Alinghi moves within one race of America's Cup win
June 30, 2007 Swiss boat Alinghi came from behind for the second consecutive day to beat Emirates Team New Zealand this afternoon, effectively snuffing out the challenge for the cup. The Swiss have won the last three races to grab a 4-2 lead in the best-of-nine series and the oh-so-close NZ team now needs to win the next three races to win the America's Cup. One more win for the Swiss will see Alinghi hoist the America's Cup again, its first defence a success. Alinghi led early in the race, but halfway up the first beat, Team NZ was able to squeeze up and force Alinghi to tack. When the boats next converged, it was NZL 92 which had gained on the left to lead around the first mark. The Kiwis held on for the run, but on the second upwind leg it was Alinghi's turn to find the shift, making a gain on the right side of the race course. The Kiwis tried to fend them off with lee bow tacks, but couldn't make the third one stick, and Alinghi grabbed a lead it would never relinquish, effectively ensuring the America’s Cup will remain in Europe.
Match 6 - Alinghi beat Emirates Team New Zealand - DELTA 0:28
It was yet another tense pre-start between the teams, with Ed Baird taking Dean Barker into a long dial-up. After waiting for what seemed an age, Alinghi accelerated on to starboard into a tack, New Zealand bearing away into a gybe and succeeding in getting across the bow of SUI 100.
Alinghi were chasing the Kiwis, who gybed across the bow of their opponents - just - with the Umpires green-flagging the incident. At start time both boats made excellent starts with Ed Baird claiming the right-hand end of the line.
Both boats paralleled each other for minutes and minutes, getting ever closer to the port tack lay line with the Kiwis in danger of being carried to the edge of the course. However a small left-hand wind shift enabled Barker to squeeze up to Alinghi and bounce the Defender away to the right. NZL 92 tactician Terry Hutchinson held on for a minute before tacking over to the right.
When a small left-hand shift came through, the Kiwis lifted away from the Swiss and led around the first mark by 14 seconds. Downwind the Swiss boat looked very fast and Alinghi spent the run threatening to pass the Kiwis, whose saving grace was its better gybes.
At the bottom gate, Baird steered the boat aggressively deep towards the starboard leeward mark, making a bee line for the right while the Kiwis - still leading - took the left. The gap at this stage was 11 seconds to the Kiwis, who held on for a couple of minutes before tacking to parallel Alinghi out to the right. Alinghi was looking stuck out there, but when Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth sensed a slight shift to the right, he called for a tack, and the game got a lot tighter. A tacking duel ensued, with the Swiss gaining on every tack until they managed to force New Zealand to tack to leeward.
The boats tracked each other up to the windward mark, with the Defender now 16 seconds ahead. Alinghi was pulling distance on the Kiwis again, so Hutchinson called for a series of gybes, gaining on every occasion until Alinghi disengaged and allowed a couple of splits to develop. Towards the bottom of the course New Zealand converged on Alinghi and had pulled to within two boatlengths of the leader. Hutchinson went for one last split to see if the right-hand side would yield something special to get them in front, but it wasn't to be; Alinghi gained and sailed across the finishing line 28 seconds ahead.