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Good Day For European Teams


Team Alinghi defeats Mascalzone Latino in Race 3 of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

AUCKLAND - OCTOBER 5, 2002 - It was an easy win for SUI-64 against the Italians on Mascalzone Latino, skippered by Vincenzo Onorato. It was a perfect day for racing, starting in a freshening breeze of 15 knots and little wash from the spectator fleet. The Italians encountered steering problems in the start sequence, and Alinghi beat them off the start line by 1:49 on Course Juliet.

Russell Coutts dominated the Italians in the pre-start maneuvering, putting helmsman Paolo Cian on the back foot and forcing them into irons twice before the start. It was soon a case of follow the leader, as Mascalzone Latino chased the Swiss syndicate around the buoys without giving up.

Alinghi showed excellent boat handling, and good crew communication, as they continued to extend their lead on their opponent. Alinghi succeeded in keeping the race safe, avoiding breakage in the building breeze, which gusted up to 25 knots at times. From the beginning, Team Alinghi had the boat speed advantage over ITA-72 and finished ahead by 7:08 delta. ###


DEAN PHIPPS, MID-BOWMAN - " The pre-start dominates how you want to sail the race, and we started quite well and gained a huge advantage. It was very shifty with the southerly that we had, but the race went quite smoothly for us. There were some big wind shifts to pick, considering the conditions. We had 25 knots on the last downwind leg and we took things slower but we played the shifts like we wanted."

RUSSELL COUTTS, HELMSMAN - "Just after the five minute gun, we dialed up and Mascalzone stopped completely. We managed to keep the speed on thanks to great coordination and teamwork. From that point on, we had control of the race."


Russell Coutts proved in Race 3 that he is one of the masters of pre-start maneuvering, taking Mascalzone into a deadly situation by stopping them on the start line.

Alinghi Chief Engineer Dirk Kramers commented, "The America's Cup boats are designed for speed traveling in a straight line. We take everything into account, making room for manoeuverability, but the emphasis is on speed. It is a delicate balance to make a boat behave in pre-start maneuvering as well as straight-line speed. It is difficult to steer these very sensitive boats." What happens when they stall, and why?

Because they are built for speed, not for easy steering in slow motion, the boats stall very easily at the slightest decrease in momentum. In the interest of boat speed, AC boat designers make the foils (the rudder and keel) smaller than on other slower boats. Consequently, the steering capabilities are diminished, unless the boat is already in forward motion. If a boat gets into irons, the necessary action is to fall off and turn the boat downwind, then to sheet in for more velocity. It's a matter of rotating the boat downwind, gaining forward motion, then sheeting in to get some speed on the wind. This momentum allows the keel to produce lift, but first it is that motion that forces water to flow past the foils. This can cause steering problems and loss of control of the boat. Even with wind in the sails, sheeting in will make the boat move sideways because there is no boat speed, and no corresponding flow of water across the foils for the keel to grip. In order for t! he keel to produce lift, the boat must have speed. This design factor contributes to the helmsman's challenging job of steering in the often-aggressive pre-start jousting.


The Race Committee lodged a protest against Alinghi, claiming the on-board microphones for the live TV transmission were not switched on during the race. The protest will be heard later tonight.

# # #

Team Alinghi is flying the Swiss flag, and carrying the colours of the Société Nautique de Genève. UBS, Infonet, Audemars-Piguet and Riri are its proud sponsors. Visit our Website


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