The local boys have it tough…

Into the semi-finals we go, and the pressure dial gets turned up a few notches. Having got this far, the four teams going head-to-head in their pairings know that they cannot afford any errors. The first to five wins in a best of nine matches.

Having topped the table, Emirates Team New Zealand earned the right to choose their opponent for the next stage of the competition. They went unsurprisingly for the fourth placed team, Desafío Español.

The choice was likely quite easy; the Spanish have never beaten the Kiwis in seven tries over the past three years.

Source

The local boys have nothing to lose, the pressure is not on them. They simply have to go out and sail at the top of their game, try to pressure the Kiwis and take advantage of any mistakes whilst avoiding making any themselves. Sounds easy!

In the other pairing, BMW ORACLE Racing takes on Luna Rosa Challenge in what will be a hard battle, though the stats also favour the Americans.

I hope I am wrong, as I would love to see the Spanish get to the final, however I’m going with the stats and expect to see the Kiwis taking on the Americans for the big prize, the showdown against Alinghi.

Louis Vuitton Round Robin roundup

Today the semi-finals kick off with the first matches between the top four teams from the round robins. The final standings saw Emirates Team New Zealand step into the top spot having trailed BMW ORACLE Racing and Luna Rossa Challenge in third for most of the competition. However wins against both and Victory Challenge in the last three flights ensured them top spot.

The final standings then:

  1. Emirates Team New Zealand
  2. BMW Oracle Racing
  3. Luna Rossa Challenge
  4. Desafío Español 2007

So that worked out to plan…!

With one thing and anothe, I didn’t get to post my predictions for the last three rounds. Its all a little academic now, but for the record here they are. There was no cheating here honest! I had done the predictions prior to seeing the results. Anyway, who’s reading this rubbish!?

Flight 9

  • +39 Challenge    -    Team Shosholoza
  • China Team    -    Areva Challenge
  • Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team    -    BMW ORACLE Racing
  • Victory Challenge    -    Desafío Español 2007
  • Luna Rossa Challenge    -    Emirates Team New Zealand

Flight 10

  • China Team    -    +39 Challenge
  • United Internet Team Germany    -    Areva Challenge
  • Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team    -    Luna Rossa Challenge
  • Victory Challenge    -    Emirates Team New Zealand
  • Desafío Español 2007    -    BMW ORACLE Racing

Flight 11

  • Victory Challenge    -    Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team
  • Desafío Español 2007    -    Luna Rossa Challenge
  • BMW ORACLE Racing    -    Emirates Team New Zealand
  • United Internet Team Germany    -    +39 Challenge
  • Areva Challenge    -    Team Shosholoza

Predictions Round-up

Here are my stats for both rounds and overall:

  • Round Robin 1: 76.36% (42/55 matches)
  • Round Robin 2: 85.45% (47/55 matches)
  • Overall: 83.64% (89/110 matches)

I’d have taken that at the start, particularly with having picked not only the top four, but the correct order!

One more interesting stat is the teams I managed to pick their results (win or lose) 100%:

  • Round Robin 1: China Team
  • Round Robin 2: Luna Rossa Challenge and United Internet Team Germany

To be honest, China Team wasn’t a surprise, and their moment of glory came with their big win against BMW ORACLE Racing, spoiling my record a little, as that would have seen two more names on the list for the second round!

Louis Vuitton Predictions – Thurs 3rd May

A few things have been turned on their head already during this second round of matches, with racing being cancelled due to too much wind, and the Chinese scoring a famous and moral-boosting win over none other than the mighty BMW ORACLE!

However the table is starting to stabilise, with the teams in contention for the last semi-final berth needing a good run of results during the final seven matches.

Here are my predictions for todays flight 5:

Flight 5

  • United Internet Team Germany    -    Victory Challenge
  • BMW ORACLE Racing    -    Luna Rossa Challenge
  • Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team    -    +39 Challenge
  • Team Shosholoza    -    China Team
  • Desafío Español 2007    -    Emirates Team New Zealand

Here the local boys will be going all out to get an important victory against the Kiwis, with the other big match between the top of the table teams, BMW ORACLE and Luna Rossa.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to manage daily updates over the next few days, so here also are my picks for flights 6, 7 & 8:

Flight 6

  • Luna Rossa Challenge    -    Areva Challenge
  • Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team    -    United Internet Team Germany
  • Victory Challenge    -    +39 Challenge
  • Desafío Español 2007    -    China Team
  • Emirates Team New Zealand    -    Team Shosholoza

This flight will see Mascalzone Latino look to get on a roll towards a push for the 4th spot, whilst Team New Zealand will be hoping to avoid slipping up against the South Africans who won’t be fearing their opponents following the scalps they have already claimed.

