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2 March 2003, 03:42 am
Its all Over - Coutts Breaks All the Records
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America's Cup
Hauraki Gulf, Auckland

Alinghi won Race Five of the XXXIst America's Cup Match in Auckland on Sunday and, for the first time in its 152-year history, the America's Cup is going to Europe.
Ernesto Bertarelli's Swiss Alinghi Team swept away Team New Zealand in five consecutive races, becoming the first Challenger to win the America's Cup on its initial attempt.

With his 14th America's Cup win, Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts broke Dennis Conner's record of 13 America's Cup race victories, adding the five wins of 2003, to the nine he earned with Team New Zealand in the 1995 and 2000 campaigns.

Coutts has also now equalled the legendary Charlie Barr and Harold Vanderbilt by winning three consecutive America's Cups.

The Hauraki Gulf delivered conditions America's Cup aficionados had hoped for, and Sunday's race was sailed in ideal weather, with a steady 12 to 15-knot Northeasterly, blue sunny skies, and fair weather cumulus clouds providing an idyllic backdrop for the drama on the water.

As they have throughout the 2002/2003 America's Cup season, the Alinghi Team turned in a dominant performance, winning the start, and converting that early advantage into a solid lead that they protected ferociously.

Team New Zealand tried everything they could to break through, but the black boat continued to be plagued by gear failure, this time breaking a spinnaker pole on the second run. In the end, Alinghi was too strong, and proved to be well deserving of this prestigious trophy.

The America's Cup will be collected by Alinghi in the Eastern Viaduct immediately as the boats return to port. The Official Prizegiving and closing ceremony will be at the American Express Viaduct Harbour on Monday afternoon at 16:00.

The Alinghi Team has announced it will hold a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to reveal details of the XXXIInd America's Cup.

XXXIST AMERICA'S CUP MATCH

Alinghi (SUI-64) beat Team New Zealand (NZL-82) - Delta 00:45
Alinghi wins the best-of-nine series over Team New Zealand, 5 - 0.

Another consummate performance from beginning to end saw Alinghi sweep to a 5-0 victory in America's Cup XXXI. Once again, there was no dial up as the yachts came into the starting box. Instead, they elected to sail deep into the box and then line up for a time-on-distance run to the line.

Once again, skipper Russell Coutts and his afterguard timed the run to perfection, hitting the line at speed as the gun went. Alinghi were to windward, with Team New Zealand tucked away slightly behind and to leeward.

Both yachts left the line on starboard tack and very quickly Alinghi once again demonstrated its ability to sail higher than Team New Zealand. Alinghi led around the first windward mark by 21 seconds. Team New Zealand, skippered by Dean Barker, reduced the deficit to 18 seconds and 16 seconds on the next two mark roundings, but then Alinghi stretched away.

The delta at the second leeward mark rounding was 31 seconds, building to 42 seconds at the final windward mark and 44 seconds at the finish line. Once again, Team New Zealand was plagued by gear failure, breaking its spinnaker pole towards the end of the second leeward leg.

The crew jettisoned the broken pole for the chase boat to later collect. With a spare pole on board, the breakage did not cost the team significantly in terms of time, but underlined the difference between these two teams.

Alinghi was flawless throughout the America's Cup Match, while Team New Zealand suffered a succession of breakdowns and had to abandon two of the five races.
America's Cup Media/ISAF News Editor
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