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 Well done Alinghi, 5 - 2 to take the Americas Cup

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Nelsonsbattle
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Further top ratter's comment, I understand that Bertarelli intended to hold the defence on Lake Geneva after winning in 2003. Then someone pointed out that the deed of gift states the cup must be sailed on the sea or an arm of the sea.

Alinghi definitely deserved to win this last race. I counted four major errors that Emirates Team New Zealand made, any one of which should have caused them to lose this last race.

First, Emirates Team New Zealand had Alinghi on the ropes in the starting box at about 2 minutes before the start. They had them pushed over towards the committee boat and were to leeward (down wind from them and therefore having the right of way). Then Emirates Team New Zealand broke and made a dash for the line as if they had to cross just as the gun went. This allowed Alinghi to follow them down and in fact start to windward and take the right hand side of the cours - and the right hand side of the course gives you automatic right of way whenever the boats come together. Emirates Team New Zealand should have pushed Alinghi up outside the starting box, up behind the committee boat and then turned down to the start line so that Alinghi would have been a boat length or two behind them instead of alongside them and to windward.

This is a match race, there are only two boats, it doesn't matter if you're ten minutes late over the line as long as you have an advantage over the other boat.

Then Emirates Team New Zealand kept going out to the left hand side of the course, they should have tacked immediately after the line and followed Alinghi out to the right hand side. When the two boats are far apart even a slight right hand wind shift (and the wind seemed to be swinging to the right) gives the right hand side boat a large gain. It's geometry - even with a small angle, if the baseline is long enough the gain will be large.

Then there was the first top mark when Alinghi was handled beautifully - they luffed Emirates Team New Zealand up (caused them to go head into the wind) so they lost boat speed and slipped passed to take the lead at the top mark. That was probably the second best sailing in the whole Louis Vuitton and Americas Cup races.

While Alinghi seemed to have an edge going up wind, and especially when tacking (Ed Baird seemed to drop the bow before tacking to pick up speed to carry them through the tack faster), Emirates Team New Zealand seemed to be faster downwind under spinnaker. It was a beautifull piece of work from Emirates Team New Zealand getting into position where they could take the wind out of Alinghi's sails and pass them towards the bottom of the second leg.

But then error 3. Emirates Team New Zealand went around the right hand mark because it was 11 metres closer to the top mark than the left hand mark. OK, take the shorter course if it's available. But they should have tacked immediately onto the right hand side of the course where Alinghi were going - Emirates Team New Zealand were around the bottom mark and clear of it before Alinghi even got to it. Taking the left meant that Alinghi had right of way coming across from the right at the top mark.

Error 4. Coming across to the top mark from the right, Alinghi (behind and above) would have right of way over Emirates Team New Zealand when they tacked towards the mark. On the on-boat microphones you heard Brad Butterworth say, "When they tack drop down and aim for their stern and we'll get a penalty. (Pause) Mind we'll look stupid if they get across." But it went exactly as Butterworth planned, Alinghi had the right of way, Emirates Team New Zealand weren't able to clear them, and Emirates Team New Zealand got penalised. That was the the best bit of sailing I've ever seen. And that should have been the boat race and the cup right there.

Coming down the last leg the wind started to die, and Alinghi let Emirates Team New Zealand get out to the right. Now from 16 knots in the first 3 legs, the wind towards the bottom of the last leg dropped below 4 knots. And then there was a massive right hand wind shift which gave Emirates Team New Zealand a huge gain. The wind shifted over 30 degrees (as it will do when it's very light) and the two boats had to drop their spinnakers and raise their genoas (up wind sails). Alinghi didn't do this as well as Emirates Team New Zealand, some of the Alinghi spinnaker spent a minute or so dragging in the water. Emirates Team New Zealand picked up pressure on the right hand side and pulled passed Alinghi.

Now they were pulling ahead but still had to do a 270 degree turn as their penalty. Mistake number 4. When you do a complete turn in order to undo a penalty you lose a lot of boat speed, and Emirates Team New Zealand made their turn just a little too far away from the finish line. They came out of their turn, slow in the water and had 20 - 30 metres to get to the line and Alinghi passed them in that distance. If Emirates Team New Zealand had taken their turn 2, 3 or 4 seconds later they would have finished their turn on the line and beaten Alinghi.

However Alinghi sailed marvellously and it wouldn't have been a true indication of the quality of their sailing in this race if they had lost because of a last minute wind shift of that magnitude.

Well done Alinghi, we'll see you in 2009!

Alinghi win the Americas Cup 5 - 2

And thanks to the Mods for letting me post this little blog here.

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Don
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I read your blog with interest, very balanced and well written. Being born in the mountains I've never been overly passionate about this sport but since I got a chance to spend a whole day doing several shotraces on the original "Illbruck" (who won the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001/2) in 2004 I started to follow these sailing events and gained a huge respect for the crew working on these boats. Sailing these carbon monsters is quite different from what you would normally come across. Very Happy

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GordonBennett
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks to Nelsonsbattle for the comments - the last race I forgot to record, so I was keen to read about it (I missed it on the news too, and then the world moved on).

It's still Pooh Sticks for billionaires, imho, but this final was interesting at least. Very Happy

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Josh
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The first America's Cup since 1992 to not be 5-0 either way I think. I guess it's frustrating for us NZers because it was so close at times. A few little things and it could have been 5-2 the other way around - especially in that last race!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 4:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Cheers for the updates and reviews Nelson. It's comforting to know that it takes kiwis to beat kiwis Very Happy
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Josh
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

At least there's the Rugby World Cup to sooth our sorrows..... ah crap now I remember this horrible game in Melbourne on the weekend.

*sobs*

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