Monday, 9 February 2009
Alinghi lead BMW ORACLE Racing downwind. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.
by Daphne Morgan-Barnicoat
Gold Fleet, Match 4
Alinghi: port entry
Alinghi drew NZL84
The much anticipated Alinghi vs. BMW Oracle Racing match finally got away at 16:50 after a lengthy weather delay on the Waitemata harbour. Alinghi dominated in the pre-start, the team wanted the right and won it leading off the start line by a boat length. The Swiss covered the American team up the beat protecting the right and led around the first windward mark by 12 seconds. Down the first run, Alinghi kept it close, held on to the right-hand advantage and maintained the 12 second lead. By top mark 2, Alinghi had let 2seconds slip, but held onto the advantage downwind and extended it into the finish to win by 27 seconds.
Alinghi qualified for the Challenger Final with a race in hand, scheduled for tomorrow against Luna Rossa.
Quote from the race boat – Ed Baird gives some insight on today’s race against BMW Oracle Racing:
“In the pre-start there was a bit of right-hand bias to the line, so when we entered we had just enough space to cross in front of BOR which negated their starboard entry. We were sailing into a pretty strong current on our port tack angle so it took a long time to get to a place where you would typically want to start circling. The time went by pretty quickly; we did 2 circles and we basically started getting ready to start heading back to the line. The time that was left at the point that we turned back for the line made it a very difficult decision for the other team to figure out how to deal with our position. At first it looked like they were going to gybe and try to push towards the line and then they changed their mind and they went for distance and looked like they might tack and that gave us an opening, so we tacked twice to end up straight ahead of them and then they were a bit late from there."
Q: How do you prepare for a match against Russell Coutts and BOR?
EB: "The main thing is to realise that BMW Oracle Racing is one of the most formidable teams on the planet to race against and you just have to make sure that you are on your game. You just have to pay attention and do the basic things right and just be careful; that’s really all we can do to prepare. Other than that it has just been a question of getting as many days and time as possible to go and practice and learn."
Q: The team sailed a tight and faultless race – a word on the crew work?
EB: "The team has done a great job of learning about these boats and to sail in the harbour which is something that most of us haven’t done for years. I want to commend how well the team has put this together, but we also do realise that there were a number of places around the race course where we could have done better. We have to talk about that and we have to make sure that the next opportunity we have, that we don’t leave quite as many places on the table."
Q: Can you describe the incident in the approach to the 1st windward mark?
EB: "We had a situation on the 1st windward leg just up by the top mark - it was quite a similar situation to the one we had with the Italians a few days ago where they crossed us and they tacked too early. We crossed Oracle and sailed for a couple of seconds and started to go into a tack, they luffed up hard to try to get us in a windward leeward situation – the umpires green flagged the incident."
Q: A look forward to tomorrow and the final match of RR2?
EB: "Yes we will race Luna Rossa tomorrow. They have had a tough time, we have watched all of their races and they have done a lot of things well but they have also had some bad breaks. We know they are going to be a tough match. We are also wary of being in a position whereby we must be cautious of any kind of collisions and damage. We can afford to lose one point and still win the position into the challenger final, but we can’t afford to lose anything more than that. We have to be cautious, just like yesterday when we chose not to go out and race the match against TNZ where there were no points to gain. At least in this one there are points on the table."
Other news of the day:
Rodney Hide, well known New Zealand politician, sailed as 18th man today on Alinghi. He represents the electorate of Epsom and is Minister of Local Government, Associate Minister of Commerce and Minister of Regulatory Reform. He comments on a great day of racing: “That was my first time out sailing so I picked the race to go out in and what a boat and what a team! Here’s what amazed me: how exciting it was, but also what a fabulous team it is and how the team work together. It was extraordinary leadership from Brad and great discipline; it was a just a pleasure to watch and a lesson for us all.”
TeamOrigin beat Emirates Team New Zealand - 6 seconds
Damiani Italia Challenge beat Luna Rossa - 1 minute 40 seconds