LIVE UPDATE: Once more into battle

James Boyd reports live from the Hauraki Gulf on what could be the last race of the America's Cup

Sunday March 2nd 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
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Could this be the last day of the America's Cup? After Saturday's postponement conditions are supposed to be a little brisker today. Have the wheels fallen off Team New Zealand completely? Are Alinghi completely unbeatable by the defenders? All should be revealed in the next few hours. The Daily Sail will be bringing you live updates of the action - backed up by photos from photographer Gilles Martin-Raget.

Today's forecast: Southern Ocean low pressure system (987 mb) 200 miles south of Fiordland moving east with an active front extending north into the Tasman Sea. A further area low-pressure is developing on the front in the mid Tasman Sea and is forecast to deepen and bring strengthening north easterlies on Sunday evening and Monday. Small sub-tropical low-pressure (1007mb) positioned 400 miles ENE of Auckland moving south.

Winds: NE 13-17 increasing to 21 knots

Fine conditions with cloud building through the day. Air temperatures 22 - 25C. Slight seas building to moderate in the afternoon.

Racing is due to commence at 13:15 local time (00:15GMT).

Live update:

12:15 12 knots gusting 15 out here on the Gulf. Looks like the start will be on time. Major cumulus cloud build-up over the land, but bright. Again there is a meagre spectator fleet compared to the first weekend. This is likely to fill out nearer to the start.

12:25 Both teams have two boats out. The Team New Zealand B boat sporting a new rig. NZL82 looks up for it - already doing timed runs. Alinghi have only jhust got their headsail up. NZL82 has just swung past the press boat. Clay Oliver of the design team is again on as 17th man. Bertrand Pace is glued to Dean Barker side.

12:30 Wind is against tide, but it looks reasonably flat out here. Tide is supposed to slacken in about one hour. Wind speed is around 12-13 knots. Perfect conditions.

12:55 Start still looking ok for 1:15. Both Alinghi and TNZ B boats have gone all the way up the course. Conditions looking fairly stable. Alinghi are coming in from the committee boat end again today.

13:00 Both boats deep in the box. Alinghi on the port side, TNZ right.

13:05 Both boats have hoisted headsails now. Alinghi powering up from the course past the pin. Team New Zealand down by the committee boat. Ed Baird is commenting that the wind is the stabliest he has seen.

13:10 Both boats enter the box. Wind 029deg. Alinghi coming in at speed on a reach and bearing away past the committee - TNZ can't do this because of the spectator boats. Alinghi heading across to engage.

13:12 Alinghi chasing TNZ deep down into the box. Alinghi want to control the right off the start line. Team New Zealand have slowed down. Both boats trying to kill time. TNZ down to leeward. Both boats on starboard. Team New Zealand luffing. They're ahead.

13:15 Both boats hit the line on the button both on starboard. Alinghi to windward. We have a drag race ladies and gentlemen. Again it was a fairly benign start with no dial up.
13:17 Alinghi seems to be sailing slightly higher again. NZL82 not looking so overpressed today. In fact in these conditions the Kiwi boat looks stiffer. Small separation developing because Alinghi is pointing higher.

13:20 Both boats still on starboard heading out to the port layline. VS saying Alinghi have extended to 40m.

13:24. Both boats tack. TNZ tack back. Boats separating now, but have tacked back. Alinghi crosses ahead and tacks on TNZ's nose.

13:27 Breeze gone 5deg right. Both boats now committed to port tack. Alinghi 3 boat length advantage. Alinghi is the height king in this race.

13:30 Alinghi and TNZ still on port tack.

13:33 Both boats have tacked back onto starboard. Alinghi still ahead. 13-15 knots of breeze.

13;38 Alinghi round. Team New Zealand round 21 seconds later. Both boats bear away set.

13:45. Alinghi gybe. Team New Zealand follow immediately - very good gybe. Both boats on starboard gybe now. Alinghi 87m ahead now.

13:51 Both gybe back onto port. Team New Zealand seem to be slightly on Alinghi's breeze. Alinghi's gybing is not quite a slick.

