The Swiss are going home - but even a pallet of beer was not enough to save Young America

Monday, 13 December

Despite the approaching Christmas holidays, the atmosphere along the ‘Pit Lane’ is far from festive. Of the eleven challenger teams, five will be on their way home by the end of the week, hardly the Christmas present they were looking for.

The Swiss, already quite used to the idea, have been rushing between bases swapping crew shirts as souvenirs, much like the end of a rugby match. Slowly their base is being dismantled with portacabins and containers disappearing one by one. Crew members, vacuum pumps, composite materials and ‘nearly new’ sails have been poached by the neighbouring syndicates and other profiteers. Soon the only remnants will be the lonely yellow hull of ‘be hAPpy’, stripped of her appendages, waiting hopefully for news of her next job.

A battle is raging between Young America and the French for the last place in the top six, although there is far more to it than sailing ability. Last night, Young America begged America True, already safely into the semi finals, to race the French, thus giving them a numerical chance of qualifying. However, there is no love lost between the two syndicates and even a palate of beer was not enough to persuade America True to save their New York colleagues.