Flight 7

  • Emirates Team New Zealand    -    United Internet Team Germany
  • China Team    -    Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team
  • Team Shosholoza    -    Desafío Español 2007
  • Areva Challenge    -    BMW ORACLE Racing
  • +39 Challenge    -    Luna Rossa Challenge

The top four teams will consider this a fairly comfortable day, if such a thing exists, however they won’t be taking their opponents lightly and will want to ensure they register another win.

Flight 8

  • United Internet Team Germany    -    Desafío Español 2007
  • Team Shosholoza    -    Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team
  • Emirates Team New Zealand    -    China Team
  • Areva Challenge    -    Victory Challenge
  • +39 Challenge    -    BMW ORACLE Racing

This will be a day for the middle table teams to look to gain ground over their direct competition, with much needed wins. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.

Louis Vuitton Predictions – Weds 2nd May

After so many cancellations due to lack of wind, it was only a question of time before we saw too much. Yesterday saw racing abandonded with 30 knot gusts on both courses.  Lets hope today provides s with slightly calmer conditions!

Flight three from yesterday will be raced along with flight 4. Predictions as follows:

Flight 4

  • Emirates Team New Zealand    -    Areva Challenge
  • Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team    -    Desafío Español 2007
  • China Team    -    United Internet Team Germany
  • Luna Rossa Challenge    -    Team Shosholoza
  • BMW ORACLE Racing    -    Victory Challenge

Luna Rossa Challenge will be looking to avoid a repeat of their loss to Team Shosholoza in round one, while BMW ORACLE must be hoping further gear failure does not cause them to drop more vital points at the top of the table. A good days racing in prospect in what are likely to be heavier conditions than we have seen up until now.

Louis Vuitton Predictions – Tue 1st May

Following the shock defeat of ORACLE BMW yesterday to the Chinese (although the Americans did have a headsail problem for pretty much the whole match) lets see what surprises today gives us!

My picks in bold:

Flight 3

  • Desafío Español 2007 – Areva Challenge
  • +39 Challenge – Emirates Team New Zealand
  • United Internet Team Germany – Luna Rossa Challenge
  • China Team – Victory Challenge
  • Team Shosholoza – BMW Oracle Racing

Louis Vuitton Predictions – Mon 30th April

Into Round Robin 2 we go, with the pressure building on the teams in mid-table to out a string of results together to try and make a stake for the 4th semi-final spot. i still don’t see any real danger to the big three teams, though the Kiwis will be starting to worry that they are some way behind Oracle’s consistency.

So my picks are:

Flight 1

  • BMW ORACLE Racing – United Internet Team Germany
  • Victory Challenge – Team Shosholoza
  • Luna Rossa Challenge – China Team
  • Emirates Team New Zealand – Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team
  • Areva Challenge – +39 Challenge

Flight 2

  • Team Shosholoza – United Internet Team Germany
  • BMW ORACLE Racing – China Team
  • Luna Rossa Challenge – Victory Challenge
  • +39 Challenge – Desafío Español 2007
  • Areva Challenge – Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team

Disclaimer: I know some matches in flight 1 were raced yesterday, but I have not seen the results prior to posting this!

Louis Vuitton Week 2 roundup

The second week of the Louis Vuitton Cup gave us a much better spectacle, with fewer flights rescheduled, some good close racing and a couple of surprise results.

The rankings are starting to stabilise, with the three big teams at the top and Desafío Español in the final berth for the semi-finals. BMW Oracle Racing are no longer unbeaten, and the Kiwis Emirates Team New Zealand will be looking to improve their perfomances during the second round of matches.

Predictions RoundupWith the Round Robin 1 complete, my stats for the round are 42 correct picks from the 55 matches. Thats an average of 76%, or just under 4 out of every 5 matches per flight. Not bad if I say so myself! :-p

Louis Vuitton Predictions – Fri 27th April

Some big matches today, particularly for the Spanish and Americans. Desafío will be looking to capitalise on the two wins earned yesterday and prove themselves real contenders against their direct rivals for the semi-finals. Emirates cannot afford many more slipups, and will be looking to claw back some points by halting Oracle’s unbeaten run in their second match, if the Spaniards haven’t already managed to register a big win in flight 10.

So, on to my picks:

Flight 10

  • Luna Rossa Challenge    -    Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team
  • Emirates Team New Zealand    -    Victory Challenge
  • BMW ORACLE Racing    -    Desafío Español 2007
  • +39 Challenge    -    China Team
  • Areva Challenge    -    United Internet Team Germany

Flight 11

  • +39 Challenge    -    United Internet Team Germany
  • Team Shosholoza    -    Areva Challenge
  • Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team    -    Victory Challenge
  • Luna Rossa Challenge    -    Desafío Español 2007
  • Emirates Team New Zealand    -    BMW ORACLE Racing