Race 4 - umpteenth take

Yes - it's happening! James Boyd reports live from out on the Hauraki Gulf - race starting 0:15GMT

Friday February 28th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
It may be a desperate attempt by race officials to get race four of the America's Cup underway, but we are out here now and conditions are more than ever far from fit for it with visability down to around 400m - ie not enough to see the weather mark.

Conditions have finally abated after the blustery conditions of the last few days. Out here on the Hauraki Gulf it is raining too. And on the catamaran press boat there is the strong prospect of chunder thanks to the rolly conditions that is making our catamaran pitch wildly.

It will be interesting to see how today pans out...We will be updating live from the race course. Fingers crossed.


12.25pm The visibility is improving. But the wind is getting lighter. Strangely the Alinghi boats about 10 minutes ago appeared to be heading back to Auckland. We will be able to count the number of spectator boats with relative ease today.

12:40pm Northeasterly breeze of around 15 knots blowing. Harold Bennett says he is confident that racing will take place. Waves settling down.

12:45pm Getting 16-18 knots at the top mark. A front is expected within 30 minutes, bringing with it more rain and some more wind.

13:00 All lining up for a 13:15 kick off. Sun is out. Conditions improving dramatically.

13:05 10 minute gun has gone. Both boats bareheaded, chosing their headsails. Wind: 16.6 knots from 44deg. Looks like it is going to be a very wet ride for the crews here...

13:10 Alinghi is coming in from the pin end, TNZ from committee boat. Rain squall coming from the left side. Should be some intense pre-race briefing from the weather crews. Starboard bias to the line, but big rain cloud off to the left of the course. Ed Baird thinks committee boat will be favoured end.

13:12 Both boats still sailing deep into the box. Both boats now coming up to the line. Ian Walker thinks Alinghi will want to protect the left. There's a long way back up to the line, so not much opportunity for either team to threaten the other. Both boat approaching on starboard. No real sense of engagement in the pre-start. Both boats slowing up before the .

13:15 Team New Zealand - right by the committee boat. Alinghi perfect start - right on the gun. NZL82 a tad later. Both boats still on starboard. Walker things NZL82 has a heavier air mainsail on. NZL82 seem to be heeled slightly more and not quite as high. NZL82 seems to be pitching less.

13:17 NZL82 tack off on to port. Alinghi remain on starboard.

13:18 Alinghi tack on to starboard. Big separation between the boats. Alinghi still ahead.

13:20 Both boats still on port. Alinghi getting lifted slightly.

13:22 Alinghi could cross ahead but tack on the bow of NZL82. TNZ tack back. 1/2 boat length lead. Alinghi trying to protect the left while bouncing NZL82 across to the starboard layline.

13:31 Alinghi tacked on to port and has managed to crossed ahead and this time is continuing. NZL82 continuing on starboard. Alinghi seems to be constantly pointing higher than TNZ. Both boats have backwinded mainsails suggesting that they are overpowered for the conditions.

13:33 Both boats have tacked back. Alinghi now ahead at cross and both tack apart again, NZL82 out to the left, Alinghi right.

13:35 Squall coming through - how will this affect the two boats? TNZ now tacked on to port just beyond the port layline.

13:37 Alinghi have tacked on the layline ahead of NZL82.

1:39 Alinghi round the weather. Followed by NZL82 8 seconds later. NZL82 - very good hoist. Small advantage there to NZL82. Both boats bear away set.

1:41 Reasonable swell out here still and Ian Walker comments that there will be need to be lots of crewwork to use the waves.

1:44. Alinghi has stretched out by a boat length. Wind has gone right slightly. Both boats still on port gybe. Alinghi are continuing to extend. They seem slightly faster downwind in these conditions.
1:46 Alinghi gybe on the layline. Gain to Team New Zealand, they then follow on to starboard gybe. Ian Walker thinks both boats have been lifted. Both boats trying to sail low. Bowmen are both almost submerged. Wind now 22 knots. Rain squall approaching.

1:51 Alinghi set up headsail early. Both boats heading down the layine to the mark. Both boats very early on the headsail hoists.

1:53 Alinghi drop and round leeward mark. Team New Zealand round 17 seconds later. Both boats on to port. Rain squall is kicking in.

1:54 Both boats tack on to port. Knarly conditions - with wind up and their boats crashing through waves. Boat breaking conditions... TNZ mainsail keeps backing. TNZ full of water again as there was on day one of the racing. 26 knots of breeze... Most breeze we've seen in this regatta. TNZ headsail in too tight. Alinghi have headsail set for a reach.

2:00 Visibility it still down. Alinghi mainsail better set, with more twist in the jib to depower it in the conditions. Visibility closed in again. Rain.

2:03 Team New Zealand have tacked. Alinghi holding course. Tack later to weather . Conditions have abated, but more is expected. Alingh are still pulling away.

2:12 Team New Zealand - rig breaks just above the first spreader. The boat leapt off two waves and the rig broke on the third dive. Top 3/4 of mast falls over to leeward. Looks like it may have been the weather V2 that broke at the top. The mast was made by Southern Spars here in Auckland. NZL82 like most of the Cup boats has double rod rigging (to reduce windage).

"The sight which no sailors likes to experience. We don't know very much. It is possible that the tip cap at the V2 failed and it went from there," commented Team New Zealand boss Tom Schnackenberg.

"We'll take the rig out of the other boat and we'll be racing tomorrow. We are used to sailing this way, we are just not used to dropping the rig."

Looking at Gilles Martin-Raget's images it seems that following the top of V2 breaking the mast broke at where the rigging in the cathedral rig passes through the spar between the first and second spreaders.

3:10 Alinghi fly across the line under spinnaker to go 4-0 up in the America's Cup.

Crews for today

Team New Zealand (NZL-82)
v. Alinghi (SUI-64)
Jeremy Lomas
Dean Phipps
Mid Bowman
Matt Mitchell
Curtis Blewett
Nick Heron
Francesco Rapetti
Jared Henderson
Josh Belsky
Barry McKay *
Enrico De Maria
Jono Macbeth
John Barnitt
Rob Waddell
Genoa Trimmer
Simon Daubney
Chris Ward
Richard Bouzaid
James Dagg
Dominik Neidhart
Grant Loretz
Mainsail Traveller
Murray Jones *
Mainsheet Trimmer
Tony Rae *
Mainsail Trimmer
Warwick Fleury
Adam Beashel *
Pieter Van Nieuwenhuyzen *
Peter Evans
Jochen Schuemann
Bertrand Pace
Ernesto Bertarelli
Mike Drummond
Brad Butterworth *
Dean Barker
Russell Coutts
17 th Person
17 th Person

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