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The First Two-Boat AC72 Race

During the pre-start, Dean Barker skillfully maneuvered the Kiwi boat below his Italian rivals, giving Emirates Team New Zealand a clear advantage soon after, as they sped to the starting line.

© 2013 Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Saturday’s Louis Vuitton race between Emirates Team New Zealand and the Italian Luna Rossa team was the first-ever battle between two AC72s, so it was much anticipated. Having shared a "design package," the two 72s are more similar than the boats of the third challenger, Artemis Racing, or the defender, Oracle Team USA.

As many expected, the well-honed Kiwi team, with Dean Barker at the helm, easily controlled the start. And the Kiwis continued to pull away on each of the seven legs on the way to a five-minute plus victory on the 15.47-mile course. The wind blew between 17 and 20 knots, and provided ideal sailing conditions.

With more practice time on the water than any other team, ETNZ seems to have mastered the art of foiling while keeping her hulls on a level plane – despite the absence of controversial “rudder elevators.”

© Abner Kingman

The Kiwis recorded a top speed of 42.33 knots, which was a little over two knots faster than Luna Rossa’s top speed. The Kiwis were able to consistently point higher. Both boats looked spectacular while foiling.

The next two-boat race won’t be until July 21, as the Swedish Artemis Racing team still doesn’t have its boat ready.

Although Luna Rossa’s crew work was impressive, and their boat hit blistering speeds, ETNZ was able to extend its lead on every leg.

© 2013 Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Those are the facts. We’re interested in your thoughts and impressions on: 1) The first AC72 vs. AC72 race; 2) AC72s as match racing boats; 3) whether this will be a successful America’s Cup. Extra credit for those of you who watched the race in person. Email Richard.

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