The America's Cup Match scoreline reads 2-2 heading into Thursday, a scheduled 'off' day. Racing will resume on Friday, with race 5 scheduled to start at 15:00.
took Emirates Team New Zealand into an early dial-up, and then both boats made their way over to the right of the start box. For the first time BAIRD took the right-hand side of the start, making an excellent full-speed exit from the line while Dean BARKER (NZL) was a little slower getting up to pace.
'We got a last minute call from Jon BILGER, our weather man, to take the right,'
explained Alinghi strategist Murray JONES (NZL). 'Ed did a fantastic job in the pre-start so we got a beautiful start to the right of Emirates Team New Zealand.'
A speed test ensued, with SUI 100 and NZL 92 pacing each other out towards the port-hand layline. As they drew close to the edge of the course, a left-hand shift started to bring the Kiwi boat to the fore, but Alinghi tacked first and claimed the layline, forcing BARKER to follow all the way up to the windward mark.
The Defender rounded 20 seconds ahead, with the Kiwis launching into a gybe-set in search of something better on the left. BARKER's crew made small inroads on the lead until they suffered a bad 'hourglass' wrap in the spinnaker during a gybe, allowing the Swiss to extend their lead.
Coming into the bottom gate, Alinghi paid a high price getting down to the right-hand mark by sailing very low, the sails virtually collapsed. They were very downspeed by the time they passed the mark, while the Kiwis charged down to the less favoured left-hand mark. Although the official delta was 34 seconds, the Kiwis were in reality much closer on distance at this point.
A big split developed up the next beat, and for a while it looked like New Zealand had got back on level terms. However when they met in the middle of the course again, Alinghi was still ahead by a couple of boatlengths. A tacking duel began, although the Swiss defended well, holding off the Kiwi attack and rounding the final mark 25 seconds ahead.
BARKER initiated a gybing duel down the final run, but made no impact on the unflappable Swiss team, who extended to a 30 second victory at the finish.
After yesterday's dramatic race, in which the Defender made a massive comeback only to lose the race on the final run, Alinghi's start to finish victory came as an impressive retort.
Grant LORETZ (NZL), trimmer on NZL 92, said he detected a change in tack from the Defender, 'It was a pretty tricky day. Not too different from yesterday with a lot of puffs and a lot of shifts. But Alinghi obviously changed their style from what we've seen. They were a lot more defensive today and they didn't really give us much space to breathe so that was really the day.'
America's Cup Match
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The America's Cup Match and Challenger/Defender Series are designated as ISAF Special Events. For more information on the America's Cup, the Louis Vuttion Acts and the teams competing, visit the official America's Cup website - www.americascup.com.
For a complete list of all the news about the America's Cup 2007 CLICK HERE.head Grant DALTON (NZL) praised the performance of their rivals, 'Alinghi sailed a good race today. The got an early lead and then defended tenaciously, giving us very little leverage. They are a tight, disciplined unit and they are very hard to pass.