Wednesday, July 04, 2007

America's Cup Truimph

So Alinghi have done it! Not just winning their 5th race and hence the cup, and not just keeping the America's cup in Europe, but together with Team NZ showing how AC racing can be exciting.

I must admit to lacking much enthusiasm about the Lois Vuitton Cup races which all too often were processions around the track, the result coming from either boat speed or starting tactics.

But the AC itself had a couple of thrilling races, topped by the last cracker, where as is has been reported elsewhere there was a controversial penalty awarded after a port/starboard incident, a dramatic wind shift, spinnaker pole / kite overboard snafu that saw an Alinghi lead of 130 odd metres drop to zero and then a deficit.

Finally there was an excellent lesson in the difficulty in quickly doing a 360 while keeping boat speed up in which left NZ stalled just metres from the finish as Alinghi sneaked by.

Alas such dramatic race and result for sailing's oldest trophy has been hard to spot in the media - though luckily my hotel does have f** tv which was showing briefly edited highlights of the final race (fab).

Having said that some coverage makes you wonder - such as in the Qantas inflight magazine which stated that AC "crew will still cut their toothbrushes in half to save weight". Maybe they are all dental fetishes but these are day races - surely they can scrub their fangs when they get back to port? On the other hand who knows what goes under the deck. Maybe the problem with BMW Oracle was the extra weight from that nail paint and care kit.

Maybe the writer was getting confused with the Volvo, where such weight saving measures are used. However he also states that in that race "dismasting meant that two boats were in imminent danger of sinking". From memory wasn't there just the one dismasting - Brazil? All the other problems were keel related.

Anyhow, congratulations to all in Team Alinghi but also for Team New Zealand for you were both at the top of your game and gave us some great sailing.

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