Americans sinking fast
VALENCIA, Spain -- After dominating the early rounds of the Louis Vuitton Cup, BMW
The San Francisco-based team lost to Italian boat Luna Rossa yesterday and trails, 3-1, in their best-of-nine semifinal series.
Except for a last-minute surge to take the second-flight race at the finish, the Americans have not led a race in the series. The fifth-flight race is scheduled for today.
"I'd be surprised if there were any changes," BMW Oracle Racing navigator Peter Isler said. "We certainly have a lot of options, but there's nothing to fix in the team -- we just need to start posting one win a day with the team."
Emirates Team New Zealand has a 3-1 advantage over Spain's Desafio Espanol in the other semifinal. The semifinal winners will meet in the June 1-11 Louis Vuitton Cup final, with the winner advancing to sail against defending champion Alinghi in the America's Cup from June 23-July 4.
Luna Rossa helmsman James Spithill had dominated BMW Oracle Racing skipper Chris Dickson in the starting box through the first three flights, but Dickson used the USA-98 yacht's pace to hold the favored right side as the boats got off the line even.
Despite the strong start, the American team was slightly handicapped when a breaker pole was damaged in the prestart.
The Americans then missed out on a wind shift as Luna Rossa tactician Torben Grael took his ITA-94 boat up the right side on the second leg and opened up a lead it did not lose on the way to a 23-second victory.
"Clearly it's not great to be down, 3-1. Us Americans tend to think of this as a best-of-seven series, so tomorrow we'll go down to our home court and try to get it back," Isler said.