5 Out Of 6 For Alinghi

Published: Thu 10 Oct 2002 09:51 PM
Alinghi secured their fifth win in Race 7 of the Louis Vuitton Cup by defeating Team Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes in perfect wind conditions.
AUCKLAND - OCTOBER 10, 2002 - After another late start for Round Robin One, Alinghi dominated the race on Course Juliet, picking up another win for the Swiss team. The wind filled in from the southwest, increasing to 15 knots and the start gun sounded at 14:15 NZT, kicking off the much-anticipated competition after a becalmed morning.
In the pre-start joust, Russell Coutts protected the right end of the line, and forced Stars and Stripes to the pin end. Alinghi pushed helmsman Ken Read to the left side, causing them to double tack at the pin. Alinghi won the start by 11 seconds. On the first beat, they had a steady 12-knot breeze, but the wind direction, generally from the southwest, oscillated from between 150º to 170º degrees, challenging the afterguard to navigate the capricious wind shifts. Sailing by and large faster around the course, Alinghi steadily built up a lead on the chasing boat, except on the second downwind leg. Stars and Stripes stole a few seconds back by the second leeward mark rounding. In particular, Alinghi showed strong upwind boat speed against the Americans, as they stretched away from the chasing boat on each beat.
The Swiss boat finished 1:10 ahead of Stars and Stripes. Today's result gives Alinghi a total of five points so far in Round Robin One. The races remaining for Alinghi, in this series of eight races per challenger, will be against Oracle BMW Racing tomorrow and Victory Challenge the following day.
ALAN COUTTS, GRINDER - "Conditions were perfect today - well worth waiting for. We managed to get the better start, ahead of Stars and Stripes and to take advantage of 2 wind shifts up the first beat. After that it was a matter of protecting the lead and staying in front."
CHRISTIAN KARCHER, GRINDER - When the wind is varying in speed and direction as much as it was today, making a decision is taking a risk. We placed ourselves between Stars and Stripes and the mark and played it safe"
The America's Cup class boats have a choice between 2 different types of spinnaker - either a flatter asymmetric spinnaker flown with a lower pole, or a symmetric sail flown using a higher pole. There are many factors that the crew has to consider when making the choice of which sail to hoist downwind. These include:
-The wind range. Asymmetric spinnakers have an optimal wind range around 15 knots and below, and symmetrical spinnakers are used in heavier airs.
-Whether you are defending or attacking. An attacking boat will often opt for an asymmetrical kite' as they can generate more speed sailing at tighter angles to the wind and hopefully overtake.
-Manoeuvrability. Gybing an asymmetrical spinnaker means collapsing the sail, whereas a symmetrical sail can be kept filled throughout the gybe, meaning the boat speed is maintained.
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