The favourites were toppled off Nice yesterday when Emirates Team New Zealand was bundled out of the Louis Vuitton Trophy, whitewashed 2-0 in a light airs final that entirely suited the Sardinia-based Italian team Azzurra.
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda wants to return to the top table of yacht racing and skipper Francesco Bruni said afterwards: “It’s an amazing sensation. I can’t find the words to describe it. We knew we could do a good job but we never thought about beating Team New Zealand in the final.”
“I think we sailed well today, but Azzurra was clearly better than us,” said TNZ skipper Dean Barker. “They did everything right.”
Azzurra had also dispatched Britain’s Team Origin, skippered by Ben Ainslie, 2-1 in their semi-final. Origin then went down to Russia’s Synergy in the third-place play-off.
With less than 500 miles to the finish of the Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre to Costa Rica, Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier-Brenac maintain their comfortable lead over Kito de Pavant and Francois Gabart with Mike Golding and Javier Sanso trailing by 283 miles but heading for a third-place finish over the next 48 hours.
Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson are eighth, slowed slightly by having to pick up a spare part on the northern tip of St. Lucia to repair the generator. Sam Davies and Sidney Gavignet bring up the rear of the 10 remaining 60-footers with a deficit of 1,350 miles.