Calm before the storm or just another race day? Could today decide the America's Cup? Matthew Sheahan reports
Two days may have passed since the last race between Alinghi and Emirates Team New Zealand, but only yesterday will have provided the time for the Kiwis to reflect seriously on what they need to do to keep their hopes of winning the Cup alive. Hanging around on a race course, waiting for the breeze to settle down and keeping their collective mind focussed and ready is neither the time nor the place to start thinking about the bigger picture. Then, with tension running high, treating the day just like any other was what counted.
Yet Sunday wasn’t like any other. Now, with 24 hours off and the fever that a weekend of excitement had built up, there’s an air of relative calm about the Darsena.
The forecast for today of a building sea breeze starting at 10-12 knots and building to 12-14 knots during the race, suggests that racing will take place today, most likely on time.
In this wind range the teams are evenly matched with a good margin of crossover in their relative performances. Since seeing her shape SUI100 has been considered by most to have been designed with double figure wind speeds in mind. NZL92 doesn’t appear to be a slouch in these conditions either.
The feeling around the dockside is that this is the Kiwis’ day, but it has to be. An Alinghi win today sets a chain of events, starting with a full-on foam-up on the water, prizegivings, champagne and countless photo-shoots.
If Alinghi wins today, the talk is that the Challenger of record will be the newly formed Club Nautico Espanol, which is thought to be based at Desafio Espanol. If this turns out to be the case, it’s not too big a step to assume that the next Cup will take place in Valencia. The speculation is that this would happen in 2009, although such guess work on timing seems to be more to do with the task of finding a gap for the America’s Cup between other major sporting events. The Olympics in Aug 2008 and the football world Cup in June 2010 for example.
If Alinghi wins today, Butterworth will have brought his America’s Cup wins to 20, against 2 losses.
If Alinghi wins today, Barker’s AC race tally will be 3 wins to 10 losses.
If Alinghi wins today, the local travel agents will be busy, taxis to the airports will be scarce and the next cycle of the America’s Cup will begin to gather pace.
But if the Kiwis win today, the 32nd America’s Cup will take one step closer to becoming the most exciting and dramatic America’s matches in history.
Racing due to start with warning signal at 1450 local (1250 GMT)
RESULTS AFTER DAY 6
Alinghi – 4
Emirates Team New Zealand – 2
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