America's Cup day 2 - update

Rolling coverage direct from Auckland with James Boyd

Sunday February 16th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
Following yesterday's disaster for Team New Zealand that resulted in the first round of the America's Cup becoming a one horse race for Alinghi, there has been no let-up in the suspense here in Auckland as race two gets underway.

Team New Zealand have been hard at it over night sorting out their problems - from the broken boom which has been replaced for today's race, to replacing the titanium tack fitting and head foil that broke yesterday to carrying out a full check of the rig.

Fortunately conditions on the Hauraki Gulf are much lighter today with a high pressure (1025 mb) positioned 150 miles west of Auckland slowly moving east. In addition there is a developing low pressure (1007 mb) east of the Bass Straits which is deepening and moving SSE at 30 knots towards the southern tip of South Island with an associated front stretching SE towards Fiordland. Winds over the Hauraki Gulf are predicted to be 6-11 knots from the northeast making for light and shifty conditions. Fine and sunny with cloud slowly building in the afternoon. Air temperatures 22 – 23C. Seas slight to moderate.

Crew lists:

The crews are the same as yesterday, again with neither boat taking a 17th man.

Looking at the two crews, much has been written about the lack of Cup experience on board the black boat. Of the crew on NZL82 only three sailed every race on board the black boat last time - Barry McKay, Tony Raw and Chris Ward, while three sailed one race in 2000 - Dean Barker, Mike Drummond and Grant Loretz.

Jeremy Lomas - Bowman. On board Merit Cup in the Whitbread 1997-8. Worked on the weather team for TNZ in 2000.
Matt Mitchell - Australian mid-bowman. Was on OneAustralia in 1995 and Team New Zealand in 2000.
Nick Heron - mastman. Has been part of Kiwi campaigns since 1988.
Jared Henderson - pitman. Sailed the Whitbread on Merit Cup in 1997-8. Was with TNZ in 2000.
Barry McKay - involved with the 1992, 1995 and 2000 Team New Zealand campaigns. Also sailed with Peter Blake on Steinlager 2 and ENZA New Zealand.
Jono MacBeth - grinder. With Team New Zealand in 2000.
Rob Waddell - grinder. Olympic gold rower in the single sculls. First America's Cup.
Chris Ward - grinder. Part of New Zealand challenges since 1992. Sailed on Dennis Conner's Winston in the Whitbread.
James Dagg - genoa and spinnaker trimmer. Been with Team New Zealand since 1996.
Grant Lorentz - trimmer and sail design and development. Part of Kiwi AC campaigns in 1987, 1992, 1995 (TAG Heuer) and 2000.
Tony Rae - Mainsheet trimmer. Part of New Zealand AC campaigns in 1987, 1992, 1995 and 2000. 3x Whitbread/Volvo veteran.
Adam Beashel - afterguard/main traveller. Sailed on OneAustralia in 1995. Son of Ken and brother of Star bronze, Colin.
Peter Evans - on board strategy, tactics. Sailed for NZ in 1992 and 2000 and with Nippon in 1995.
Hamish Pepper - tactician/sail programme. With Team New Zealand in 2000.
Mike Drummond - principal designer and navigator. Part of New Zealand campaigns in 1987, 1988, 1992, 1995 and 2000.

Bowman Jeremy Lomas Foredeck Dean Phipps
Mid Bowman Matt Mitchell Foredeck Curtis Blewett
Mastman Nick Heron Mastman Francesco Rapetti
Pitman Jared Henderson Pitman Josh Belsky
Runner/Pit Barry McKay Grinder Enrico De Maria
Grinder Jono McBeth Grinder John Barnitt
Grinder Rob Waddell Genoa Trimmer Simon Daubney
Grinder Chris Ward Trimmer Richard Bouzaid
Trimmer James Dagg Grinder Dominik Neidhart
Trimmer Grant Loretz Mainsail Traveller Murray Jones
Mainsheet Trimmer Tony Rae Mainsail Trimmer Warwick Fleury
Afterguard Adam Beashel Grinder Pieter Van Nieuwenhuyzen
Afterguard Peter Evans Strategist Jochen Schuemann
Afterguard Hamish Pepper Navigator Ernesto Bertarelli
Navigator Mike Drummond Tactician Brad Butterworth
Skipper Dean Barker Helmsman/Skipper Russell Coutts
17th Man - 17th man -

Pre start

15:50 both boats heading for the line. Alinghi very close to the lay line and luffing up on starboard. Team New Zealand tack on to port. Split tack start - Alinghi at the pin on starboard that they wanted but starting slightly stalled.

