Synergy go forward in the final

Synergy Russian Sailing Team win the first of a best-of-five final against Emirates Team New Zealand after beating All4One in the second semi-final.

LA MADDALENA, Sardinia // "You have those days when everything goes well and today was one of those days for us," said Karol Jablonski, the skipper and helmsman of Synergy Russian Sailing Team, after a fortuitous day at the Louis Vuitton Trophy. "This is a game of small mistakes with big consequences," he added. In the second of the semi-finals, with Synergy racing All4One for the right to face Emirates Team New Zealand in the final, the small mistakes made by the Franco-German team turned a promise of tight racing into a procession. Both of the races in the best-of-three match were decided at the beginning when, faced with Jablonski's famous pre-start aggression and unpredictability, All4One made minor misjudgements that cost them dearly. An almost total lack of wind had delayed racing for four hours and, when enough breeze finally kicked in to allow a 2.15pm start, it remained too light and fickle to allow Jochen Schumann and Sébastien Col any chance of making up lost ground. A narrow loss in the first race was followed by a nightmare second race when they finished more than a minute behind while still carrying a penalty. Nevertheless, Col said that he was satisfied. "Our starts in the round robin were quite good?and I think our crew work and communications [on the boat] have been a lot better than in Auckland. Now we're looking forward to the Dubai event in November, when we can take another step forward." With the breeze sitting at a steady 10 knots the nod was given for the first final to be raced between Synergy and ETNZ. Synergy made their intentions for a fight clear with a series of aggressive and highly tactical pre-start manoeuvres only to see ETNZ snatch the lead back at the top of a beautifully judged first beat. Despite a gennaker twist at the first mark and a halyard jam at the second, the Kiwis prevailed in a tight race that saw the lead fluctuate between 80 meters and just 2m, until it all fell apart at the top of the third leg, when they misjudged wind shift and allowed Synergy to sneak through. "It was not our smoothest day on the water," said Ray Davies, the Kiwi tactician. "But we'll look forward to tomorrow and not try to do be too clever, just concentrate on keeping it smooth." It will be a challenging day for both finalists, with Sunday's forecast being for similar conditions to today. Racing is scheduled to start at 10am. local time (12 noon UAE time).