Alinghi wins the America's Cup in an unbelievable last race. Matthew Sheahan reports
Alinghi won the 32nd America’s Cup by a margin of just one second in the most dramatic finish to the America’s Cup.
Leading at the weather mark for the first time Alinghi held a narrow 7 second lead. On the downwind leg the Kiwis out-sailed and out-gybed the Swiss, rolling over SUI100 in the last 20 percent of the downwind leg. The Kiwis rounded the left hand mark of the leeward gate, 14 seconds ahead of the Swiss.
But as the two yachts got closer to the weather mark for the second rounding, the Kiwis lead had been eroded by the Swiss who had appeared to keep their speed through the tacks slightly better than the Kiwis. But the real killer punch came at the top mark.
As the Kiwis came in on port and the Swiss on starboard, Alinghi started a dial down, aiming at the Kiwis. The Kiwis, who were on port, took avoiding action but not enough, at least according to the umpires who issued a penalty to the Kiwis.
Just 12 seconds separated the boats at the weather mark but the Kiwis had to offload a penalty, not a hope, or so you might think.
Within a few hundred metres of the finishing line the breeze went ahead, a crisis broke out on Alinghi as the spinnaker pole dropped to the deck and both boats scrambled to hoist their headsails and drop their spinnakers.
Here, the Kiwis made a much better job and rolled the Swiss, who looked dead in the water and shy of the layline for the finish, once again.
As they approached the finish line the Kiwis started their penalty turn by putting in two tacks, enough to stop NZL92 in her tracks. By this time the Swiss had built speed and heading to squeek over the line just 1 second ahead of the Kiwis to win the America’s Cup.
Full analysis and report later
RESULTS AFTER DAY 7
Alinghi – 5
Emirates Team New Zealand – 2
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