Americas Cup. Alinghi comments on its win over Emirates Team New Zealand

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Alinghi greeted the anticipation of Match 1 in the 32nd America’s Cup with a decisive answer, a 35-second win over Emirates Team New Zealand. Alinghi now leads the 32nd Match 1-0, with the winner the first to 5 wins.  

“It felt really good – it was a huge relief to get out there. The racing was close, but we were pretty calm having done so much really competitive in-house racing,” said Simon Daubney, trimmer onboard.  

In an easterly wind around 12 knots on the Mediterranean Sea, Alinghi and Emirates Team New Zealand took to the racecourse after an incident-free pre-start. With about 1 minute to the start, Alinghi helmsman Ed Baird, who entered the pre-start on the disadvantaged port tack, seemed to have his Kiwi counterpart Dean Barker locked outside the committee boat end. But with 30 seconds to go Barker put his bow down to escape the trap and Baird did the same to protect his position to leeward. The boats entered the racecourse on starboard with Alinghi slightly to leeward.

Daubney comments on the pre-start: “We got the side that we wanted, we were keen for the left and that is what we got.”

A long drag race ensued on starboard tack. Emirates Team New Zealand made slight gains in a right-hand shift, but Alinghi had enough boatspeed to live to leeward, a usually uncomfortable position. 

The first cross is the key point in a match race because the team that gains the lead wins about 90 percent of match races. At the first cross, about 16 minutes into the race, Alinghi tacked to starboard on Emirates Team New Zealand’s leebow. Although Alinghi couldn’t cross, the team had turned a small early deficit around. And at the second meeting of the teams moments later Alinghi crossed with two boat lengths in hand and tacked on Emirates Team New Zealand’s wind. 

The crews exchanged about seven more tacks up the windward leg and Alinghi led by 13 seconds at the first mark. Alinghi extended that lead on the first run to 20 seconds. Up the second beat Team New Zealand made nice gains to close to within 14 seconds. 

Daubney comments on the boat speed differences between SUI100, racing for the first time in official competition and NZL92:The boat speed is pretty similar between the two, but it was puffy and the breeze was up and down, so you can’t get too much of a read on it in just one race. From a first look though, it seems the boats are pretty similar in speed.”  

Alinghi, however, extended its lead on the run to the finish by sailing lower and faster. Across the finish line, although a nice first win, the crew knows that the goal to win a second Cup is far from done.


Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 June 2007 )