By a Hair, Alinghi Wins The Cup

News brief

NBAlinghiVictorySt
Acm 2007/photo:carlos Lujan

Alinghi won the 32nd America's Cup on Tuesday afternoon on the waters off Valencia, Spain. The Swiss defender won its fourth consecutive race in dramatic fashion to win the series 5-2. "I love this team," said Alinghi president and afterguard member Ernesto Bertarelli moments after the finish. This final race of the America's Cup was befitting of what has been the closest, most exciting America's Cup in recent history. Emirates Team New Zealand spent much of the race ahead on the advantage line, but with Alinghi in strong tactical position on the right side of the race course. The Kiwis were never able to get a big enough lead to cross ahead and switch sides. After making a pass on the first run and leading through the leeward gate by 14 seconds, Emirates Team New Zealand again found it couldn't get across the bow of Alinghi on the second upwind leg. With both boats approaching the top mark separated by just a few metres, the Kiwis, approaching from the left on port tack, faced Alinghi roaring in on starboard. Both boats went into a "dial-down" and the judges penalized the port-tack ETNZ for not keeping clear of Alinghi. That foul, it seemed at the time, decided the race. Alinghi rounded the top mark ahead by 12 seconds and looked like the sure victor. But then an enormous windshift on the final leg allowed Emirates Team New Zealand to lay the finish line, which was now upwind. As Alinghi struggled to drop its spinnaker, ETNZ turned into a tack to fulfil its penalty obligation. Once the Kiwi boat lost speed, however, the challengers could only watch in horror as Alinghi slid across the line, just one second ahead. As SUI 100 crossed the finishing line, the crew was muted in its celebration, still stunned by what had occurred over the past five minutes. The spectator fleet paid its respect through a cacophony of boat horns. Then the relieved and excited Alinghi crew took up a tow to join in the celebrations in Port America's Cup.For more on the Alinghi victory, stay tuned to Sailing World's Cup Compound.