America's Cup: Alinghi one race away from winning

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Switzerland-based yachting team, Alinghi have defeated Team New Zealand to bring their overall wins to four, with New Zealand left on two wins. If Alinghi wins the next race, they will win the "Auld Mug", which they currently hold.

Alinghi crossed the line 28 seconds before Team New Zealand, despite having winds favourable to Team New Zealand, 8-9 knots.

I certainly prefer to be in my position than in Team New Zealand's but every race so far has been fought to the last gybe so I wouldn't take anything for granted.

—Ernesto Bertarelli

Head of Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli said, "We only have one to go but it's going to be as hard as all the others."

Yesterday's race was filled with flaws with Team New Zealand having trouble with spinnakers. This race was the opposite, Team New Zealand yachting without flaw, and leading for much of the race. At the first mark, Team New Zealand led by 14 seconds. Though SUI-100, skippered by New Zealander Brad Butterworth, managed to overtake NZL-92, skippered by Dean Barker, to get a 28 second lead by the end of the race.

During the pre-start race, Team New Zealand crossed in front of the path of Alinghi, leading to a denied appeal by Butterworth. Neither team led the start of the race.

Yachties and sport commentators have labelled the challenge for the 32nd America's Cup the most exciting ever. Defeating the trend of whoever leads the start of the race firsts, wins the race.

Managing director of Team New Zealand, Grant Dalton had previously ruled out crew changes for the next race if such a scenario was to present itself in the future.

The next race, and the possible final race, will be on Sunday.

In 2003, when Team New Zealand was defending the America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, Alinghi were the victors, becoming the first European team to win the "Auld Mug".