15:46. Five minute gun goes. Dial up Team New Zealand to windward. Both boats bear away on port. Alinghi is trying to get the LH side.

15:41 Ten minute gun has finally gone. 10.1 knots - wind has just picked up.

15:35. Start time has been delayed to 3:50pm (local time). There are still problems getting the spectator craft off the race course.

14:45 Harold Bennett says he thinks the start will be at 15:15. Start has now been confirmed as being 15:20 (the latest racing can start in the America's Cup is 15:30). In fact the 10 minute gun will be at 15:20, the start at 15:30. Harold Bennett waiting for spectator boats to get out of the way before the race will start.

14:05 7 knots of breeze. Bruno Trouble expects racing to start in 30 minutes

A poll of the learned ladies and gentlemen of the Louis Vuitton Media Centre has 65% believing NZL82 to win, 25% pro Alinghi and 10% sitting on the fence

13:10 Racing postponed. Waiting for breeze to fill in

First leg:

NZL82 has tacked back. Both boats look very evenly matched on starboard. Alinghi is heeled more and ahead by a boat length. A slight shift to the left is helping Alinghi. Brad Butterworth thinks they are sailing higher than TNZ. This does seem to be the case looking at their tracks, but may be pressure-related.

15:58 Alinghi go on to port tack. Will they be able to cross ahead? The answer is no. NZL82 tack away. Seems to be even stevens between the two boats, both now on port, heading back from the LH side of the race track.

16:02 Team New Zealand tack, cross imminent. Alinghi trying to cross, but still can't. Team New Zealand immediately tack back on to port.

16:04 Alinghi tack back. Tom Whidden says that Team New Zealand must be pleased to have hung on despite being on the wrong side of the shift. Boats seem to be very similar in speed, says Buddy Melges. Both boats on port out to the LH side of the course, Alinghi still holding on to their one boat length lead.

16:08 Alinghi still seems to have better pressure on the LH side. They are almost at the layline.

16:13 NZL82 tack back on to starboard to attack again. Alinghi look like they just might make it this time. Success for the Swiss as they cross ahead of NZL82.

16:16 Both boats heading towards the mark along the port layline. It's very very close. Alinghi trying to squeeze NZL82 over the layline. NZL82 dropping back at they suffer from the disturbed area. Alinghi round the first mark 12 seconds ahead of NZL82.

Second leg:

Both boats bear away set. Team New Zealand following Alinghi on port. Both boats have large masthead gennikers up, but Alinghi is flying a staysail as well.

16:21 Alinghi send a man up the rig to help getting the battens should they want to gybe. Both boats gybe in tandem just short of the layline.

16:23 Team New Zealand have split from Alinghi following two dummy gybes by the cunning Swiss. Alinghi have gybed back to get to the starboard layline. Alinghi have pulled out two boat lengths, but the Kiwis are pulling back on the right hand side of the course. NZL82 is getting the benefit Alinghi got on the first leg.

16:27 Both boats are level pegging, both on starboard. Talk is of the Kiwi hula working. Kiwis pulling ahead slowly. Very slowly.

16:30 NZL82 gybe back on to port. As they cross, Team New Zealand is ahead by 15 seconds and they gybe back on to starboard. Alinghi gybe away - back on to port. Hard to say which is faster - Team New Zealand's gain may be pressure and not hula-related. Wind still seems to be around 9 knots.

16:34 As the boats approach the second mark, the breeze has gone left a little, as it was at the start and is not favouring Team New Zealand so much.

16:36 Alinghi changing to a code one - a large genniker. They see the wind is dropping. Immaculate peel. The Swiss are way over the layline.

16:39 Team New Zealand gybe on the layline. Alinghi still have two gybes ahead of them before they can round the leeward mark. Commentors are talking about NZL82 having more sail area than Alinghi. Team New Zealand also flying a staysail.

16:41 Team New Zealand round in front. Alinghi trail by 0:34 seconds at the leeward mark.

Third leg:

Both boats heading off to the LH side of the course where there seems to be better pressure. Wind remarkably doesn't seem to be fluctuating too much today. Team New Zealand does appear to have a little more pace, but it is only by a fraction.

16:49 Both boats still heading out to the port laying. Alinghi sailing slightly higher, Team New Zealand slightly lower and faster, but the Kiwis have pulled their lead to 1 minute ahead. Bearing in mind that NZL82 is supposed to have more drag and these are not said to be her ideal conditions, this is an impressive display.

