Of course, winning three races on the trot is not insurmountable for ETNZ. Alinghi’s design coordinator Grant Simmer was part of the Australia II team which bounced back from 3-1 down to win the 1983 Cup, as Matt Mason reminded his team mates after yesterday’s morale-sapping loss. Ironically Simmer is one of those trying to prevent history repeating itself.
When asked whether he was surprised about how close NZL 92 and SUI 100 (pictured above in Race 5) were in performance, Simmer answered: “Obviously you always hope for a strong speed advantage. We’re quite happy with the performance of 100, but we weren’t so brash as to believe that boatspeed would win this event.
“The whole way since the last Cup while we’ve been racing the Acts, the teams have been learning together, learning and feeding off each other. That was always going to a lead to a contest that would be very close.”
Whatever Alinghi might say, I think the Defender has found it a bit of shock to find SUI 100 so evenly matched, but Simmer made the point that even a tiny edge could be the difference in this Cup. “This now is a contest of metres, metres to get you in a position where you can get a strong lee bow, or metres where you can get just across the other boat. It’s so close now, where every couple of metres you can gain up the race course is going to be significant.”
That’s what we saw in Race 6 when, even though the lead change took place on the second windward leg, it was SUI 100’s slight downwind speed edge that put Alinghi in position to secure the win.