INDEPENDENT NEWS

Lake Geneva Conditions Favor Team Alinghi

Published: Mon 7 Oct 2002 11:09 PM
Round Robin 1- Rd5 - Lake Geneva Conditions Favor Team Alinghi
Alinghi defeated GBR Challenge, picking the right course through fickle, tricky light air conditions for Race 5 of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
AUCKLAND - It was a 12:15 NZT on-time start on Course Romeo in very fluky puffs of 5-8 knot breezes. Pre-start manoeuvring was tame, as the teams had the difficulty of negotiating the shifts, coupled with little wind power. Capricious breezes made the course a minefield.
In navigationally challenging conditions, the Alinghi after guard proved their prowess in picking all the right shifts. Alinghi rounded the first windward mark with a 21-second lead. From then on, they sailed their own race, knowing it would be impossible to cover GBR too closely in such light and fickle conditions. On each upwind beat, Alinghi padded their lead, but the British boat managed to put the pressure on during each downwind run. As the trailing boat, they were first to get a new puff of wind as it came down the track, but Alinghi maintained the controlling lead and was able to choose their own course on the upwind beat. There was trouble on the British boat when a mainsail batten remained inverted after a gybe. The crewmember sent up the mast, keen to knock it over into place, kicked a hole in the sail. .
The wind averaged only 7 knots during the match, the threshold for carrying off a race; it was fortunate the match was completed. With wind shifts oscillating approximately 170º throughout the match, the race committee was obliged to move the marks on five different occasions to keep a true course.
Alinghi has a lay day tomorrow and will not race. The next race will be against Stars and Stripes on Race Day 7.
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QUOTES FROM THE BOAT
BRAD BUTTERWORTH, TACTICIAN - "On the first beat, we tacked over onto port and then the wind went right, with GBR Challenge to the left of us. Once we got out in front, it was difficult for GBR to catch up. The crucial moment of the race was rounding the first mark ahead. It's impossible to cover in those conditions, so after that we were really racing our own race."
BERNARD LABRO, FOREDECK - "It was a tricky start, and a difficult race all the way around. In such light winds, you have to really think ahead to the next manoeuver. We were on our toes, ready to make a change at the last minute."
YVES DETREY, PITMAN - "The course was difficult to manage. They worked hard in the afterguard. In these conditions, there is more time to prepare for the manoeuvers but you have to avoid at any cost slowing down the boat."
HIGHLIGHTS
CREW ROTATION IS FREQUENT ON TEAM ALINGHI.
Today there were a few fresh faces onboard Alinghi, in accordance with the team's universal policy to switch up the crew list. Alinghi emphasizes the importance of running a team in which all crewmembers sail at the same high level. This management method ensures equal opportunity for the crew to gain knowledge and experience. Frequent crew-changes strengthen the team's spirit and skill. The effort has galvanized this team of 32 sailors to gel as a single unit. Rotating the crews motivates them to train hard, and also improves the communication among the team. The sailors share information, briefing each other on the developments made in previous races. With the entire crew reaping the benefits of America's Cup racing, the team improves continuously as a whole.

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