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Thread: America's Cup Won by Alinghi & the Swiss Team

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    America's Cup: Shifting Wind Postpones Cup Race 4

    Shifting Wind Postpones Cup Race 4

    31 minutes ago
    By BERNIE WILSON, AP Sports Writer

    AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A boring day on the water ended with the Swiss America's Cup crew amusing itself at the expense of the race committee.

    Race 4 was postponed Thursday due to shifting wind. The race is now scheduled for Saturday, with Alinghi holding a 3-0 lead over two-time defending champion Team New Zealand in the best-of-nine series.

    At times there was enough wind to race in. But with 30-degree shifts regularly sweeping the Hauraki Gulf, it was impossible to set a course and start a fair race.

    After waiting two hours, principal race officer Harold Bennett radioed the sloops at about 3 p.m. and told the crews he didn't see the conditions improving.

    "It'll be my intention to call it a day, if you agree," he said.

    Team New Zealand agreed, but Alinghi's New Zealand-born tactician Brad Butterworth strung Bennett along, telling him the crew had to check with its weather team first.

    Butterworth and skipper Russell Coutts were clearly enjoying themselves, laughing and smiling.

    At 3:20 p.m., Bennett radioed the boats again to call it a day.

    "Brad, I'm sorry, we'll have to go home," he told Butterworth.

    "Thanks for that, Harold, we're bitterly disappointed," Butterworth replied with a laugh. "See you on Saturday."

    A bemused Bennett uttered a mildly profane rebuke, and with that the boats headed back into port.

    The postponement might give beleaguered Team New Zealand a chance to regroup. Before heading out to the course, the Kiwis replaced tactician Hamish Pepper with Frenchman Bertrand Pace, helmsman of the syndicate's backup boat.

    The change came after the Kiwis made crucial mistakes in the second and third races.

    Skipper Dean Barker admitted there was "confusion" between the key decision-makers on the boat and the weather team in the minutes before Race 3. While the Kiwis chose the left side of the course, Alinghi took the right side and gained immediately from a wind shift. The Swiss led the whole race and won by 23 seconds.

    In Race 2, the Kiwis let Coutts come from behind on the downwind run to the finish, and the Swiss boat won by seven seconds. NZL-82 broke down minutes into the opening race and had to withdraw, handing the win to Alinghi.

    Relying on intuition and information from the navigator, the tactician tells the skipper when to tack and gybe.

    Pace is in his fifth America's Cup campaign — the previous four were with France — and is one of the few foreigners on Team New Zealand. Australian Adam Beashel is part of the afterguard, responsible for looking for wind shifts, and American Clay Oliver designed the Kiwis' radical hull appendage, or "hula," which has yet to give the black boat an advantage.

    Only eight sailors in Team New Zealand's full squad previously sailed in an America's Cup match.

    Led by Coutts and Butterworth, Alinghi has a core of six Kiwis who helped Team New Zealand win the America's Cup in 1995 and successfully defend it in 2000.

    Coutts has won 12 straight races in the America's Cup match, with no losses.

    Despite the long odds they face, the Kiwis tried to keep up a brave face.

    "The trick is to say, 'It's happened, and it's in the past,'" syndicate head Tom Schnackenberg said. "The hill is actually no harder, it's just five wins. The difference is that we have fewer lives."

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    Still Waiting for Race 4

    23/02/2003

    Light and shifty winds once again are thwarting attempts to start Race 4.

    UPDATED: 1240 hours, 23 FEB 2003

    The day is different, but the scene is similar to the past two scheduled race days. There’s a large spectator fleet on hand to witness a race for the America’s Cup, but they may leave disappointed.

    The inner Hauraki Gulf is a placid body of water, the water churned more due to wakes from spectator craft than due to wind. While there’s hope for a seabreeze to build, it’s likely that Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett will issue a postponement at 13:04 rather than the attention signal for a start.

    Wind reports from race committee vessels on the gulf show the wind from 040 to 070 degrees and the strength between 4 and 6 knots.

    “The wind is shiftier than a car dealer and up and down like a yo-yo,” was the report from one weather boat at 12:25.

    A massive high pressure system sits over both islands of New Zealand. The inside isobar stretches 1,800 miles from west to east. The seabreeze may not occur until 16:00 hours, well past the written deadline for a race to start.

    The race committee must start all races by 15:30 hours. They can start after that deadline with agreement from both teams.

    Race 4 has been postponed twice already, yesterday and last Thursday, due to similarly light and shifty winds.

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    Race Four Rescheduled to Monday
    23/02/2003

    Sunday was another frustrating day on the Hauraki Gulf. Race Four has been rescheduled to Monday afternoon...

    Lighter winds plagued the Hauraki Gulf again on Sunday, and although both teams went to the race area, Race Four was eventually postponed for the third consecutive time.

    The wind was fairly soft and shifty at the scheduled start time of 13:15, but as the afternoon wore on, a light Northeasterly began to build. At 14:00, Alinghi started sailing, and Team New Zealand began it’s preparations about 30-minutes later. The Race Committee however, couldn’t set a race course.

    With the 15:30 time limit for a warning signal approaching, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett was forced to consult with both teams to see whether they’d agree to wait longer to see if a race could start.

    America’s Cup Condition 13.1 states that, “No warning signal shall be made after 15:30, unless otherwise agreed by both Race Committee Boat Representatives.”

    The Swiss Alinghi Team, leading the best of nine series 3 – 0, immediately told Bennett they would be happy to start. Team New Zealand consulted for several minutes with its weather team before navigator Mike Drummond responded, “We don’t think it’s suitable to race.”

