Wednesday, 27 June 2007

An America's Cup classic...

In one of the greatest America's Cup clashes in recent memory, Team New Zealand staged an unbelievable comeback to pull ahead in the series, 2-1.

Weather conditions for the 3rd America's Cup race were not favourable. Shifty light winds and choppy seas forced a delay of several hours, and when racing did get underway, required great tactics and faultless operation. As it happened, both teams suffered from errors and the lead changed 3 times over the closely fought challenge. Alinghi took an 8 second advantage at the start, but Team New Zealand immediately got the advantage of shifting winds to pull ahead with a 1 minute 31 lead at the first mark. At the second Team New Zealand's race seemed all but over when a spinnaker change went disastrously wrong, and $40,000 of Nylon had to be cut with a knife. With only a 21 second deficit, Alinghi maintained speed and by the third mark they'd taken a 1 minute 17 lead and on past performance, looked set for the finish and a second win of the cup. Some poor decision making by the Swiss and a remarkable comeback by Team New Zealand saw them crossing the finish 25 seconds ahead of the defeated and deflated defenders of the cup. It might only have been a race victory, but it will be interesting to see what longer-lasting impact such a heavy defeat has on Alinghi's psyche.

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