Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Louis Vuitton Act 13. Alinghi are the Victors

Prizegiving Alinghi: Brad Butterworth, skipper, receives the trophy from Christine Belanger, Louis Vuitton Cup Director.
ACM 2007/Photo: Carlo Borlengh

The weather gods smiled on Valencia yesterday afternoon. The rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun appeared, bringing with it a gentle, if variable breeze.

Race 6 got under way after 75 minutes when the wind settled to a steady 7 knots. Desafío Español (the name means Spanish Challenge), steered by Karol Jablonski of Poland rounded the windward mark ahead of Alinghi, with Ed Baird of USA steering. They were followed by Emirates Team NZ steered by Ben Ainslie of Britain and these three boats held their positions to the finish.

Race 7 started at 17.30, a time when most sailors are thinking of heading for port with the prospect of a hot shower and a few beers – but hey, this is professional yacht racing and there are still places to be gained (or lost) on the leader board! Once again, Alinghi start at the back of the fleet – they really have nothing to lose at this stage and this is the last opportunity they will have to pit themselves against the real opposition until the Cup match itself in June. By the windward mark, they had climbed to 4th, with BMW Oracle leading Desafío Español and Luna Rossa. Desafío Español suffered two penalties in quick succession and the resulting turns they had to accomplish pushed them down the fleet. Alinghi sailed a faultless race to claim their 4th victory of the series. BMW Oracle was second, followed by Mascalzone Latino in third.

The final scores for the series:

1 Alinghi 78
2 Emirates Team NZ 64
3 Mascalzone Latino 63
4 Luna Rossa 60
5 BMW Oracle 57
6 Desafío Español 55
7 Shosholoza 43
8 Victory Challenge 35
9 Areva 31
10 United Internet Ger 29
11 +39 17
12 China Challenge 15

Alinghi have truly stamped their authority upon fleet but now they have to go and play on their own for the next two months! The rest of the fleet will be busy analysing their results and competing vigorously with one another in a series of ‘to the death’ contests to find the challenger capable of taking on Alinghi for the America’s Cup.
Moke O'Neill

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