In terms of the America's Cup Class Season Championship, with five wins in six Acts, Alinghi is the class of the fleet. BMW ORACLE Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand are fully ten points in arrears, with the Kiwis getting the nod for second place by virtue of beating the Americans in two of their three match races this year. Luna Rossa (ITA) is fourth, followed by Desafío Español and Victory Challenge (SWE). The French K-Challenge sneaks ahead of +39 Challenge (ITA) on a tie break.
The Swiss Defender was presented with prizes for the Louis Vuitton Act 9 title and the America's Cup Class Season Championship at a ceremony in the America's Cup Park. Tens of thousands from Trapani were on hand to enjoy the day, and share in the spirit of the 32nd America's Cup.
In fleet race five the weather on the race course off the western tip of Sicily added to the drama of the day. Strong 15 to 20 knots winds blew up a tempestuous sea, which challenged man and machine alike. The French K-Challenge was the first to fall; it did not start the race due to problems with its boom.
It was a pre-start full of action on Sunday as Alinghi, BMW ORACLE Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand each hunted the other ahead of the starting gun. The American team in particular was aggressive pushing the Kiwis towards the line early. The tactics worked - Emirates and China Team started pre-maturely and had to return to restart.
It was a doubly good start for BMW ORACLE skipper Chris DICKSON (NZL). Not only did he dismiss his Kiwi rival, but he hit the line with speed and led a group of boats out to the left side of the race course.
Alinghi and Victory Challenge led the charge further to the right, which is where Emirates Team New Zealand and China Team followed after re-starting.
The Spanish made a nice tactical move near the top mark. As the first to approach the layline, Desafío tacked onto starboard tack just on the limit of laying the mark. When BMW ORACLE and Alinghi approached on port tack, they were forced to tack below the Spanish and hence below the layline. The Americans took the Swiss past the mark before tacking back and rounding cleanly. Alinghi was then forced to avoid the starboard tack +39 Challenge before sliding around the mark with Luna Rossa charging inside them. DICKSON and the Spanish worked well to drive the Swiss boat further back in the fleet.
On the first run, Spain was able to hold its lead, despite having spinnaker pole trouble. The Swiss sailed out hard to the left side of the race course halfway down the run, trying to find a way past the American team. But BMW ORACLE was fast, closing up on the leading Desafío team. +39 Challenge also sailed well, following the Spanish, and American teams around the right side of the gate.
Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa elected to take the left side of the gate, while Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia had jib problems and could not hoist its headsail.
Alinghi worked its way up the right hand side of the race course, with the Americans pushing the Swiss further right with every tack. Most of the teams started working the right side of the course with Luna Rossa the exception; Francesco DE ANGELIS' (ITA) team, along with +39, hit the left corner of the beat. The move paid, as the two Italian teams pressured BMW ORACLE Racing around the top mark, who in turn were looking to get past the Spanish.
The final run to the finish was extremely dramatic with the American, Spanish and Swiss boats all very close nearing the finish line. In the event, it was Spain squeezing ahead of BMW ORACLE. The Spanish win leaps it past Shosholoza (RSA) for fourth in Act 9, and as Alinghi finished within one place of BMW ORACLE, the Swiss win Act 9 on a tie-break.
Trapani Louis Vuitton Act 9 Results And Leaderboard
(** scoring is a high point system, with the winning team earning 12 points, second place - 11 points and so on…)
|2||USA||BMW ORACLE Racing||1||2||2||2||2||56|
|3||NZL||Emirates Team New Zealand||2||3||5||3||6||46|
|6||ITA||Luna Rossa Challenge||11||4||6||6||4||34|
|9||GER||United Internet Team Germany||4||7||11||12||9||22|
|10||ITA||Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team||12||10||9||4||11||19|