Sunday, 1 July 2007

Stay of Execution

Grant Dalton didn’t manage to get the 50th birthday present he would have wished for, after dodgy breeze put paid to hopes of contesting Race 7 this afternoon. Of course the alternative (Alinghi) viewpoint is that today’s postponement is merely a stay of execution for the Kiwis, as the Defender needs just one more victory to seal the deal.

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.


Pete said...

Grant Dalton got the perfect birthday present - a day off and a break in momentum for the other lot. Good job 'cos they have been very lucky to win the last two races. Come on - a blown sail when the Kiwis were in front and a freakish swing to the right when they had almost been carted out to the layline, again with the Kiwis in front. As the yanks always say, "it ain't over 'till the fat lady sings".

Turbon Grial. said...

Yessss Pete, yessss!!

Go kiwis goo!

A nation against a milionare, that's the most unfair battle ever!
All the sponsors pressing saying they won't repeat if ETNZ wins..., it stinks!!