    A few moments later he told the Race Committee that Team New Zealand would be willing to wait until 16:00 to see whether conditions improved. But under Condition 13.1, starting the race was no longer at the discretion of the Race Committee, but at the discretion of the teams.

    Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts was clearly eager to race, and at 15:45, SUI-64, the race boat, and SUI-75, the tune-up boat, staged a mock start, complete with Code 0 masthead headsails and a dial-up. Neither Bennett, nor Team New Zealand were persuaded however, and at 16:00 with the wind again fading, the Race Committee called it off for the day.

    Race Four will now be attempted on Monday (previously scheduled as an off day), with the start at 13:15.

    The forecast for the Hauraki Gulf at 13:00 Monday calls for Easterly winds backing Northeasterly, 5 – 13 knots.

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    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
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    The Swiss are going to take it from what everyone is saying. No one ever came back from 0-3 to win the cup.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" -- Steve Parker

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    It's definitely tough odds for New Zealand. They'd have to win 5 of the next 6 races, and it seems like their boat and crew are outclassed.

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    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
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    And I got a neat polo shirt with all the logos on it when I was in Auckland in 95. Its still in my closet somewhere.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" -- Steve Parker

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    Weather Just Won't Cooperate
    24/02/2003

    Racing called off for the fourth consecutive race day...

    The America’s Cup Match has been postponed yet again, with both teams staying on the dock on Monday.

    At 08:30 Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett issued the following statement.

    “I have consulted both Alinghi and Team New Zealand and their weather teams with regard to today’s weather forecast.

    Both teams have agreed that the predictions show little or no chance of a racing breeze which concurs with the Race Committee's findings.

    The Race Committee has therefore further postponed race 4 until tomorrow Tuesday 25th February, the next scheduled race day.”

    For Tuesday race organisers may have just the opposite problem. The forecast is for Southeast winds of 23 knots, with gusts approaching 30 knots. Strong winds are expected on Wednesday and Thursday as well.

    The Swiss Alinghi Team leads the defender, Team New Zealand, 3 – 0 in the best of nine Match.

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    Racing Scheduled for Friday
    27/02/2003

    The forecast is good, and the teams are chomping at the bit to race...

    On Thursday, Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett cancelled racing in the face of a poor weather forecast, and after a request from the Auckland Harbourmaster who was concerned about the safety of the spectator fleet in the heavy seas that have built up following prolonged gales from the Northeast.

    The XXXIst America’s Cup Match is now scheduled to continue on Friday, 28th February with both teams agreeing to try and race on the previously scheduled ‘off’ day.

    The Defender, Team New Zealand, trails the Swiss Challenger Alinghi 3 – 0 in the best of nine series.

    Fortunately, after nine days of unsuitable weather for racing, the forecast is much better for Friday with moderate conditions due on the Hauraki Gulf. Northeast winds of 13 to 18 knots are expected under overcast skies.

    Bennett has said Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are now scheduled as ‘race’ days. A decision will be made as to whether to race on Monday, if needed, over the weekend.
    New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of Eastern time zone, so it's 1:44am on Friday there. In case you're wondering when the race will actually be run, it'll be kicking off later today.

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    Team New Zealand Dismasts Putting Alinghi on Match Point

    28/02/2003

    More heartbreak for Team New Zealand, who are forced to retire for the second time...

    In very difficult, blustery, conditions, Team New Zealand dismasted in Race Four of the America’s Cup – to many seasoned Cup observers, its chances of a successful defence in the XXXIst Match appeared to tumble down with the rig.

    It was a tough fourth race of the series, with rain squalls bringing strong gusts and sharp, choppy seas to the Hauraki Gulf.

    On the second beat, after a strong squall had passed over the two boats, Team New Zealand appeared to pound through three particularly big waves. As the bow came down off the third wave, the mast snapped between the first and second spreader after what appeared to be a shroud or spreader failure. None of the crew members were hurt.

    “It’s possible it’s the top of the V2 (shroud), which is the main, load-bearing outside rigging element, but until we get a chance to really look at the damage, we’d just be guessing,” said syndicate head Tom Schnackenberg moments after the disaster. “When the boat pitches forward that increases the shock loading and the boat was definitely bouncing over a couple of waves there and that was obviously the thing that pushed it.”

    The Swiss Alinghi Team had been leading for the entire race, after skipper Russell Coutts executed a perfect time on distance start to hit the starting line just as the gun fired. Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker started slightly behind and to weather, and at the first cross, five minutes up the beat, Alinghi was able to tack ahead in a strong lee bow position.

    The Alinghi lead was never threatened and when Team New Zealand dismasted, Coutts and his team sailed the rest of the course to grab a 4 – 0 lead in the XXXIst America’s Cup Match.

    For Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts, his 13th consecutive America’s Cup win puts his team on match point in the XXXIst America’s Cup Match. Coutts is now just one victory away from capturing his third consecutive America’s Cup, and breaking Dennis Conner’s record for America’s Cup race victories.

    Under the Match Conditions for the America’s Cup, Team New Zealand cannot ask for a lay day to effect repairs.

    “We’ll swap masts with NZL-81, that’s a very nice rig, and we’ll be ready to race tomorrow,” Schnackenberg promised.

    Race Five is scheduled to start at 13:15 on Saturday afternoon.

  10. #10
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    Something is wrong with the design of that boat. They are always taking on excessive amounts of water, and obviously their masts aren't exactly hardy.
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