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All done and dusted

February 16th, 2010

The Beast has prevailed over Beauty.  I am still shell-shocked, although not entirely surprised.

In the words of the Swiss :

Alinghi put forth a tremendous effort today in its attempt to defend the 33rd America’s Cup. The Swiss team from the Société Nautique de Genève led for most of the first leg of the triangular course, but couldn’t hold off the Challenger BMW Oracle Racing. Alinghi lost the race by 5m26s and the America’s Cup Match, 2-0.

Team president and principal helmsman Ernesto Bertarelli congratulated his competitor after the race: “Congratulations to the BMW Oracle team. The boat was faster, there’s no question about that.”

Today’s race was postponed for more than six hours from the scheduled start time of 10:06 as, similar to Friday, the race committee waited for the wind to settle. Around 16:10 the race committee set a windward mark bearing 100 degrees, just south of due east, and the two crews started at 16:25. Bertarelli guided Alinghi 5 onto the race course on port tack about mid-line, despite receiving a penalty. The crew wanted the right side of the course, hoping for the favourable wind shift. Almost 14 minutes into the race Alinghi 5 tacked to starboard and into a right-hand wind shift that lifted the 90ft load waterline catamaran into the lead. For the next 35 minutes or so both boats held starboard tack with Alinghi, now steered by Loïck Peyron, to windward of the challenger and holding the lead in the wind shift.

Alinghi crossed the challenger near the windward mark, but lost the lead when it tacked to port to approach the mark. The challenger led by 28 seconds at the first mark and then, propelled by its wing, increased that lead by more than 2 minutes at the second mark.

Alinghi showing better upwind speed (c) Guido Trombetta / Alinghi

Alinghi showing better upwind speed (c) Guido Trombetta / Alinghi

So its all over.  The cup goes to GGYDC and Larry Ellison – to be fair he has tried for long enough to win it so he probably deserves it!  And Russel Coutts still the man in the middle – now with the most amazing run of cup wins.

What next for these mammoth boats?  Mothballs?  Ernesto going to compete on Lake Geneva with Alinghi (I be he does)?  And whither the America’s Cup?  Back to monohulls and processions around a short course?

GGYC have accepted the Italians as challenger of record in a multi-challenger series, so it is now clear that the 34th cup will return to being the jamboree (and providing employment for many more) that it was last time.  Ellison has sortof said it could be Valencia but I have to say my money would be on San Francisco for the next cup.

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