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QF, Alinghi 2 - Prada 0 - No Wrong Notes



Team Alinghi sailed a flawless race and secured a second victory in the quarter-finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Fluid coordination between the team and the afterguard allowed Alinghi to control the racecourse and to win by 8 seconds.

AUCKLAND - November 14, 2002 - It was an on-time start at 13:15 for the all-European match, Team Alinghi facing Prada Challenge. Good wind conditions of 15-18 knots set the stage for an exciting match where Alinghi picked the right shifts and hotly defended their position against Prada's formidable speed. Coming up to the start line, Alinghi was in control in the leeward position and tried to shut out Prada. Both boats crossed the line simultaneously, but then Alinghi forced Prada to tack off. The Swiss earned a solid 6 boat-length lead on the first beat, but then a big wind shift of 15º to the left favored Prada. As a result, the Italians were able to close the gap to 2-3 boat lengths at the first mark. It was another tight race between the European teams. Prada very nearly rolled over the top of Alinghi, but the afterguard defended their position effectively. With the rules, and physics, on their side, Alinghi rounded the first leeward mark inside just ahead of the Italians, who were forced to tack over in order to clear their air. Alinghi refused to relinquish any passing lanes, kicking off a strong second beat for the Swiss team. There was a course change approaching the second upwind mark, the race committee keeping the course aligned correctly with the wind direction, a! nd Alinghi sunk their teeth into a nice right hand shift. Fluid teamwork was in order and the Swiss rounded that mark leading Prada by 37 seconds, executing a clean bear-away set. But Prada confirmed their considerable downwind speed and closed the gap once again. Alinghi fought back ferociously on the upwind legs, managing the wind shifts to accelerate away from Francesco de Angelis and his crew. Alinghi padded their lead at the windward marks, but struggled to shake Prada on the final run, who significantly shaved Alinghi's lead down to a mere 8-second delta at the finish. EB


JOCHEN SCHUEMANN, STRATEGIST - "Today was difficult because we had to achieve two things at the same time. We had to defend against Prada, as well as stay in touch with the wind shifts. Prada had only the one target of catching the boat in front, and so they always came back. We had the duel objective of being safe and sailing well with the shifts."

CHRISTIAN KARCHER, GRINDER - "It was no problem for us to have Prada coming so close to us on the downwind legs because we knew they were coming back with the new wind from behind. But, we also knew the wind was shifting about 30º and we were confident that we could stay in front. We knew we had more wind on the last gybe to the finish."

SIMON DAUBNEY, GENOA TRIMMER - "The crew sailed the boat much better today, as far as I'm concerned. It was very tough to get to know the respective performance between Prada and ourselves because the breeze was shifting and we were sailing in a corner close to the shore. It was difficult to gauge the differences today, but it looks like both boats are very similar in speed. We'll definitely see some more very close racing."

HIGHLIGHT - INSIDE A FASHIONABLE LADY'S WARDROBE On top of boat design and crew work, one of the biggest factors contributing to a boats speed is her sail locker. In the Louis Vuitton and Americas Cup series, the crews are allowed to measure a maximum of 60 sails - only 45 of which can be used in the Louis Vuitton Challenger series. The aim is to make sure that each team is dealt the same number of playing cards. "45 may sound like a lot but bear in mind that a boat may have to sail over 60 races to reach the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup, and a sail can have an optimal life span of as little as 6 hours depending on the strains it is subjected to", explains genoa trimmer Simon Daubney.

During racing the crew has to balance the need to keep weight to a minimum and to carry the optimum sails for a change in conditions or a replacement if something tears. The weight limit rule of 24 tons for the America's Cup boats also means that a maximum of approximately 12 sails can be carried on board while racing. SF


Team Alinghi defeated Prada Challenge (8 sec) Oracle BMW Racing defeated OneWorld Challenge (17 sec) Victory Challenge defeated Areva (1 min 10 sec) Stars & Stripes defeated GBR Challenge (1 min 17 sec)

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Alinghi, Challenge for the America's Cup 2003, is flying the Swiss flag and carrying the colors of the Société Nautique de Genève. UBS, Infonet, Audemars-Piguet are its proud sponsors.

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