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Alinghi Shows Local Knowledge


Alinghi Shows Local Knowledge

30th December. In a chaotic day on the Hauraki Gulf, regatta favourites Alinghi beat GBR Challenge. The afterguard of the Swiss team used their local knowledge of the light and fickle winds on the Hauraki Gulf, on a day that saw the wind shift by over 90 degrees. Alinghi demonstrated good boatspeed and their mastery of the light conditions, to the extent that Berterelli’s team caught up with the match in front, overtaking them into the finish line. The Swiss team finished just inside the 45 minute limit for the final leg, to record victory by four minutes and 51 seconds.

In 8-9 knots from 330 degrees, GBR Challenge entered from the unfavoured port hand side of the starting box. After a short dial up, both headed to the right hand side of the course with SUI64 the leeward boat and therefore in control. Wight Lightning headed towards a photographers boat and headed up above the vessel to escape from Russell Coutts’ control. As both boats gybed, the British team sailed very deep to put pressure on SUI 64 as the boats headed back towards the line. GBR70 then ducked behind Alinghi’s stern to earn the left hand side of the line, as SUI 64 tacked off to the right.

As the gun went GBR 70 headed off to the left hand side of the course. Alinghi sailed to the right hand side for a minute, before tacking onto starboard to follow GBR Challenge. That was to be the only tack of the beat for either boat, as a gradual 90 degree windshift came through and enabled the teams to lay the windward mark. As Alinghi was on the inside of the shift, SUI 64 sailed a shorter distance to cancel GBR Challenge’s early lead and take a one minute 42 second lead at the first mark.

The boats then reached straight towards the new leeward mark, where confusion reigned on all of the boats on Juliet course. Red flags started to appear on all of the teams, whilst Alinghi extended their lead. SUI 64 rounded two minutes and twenty seconds ahead of GBR Challenge, as a squall came through, again shifting the breeze and increasing its strength for five minutes. The better pressure enabled the Swiss team to increase their lead as the wind started to die off.

The wind died down the final run, as GBR 70 took a flier on the right hand side of the course. The match ahead fell victim to the 45 minute leg limit rule, but a new band of pressure allowed Alinghi to finish just in time.

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