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Cold Sweat On The Hauraki Gulf



Alinghi's first race was abandoned, as the wind played vanishing tricks, then the Swiss team defeated Le Défi Areva on the second attempt.

AUCKLAND - OCTOBER 23, 2002 - With little wind to fill their sails, the Louis Vuitton Cup challengers were in a cold sweat on the first day of Round Robin 2. The races unfolded in conditions of extremely light and unstable wind. A number of curious situations marked the day, such as Areva's passing of Alinghi when the Swiss had rounded the previous mark with a lead of more than five minutes, or the domination of Mascalzone Latino over One World. Alinghi's first regatta was abandoned, as was the match between Stars & Stripes and GBR Challenge while the other two races carried on. Though still timid, the wind did increase sufficiently for all of the day's races to finish.

Alinghi's second start at 16:31 local time was successful. Controlling the right hand side of the course, the Swiss boat quickly built a comfortable lead. Two tacks on the first beat, masterfully planned by the tactician Brad Butterworth, earned him a 200-meter lead. This buffer was ac! centuated by a string of tacks and the wind increased to 10 knots. The Swiss defeated the French by 5:54.

Two Swiss yachtsmen were initiated into the world of America's Cup racing onboard Alinghi in this regatta: Christian Scherrer (Genoa Trimmer) and Jean-Claude Monnin (Strategist), who was essential in this race, spending most of it at the top of the mast.


CHRISTIAN SCHERER, GENOA TRIMMER - "We were very concentrated during the entire race until the last leg, when we realized we had a solid lead, and then we were able to relax and crack some jokes. I was in constant communication with the helmsman and the mainsail traveler trimmer. Perfect communication on the team allowed us to have well-timed maneuvers."

CHRISTIAN KARCHER, GRINDER - "We were very confident in our match against Areva because during the first abandoned race, we saw that we had good boat speed compared to the French. In the start, we wanted to get to the right side of the course, and we got it, which was very encouraging. Brad Butterworth did a great job calling tactics, we were very happy with the weather team and Jean-Claude Monnin did an excellent job looking for new breeze at the top of the rig." The 26 year old from Switzerland is new to the America's Cup, and the match against the French is his first Cup race.


Racing toady was punctuated by two abandonments today. Alinghi's match was first abandoned due to unstable wind, and then later completed.

As stated in Rule 16 in the Notice of Race and Conditions, if the wind dies off after the race has started, the race shall be abandoned and re-sailed if the leading yacht does not complete a leg of the course within the specified time limit. The time limit for each leg is 45 minutes.

The Race Committee measures wind from boats around the racecourse and an alarm goes off when the average wind speed is above or below the limits. The wind speed is measured at a height of 10-metres, and the five-minute average means that occasional gusts over the wind limit can't delay racing, and the weather boat rocking in waves doesn't distort the measurement.

Before the start, the Race Committee must postpone the race if the "five-minute moving average true wind speed is less than 7 knots or more than 19 knots at any time during the 15-minutes prior to the preparatory signal." Once the race is on, the Race Committee must abandon a race when the "five-minute moving average true wind speed is greater than 23-knots."

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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.

© Scoop Media

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