America's Cup live update - race 3

James Boyd reports live from the centre of the action in Auckland

Tuesday February 18th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
Welcome back to day three of the America's Cup. We're posting live updates and comments here during the race allowing readers of The Daily Sail to get the information faster than anywhere else on the web. Just refresh (F5) your browser regularly to keep track of the last minute by minute coverage.

At present there is a brisk breeze blowing on the Hauraki Gulf. The forecast is for 13-17 from the north northwest with gusts of 19. There is some talk that racing might be cancelled.

If racing does take place then it will important for Team New Zealand to control the gas to ensure that they don't break their boat again.

Latest Update:

12:45 The start time is set for 1:15 NZ time (0:15 GMT). The start looks like it should be on time. Grey overcast sky. Breeze expected to build. Despite this being the first weekday race of the Cup there seem to be just as many spectator boats out today. Looking at the daily papers here today you would hardly think World War 3 was about to start. The pages are crammed full of 'can Team New Zealand pull back from the brink' type stories.

1:05 10 minute gun has gone. Wind speed considerably less than forecast at the moment, but very overcast and more expected. Tide is affecting spectator fleet.

1:10 Weather experts have been dumped in the water (they deliver the latest up to the moment weather data up the course to the boats). Boats come into the box... No dial up at present. Wind direction 335deg. 13.5 knots. Ed Baird comments that the wind has been stable for the last 30-40 minutes. Alinghi trying to stop TNZ from gybing back to the line. TNZ are going for the pin end wanting the left side.

1:14 Alinghi ahead of TNZ and have tack to port. TNZ follow.

1:15 Split tack start. Alinghi goes for the committee boat end - Alinghi just ahead. TNZ on starboard passing the pin.

1:17 Alinghi preparing to tack back and will have starboard hand advantage. No side seems to be paying at present. Breeze dropping and going a little right - good for Alinghi.

1:19 Breeze has moved 20deg to the right and a fraction of a knot more on the RH Alinghi side of the course. Alinghi well ahead now and gaining - the big right shift was a classic Butterworth call.

1:27 Alinghi are now 8 boat lengths ahead. Team New Zealand are committed to the left and this is not a lot they seem able to do. Both boats on starboard heading for the port layline.

1:30 Team New Zealand - tacked on to port trying to minimise their loss. Should they have tacked sooner?

1:32 Both boats have tacked (Alinghi going back on port, TNZ starboard). TNZ tack back. Bit of a tacking thing going on here... Breeze filling in from the left now finally to Team New Zealand's advantage. Both boats close to the port layline.

1:35 Alinghi getting the left shift now. Both boats split again. TNZ will have to tack soon or overstand the layline.

1:36 345deg wind direction. Both boats are now heading along the port layline into the mark. Both have slightly overlaid because of the shifty breeze.

1:39 Alinghi setting up for a bear away set. Alinghi round weather mark. TNZ follow 28 seconds later.

Leg 2

1:40 Team New Zealand follow Alinghi. Squall approaching - how will this affect the wind? 346deg wind direction. Vis is dropping on the race course.

1:43 Seems to be very little difference in speed between the two boats. Currently 4.5 boat length different, TNZ have picked up a boat length.

1:45 Alinghi setting up for the gybe. Interestingly neither boats have their staysail up.

1:46 Both boats gybe. Team New Zealand trying to stay to weather of Alinghi to give them dirty air.

1:50 TNZ seem to be slowly closing on Alinghi. Possibly they are bring a little more breeze around them. Wind direction 345deg, wind 12 knots (was 15).

1:51 TNZ gybe. Alinghi follow. Both boats close to the starboard layline. Commentator Ed Baird talks about 5-7deg wind oscillation now

1:54 TNZ have a man at the second spreader. They are 100m behind and closing.

1:56 Alinghi gybe. TNZ follow. Both boats at the port layline.

1:58 Alinghi round first. TNZ follow 17 seconds astern. They have picked up 11 seconds on the run.

Leg 3

2:00 We're in for a tacking duel here. Alinghi are heading left, TNZ right.