16:52 NZL82 tacks on to port and Alinghi follows. A tacking duel is on...

16:55 Both boats now on port tack. Team New Zealand tack back and go back on to starboard to disturb Alinghi's airflow. Alinghi tack away again and back again. Both boats now beyond the port hand layline. Alinghi have no choice but to follow in NZL82's dirty air.

17:02 The indication is that Team New Zealand have lost some of their advantage over the Swiss. Wind at 7.8 knots. NZL send a man up the rig. Murray Jones goes up the mast on Alinghi. Surprisingly Alinghi still seem to be closing. Does the Swiss boat like the lighter conditions?

17:08 NZL reach weather mark and gybe set. Alinghi round 26 seconds after - they have gained 8 seconds on the windward leg. They gybe set too. Both boats seem to like the RH side of the course on the run.

Fourth leg:

17:11 Both boats gybe on to starboard. Both under big gennikers with men up the rig. Adam Beashel is aloft on NZL82. (We just got some photos in from the race course).

17:18 Both boats gybe on to port. Team New Zealand is about four boats ahead, but neither boat appears to be gaining. Alinghi have a slightly larger genniker up.

17:25 There seems to be more breeze towards the leeward end of the course. Alinghi are sailing a little deeper and a closing very slowly.

17:29 Both boats gybe on to starboard as they hit the layline. Alinghi giving NZL82 dirty air.

17:30 Team New Zealand round - Alinghi 14 seconds behind. The Swiss have made a 12 second gain on the downwind leg.

Fifth leg:

17:31 Both boats head up and then about a minute later tack on to port. Wind still about 8 knots.

17:35 Fantastic tacking duel, dummy tacks from Alinghi. Coutts is constantly trying to take ground out of the Kiwis. The boats have split temporarily with Team New Zealand going out to port. Butterworth keeping an eye out to leeward and playing with the trim tab. There is comment about Alinghi having a better keel for these conditions.

17:40 Alinghi tack on to starboard. Team New Zealand respond. Alinghi tack back. Alinghi lost out in the last tacking battle. The Kiwis seem to be defending the left side of the course where there has generally been more pressure throughout this race and there now a small left hand shift benefitting them further. Wind building fractionally the closer they get to the weather mark.

17:47. Adam Beashel, tactician on NZL82 says there is more pressure on the LH side. The tacking battle continues. 28 tacks so far. The grinders must be knackered...

17:56 The tacking duel continues. The boats have wiggled their way up the centre of the race track. Team New Zealand have matched Alinghi tack for tack.

17:58 NZL82 rounds and bear away sets. Alinghi behind by 0:26 seconds - they've lost the 12 seconds they gains on the last leg.

Sixth leg:

17:59 Alinghi gybe sets and Team New Zealand gybes to cover. 11 knots of breeze - so far this race there has been less breeze towards the leeward end of the course. Both boats again have men up the rigs. Alinghi has their staysail set.

18:03 Both boats on starboard heading towards RH side still. Alinghi seem to be making a gain, due to the breeze. Very close now. Alinghi is sailing deeper and is now within 10m of Team New Zealand. Boats almost to the far right hand side of the course.

18:08 Team New Zealand gybe first. Alinghi follow too and the Swiss somehow have got ahead. Seriously tense stuff.... Alinghi tucking in astern of NZL82, in front by a boat length. Alinghi sailing high. Alinghi trying to give the Kiwis dirty air. Small tears have appears in Alinghi's kite. Team New Zealand have come up to respond. It looks like Alinghi are rolling Team New Zealand. They have succeeded!

18:14. Alinghi have passed Team New Zealand. Incredible...

18:15 Alinghi are trying to break the overlap...(bring me some valium). The on board umpire oin Alinghi looking up at the Team New Zealand pole... Alinghi have lost the staysail ready for the gybe. Alinghi ahead by 40m.

18:17 Both boats gybe. Beautiful gybes by both boats. Team New Zealand trying to roll Alinghi. Mon dieu...

18:20 NZL82 doesn't seem to have the legs to overhaul the Swiss. This is going to be a long downwind leg as the boats have headed up against (Alinghi trying to prevent being rolled)

18:22 Both boats gybe from the right hand side of the course. Alinghi leading by a boat length. Both boats approaching the finish line on port. Little change for Team New Zealand now.

18:24 Alinghi cross the finish line 7 seconds ahead of Team New Zealand to go 2-0 up. Wow...

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