each other and we were in the back."
Afterwards a dramatic match with turning and neck duels developed. It became clear that the modified GER 72 could keep up the speed of the French. After all, they had beaten Alinghi in their last match in Trapani in 2005.
On the other hand, the FR60 is now six years old, even though it won the New Zealand Cup in 2000. And the French weren't able to train very focused in winter. Eleven crew members had to be fired because there was a lack of money. Quite a few observers hoped that the improved German ship could simply beat opponents like the French.
But the reality is tough. GER 72 is the loser of the last Louis Vuitton Cup. You don't even turn it into a rocket. “There has to be a lot going together before we can beat such an opponent,” says Blakskjær. “At least we were able to build up some pressure afterwards. That's a good sign."
So the starting situation for the acts remains as it was. Every victory in the match race is a great success. Because the other opponents didn't look weak either.
Apart from the big four, the Swedes, who had a very difficult preparation, showed significantly more speed than the French. Team Shosholoza, which was one of the victims at the beginning of last year, also looked surprisingly quick against BMW Oracle and Team New Zealand. Even if it was slowed down by two very weak starts.
As expected, the Chinese presented themselves poorly and somewhat surprisingly +39, at least number five last season. Although the Italians were two penalties ahead of the Spanish team controlled by Karol Jablonski, they still lost the race.
Flight 1 1 Alinghi beat Desafío Español 2007 DELT01: 522 Mascalzone Latino CapitaliTeam beat +39 Challenge DELT01: 063 LunRossbeat ChinTeam DELT02: 524 Emirates Team New Zealand beat United Internet Team Germany DELT02: 325 Victory Challenge beat ArevChallenge DELT01: 016 BMW ORACLE Racing beat Shosholoz DELT01: 1