skipper Dean BARKER (NZL) had the better start, crossing the line 3 seconds ahead of SUI 100. But it did not take long for Alinghi helmsman Ed BAIRD (USA) to squeeze up from leeward, forcing the Kiwis to tack away. When the boats next converged, it was Alinghi with the lead and control of the race. But the second lap of the course belonged to the Kiwis, who made the pass on the second beat and extended on the run to the finish to square the series.
Monday is scheduled as an 'off day'. Racing in the 32nd America's Cup Match will resume on Tuesday afternoon. Race 3 is scheduled to start at 15:00 with a warning signal at 14:50.
Emirates Team New Zealand
neutralized Alinghi's starboard entry advantage into the pre-start by sailing clean across their bow. An aggressive pre-start ensued with both helmsmen fighting for the right. BARKER got the hook on BAIRD, forcing Alinghi into a tack. BARKER followed into a tack and moved again to the right of the Defender, determined to win the end of the starting line nearest to the Race Committee boat.
As both boats wound up to speed for the final approach, it was NZL 92 that was faster to accelerate, crossing the line 3 seconds ahead of the SUI 100. With a half-boatlength advantage and the breeze and wave conditions much softer than the day before, the Kiwis must have hoped that they could live in that position and control the match out to the left.
However, just as the day before, BAIRD got SUI 100 fully up to speed and started edging forward and higher compared with NZL 92. The Kiwis could not stay in position, and were forced to tack away. It was almost a carbon copy of Saturday's match, with Alinghi tacking over to shadow the Kiwi boat. At the first cross SUI 100 was more than two boatlengths ahead and they controlled the match to lead by 19 seconds around the first mark.
The New Zealanders attacked downwind however, managing to close the deficit to 13 seconds by the leeward gate, where Alinghi took the left and the Kiwis the right-hand option at the gate. Brad BUTTERWORTH (NZL) played a loose cover game up the second beat, looking confident in his speed and wanting to protect the right once he had successfully swapped sides with Terry HUTCHINSON (USA).
However, BUTTERWORTH's open tactics backfired as the Kiwis got back on level terms, coming in from the left with Alinghi forced to tack to leeward. This proved to be the crucial turning point. Kiwi head Grant DALTON (NZL) said after the race, 'Alinghi made one mistake and we capitalized on it."
Alinghi President, Ernesto BERTARELLI (SUI) concurred with DALTON's assessment, "It was all about the last cross on the second upwind leg where we came back on the right and the wind went left. The boats were equal there and I think we just tacked a little too early. It was really just a boatlength in it.'
BARKER did an excellent job of holding his position to windward on the Swiss, and took the match out to the right-hand layline. From this point the race moved firmly into New Zealand control, leading around the final mark by 15 seconds.
threw many gybes at the final run, trying to wriggle around the Kiwis, but all to no avail as BARKER brought NZL 92 across the finish 28 seconds ahead.
With the series now level at 1-1, this is already statistically the closest America's Cup Match since 1992, with last three editions all won by clean sweeps. Despite his team's loss, BERTARELLI remained upbeat, 'We can see that it is going to be very close and we are going to have to race very well to win. We would obviously prefer the result to be 2-0 but we are equal now and it is all to be seen on Tuesday. There is still a lot of racing to be done and we are confident. It's the first defeat for Alinghi in an America's Cup Match and we hope it will be the last.'
Again both teams pointed to the similarity in speed between SUI 100 and NZL 92, with Murray JONES (NZL), strategist on Alinghi, commenting, 'I think the boats were both very even today - there was nothing in it really. When we were in front in the first run we got a little out of phase where we got the biggest header of the day, that didn't work for us, and we made a little loss down towards the bottom of the run. On the second we were trying to get in phase with some shifts but the course was quite even all over.'
'They made a huge gain at one point downwind yesterday, but no boat goes that much quicker in that shorter time, otherwise we wouldn't have a race. It's all about shifts and pressure and who makes the best job of them.'runner Tony RAE (NZL) talked along similar lines, 'As you can see there's not a lot between the boats, upwind or downwind. Most of the speed differences come in either pressure or shifts.
On the Kiwi boat there was also obvious delight at levelling up the Match after Saturday's opening defeat. DAVIES emphasized how important the win was for the team's confidence, 'It's huge for the team to come back from behind. That's always a huge booster and there is nothing worse than going into a day off on a loss because the only way to recover from a loss is to get back out there and redeem yourself. So it's just been huge for the team to square it all up again and get a win on the board in the America's Cup. It's been a long time coming for Team New Zealand to turn the tables.'
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.
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