Saturday, 14 February 2009

LVPS: Top Challenger Alinghi Meets Emirates Team New Zealand in Final

Emirates Team New Zealand on the Waitemata. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

by Warren Douglas

Alinghi has won the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series’ challenger final and the focus now shifts to the series final against Emirates Team New Zealand.

Today Alinghi beat BMW Oracle with a margin of just over a minute to go 2-0 up in the best-of-three challenger final.

The series final starts tomorrow.

Alinghi protested to the jury about the regatta format, which stipulates that finalists sail the yacht they draw throughout the best-of-seven final.

Butterworth prefers NZL92, claiming it is a faster boat that NZL 84.

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker says he doesn’t care which boat he sails because “they are both very even in performance. It doesn’t matter to us.

“Our concern is for our sponsors. We are returning our boat to its usual livery for the final and it’s plainly impossible to change the livery between each race.”

Alinghi went before the jury in the early afternoon seeking redress, should they draw NZL 84. The draw took place at 2.30pm with Alinghi reserving the right to return to the protest room if necessary.”

Grant Dalton’s comment: “Alinghi asked for redress from something that hadn’t happened. They drew NZL 92 so the protest went away.”

Dalton produced statistics from the racing so far which shows NZL 92 had won 55% of the races against NZL 84’s 45%. “Take into account all the other factors that can affect the outcome of a race – for instance wind shifts, the tidal current and crew ability – that’s even enough us.”

Dean Barker: “We’re ready and we’re looking forward to the racing tomorrow.”

“Alinghi is in form and will be very hard to beat. As every day has passed in this event, racing has got tougher and tougher as the level of sailing has got higher and higher.”

Emirates Team New Zealand

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