The Devil and the deep blue sea keeps thwarting dreams of flying on San Francisco Bay as the Louis Vuitton Cup finalists Emirates New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa found themselves dead on the water for the third of the first three races, the disappointment showing even though the two flew bow to bow on Monday in a tantalizing show of what the America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay could be. Sometimes you just have to thumb your nose.
Italy had sailed over the finish line alone the day before, the 18th, when New Zealand had slowed to a stop because of a hydraulic problem to tie the score at 1-1; Monday New Zealand finished alone when Italy broke down, taking the lead again with 2-1.
Skipper Max Sirena said his Luna Rossa gave the favored New Zealand enough of a challenge to keep them on their toes but at the end of a press session Sirena told the few remaining journalists, Italians including 6’6” Marco Campi of Turin, that the hardest part of being a leader is to keep the crew motivated. He can’t just be their friend as when he was a sailor but he knows what they must be feeling as he worked his way up. About the disheartening technical problems plaguing the America’s Cup qualifying race, Sirena showed some mirth by saying
We’re going to put carbon everywhere.
Whether it’s the demanding schedule or the weather causing disasters, come Hell or high water Monday meant a continuation of the race postponed from Sunday due to wind exceeding the 20 knot safety limit. Monday Mother Nature turned out to be merciful, giving the racers a consolation prize of a beautiful sunny summer day. What she giveth she taketh away and so perhaps cruelly she gave false hopes of what exhilaration would ensue as the second race was again postponed due to higher wind.
Bringing in the sheaves
Nevertheless Helmsman Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa gave the favored New Zealand with Dean Barker at the wheel a good race for the first leg until the racers got past Alcatraz Island together and the Italian super catamaran broke a sheave, which holds ropes or lines used to adjust the sail. The wing sail stands taller than a jet wing extends. The first two legs of the five leg race looked promising indeed until Luna Rossa never returned to the leeward gate nearest the marina green start. New Zealand sped around the mark quietly and alone again and then back to the barn.
The boats are suffering different problems from each other.
Helmsman Dean Barker met the press in dry clothes, shorts and athletic shoes and an Emirates jersey with his sunglasses on his head. He seemed serious rather than victorious and quite human rather than a gladiator, a gentleman who seemed to be quietly pulling more for the Cup as a whole. All for one and one for all.
The Italians aren't afraid to stick it in there
Barker said in conclusion.
What Barker and Sirena have in common is heart. Sirena even sails Luna Rossa with a Swedish flag as well as his own in honor of Artemis Racing. One difference is while the affable and muscular Sirena shaves his head smooth, the aristocratic, tall and lean 40 year old Barker with the baby smooth skin and flashing blue eyes has started letting a little soft scruff of beard grow.
Barker tried to keep things optimistic and wants his time on the water. He mentioned the stronger currents as the summer progresses, which will add some speed the wind limitations prevent. The boats are built for higher speeds and fast acceleration on the narrow short course. Barker seemed focused quietly on sailing and the days ahead, the reason he's here and his job. He's also the father of four.
One older lady watching the helmsmen meet the press after the race murmured shyly how exciting it is to see the men in person after seeing them on television. They do have an understated star presence. This is the first America’s Cup to be seen by the public inland and without the necessity of having one’s own boat or a charter to go out to sea to watch. The racers have never been so accessible.
The Louis Vuitton Cup continues until the first racer wins seven points and weather permitting the Cup could be decided by this weekend.
Oracle and the other teams often practice on the Bay on non-race or "reserve" days or at non-race times on race days; and the park provides ample space to relax, mingle and enjoy daily.
Movie night in the park
Wednesday, August 21, the pavillion will show the film "Pirates of the Caribbean" for free. America's Cup poster signing from 4:00 to 4:30.
Racing Schedule here.
The pavillion is along the Embarcadero before Fisherman's Wharf and is an easy walk, pedicab ride, bike ride or Muni ride from the ferry building and Embarcadero BART.
For more information: www.AmericasCup.com
For more stories by this writer check out CBS San Francisco's website under Eye on the Bay, San Francisco arts & culture "Best Of"; and San Francisco Arts & Culture on Examiner.com. Subscribe by hittng the SUBSCRIBE button at the top of this article.
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