June 27, 2007 America's Cup defender Alinghi beat Emirates Team New Zealand to square the match at two wins apiece here today in Valencia. The Swiss team led the entire race, on another day of tricky, shifty conditions, with the light 8 to 10 knot wind blowing out of the East. SUI 100 helmsman Ed Baird won the right hand side of the starting line and Alinghi was in a powerful position for the rest of the race. The scoreline reads 2-2 with Thursday a scheduled 'off' day, and racing set to resume on Friday.
Match 4 - Alinghi beat Emirates Team New Zealand - DELTA 0:30
Alinghi took Emirates Team New Zealand into an early dial-up, and then both boats made their way over to the right of the start box. For the first time Ed Baird took the right-hand side of the start, making an excellent full-speed exit from the line while Dean Barker was a little slower getting up to pace.
A speed test ensued, with SUI 100 and NZL 92 pacing each other out towards the port-hand layline. As they drew close to the edge of the course, a left-hand shift started to bring the Kiwi boat to the fore, but Alinghi tacked first and claimed the layline, forcing Barker to follow all the way up to the windward mark.
The Defender rounded 20 seconds ahead, with the Kiwis launching into a gybe-set in search of something better on the left. Dean Barker's crew made small inroads on the lead until they suffered a bad 'hourglass' wrap in the spinnaker during a gybe, allowing the Swiss to extend their lead.
Coming into the bottom gate, Alinghi paid a high price getting down to the right-hand mark by sailing very low, the sails virtually collapsed. They were very downspeed by the time they passed the mark, while the Kiwis charged down to the less favoured left-hand mark. Although the official delta was 34 seconds, the Kiwis were in reality much closer on distance at this point.
A big split developed up the next beat, and for a while it looked like New Zealand had got back on level terms. However when they met in the middle of the course again, Alinghi was still ahead by a couple of boatlengths. A tacking duel began, although the Swiss defended well, holding off the Kiwi attack and rounding the final mark 25 seconds ahead.
Dean Barker initiated a gybing duel down the final run, but made no impact on the unflappable Swiss team, who extended to a 30 second victory at the finish.
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