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Alinghi Prevails Over Luna Rossa

Alinghi Prevails Over Luna Rossa In A Very Close Race

After yesterday's postponement due to the strong winds, today the eight teams have to wait a long while for the breeze to build on the Hauraki Gulf.

At 13.05 the Race Committee has to postpone all starts due to the lack of wind. Only at 14:55 the gun is fired for the first match of the 2002-2003 Louis Vuitton Cup quarter finals.

The match between Luna Rossa ITA 74 and Alinghi SUI 64 starts at 15:05. After a close and aggressive pre-start circling, Rod Davis at the helm of ITA 74 crosses the line to windward of SUI 64, with a good speed. The wind is about 19 knots. Luna Rossa tacks away and splits.

After a couple of crosses, ITA 74 sails towards the left side of the course, while Alinghi stretches to the right, ahead of the Italians by a couple of boat lengths. The wind shifts slightly to the left favouring Luna Rossa who is thus able to close the gap. Alinghi tacks and during the manoeuvre they seem to have problems with the jib sheet and are forced to tack twice in a rapid succession. Luna Rossa is now even with the Swiss boat.

The first mark rounding is very close and Francesco de Angelis has to give way to Alinghi who rounds ahead of the Italians by 10 seconds.

During the spinnaker run Luna Rossa follows Alinghi closely trying to gain the overlap. When the overlap is established the bow of ITA 74 touches the stern of SUI 64 and the Swiss fly their protest flag. The umpires penalise Luna Rossa who will have to complete a 270° penalty turn before the end of the race. At the leeward mark Alinghi is leading by 6 seconds.

During the first part of the second beat upwind Alinghi is able to exted her lead, then Luna Rossa gets back in the game, closes the gap and takes the lead. Russell Coutts tacks over ITA 74 on starboard and forces Luna Rossa to tack away. The two boats sail on parallel tracks towards the mark, Alinghi leading by half a boat length and rounding 8 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa.

In the second downwind run ITA 74 closes in with Alinghi and Francesco de Angelis manages to get the best of Russell Coutts in a close fight, passing him and getting the inside lane to the mark. At the second bottom mark ITA 74 rounds with a 14 second lead over the Swiss.

Another change of lead in the last beat. Alinghi gets in front and rounds the last mark with an 8 second advantage over Luna Rossa. Francesco de Angelis still has one downwind run to play his cards. He will try to force Coutts into a penalty situation where he may even out the penalty that Luna Rossa is carrying.

In the last run Alinghi defends well her lead. Francesco de Angelis completes the penalty turn just before the finish, when the spinnaker drops in the sea and the 270° turn takes more time than expected. Alinghi wins the race with a delta of 1 minute and 18 seconds.

TODAY'S RESULTS - every victory equals 1 point

RACE 1 Romeo - Match 4 Wight Lightning GBR 70 wins against Stars & Stripes USA 77 (1' 00" lead) Romeo - Match 1 Alinghi SUI 64 wins against Luna Rossa ITA 74 (1' 18" lead) Juliet - Match 3 Orm SWE 73 wins against Le Defi FRA 69 (2' 03" lead) Juliet - Match 2 Oracle BMW Racing USA 76 wins against OneWorld USA 65 (12" lead)

SCOREBOARD Alinghi Challenge (1 pt) - Prada Challenge (0 pts) Oracle BMW Racing (1 pt) - OneWorld Challenge (0 pts) Victory Challenge (1 pt) - Le Defi Areva (0 pts) GBR Challenge (1 pt) - Team Dennis Conner (0 pts)

RACE COURSE Windward leeward, 18.5 miles long; six legs total, three windward legs and three downwind legs; first and last legs are 3.25 miles, the remaining four are 3.00 miles.

WEATHER CONDITIONS TODAY Wind from SSW 11-14 knots. Mainly sunny.

TODAY'S CREW ON LUNA ROSSA 1. Bowman, Paolo Bassani 2. Mid bowman, Massimiliano Sirena 3. Mastman, Simone de Mari 4. Pitman, Cristian Griggio 5. Left grinder, Massimo Galli 6. Right grinder, Romolo Ranieri 7. Upwind trimmer, Carter Perrin 8. Downwind trimmer, Andrew Hemmings 9. Mainsail trimmer, Sean Clarkson 10.Center grinder, Massimo Gherarducci 11.Helmsman, Francesco de Angelis 12.Tactician, Torben Grael 13.Afterguard, Rod Davis 14.Downwind grinder, Daniele Bresciano 15.Strategist, Michele Ivaldi 16.Navigator, Matteo Plazzi


RACE 2 Romeo - Match 1 Alinghi SUI 64 versus Luna Rossa ITA 74 Romeo - Match 3 Orm SWE 73 versus Le Defi FRA 69 Juliet - Match 2 Oracle BMW Racing USA 76 versus OneWorld USA 65 * Juliet - Match 4 Wight Lightning GBR 70 versus Stars & Stripes USA 77

* Match broacasted live on TV.

WEATHER FORECAST FOR TOMORROW Wind from SW 10-12 kts increasing to 14-17 kts. Sunny.

© Scoop Media

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