2:02 Boats cross. Alinghi ahead and then the Swiss tack back. Alinghi covering TNZ.

2:05 Aside from boat for boat tactics, the tacticians are having to closely watch the make or break gusts.

2:07 TNZ get clear, but Alinghi regain their cover. We are into a fairly leisurely tacking duel.

2:10 Both boats out by the starboard layline heading back to the middle of the course on starboard. They seem extremely evenly matched speed wise.

2:13 boats have split and TNZ seem to be getting a slight lift to the right. They are in the situation Alinghi were in on the first leg. Alinghi tack back

2:15 Boats meet and divide again. Wind down to 8 knots. Sun has come out. Tacking duel on again

2:18 Both boats close to starboard lay line. TNZ over the layline.

2:20 Both boats approaching the mark on starboard. Alinghi round. TNZ follow 17 seconds later - the same as the bottom mark.

Leg 4

2:22 Both boats bear away set again. TNZ were 28 seconds behind at the first mark and made good inroads into Alinghi on the last run.

2:25 Both boats once again seem very even downwind. TNZ is much closer this time and should start to blacket Alinghi.

2:30 Big separation between the boats, both sailing on starboard. TNZ clawing back metre by metre

2:35 Team New Zealand to the right gybe back.

2:36 Alinghi match. Both boats back on port in the centre of the race track.

2:38 Alinghi ahead of Team New Zealand in clean air.

2:39 Both boats gybe in unison on the port layline to head down to the leeward mark.

2:41 Alinghi round. TNZ follow, 15 seconds astern (they've gained 2 seconds)

Leg 5

2:42 TNZ immediately tack on to port. Alinghi respond. We're in for a battle royal now...

2:44 Much talk in the commentry about full speed and slow speed tacks. TNZ trying to get Alinghi to do the latter to gain ground. Alinghi maintaining a tight cover. Hope the boys have had their Weetabix this morning.

2:46 Tacking duel continues. Big right hand shift. Should help Team New Zealand.

2:50 Alinghi seem to be sailing a fraction higher. Both boats on a long starboard tack.

2:52 Wind increasing and going further right - good for TNZ.

2:54 Both boats tack onto port. Breeze up to 16-17 knots. White horses beginning to appear.

3:00 Team New Zealand tack. Alinghi respond. And both tack back. Another battle is on...

3:02 Boats are on split tacks - TNZ heading for starboard layline, Alinghi to the port layline. Spoke too soon... TNZ have tacked back. Both heading for port laying.

3:03 Alinghi tack just beyond port layline. Lots of water over the deck. Alinghi round the top mark. Followed 21 seconds behind by TNZ. They've lost 6 seconds.

Leg 6

3:04 Both boats gybe set. Team New Zealand seemed unprepared for the gybe set and take a while to get the pole up.

3:07 Brad Butterworth says that TNZ are creeping forwards.... Both still on starboard

3:10 TNZ are not gaining.

3:12 Team New Zealand gybe. Alinghi respond.

3:13 TNZ gybe back on to starboard. Alinghi stay on port.

3:15 Alinghi have gybed back. Race track running out for TNZ

3:16 TNZ was trying to sail low and has now come back up again. TNZ have gybed. Alinghi respond.
3:18 TNZ gybe back on to starboard. Alinghi hold

3:20 Alinghi gybe back on to starboard to in order to lay the pin.

3:22 Alinghi win, going 3-0 up. TNZ finish 23 seconds behind.

Conclusion:

These were supposed to be NZL82's conditions, but there seemed to be no noticable difference between the relative speeds of the two boats. The race was won and lost immediately prior to and after the start when Brad Butterworth made the call for Alinghi to head to the right. Buddy Melges has just commented that if Team New Zealand had made that same call at the start then the result would simply have been reversed. But it wasn't. Coutts and Butterworth continue their unbeaten America's Cup record going 3-0, making for desparate times for the defenders.

Crew lists:

Alinghi have changed both their grinders. Clay Oliver is sailing at the 17th man on Team New Zealand today

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 Kai Bjorn
Grinder Jono Macbeth Grinder Will McCarthy
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
17 th Man Clay Oliver 17 th man -

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