Sunday, June 24, 2007

America's Cup Match - Day 2: Great comeback victory for Emirates Team NZ

How fast does the spectator mood changes in less than 4 hours. When Alinghi and Emirates Team NZ left Port America's Cup at noon, the Defender was feeling confident after the first victory and the thousands of Swiss fans here in Valencia were cheerfully waving at SUI-100 being towed out of the canal. When the two yachts returned to their bases 4 hours later, roles had been reversed and hundreds of New Zealanders were blowing their boat horns. And they had every right to do it.

Once again the Valencia breeze was right on time, even a bit stronger than initially expected. Wind speed was a bit over 10 knots at 3pm and direction 110 degrees. Alinghi today had the port entry in the starting box and it was thought they would want the right side of the course. But, similarly to yesterday, the tactician's calls were different for the two teams. Alinghi, once again, wanted to be on the left at the start while Emirates Team NZ were looking for the right.

Dean Barker and Ed Baird switched sides but Alinghi's SUI-100 was 3 seconds late and at a lower pace. Nevertheless, the first stretch was a replay of yesterday's scenario. The Swiss boat seemed struggling off the start line but she powered ahead to the leeward of NZL-92. Again Dean Barker was forced to tack away and again Alinghi was put in control of the race, at least till the top mark which they rounded 19 seconds ahead. They had recovered an impressive 22 seconds in the first upwind leg.

The first run started well for the Defender. They extended the lead to more than 100 meters but allowed an enormous lateral separation to take place and Emirates Team NZ managed to close the gap. When the two boats approached the leeward gate, SUI-100 was just a boatlength in front of NZL-92. The Swiss opted for the left mark while the kiwis went to the right.

The turning point of the race took place in the third leg. After rounding the gate 13 seconds behind Alinghi, the New Zealand boat went to the right side of the course and Alinghi tacked and covered them on the left. Then the two boats switched sides, Alinghi hoping the right would prove better. Nevertheless, it was the kiwi turn to benefit from the wind shifts. The wind went left and with the two boats in a long port tack, NZL-92 gradually gained ground and kept pushing SUI-100 to the right layline. The Swiss had no option left but go over the layline and when NZL-92 tacked and headed towards the top mark, Alinghi was left behind. Emirates Team NZ built up their lead and rounded the top mark 15 seconds ahead.

During the last leg, Alinghi threw 10 gybes at Emirates Team NZ but not only did the kiwis hold on to their leadership, they managed to gain an additional 13 seconds, crossing the finish line 28 seconds ahead of the Swiss.

Prestart of the second race of the America's Cup Match between Alinghi and Emirates Team NZ. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi were 3 seconds behind Emirates Team NZ off the start line. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First cross of the race. Alinghi is ahead despite the slower start. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Not a picture to win an award for, but a clear depiction of the enormous lateral separation one third down the first run. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

At the approach to the leeward gate Emirates Team NZ had taken Alinghi's lead down to one boatlength. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ opt for the right buoy at the leeward gate. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ had significantly closed the gap and were trailing by only 13 seconds at the leeward gate. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

At the first cross in the second beat, Alinghi was in front but could feel Emirates Team NZ close behind. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The start of what would turn around the race. Alinghi on the right and Emirates Team NZ windward to them engage in a long straight stretch. The kiwis will shrink the gap and force Alinghi over the right layline. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

This is NOT the prestart. Three quarters up the second beat, NZL-92 had closed in on SUI-100, forced them over the right layline and gained control of the race. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Having passed the right layline, Emirates Team NZ tack and head towards the top mark. Game Over! Alinghi will not be able to recover. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi tack as well and follow Emirates Team NZ to the top mark, but this time trailing not leading. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Despite their efforts, it was impossible for Alinghi to find any passing lanes in the final leg. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

NZL-92 crosses the finish line and Emirates Team NZ score a great victory. Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Ernesto Bertarelli (wearing the hat and sunglasses), head of Alinghi, was obviously a lot less cheerful than yesterday!!! Valencia, 24 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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2 Comments:

At 8:47 PM, Blogger christopher said...

again*
excellent photography of exciting moments-
nice edition of weather info for preview too.
Where will the next ac cup be contested?
go kiwi's!
g'day from poughkeepsie, ny

 
At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a great website. I spotted this on our evening news in New Zealand tonight. Am enjoying your great pics and race reporting. From so far away we can certainly enjoy the atmosphere you have created. Thankyou from NZ.

angelnana

 

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