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Alinghi Shows Sound Boat Speed vs Stars & Stripes

ROUND ROBIN 2 - Flight 7

Alinghi Shows Sound Boat Speed Against Stars & Stripes

Strong winds prevailed, providing excitement on the Hauraki Gulf after several days of postponements. Alinghi took a bye for Flight 6 this morning, and a victory over Stars & Stripes in Flight 7 this afternoon. .

AUCKLAND - October 31, 2002 - The wind conditions were finally conducive to intensely close Americas' Cup Class competition. The Race Committee succeeded in carrying off all but one match in two flights of races today, on a shortened course of 12.5 miles. Alinghi took a _bye_ for Flight 6, and started Flight 7 against Team Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes at 14:10 local time in a freshening southwesterly breeze of 17 knots.

The pre-start saw Alinghi and Stars & Stripes enter into a classic dial-up scenario and then luff head to wind just under the line for approximately four minutes, killing time before the start gun. With a few seconds to go, Alinghi leaped into action, gybed down and circled back to the line. With seamless maneuvering, Alinghi was on the pace as they hit the start at the favored pin end of the line, stuffing Stars & Stripes in the _coffin corner_ behind the pin. Alinghi started with a decisive two-boat length lead, but the wind shifted 15 degrees and then swung back again, and within two tacks up the first beat, the Americans caught up with Alinghi and forced them to tack into a wind hole. Alinghi fought back in a tacking duel and Tactician Brad Butterworth worked single-mindedly to control the other boat. The team padded their lead, increasing the deltas at each mark in the steady southwest breeze of 16-24 knots.

Stars & Stripes suffered gear damage, breaking a mainsail batten when they rounded the first leeward mark. The Swiss also experienced technical problems with their spinnaker pole on the first run.

The team welcomed onboard crewmember Murray Jones, who was trimming the mainsail traveler today, after an injury sidelined him for the first round of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Last August, Murray broke his left foot during routine sail testing. He has successfully completed nearly 3 months of rehabilitation with Alinghi Physical Trainer, Xavier Jolis.



MURRAY JONES, MAINSAIL TRAVELLER - _It was definitely better to be out there on the boat than watching the races on television! It wasn't hard being back on the boat, it was just a matter of crossing the boat at the right time and getting confidence out there. If it's light conditions tomorrow, I'll be going up the mast _

CURTIS BLEWETT, FOREDECK - _After the first gybe on the first downwind run, we experienced some difficulties with our spinnaker pole causing us a less-than-perfect approach to the leeward mark, but we were able to gybe around the mark effectively. We did an on-water repair and it was nothing that would have cost us the race. It's another win for us, which helps us to our goal of winning the round robin._

ANDREW CAPE, NAVIGATOR - _The start was really exciting, everything went really well with our timing when we gybed around and out-maneuvered Stars & Stripes. On the downwind leg, they closed on us and halved our lead, but we knew we would get the puff of breeze and so we weren't extremely worried. This win is important but we still have some big races ahead of us, and we have to tidy up the round before it's done._


Team Alinghi sailor, Murray Jones, stepped onboard for his first race of the 2002- 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup series. The following is a profile of Murray.

_I am technically trained as an engineer,_ Jones reports. _I won the 470 European Championships in 1978 and the New Zealand Championships in 1980 and 1981. Then in 1987 I moved to the Flying Dutchman class and won the New Zealand Championships that year, as well as in 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1992. I stayed in the Flying Dutchman for about five years. I placed second in the FD World Championships in 1988 and 1992. I competed in the Olympic Games in 1988 (5th) and in 1992 (4th).

_Then, Russell Coutts, with whom I sailed in the match racing circuit for a long time, called me up to do the America's Cup with Team New Zealand. I participated in 1995 and in 2000, both times as the strategist._ In 1995 Murray was the first person to use the technique of ascending the mast to look for wind during the America's Cup. It was a move that aroused controversy, and the team was protested at the time, but it is a common occurrence today._

With Team Alinghi, Murray has had the opportunity to sink his teeth into a new challenge. Like all of the Team Alinghi sailors, he has a dual role on the team. He acts as strategist and the mainsail traveller trimmer, and on the ground he is responsible for the spars, an area with which he is very accustomed.


As of today, October 31, 2002, the Race Committee intends to complete Round Robin 2 based on the following schedule of racing:
Friday, November 1, 2002 - Flights 8 & 4 Postponed Matches #'s 1, 2, & 3
Saturday, November 2, 2002 - Flight Abandoned Matches #'s 2 & 3; Flight 7 Postponed Match
Sunday, November 3, 2002 - Flight 9
Monday, November 4, 2002 - Reserve Day

High resolution pictures - free of right- downloadable in the press section of our website Href=

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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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