Tension mounts as Alinghi sit one race away from success. Matthew Sheahan reports

 Just one more win and Alinghi will have ticked two of the most important boxes in sport, winning the America’s Cup and defending it. If the Kiwis are to win today they gain a stay of execution. Tomorrow (Monday) is an off day, a moment to gather their breath, recompose and consider how they are to win the next two races to take the Cup back to Auckland.

All morning the tension around the dock has been unavoidable, the ‘what if’ scenarios, should Alinghi win today’s decisive match, have prompted a whole new procession of morning meetings where the details of everything from docking ceremonies, prize-givings, press conferences, speeches, celebrity guest appearances and the likes are discussed in detail. Ensuing that key photographers and cameramen are in the right place at the right time to catch every crucial moment in what is bound to be mayhem afloat requires planning. When the circus starts, if it starts, all hell will break loose.

Never, in the last four years has a Kiwi win been more important.

Today is Grant Dalton’s 50th birthday. Talk from the camp says that at the morning briefing Dalts was presented with a cake and was sung happy birthday. As the applause died down, Dalts smiled and said, “Look guys, you know the present I want.”

As always, simple and to the point.

Despite being the underdogs, the media appears to be backing the Kiwis too. In the daily media competition to guess the winner, the Kiwis have taken 57 percent of the votes as confidence that they can put at least one more win on the board starts to climb. The last two days have been the first that the Kiwis have been favourites to win a race among this group of 100 expert Cup watchers.

But there is one further variable that just might throw a spanner in the works, the weather.

Having built from the south and backed to the southeast, an approaching cold front is bringing high cloud cover with it. If this cloud drifts over the land close to the course area the convection that is driving the sea breeze could be affected. This in turn could cause the light breeze to either drop or start to go shifty.

At present 1300 local, the breeze is 7.5knots, (just on the lower limit for racing) and varying between 110-120 degrees and showing a hint of becoming a little more fluky.

The bottom line, tension everywhere on a must watch day.


Alinghi – 4

Emirates Team New Zealand – 2


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