13:55 Both boats gybe again. TNZ a little late. On final run into leeward mark. Alinghi 92m advantage.

13:56 Alinghi round and head off on port. TNZ - 18 seconds behind. They've made a 3 second gain. TNZ immediatelly tack. Alinghi follow.

13:58 TNZ tacking. Alinghi follow. Both boats on starboard again. TNZ tack back, followed by Alinghi. TNZ seem to be controlling it...Alinghi holding on to port.

14:00 Boats have disengaged. Team New Zealand have gone to the left side of the course. Alinghi go right. But they've tacked back.

14:02 Both boats still on starboard heading off to the left side of the course.

14:07 No change. Both boats still heading left.

14:08 TNZ tack. Alinghi hold on starboard. 95m separation. Alinghi tack on TNZ's air and TNZ tack off. Alinghi protecting the right.

14:10 TNZ try it again. Tacking back onto port. Alinghi follow. Fabulous conditions still. Relatively flat water. Fairly consistent breeze. Same deal. Alinghi tack on their air and TNZ back off.

14;12 Alinghi go back on to starboard heading for the port layline. TNZ have tacked back. They are trying to push TNZ way out left.

14:15 And another round of tacks. The period is getting shorter. Alinghi hold on port.

14:17 Alinghi tack on to starboard. Team New Zealand hold and continue heading for the starboard layline. They are looking for a tack set.

14:19 Alinghi round top mark. TNZ 16 seconds behind. Both bear away set. TNZ set an 'A' sail, Alinghi an S sails. (Asymmetric v symmetric). TNZ will sail higher angles. But we should we a separation between the boats making it hard for Alinghi to cover.

14:22 TNZ gybe.

14:25 Alinghi gybe and TNZ coming back on to port. Net gain to Alinghi. Big separation between the boats. 125m advantage to Alinghi. Alinghi seem to have a speed advantage both upwind and downwind.

14:30 TNZ gybe on to starboard. Alinghi hold

14:32 Alinghi gybe. They are 165m ahead. Not looking good for TNZ.

14:33 TNZ break their spinnaker pole on the headstay. It is chucked overboard and picked up by their chase boat.

14:36 Alinghi round the bottom mark. 180m or seven boat lengths ahead. TNZ follow 31 seconds behind. Both boats have headed off on starboard tack. Settled down a little, TNZ tack.

14:40 TNZ tack back on to starboard. Alinghi hold.

14:42 Alinghi tack back on to starboard.

14;47 Both boats have now gone onto port. But Team New Zealand have flopped back on to starboard. Alinghi continuing to RH side of the course.

14:49 Alinghi back on port. Team New Zealand on starboard and have been allow to cross to the right side of the course.

14:54 Alinghi have gone to the RH side of the course and tacked back. Both boats now on starboard.

14:57 Alinghi tack on to the port layline. Behind, TNZ follow.

14:58 Alinghi rounds the final mark of this America's Cup. TNZ follow 45 seconds astern. Both boats flying symmetrical spinnakers. Alinghi hold 230m advantage.

15:01 Team New Zealand have gybed on to starboard. Alinghi follow, off in the distance, 256m ahead.

15:05. Team New Zealand back on port. Alinghi maintaining a loose cover, respond.

15:10 Both boats on port still. TNZ gybe back. Followed about 1 minute later by Alinghi. This will be Russell Coutt's 14th consecutive win in an AC race - beating Dennis Conner's streak.

15:16 Finish line in sight for Alinghi. The end of an era approaches.

15:17 Alinghi crosses the line first. A superb result for Ernesto Bertarelli's team. Team New Zealand follow 44 seconds astern.

An incredible flotilla of boats is following Alinghi in. Golden Gate Yacht Club has just issued their challenge.

Team New Zealand (NZL-82) v. Alinghi (SUI-64)
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 Macbeth 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 Bertrand Pace Navigator Ernesto Berarelli
Navigator Mike Drummond Tactician Brad Butterworth *
Skipper Dean Barker Helmsman/Skipper Russell Coutts
17 th Person Clay Oliver 17 th Person

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