The Italian syndicate Luna Rossa Challenge defeated Larry Ellison’s favored BMW Oracle Racing five races to one in the in the semifinals of the challenger trials, including the final four races.
“We are very disappointed obviously, and it isn’t the exit we had hoped for,” said Chris Dickson, the Kiwi skipper who Ellison replaced with the Dutch skipper Sten Mohr for the final race. “We were clearly out-classed in a number of areas this week.”
This was Ellison’s third attempt to bring the Cup back to the United States.
With the victory among the final four challengers seeking to race Cup-holder Team Alinghi, Luna Rossa Challenge advanced to the Louis Vuitton Cup final.
Racing was postponed Tuesday due to a strong northerly breeze blowing near 25 knots and outside the established racing limits. In the other semifinal trial, another pre-race favorite, the New Zealand syndicate Emirates Team New Zealand, led Spanish-backed Desafio Espanol by a 4-2 margin.
The Vuitton Cup final is scheduled to begin June 1. For in-depth analysis of why the Americans failed again to win back the Cup, see the August issue of Soundings.