Two-time America's Cup champion Alinghi loses the America's Cup 2-0
by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat
Alinghi put forth a tremendous effort today in its attempt to defend the 33rd America's Cup. The Swiss team from the Société Nautique de Genève led for most of the first leg of the triangular course, but couldn't hold off the Challenger BMW Oracle Racing. Alinghi lost the race by 5m26s and the America's Cup Match, 2-0.
Team president and principal helmsman Ernesto Bertarelli congratulated his competitor after the race: “Congratulations to the BMW Oracle team. The boat was faster, there's no question about that.”
Today's race was postponed for more than six hours from the scheduled start time of 10:06 as, similar to Friday, the race committee waited for the wind to settle. Around 16:10 the race committee set a windward mark bearing 100 degrees, just south of due east, and the two crews started at 16:25. Bertarelli guided Alinghi 5 onto the race course on port tack about mid-line, despite receiving a penalty. The crew wanted the right side of the course, hoping for the favourable wind shift. Almost 14 minutes into the race Alinghi 5 tacked to starboard and into a right-hand wind shift that lifted the 90ft load waterline catamaran into the lead. For the next 35 minutes or so both boats held starboard tack with Alinghi, now steered by Loïck Peyron, to windward of the challenger and holding the lead in the wind shift.
Alinghi crossed the challenger near the windward mark, but lost the lead when it tacked to port to approach the mark. The challenger led by 28 seconds at the first mark and then, propelled by its wing, increased that lead by more than 2 minutes at the second mark.
Alinghi was created in 2000 by Ernesto Bertarelli and won the 31st America's Cup at its first try in 2003, defeating Team New Zealand 5-0 to become the first European team to win the Cup. The Swiss team successfully defended the 32nd America's Cup in Valencia in 2007 defeating Team New Zealand again 5-2.
Quotes from Alinghi:
Ernesto Bertarelli, team president and principal helmsman
“The thing that comes to mind right now is that over the last 10 years anyone who has ever come close to the Alinghi team understands what I feel now. There's a unique warmth, unique spirit, unique friendship that ties any person who has either worked, cheered, come close and met the Alinghi team, so I'm very proud of our team and what we have achieved over last 10 years."
Most significant moment: “The best part is not actually having the silver trophy, the best thing is having a team which is successful, which has a spirit, which wins...goodness knows we won. If there's any team over the last 10 years that has won, it's Alinghi. Now, these last two races we did not win. We were disadvantaged. We didn't have a boat quite fast enough. But I think with what we were given, with the odds we had, we did our best and we showed we were not going to lie down and give up and forfeit. We just wanted to fight as hard as we could and that's what we did. We exit with our head high and proud of our achievement so far.
Will you continue? “It's not for me to decide the future of the Cup anymore. I will wait to see where the future is going to take us and then I will decide.
Rolf Vrolijk, principal designer
“The whole team here is of course disappointed. We have worked for this for 10 years and at the end you want to win. That's why you do this. Everybody did a really good job. I think we did the best we could in the time we had. We're quite happy the boat today showed some performance against the other boat. Maybe with more time we would have done better, but I think we will all survive again!”
Brad Butterworth, team skipper and tactician
“We were a bit disappointed the whole thing is over in two races, but you have to hand it to Oracle. What they wound up with is like a plane, not a boat. So they deserve to beat us. They went very fast and sailed well. Give all credit to them.
On the pre-start penalty: “We had a little problem; the start line was difficult to get to at our end. There were a lot of boats near the port end and we had to gybe around and were late to the starboard end. And that was full of boats too. We were a couple of seconds late and got a penalty, but that wasn't going to decide the race.
On the last 10 years: “It's always been good. Tonight's a bit of a disappointment because we lost, but we've been sailing together since 2001 and here it is 2010. We've had a fantastic record. I've always enjoyed this team. The people we've had are fantastic. It'll be some of the best memories forever.”