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Statistical Analysis Of Round Robins 1 & 2

Statistical Analysis Of Round Robins 1 & 2

AUCKLAND - November 6, 2002 - The second Round Robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup concluded Sunday. Thanks to the exclusive statistics of Team Alinghi, you can learn about the challengers with regard to the figures gleaned from a month of impassioned racing.

The qualifying round for the quarter-finals saw vigorous competition. Alinghi has raced 15 regattas since October 1. Alinghi raced 10 matches in winds higher than 13 knots, four of which took place in breeze exceeding19 knots. This generation of the America's Cup Class has proved to be resilient, since not one incident of major damage was reported. Note, however, the number of ripped sails, broken poles (in particular, on Alinghi and Oracle) and the incidents leading to postponements of the regatta, in particular with Stars & Stripes (4th in the first RR and 7th in the second RR).

Alinghi finished Round Robins 1 and 2 at the top of the leader board, ahead of Oracle, One World, and Prada. It is interesting to note that One World won all their races in the first round robin and lost three in the second. Conversely, Prada won only 4 races in the first round, then made a spectacular comeback in the second round, finishing with 7 victories. As for Oracle, they also progressed from 5 to 7 wins between the first and second rounds. Alinghi earned 7 wins in the first round and 6 in the second. The Swiss team retired from the last race, having secured pole position in the overall rankings.

Let's take a look at Alinghi's track record. The Swiss team won 13 out of 15 regattas. They lost 2 matches in medium wind (classified as between 13 and 18 knots.) Second in the Round Robin rankings is Oracle, who lost 2 races in light wind, 1 race in medium wind, and another in heavy wind. One World lost only in light and medium wind. As for Prada, it seems that they have a certain aversion for the medium wind, as they suffered 4 of their 5 defeats in those conditions (33% success rate in these conditions).

The finish line deltas between the competitors have noticeably narrowed. In the first round robin, there were 12 races that were won by more than 2 minutes, compared to only 5 races in the second round. Alinghi and Oracle BMW hold the record for the largest finishing deltas, thanks to 5 races won with a lead of more than 2 minutes at the finish (compared to 3 wins of over 2 minutes for One World and Prada).

Now let's analyze races in detail. The best starts (NB: this data refers to crossing the line first, not of advantageous positioning) were made by One World and Oracle! These two teams crossed the start line ahead of the opposition 63% of the time. They are ahead of Stars & Stripes (56%), Areva and GBR (50%), while Alinghi won the start 47% of the time. Last but not least, is Prada with 20% success, behind Mascalzone Latino (38%) and Victory (31%).

The percentages linked to the first cross are more interesting, because they take into account the team's positioning in relation to their opponent. One World holds the record, winning the first cross 88% of the time, just ahead of Alinghi (87%) and Oracle (81%). Following these three heavyweights, there is a gap. Victory weighs in with only a 44% success rate, ahead of Stars & Stripes (38%) and Prada (33%). Alinghi is the only boat in the group to maintain a consistent performance, with the number of first crosses paralleling their number of wins.

Who has gained ground on their opponents, whether upwind or downwind? That's the question that architects on all the teams are asking themselves. The numbers confirm Alinghi, One World and Oracle are the fastest upwind boats. They carved out an advantage over their adversary in 88%, 76%, and 70%, respectively, of the cases. In contrast, Prada has gained ground on only 41% of the upwind legs. This is less often than Victory with 50%. The statistics also confirm what Alinghi sailors reported after their match against Victory: the Swedes are a force to be reckoned with on the downwind legs. Örn and Orm made gains on 70% of the spinnaker runs. Prada, One World, Alinghi, and Stars & Stripes have similar percentages with a statistical success rate between 59% and 56%. As for Oracle, the team has allowed their adversaries to catch up on 63% of the downwind runs. These statistics indicate that the percentages, surprisingly, have not varied much between the two Round Robins.

The event takes a turn in the next series of races, because from now on, the teams will face a single adversary. The statistics will become more precise and interesting, as the more matches raced against the same opponent, the more accurate the statistics are. Statistical data will be posted each day on the Team Alinghi site, A detailed analysis will be completed at the conclusion of each series of races.

Bernard Schopfer

© Scoop Media

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