First scores on board

Alinghi wins and OneWorld moves from minus-one to zero

Tuesday December 10th 2002, Author: Louis Vuitton, Location: Australasia
Drama marked the opening races of the Louis Vuitton Cup semi final in Auckland today, with lead changes and broken equipment providing plenty of excitement as the yachts raced in south westerly breezes of 16-20 knots.

Semi Finals 9-16 December
Best of Seven ALINGHI ORACLE BMW ONEWORLD* PRADA
Score 1 0 1 0
Race 1 1.11 0.48
Race 2
Race 3
Race 4
Race 5
Race 6
Race 7
*will be deducted one point due to ACAP ruling

As expected, the clash between Oracle BMW Racing (USA-76) and Alinghi (SUI-64) provided a highly charged pre-start, full of action and aggression. Peter Holmberg, steering USA-76, gained a slight advantage off the line, but Russell Coutts at the helm of SUI-64 had the right hand side and used it to advantage.

Soon after the start, the Swiss team gained the edge and then sailed a classic match race, relentlessly covering and playing the windshifts to slowly extend to a comfortable lead – ending the 11-race winning streak enjoyed by USA-76 since Chris Dickson took over the skipper’s role.

In the match between Luna Rossa (ITA-74) and OneWorld (USA-67), the Italian yacht, skippered by Francesco de Angelis, gained the upper hand in the start. But, a pattern soon emerged where OneWorld, helmed by James Spithill, had better speed upwind and Prada had the pace downwind. The lead changed five times during the race.

Prada’s de Angelis drove hard downwind, working the boat down every wave trying to gain every ounce of speed. Drama struck on the second downwind leg when Prada luffed OneWorld and broke their spinnaker pole in the process.

OneWorld powered into the lead and extended up the third windward leg, only to break its spinnaker on the final run. Prada closed up, but not enough to threaten the American yacht.

Race reports:
Page 2 - Alinghi Oracle BMW
Page 3 - OneWorld Prada

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